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.)

dog santa hat

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…

holiday with dog under christmas tree

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.

Pets Love Their VIP Sitters

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…

 

dog and cat under blanket

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…Pets Help

  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


 

Pumpkin

Halloween Safety Tips and Costume Ideas for Your Pet

Two ways to keep your pet safe:

1) 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.

2) 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.

We’ve found a few sites to help you choose the best costume.

  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!

cat in field

 

 

 

black lab in flag

Enjoying 4th of July with your Precious Pets

4th of July

Summertime is a wonderful time of year when we can celebrate with family and friends, frolicking in the sprinklers, enjoying barbecue and picnic foods and relishing the holidays that fall during the warmth of the season.  One of the most popular holidays is the 4th of July, but this can be a scary and dangerous time for our pets.

The Pet Amber Alert blog reports that national statistics show an increase of shelter use and missing pets between the days of July 4-6th. When the neighborhood is outdoors enjoying the fun and loud fireworks, pets indoors can become overwhelmed, and the likelihood of them running away and becoming lost is greater.

Fireworks and food can be fun for humans, but not necessarily for pets.  

Here are just a few things you can do to keep your pet safe during this Independence Day:

Serve Goodness. Although it’s tempting to offer your pet a special barbecue nugget, the safest thing for their sensitive systems is to keep Cat looking for food in refrigerator at homepets on their regular diets during the holiday season. You can find more out about people food that can be harmful to pets by checking out a handy publication by the ASPCA.

Dim the Flame. Matches and fireworks can be scary, and dangerous to your pets.  Any exposure to fireworks has the potential for an injury involving burns and trauma for your pet. Also, fireworks are made with substances that are toxic to pets, not to mention that loud noises can cause pets to run off seeking the solace of a quiet space. Keep your pet indoors while the fireworks are outside.

The 4th of July can be great fun for everyone including your pets.  With a bit of preparation and caution, you and your pets can enjoy a fun-filled Independence Day. Contact us if you need pet care help during the holiday!

 

black lab in flag

Unsung Animal Heroes on Memorial Day

Memorial Day is a Federal holiday in the United States. It is designed to remember the brave men and women who perished while serving their country in the armed forces.  The holiday originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971.

Memorial Day Heroes

But what about the unsung war heroes? The animals of war include a variety dogs, horses and even pigeons. During a time of war and struggle, humans were known for calling on the support of our animal friends. Some animals that were used during times of unrest include animals that hauled soldiers such as elephants, mules, camels and horses. Pigeons carried important messages and dogs were used for tracking, protecting the troops and counted on as companions.

Sgt. Stubby

A notable canine hero was Sgt. Stubby. Sgt. Stubby was a dog who served for 18 months and participated in seventeen battles. “He saved his regiment from surprise attacks, found and comforted the wounded, and once caught an enemy soldier by the seat of his pants, holding him there until American soldiers found him.” (Read more here.)

Unsung Animal Heroes on Memorial Day

 

These faithful members of the animal kingdom became war heroes as their efforts assisted in winning battles. In fact, during World War II, the U.S. troops utilized animals in many different ways and this is evidenced in photos that can be seen in Maryland.

Never Forgotten & Always Remembered

This Memorial Day, while you are remembering the humans who lost their lives fighting for our country, you can also show some respect for the dedicated animals who fought alongside them.  Memorial Day

  • Donating to a local animal shelter  
  • Sporting a Memorial Day button or tee shirt
  • Hanging the American Flag in their honor

 

By supporting these furry heroes, you’ll be giving them the respect they deserve.

b;ack and white new years dog

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!

cat and dog in vehicle

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.

 

holiday pet banner

‘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.