Can Your Dog Catch Your Cold?

Many of us catch at least one cold during the winter months, and we all know how easy it is to pass a cold around the household!

What about your dog? Can your dog catch your cold? Happily, no. Humans and dogs are affected by different kinds of cold germs and cannot share them.

But dogs can catch colds from other dogs, which is why keeping them home with a pet sitter is so much better than boarding them at a kennel where they can be infected by another dog. If your dog does catch a cold, there are a few things to watch for. (This short video from Pet MD has some quick tips.)

As the video mentions, the best cold treatment for an otherwise healthy dog is to make sure they stay hydrated, and you may even want to put a humidifier near their bed.

If you’re going out of town for the holidays, or just extra busy and need a hand with your furry friend, it’s time to book your VIP sitter. It’s a great way to reduce their chances of catching a cold from other pets at a kennel! We’ll take your dog for a walk, cuddle with your cat, give them a belly rub and a snack, and we’ll even text you a quick update so you’ll have peace of mind.

Our schedules fill up quickly during the holidays – especially Christmas, so click here to book your pet sitter, or leave your number here and we’ll call you…

Pets Love Their VIP Sitters

 

It’s never easy to leave your pets. You want to make sure they are relaxed and happy while you’re away. When pets are stressed, their immune system is suppressed making them more susceptible to sickness. They also experience increased heart and respiration rate and can be more vulnerable to cardiovascular disease.

That is why our sitters form a deep bond with your fur babies.

Our goal is to make sure your pets are happy to see our sitters arrive, and our sitters work to form deep bonds of trust and attachment with your pets, in the comfort of your pet’s home. In short, we want to be your pet’s friend and reduce their stress while giving you peace of mind knowing that we’re loving your pet like he is our own.

So when our clients tell us about their pets waiting at the window for them or running to greet them at the door, we know we have accomplished our mission. ❤

Whether you are going out of town for Christmas or just extra busy, book your VIP sitter now to make sure your pet is cozy and cared for.

Our schedules fill up quickly during the holidays – especially Christmas, so click here to book your pet sitter and we’ll call you…

 

Ease Your Pet’s Holiday Stress.

Holiday stress isn’t just for humans; it can be hard on our pets too, but it doesn’t have to be if we’re mindful of a few ways to ensure our pets have a wonderful holiday season. We know you’re busy, so we’ve assembled a super-quick list to help you ease your pet’s holiday stress…

  1. Visitors.
    Problem:
     Unfamiliar people and extra noise and activity can be stressful on your pet if they are not used to having visitors. They may become overly excited (and forget their manners or dash out the door) or they may become frightened.
    Solution: If your pet shows signs of either extreme, let him spend time in a comfortable, private room with the door closed. If he has a cozy rug, some treats, toys and water, he can relax and de-stress.
  2. Smells.
    Problem
    Pets, especially dogs, can find strong odors overwhelming. Air fresheners, potpourri, and scented candles may be too strong for your pet.
    Solution: If you must use them, it is best to do so only occasionally and keep the areas well ventilated during use.
  3. Exercise.
    Problem: 
    As your schedule gets busier, you may find you are not exercising your pet as often as he needs (and he probably needs more exercise during the holidays – it’s a great stress reliever). Lack of exercise can cause behavior changes such as chewing on furniture, tearing up household items or even unwrapping gifts (causing YOU more holiday stress!).
    Solution: Plan for more frequent exercise sessions, and we can help! Just see our special discount below.
  4. Rules.
    Problem
    Don’t want Fido sharing the sofa with your guests? If you usually allow him on the furniture, he’ll be stressed and confused if you change the rules at the last minute. The same is true for begging at the table – not that any of us would ever allow that 🙂
    Solution: Use the quiet room idea from tip #1 above if your pet has some habits that might cause you stress while entertaining. He’ll be happy and so will you.

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 all weekend long.

Schedule your Thanksgiving service by November 9th and get $10 off!
Your booking must include at least 4 standard or premium visits.

Click here to get started, or leave your number and we’ll call you!

(Cannot be combined with other discounts or promotions.)


I love the ease of scheduling an appointment. Also love the consistency of the pet sitter – I like the security of knowing Trudy will take care of the pups with minimal instructions as we have an established relationship. -Luis G


 

Halloween Safety Tips and Costume Ideas for Your Pet

First, two ways to keep your pet safe:

Keep your pet indoors on Halloween. It’s a prime time for injury and malice toward pets (particularly black cats), and they are much better off in the protection of your home unless they are on a leash by your side.

Use a leash. With all the activity on Halloween, your pet can become nervous and dart away. Keep him safe and secure with a comfortable leash and collar or harness.

And now, costumes!

Your pet is adorable in his costume, but if he doesn’t love it, we recommend leaving it at home and letting him enjoy the holiday ‘au naturel.’ He’ll be much happier and so will you! If your pet does tolerate a costume, there are lots of fun ideas to get him ready for the big day. We’ve found a few sites to help you choose the best costume. Just be sure to use lightweight materials, and remove any loose objects that he could choke on or become tangled in.

  1. If your pet doesn’t mind wearing a sweater, all you need is a white paint marker to make this quick and easy skeleton costume. Tip: use glow in the dark paint to make your pet more visible and safe!
  2. We love this watch dog costume!
  3. How about a no-sew iPhone costume? This is a child’s costume but could easily be transformed into a comfortable costume for your pet!
  4. And here’s a whole list of simple DIY costumes to choose from!

 

 

 

A New Year’s Eve Party Your Dog Will Love, Too

You aren’t the only one who loves to celebrate! If you’re planning your New Year’s Eve festivities, why not plan to include your dog? Just keep in mind that some of the things you may enjoy on New Year’s are things your dog should generally stay away from, such as:

  • Alcohol – we know you wouldn’t serve this to your dog on purpose, but watch out for unattended glasses that curious pups might investigate.
  • Chocolate – this treat can make dogs sick, so keep it where only people can reach it.
  • Balloons and confetti – these items can become stuck in your dog’s throat or tummy if swallowed.
  • Noisemakers – horns and poppers can be scary for dogs – not exactly the fun holiday you want for your best friend!

Instead, focus on dog-friendly treats and activities. There are tons of different delicacies you can make or buy for your party. You can whip up a batch of doggie martinis or dog eggnog (dognog?). Or bake some “cookies” for your pal, such as these adorable Christmas-tree-shaped bites.

If you don’t want to cook, there are lots of cute holiday-themed dog treats available in stores to help you and your dog celebrate – and your dog won’t know the difference.

If you have friends with dogs who get along with your dog, make the evening extra fun by inviting them to bring their pets along to help your dog celebrate the New Year. Be sure to have plenty of toys on hand for fun and games, and have some fun human treats available for your guests as well – just keep them out of reach of the guests of honor.

With a little planning and creativity, New Year’s Eve can be just as fun for your dog as it is for you!

PS – we wish you and your pets a happy and wonderful 2017!

10 Tips For Holiday Car Travel With Your Pets

The holidays are always a grand time to get together and celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of the next with family and friends. When our families include our furry, four-legged members, taking pets along to visit can prove challenging.

Listed below are 10 easy tips that can make your car trip stress-free for you, your family AND your pets.

 

1. Feed your pet a light meal 3 to 4 hours prior to travel.

To avoid carsickness, you won’t want to feed in a moving vehicle, and your animal will feel more secure if she has a full tummy as she rides along.

2. Don’t allow your dogs to roam in your car for your safety and theirs.

Harness/seatbelts are a functional answer, but have not proven reliable in case of an accident. The safest alternative to a harness is to keep your dog in a crate that is tied down by the seatbelt.

3. Cats need to ride in a carrier restrained by seatbelt around the front of the crate so that it doesn’t bounce around.

Find a well-ventilated crate that is large enough for your cat’s bed, a couple of toys, a water bowl and a small litter box. (I’ve always used those aluminum cake tins found at the supermarket that can be easily thrown away.) Most pet stores and online pet supply sites offer a variety of wire mesh, hard plastic and soft-sided carriers. Whatever you choose, make sure the carrier is large enough for your pet to stand up, sit, lie down and turn around.

4. Tape a card with your name, address, and cell phone number on the outside of the carrier in case of emergency.

A photo of your pet with her name and your veterinarian’s name and phone number also need to be posted somewhere on the crate in case of loss. Remember: Microchip your pets and place all identification tags (your pets’ names, your name, and your cell number) on their collars before you get in the car.

 

5. Allow for plenty of rest stops.

Every 3 to 4 hours, pull over and give your dog an on-leash potty break and leg stretch. This might also be a good time to offer water to stave off dehydration. Please remember, unless your cats are leash-trained, leave them in the car.

6. Carry your own pre-packaged food in small plastic bags for each meal.

If you have more than one pet, label each one’s food separately, and always bring spares in case you get stuck. Do the same with treats/biscuits.

7. Bring your own water.

Opt for bottled water or tap water stored in plastic jugs. According to the ASPCA, drinking water from an area she’s not used to could result in tummy upset for your pet.

 

8. Don’t leave your pet alone in the car.

We’ve all heard of the dangers of leaving a pet in the car on very hot and very cold days. With pet theft on the rise, you don’t want to take any chances that your beloved companion can fall into the wrong hands.

9. Pack your ‘on-the-road’ traveling kit.

In addition to travel papers, food, bowl, leash, a waste scoop, plastic bags for cleanup, grooming supplies, medication and a pet first-aid kit, pack a favorite toy or pillow to give your pet a sense of familiarity. Bring along some old towels to use for clean-up and bedding. Your own cleaning supplies are a necessity, as is kitty litter if you’re traveling with your cat.

10. Bring your rabies vaccination record with you if you are crossing state lines.

Although most states don’t require these records, some do, and if your pet should become lost, you’ll need this paperwork to get her out of Animal Control or a rescue when she is found.

Early preparation for car trips with your pets can provide ALL members of your family a fun, stress-free holiday.

 

‘Tis the Season to Book Your Holiday Pet Sitting Services

Getting ready for the holiday season involves more than trimming the tree and plumping up your credit card bill. It also means making arrangements for your pets and ensuring that you don’t overlook their safety and care in the busy-ness of the holidays.

There are several things to consider for keeping your pet safe and happy this year.

For starters, you’ll want to make sure that while you’re filling your kitchen with delicious smells and your plate with fun holiday snacks, your pet isn’t tempted by foods that might hurt her. Certain foods such as chocolate and alcohol can make your pet sick – or worse. Besides harmful foods, also watch out for other things that may endanger your pet, such as certain plants and decorations or extension cords your pet might chew on.

Also, be sure to make arrangements for your pet’s care if you’re going away to visit family or friends this season. Booking pet sitting services in advance is vital to getting your pet the care she needs while you’re gone. Booking early is important because spots fill up quickly this time of year, and you may not be able to get your favorite sitter if you procrastinate.

So when you’re making plans for shopping, cooking, and celebrating, don’t forget to make plans for your pet!  Book your holiday pet sitting services as soon as possible.

VIP Pets wishes every dog and cat a very merry (and stress- and injury-free) holiday season.

PS – Although we will be servicing pets, our offices will close early on Christmas eve and New Year’s eve and will be closed on Christmas and New Year’s day.

Celebrate Labor Day with Your Dog

Labor Day is coming up Monday September 4th!

You probably have the day off.  What better way to spend the day than celebrating with your dog?

The cooler temps give great opportunities for lots of outdoor activities. Picnics, hikes, BBQ’s, chilling on the screen porch or in the pool, all provide a sweet farewell to summer.

If your plans involve a lot of noise, people, activities and new smells, remember these can be stressful for your dog. Pet Smart has a great article on keeping your dog safe, quiet and occupied during parties and festivities. The ASPCA  has some great guidelines for pet safety during holidays including some surprising warnings about citrus, glow sticks, sun screen, and a few other things you might not have realized could be a hazard.

Your dog wants nothing more than to be your constant companion in whatever you’re doing. Here are some ways to enjoy this last unofficial day of summer with your dog:

  • Being part of a small family picnic or BBQ at home
  • Sharing a nap in the hammock
  • Taking a long walk in a quiet familiar place
  • A long hike together in the great outdoors
  • Some dogs loving going for a good ride in the car. Road Trip!

You know your dog better than anyone.  Consider planning this holiday around what your dog loves to do most and you’ll both have a great time.

If your Labor Day plans can’t include your pet this year, the next best plan is to have a qualified pet sitter come to your home! VIP Pets has a great group of well-trained sitters who would love spending quality time with your best buddy while you are away.  Contact us for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Ways to Celebrate Father's Day with Your Pet

Father’s Day is this Sunday, June 19.  And whether you have (human) children or not – there’s still reason to celebrate!  You’re a proud pet parent!

While your dog, cat, snake or parakeet may not be able to head out to the store to pick up a card and special gift for you – that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate being a great pet dad.

Here are four fantastic ideas for ways to Celebrate Father’s Day (June 19) with your pet.

  • The Great Outdoors: There are tons of dog-friendly hiking trails in the Dallas and Austin areas, so why not spend the day outside? Hiking or backpacking with your dog is a great bonding experience and can give you both some fresh air and a much-needed break from life’s little stresses.  Just be careful with the heat – pack lots of water for you and your pup and don’t spend too much time in the outdoors.
  • Indoors With a Big-Screen: Not all ‘Father and Pet’ Days have to be filled with the great outdoors. Sometimes the best way to celebrate an important day is to just be home and around the ones you love. Spend a little extra time petting your cat, and give them some good exercise with a lazer-pointer or their favorite toy. If you have a pet who is good with excitement, mix up a few treats for them and settle in to watch the game.
  • Game Day with a Barbecue: If you’re looking for fun outdoors but aren’t really the hiking/camping/backpacking type, look no further than your own backyard! There’s bound to be other dogs and dads in the neighborhood who wouldn’t turn down a barbecue! Many games can be easily modified to include man’s best friend, including soccer, baseball (humans bat, dogs catch), and flag football (if a dog snags your flag, you’re out!).
  • Something From the Heart: Whatever the pet, if you’re the gift-giving or crafty sort, why not take on a low-stress Father’s Day project and make your best furry friend a handmade pet bed or some homemade treats?

There are all kinds of ways to spend Father’s Day with your pet. The most important thing is finding something that’s enjoyable for the both of you – spending time together, and having fun.

Looking for the perfect gift for the pet dad in your life?  How about a framed photo of him and his dog?  Or a keychain or t-shirt?  It doesn’t have to be anything fancy … just a little something to show how much you care and appreciate him as a pet parent.

If you’d like more ideas on how to celebrate Father’s Day with your pet, feel free to contact us. One of our expert sitters will be happy to give you a few ideas!

Celebrate the Ultimate St. Patrick's Day in Dallas

Imagine Texas on a warm Spring afternoon. The grass finally coming back, the flowers blooming, and our favorite green holiday is here. The hours are filled with a festive parade, concert, people, pets, and fun. No better time to enjoy the ultimate St. Patrick’s Day in Dallas!

This past Saturday was the 36th Annual Dallas St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival, the largest St. Patty’s Day parade in the Southwest. There wasn’t a better place to “get your jig on” than at this hugely popular event in Lower Greenville. The sound of bagpipes, the mugs of beer, Irish dancing and the wearing of the green overflow. It was an experience not to forget!

As you strolled around the area amid all the laughter and song, you may have seen several  huge dogs standing quietly with their owners, looking around at the crowds calmly. As an animal lover, your heart skips a beat. Those are Irish Wolfhounds! A memory takes you back to a dream you always had of having your own, and you suddenly decide to make that wish come true.

Irish Wolfhounds are the gentle giants among the dog world and the pride of Ireland, heroically remembered in myth and tradition. In Gaelic they are the “Cú Faoil,”  used in ancient history for hunting wolves and knocking enemies from their horses in battle.

Treasured in the land they were born along beautiful Erin’s shores, Wolfhounds have touched our hearts here in America. Their gain in popularity has been swift as the word spread about their gentle loving natures, and wiry mutt look. The only downside really to this breed is their size. At a minimum of thirty-two inches high at the shoulder standing on all four paws, the Irish Wolfhound is not a pet designed for life in a city apartment.  At the very least, these animals need a tall fenced yard, with plenty of space to romp around.

There are many breeders and rescues for Wolfhounds in Dallas and the surrounding areas. If you wish to rescue an animal we always support the idea. The primary local rescue contact for these hounds is called The Texas Irish Wolfhound Rescue. Local breeders abound as well, easily viewed online if a young pup is what you would prefer.

While you explore the area looking for that perfect pet, you may sample the Irish world that the city itself has to offer. Everywhere you step the sights and sounds of Dallas are humming and vibrant but none quite so much as in an Irish pub!

There are several places to recommend in Dallas itself. The Trinity Hall Irish Pub, and The Dubliner, Malarkey’s Tavern and The Idle Rich Pub. All four places mentioned are authentically warm and welcoming establishments filled with song and laughter, and best of all? Should you find that Irish Wolfhound of your dreams, you can bring him along. All are pet-friendly…you can enjoy the fun with your hound at your feet as it was in bygone years!

Today will prove to be lively and full of St. Patty’s Day celebrations. Should you find that you need a sitter for your pet, just relax. We are here to help!

VIP Pet Services is a responsible and highly efficient pet care business. We take pride in the job we do, protecting and keeping your pet safe and happy. We know that if you are confident your pup (or kitty) is enjoying himself, then you can relax, take in the sights and sounds of the Irish and the beautiful sunsets Texas has to offer.  Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions and have a fun, safe St. Patty’s Day in Dallas!