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Are GPS Dog Collars Really Effective?

Are GPS Dog Collars Really Effective

It finally happened. Your four-legged friend managed to get out of the yard and is running free through the neighborhood. The anxiety of losing your beloved dog is overwhelming. It happens to just about every pet owner in the world. Surely, you’ve heard that GPS dog collars are making waves in the pet community? There’s a good reason, too. These collars are safe and extremely useful. If your dog manages to escape, the collar will help you track them quickly.

How GPS Collars Work

When we talk about GPS dog collars, we typically mean location tracking collars. There are also health trackers, too. However, for the sake of clarity, we’ll go over both in turn.

  • Location Trackers – A location-tracking GPS dog collar includes a mini-SIM card sewn directly into the collar. When your dog is lost, you can track the SIM card using your phone or laptop to find the exact location of your four-legged friend.
  • Health Trackers – A health-tracking GPS dog collar is ideal if your pet has health concerns, stemming from old age or disease. Most collars in this category include both heart rate monitoring and locating monitoring, which makes them more expensive but comprehensive

The Benefits of GPS Dog Collars

There are clear benefits to having a GPS dog collar, especially if you travel or hike a lot.

  • As we mentioned above, many high-end collars monitor both location and fitness levels, including their heart rate.
  • A lost or runaway dog is now easier to track without the stress of not knowing.
  • Technology has advanced so far that you can track the dog collar using an app on your smartphone.
  • Pet trackers are pet-friendly, meaning they attach to the collar and do not cause any irritation whatsoever

As you can see, investing in a GPS dog collar is worth the price. Contact VIP Pet Services for dog walking and pet sitting services in Dallas and Austin, TX. Give us a call at 972-416-0861 (Dallas) or 512-275-6701 (Austin)!

Expert Dog Walking Tips for the Winter

Expert Dog Walking Tips for the Winter

Winter weather can make dog walking a challenge. It’s freezing outside, potentially raining or snowing (depending on the area), and often windy. The wind chill alone is enough to keep most of us indoors. Your dog wants to get outside, though. He wants to walk through the park, see the sights, and get a little exercise. We, as pet owners, are obliged to help. Here are a few expert dog walking tips for the winter, from the professional dog walkers in Austin and Dallas

Dress the Part

Your dog is cloaked in thick fur. They can withstand colder temperatures far better than we humans, so it only makes sense that you dress the part. Don your long underwear, a long-sleeved shirt, and a thick winter coat for the trip. If it’s snowing, consider bundling up even more.

Bundle Your Pup

If it is extremely cold, not even that thick fur can help fight the cold for your pet. Consider bundling them up, too. There are fantastic brands that make dog jackets for hairless or short-haired breeds. If you know your pet has a hard time keeping warm, wrap them up comfortably. But not too tight!

Efficient Leashes

It’s easy to pull out the same old leash you always use. However, during the winter, you want an effective leash with a front-clip harness to help minimize your dog pulling away too harshly. Remember, it’s cold outside. The ground may be a little icy. If your dog pulls, you’re coming with them.

Stick to Sidewalks

Often, the city will clear the sidewalk of any snow that has built-up overnight. Try to stick to these sidewalks instead of traversing through the open plains of the park. Unless your dog loves the cold, the cold snow on their soft paws will quickly cause discomfort.

This holiday season, when the weather is less than favorable, consider hiring VIP Pet Services for our professional dog walking service in Austin or Dallas. Our dog walkers are the best in the business – rain, sleet, snow, or sunshine

Give us a call at 512-275-6701 (Austin) or 972-416-0861 (Dallas).

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What Can I Give My Dog For Pain?

We love our dogs. There is no question about it and the absolute LAST thing that we want to see is them being in some sort of pain. Their pain can be caused by many things. It could be a bug bite, it could be a worm or a parasite that they may have, or it could in relation to an underlying infection or disease that they may be carrying. In the case of an infection or disease, it may be a good idea to take them for a checkup, immediately, if you suspect that this is the cause of their pain. However, the question remains: what can i give my dog for pain? There are some methods that you can go about relieving your dog’s pain, both drug-related, and natural pain relievers. Let’s cover those now.

Natural Pain Relievers For Dogs

We have our list of natural pain relievers for dogs listed first, because we recommend that you try natural ways before you make your way to putting any powerful drug substances in your dog in efforts to cure their pain. Not only do natural pain relievers for dogs who are in pain, but they also cut down on any possible side effects that may arise. Here are some of the natural remedies:

Yucca Root

Yucca root is a desert plant that comes with a plethora of medicinal properties and purposes to care for the health of any human or dog who consumes it. In fact, many human arthritis patients take this, because it has something in it called steroidal saponins which help to tremendously ease joint pain and reduce inflammation.

Cayenne Pepper

Increases blood circulation to joints, muscles and connective tissues because of the capsaicin that it has. One great thing about this is that it can be used both topically as well as internally for relieving pain in your dog.

Ginger

Ginger helps to stop the immune system from producing what are called leukotrienes which cause inflammation. It also does a great job at easing any join pain just as the yucca root does.

Over-The-Counter Pain Relievers For Dogs

Once again, we recommend you first start with the natural pain relievers for your dog, but if you absolutely must, you can use over-the-counter pain relievers for a little more power. Always consult with your veterinarian first before resorting to this method and the ones listed below.

Steroids

Steroids are the number one substances to control pain when it is in an excruciating stage. In most cases, they are only prescribed by vets in rare cases, but one of the most popular is prednisone.

Antidepressants

It has been reported that many vets often combine antidepressants with natural dog supplements because of the pain relieving power that they offer.

Opiates

Opiates aren’t necessarily a pain reliever because they do more of blocking the dog’s ability to feel the pain. Similar to the steroids, these will be used in extreme cases and prescribed by your veterinarian and can often be too strong for dogs.

Conclusion: What Can I Give My Dog For Pain?

So, as for the question “what can i give my dog for pain?” – This list of remedies should steer you in the right direction. You can try the over-the-counter pain relievers if you’d like, but it would be best to consult your vet before doing so. Also, it wouldn’t hurt to also consult with them about the natural remedies as well. Chances are, these will get the approval much quicker because they are effective but more safe.

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The Best Probiotics For Dogs

If you own a dog, then nothing will make you happier than coming home to a happy, healthy pet with its tail wagging. While their diet and what they are consuming plays a huge role in their mood, it is also due to other factors. For example whether or not you supplement their diets with probiotics can play a big role!

But what are the best probiotics for dogs? This is a question that is asked quite often, because dog owners realize the important of supplementing with an adequate amount of probiotics. They can help your dog maintain a healthy gut bacteria, improve their overall well-being and digestion and increase their performance in all areas. While there are many other profound health benefits that dogs can get from the regular consumption of probiotics, here is a list of the best probiotics for dogs that are available today.

Purina ProPlan Veterinary Diets Fortiflora

This probiotic supplement, Purina ProPlan Veterinary Diets Fortiflora is one of the best probiotics for dogs and is also one of the top selling. It is fortified with active, live cultures as well as vitamins A,C and E and its main mission is to help your dog maintain the healthiest immune system that it possibly can. This probiotic supplement comes in powder form and it in individual packages to make it easy to monitor consumption and mix with your dog’s food. It is also vet-recommended and made in the USA, and comes with antioxidants in efforts to help rid their bodies of any harmful toxins.

Amazing Nutritionals Probiotic Joint

Amazing Nutritionals Probiotic Joint supplement is one of the best probiotics for dogs that happen to suffer from any form of aching and joint pain. This serves the primary purpose of alleviating any kind of joint pain and inflammation, and it also promotes a healthy digestive tract and a healthy coat and skin. This supplement comes in a chewable pill form and this allows for easy consumption by your dog and makes much less of a mess than any powder probiotic supplements.

VetriScience Vetri Mega Probiotic

What we absolutely LOVE about the VetriScience Vetri Mega Probiotic supplement is that it is very affordable, it comes in capsule form that can be opened up and served as a powder on your dogs food, it promotes overall health and well-being for your dog but focuses on the digestive tract, and it is dairy-free. Many products that contain dairy can cause constipation for dogs because of how difficult they are to be processed by their digestive tract. Each capsule contains 8 different strains of five-billion microorganisms. So, it is safe to say that it is an all-around and all-purpose probiotic supplement that will indeed keep your dog healthy and happy.

Conclusion: The Best Probiotics For Dogs

As a dog owner, if you were to stick with one of these on our list of the best probiotics for dogs, it is a no-brainer that you will keep your dog healthy and at its optimal performance on all levels. However, we still encourage you to do your own research. Ultimately, the best way to find out what probiotic supplement works best for your dog is to simply try different brands in both powder and pill form and notice any positive changes that may take place as a result.

The Best Gifts For Dog Lovers

Would you consider yourself to be someone who loves dogs more than you love people? If this is how you feel, believe it or not, you are not alone. If you were to count on one hand how many dog lovers that we have in the world today, then there is no doubt that you would need millions of hands to get an accurate number. The world is full of dog lovers. There is no question about that. Even more so, there are a ton of gifts for dog lovers to remind and surround them of their love every minute of the day. Keychains, socks, phone covers and so many more products and gifts for dog lovers are sprouting up on a daily basis.

You may have some friends or family members that are dog lovers and you could be searching for some good gifts to get them. If so, you’re on the right page. The best gifts for dog lovers are the gifts that touch their heart. Gifts that they will hold near and dear to them and will last, forever. Let’s rattle off a few of what we and many fans around the world consider to be the best gifts for dog lovers.

The Bark Box

That’s right! As featured on the popular TV show, Shark Tank, the Bark Box has been consistently chosen as one of the best gifts for dog lovers around the world. A great thing about this gift is that you can buy one box, or you can subscribe and get a different-themed box on a monthly basis delivered right to your doorstep. It offers a unique way for your dog to try the latest snacks and dog toys that hit the market.

Canvas Pet Tote

If you love to carry your dog with you wherever you go, or if you’re simply out on a town outing, then the canvas pet tote would be a great gift for you and dog lovers in general. It is a stylish and enjoyable way for you to chauffeur your dog around. It has pockets for storage of treats and poop bags and it is incredibly durable and comes with a shoulder strap and handle for easy carry.

PitBull Tea Towel

Keeping a set of 3 PitBull Tea Towels in your kitchen is a great way to decorate it and show your love for dogs when you have family, friends and guests over for coffee, tea or dinner. These towels are 100% cotton-based, made in the USA and are made with a water-based, eco-friendly ink and this is great for those who are fans of green products and care deeply for the environment as well as their dogs.

Conclusion: The Best Gifts For Dog Lovers

Although these are only a few, they certainly make for the best gifts for dog lovers of all kinds. It is very common for people to prefer the company of a dog more than a human and there is nothing wrong with it at all. After all, we consider dogs to be our best friends. More than that, we look at them as family and while they have feelings as well, we want to make sure that they are happy, loved and cared for at all times.

Can Dogs Eat Bananas?

Bananas are a tasty, nutritious treat for us humans. But can dogs eat bananas? We think that you’d be surprised at just how many different fruits that dogs can eat. Normally, we look at dogs as carnivores and this is completely understandable because of their ancestors and their true origin. However, there are some plant nutrients that dogs need to survive on a day to day basis. We all need plant nutrients – there is no debating that.

Did you know that dogs chew on tree barks and sticks because they are searching for nutrients within the bark? Yes – it is a habit that has been passed down for thousands of years from their ancestors, because they realize and instinctively know that tree barks have nutrients that are beneficial to their bodies. After all, bananas do come from a tree also. That being said, would a banana be just as much of a healthy and tasty treat for dogs as it is for humans? Let’s discuss some potential things that can happen when dogs consume bananas.

First, Discuss This With Your Veterinarian

As a great rule of thumb, you should always discuss with your vet any changes that you are making within your dog’s diet. They have a firm grip on the foods that you should and should not be feeding your dog. That being said, it would be wise and a great service to both you and your dog if you were to consult with them and get their input. Depending on your dog’s current diet and how they may react to the consumption of bananas will let you know whether or not it would be suitable for them.

Bananas Can Cause Constipation In Dogs

One thing that is true for dogs is if you feed them bananas in excess it could lead to constipation and other forms of gastrointestinal discomfort for them. Another thing you should NEVER do is feed your dog the banana peel, as this could potentially cause them to choke before it gets in their stomach and cause any internal digestion problems. While bananas aren’t toxic to dogs, they can cause blockages and can be harmful if they are eaten whole or in large quantities. Especially if they aren’t getting the proper water intake that they need on a daily basis.

Bananas Provide A Great Source of Vitamins, Nutrients and Minerals

Just as they can for humans, bananas can provide a great source of vitamins, nutrients and minerals to dogs. Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Potassium, Manganese, copper, fiber and biotin are all things that dogs need within their diets as they contribute to them living long, healthy lives. These vitamins, nutrients and minerals are also good at nourishing and hydrating their skin and their coat so in this area, it would make sense for dogs to consume bananas.

Conclusion: Can Dogs Eat Bananas?

So, can dogs eat bananas? In short, the answer is yes, but it must be in moderation. While bananas can cause some problems within a dog’s system, they can also provide a great way for them to get a good source of nutrients. While humans can eat bananas on a daily basis, it wouldn’t be a good idea for dogs. Instead of a regular meal, use them only as a treat.

How Much Water Should A Dog Drink?

We all know what a vital resource is not only to human beings, but to all life on the planet. We need water. There is no ifs, ands or buts about it. And if we have pets, specifically dogs, at some point or another we’ve asked the question: “how much water should a dog drink?” That is a pretty good question, and indeed, it does have an answer. One thing you need to understand is that the amount will vary between dogs. You have to factor in the weight of the dog, the height, the food and exercise frequency, the weather conditions, and a couple other factors to make sure your dog is getting adequate water intake. Right now, we will discuss three of the most important categories in factoring out how much water should a dog drink and this will certainly point you in the right direction.

Normal Daily Intake

When your dog is sedentary, or just going about its normal day, it is a recommended guideline that your dog gets at least ½ to 1 full ounce of water per pound of body weight. On days when your dog isn’t that active and they may be lounging around on the couch with you watching movies, they will occasionally get up for a drink if they happen to be thirsty, but for the most part, they won’t require much water to function regularly.

Intake for Exercise

As we stated earlier, a general rule of thumb to abide by when it comes to how much water should a dog drink, it should be anywhere from a ½ to a full ounce of water per pound of their bodyweight. However, when they are active, running around in the doggy parks or out on a run with you for some exercise, they will need more water for energy to fuel their activities. Naturally, your dog will know when it is thirsty and it will go to a nearby stream or pond and as long as it senses that the water is suitable for consumption, it will drink.

Weather Conditions

Dogs tend to drink more in the summer months than they do in the winter months and they do this by instinct. They are sweating more profusely in the heat and this can be the culprit for a lot of water loss and could result in dehydration. When your dog senses that it needs water, it will go to get a drink. Your job, as the owner, should pay attention to the weather and know that when it is hot outside, the dogs are much hotter because of their coat, so it would be in your dog’s best interest for you to keep a lot of fresh water around for them to drink when they need it.

Conclusion: How Much Water Should A Dog Drink?

To answer the question: “how much water should a dog drink?” – You need to look at things from a bird’s eye view. Really, it isn’t as complicated as it may seem. Simply put, make sure your dog is getting a good amount of water on a daily basis regardless if they are sedentary or have been out running around in the park. One, important thing you also want to make sure your dog gets is the RIGHT water. Your dog should be getting the cleanest water possible, as this helps with digestion, keeps them hydrated efficiently and could help regulate the systems that go on within their body.

The Best Dog Friendly Plants

When it comes to the types of plants that you have around your dog, you must be careful. Although plants in and of themselves seem very harmless, they can be a bit aggravating any dogs or pets that you have in your household. There is a good chance that your pets could be allergic to certain plants and they can cause your dog to have sneezing fits, excessive scratching and other symptoms of an allergic reaction. This is why it is important to take heed to the plants that you have both inside and outside of your home.

When your dogs are in the house, it would be great to have plants that could scent the air beautifully and wouldn’t cause any problems should your dog inhale the scent and plants outdoors that wouldn’t cause your dog to have an outbreak should they go snooping around in your bushes. These are just a few of the best dog friendly plants that are safe around your dog and may even provide some health benefits as well.

Creeping Rosemary Plant

Not just the Creeping Rosemary Plant, but all Rosemary plants are suitable for many culinary uses and are 100% pet safe and this makes it one of the best dog friendly plants. This is a plant that many gardeners use to fill many empty spaces in their garden with a nice cloud of evergreen.

African Daisy Plant

The African Daisy plant has wonderful smelling daisies that aren’t funky smelling like other plants. They can really brighten up the mood if you have them indoors, and they can really add some color and pop to your garden if you were to have them outdoors. Not only are they available in yellow, but they are available in a plethora of other colors. Another thing about these plants is that they go very well dry climates and they are drought-tolerant. So, if you happen to have any dehumidifiers running in your household, they will do no harm to the African Daisy plants that you may have.

Purple Basil Plant

The Purple Basil Plant is one of the most common plants used outdoors because it brings stunning colors to gardens that really brings everything together. While they are mainly used for show, they also offer a great scent and basil is a seasoning that can really bring some great health benefits to the table. Chop some up, add them to your dishes or you can even sprinkle a little on your dog’s food to help them consume more fiber in their diet and relieve any pain or inflammation.

Conclusion: The Best Dog Friendly Plants

As for the best dog friendly plants, we would say that without a shadow of a doubt, that these choices certainly make the top 5 and if not, they make the top 10. What we invite you to do is experiment and find out which plants cause your dog to have a reaction, and of course, which ones that don’t. Once you find the ones that don’t and they also bring other benefits to the table such as offering up a beautiful scent along with some potential health benefits, then you are on the money when it comes to the best dog friendly plants.

Should You Get A Slow Feeder Dog Bowl?

A common question that arises for dog owners is should you get a slow feeder dog bowl. Just with anything, there are some benefits to owning one, and at the same time, there are some detriments. What we encourage you to do is pay attention to your dog and see if having a slow feeder dog bowl would be either beneficial for your dog, or be detrimental. Let’s dive deeper into some pros of having one and how it can help your dog in the long run, and some potential things that you may want to avoid.

The Pros of A Slow Feeder Dog Bowl

Depending on the areas in which you are looking to help your dog, these could be some benefits and reasons as to why you should consider purchasing a slow feeder dog bowl:

Prevents Vomiting

A slow feeder dog bowl prevents most dogs from vomiting and this is due to the fact of smaller portions sizes of food being consumed at a time. This allows the food to digest more effectively.

Prevents Choking

In the same boat as preventing vomiting, slow and smaller portion sizes will also prevent your dog from choking. Dogs eat fast. Especially when they are really hungry, and this can often lead to both choking and vomiting.

Prevents Gastrointestinal Discomfort

When dogs eat too fast, they pile too much food in their bellies at one time and it can really cause them some discomfort. It can also cause them to pass a lot of gas. If your dog is stinky and had a bowel movement, it could be because they are farting from eating too fast.

Prevents Food Bloat

Food bloat as well as belching or farting are the result from dogs eating too fast and swallowing air as they eat. When the portions are more controlled and slower, this eliminates these problems.

The Cons of A Slow Feeder Dog Bowl

Maybe your goal is to minimize the risks that you put your dog in and these would be some reasons as to why you shouldn’t get a slow feeder dog bowl.

Teeth Chipping

When your dog bites around the barriers of the slow feeder dog bowl, they could potentially chip their teeth. While this isn’t something you can control, your dog has to become more aware of where they are biting.

Plastic Ingestion

Plastic ingestion could lead to gastrointestinal stress and other health issues that could turn to be major issues. If your dog isn’t getting adequate water intake to flush out any plastic accumulation, it could have detrimental effects.

Conclusion: Should You Get A Slow Feeder Dog Bowl?

So the questions remains: should you get a slow feeder dog bowl? If you believe that the benefits will outweigh the positive bad things that could arise from owning a slow feeder dog bowl, then the answer is yes, you should. However, if you are more set on preventing the problems that may arise, then it wouldn’t be a good idea. Regardless of your decision, we encourage you to give it some thought so that you can make the best decision for you and your dog.

Golden lab on kitchen floor

Can Dogs Eat Bread at Thanksgiving?

Can Dogs Eat Bread at Thanksgiving?

Safe Foods to Feed Your Pets During the Holidays

As holiday feasting begins, there is no doubt our dogs will want to join in. Who can resist the smell of fresh bread baking in the oven and the feelings of love as everyone gathers around the table? Not us, and certainly not our pets.

While small bites of unbuttered bread are completely safe for our pets, the yeast in raw dough can be a digestive problem. There are several holiday foods that are unhealthy (or dangerous) for dogs, even though they may beg for them. But you won’t feel so bad about saying no if you have some tempting treats to offer instead.

Here is a quick list of foods your dog should avoid this holiday season, followed by some yummy alternatives that will have him joining in the celebration with you:

Avoid Feeding the Following Foods to Your Dog

  1. Raw bread dough (the yeast can cause dangerous bloating)
  2. Fat and trimmings from meats (this rich food can cause digestive issues)
  3. Grapes (even small amounts can be fatally toxic)
  4. Bones – especially cooked bones (can splinter and cause lacerations of the intestines)
  5. Nuts – particularly Macadamia nuts and some walnuts (can cause toxic poisoning)
  6. Unfermented dairy products such as milk or ice cream (the lactose can cause abdominal pain)
  7. Onions – contain an ingredient called thiosulphate that is highly toxic to both dogs and cats.

Safe Foods for Your Dog

  1. Cooked turkey (remove the skin)
  2. Sweet potatoes (slice thinly and bake at 250 degrees for 3 hours for a crunchy treat!)
  3. Cooked green beans (tasty and full of vitamins and fiber)
  4. Cooked eggs (for a special holiday breakfast)
  5. Plain yogurt – if your dog seems to tolerate it well (the probiotics can strengthen the immune system)

Our schedules fill up quickly during the holidays, especially Thanksgiving!

Whether you are going out of town or entertaining guests, book your VIP sitter now to make sure your pet is cozy and cared for throughout the holiday.

Schedule your Thanksgiving service by November 12th to take advantage of our early bird special for $10 off!

Your booking must include at least 4 standard or premium visits.

(Cannot be combined with other discounts or promotions.)