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…


Holistic Pet Care

By Cate Burnette

A General Overview of the 4 Most Common Alternative Vet Therapies

More and more pet parents are searching for alternative forms of therapy when it comes to the veterinary treatment of the animals. The term “holistic” pet care – when related to veterinary tactics – generally refers to trying to be as minimally intrusive as possible when it comes to treating various ailments within a pet.

The primary advantages holistic veterinarians hope to convey is that through less intervention involving technology or medicine, the more effective and cost-friendly this type of technique will be toward comforting an animal and its family during a time of illness and stress.


Types of Holistic Veterinary Medicine

There are a number of differing alternative therapies available for sick pets. We will go over 4 of the more common treatments here, although your holistic vet may offer other therapies that he or she feels will be more effective for your individual animal.


  • Acupuncture: Veterinary acupuncture is a holdover from Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) that has been practiced on animals for thousands of years. Originally performed on military horses, the demand for modern veterinary acupuncture for use on companion animals has steadily increased over the last 20 years. Used mainly for functional problems involving pain, paralysis and non-infectious inflammation, vet acupuncture can treat patients with arthritis, hip dysplasia, feline asthma, non-infectious diarrhea, and lick granulomas (hot spots).Veterinarians in this country are trained, certified and governed by the American Academy of Veterinary Acupuncture and approved by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) for the management of pain in cats and dogs.


  • Massage Therapy: Massage therapy for animals is a touch technique that causes the pet’s body to release endorphins, a natural body product that relieves pain and lowers stress levels. Used on both companion animals and horses, therapists claim that massage can increase the circulation improving joint flexibility and muscle tone, help eliminate toxins and wastes from the body, improve the condition of skin, gums, coat and teeth, and positively affect the behavior of nervous, aggressive or anxious animals.The National Board of Certification for Animal Acupressure & Massage (NBCAAM) was founded in 2008 to establish and uphold professional standards for animal acupressure and massage practitioners. Pet massage therapists do not have to be licensed veterinarians, but they must pass national core competency examinations to be certified in this country. Your veterinarian or the NVCAAM can help your find a certified pet message therapist in your area.


  • Nutrition and Dietary Changes: Just as in human medicine, veterinary nutritionists use common foods and nutrients to prevent and treat diseases in our pets. They teach pet parents how to read pet food labels to find optimal products, how to make homemade meals for sick and ailing animals, which vitamins and minerals will combat certain chronic disorders and which foods are hazardous to a patient’s health.Obese pets, animals with chronic kidney and cardiac disease, cancer patients, animals with arthritis and hip dysplasia, intestinal disorders and skin conditions can all be helped often with just a simple change in diet or nutritional plan.To find a qualified veterinary nutritionist, consult with your vet or visit the website of their governing body, the American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition.  


  • Chiropractic Care: Veterinary chiropractors are licensed veterinarians who have undergone post-graduate animal chiropractic training and been certified by the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association.Vet chiropractors manually manipulate the neuro-musculo-skeletal systems of pets in an effort to treat animals with stiffness, tension, pain and even organ dysfunction. As an alternative to regular veterinary care, animal chiropractic adjustment can promote optimal function of the nerves, muscles and tissues supporting the joints, resulting in improved movement, stance and flexibility. Vet chiropractors claim that this alignment promotes increased agility, endurance, and overall performance for sport animals. Broader benefits include superior immune function, healthier metabolism and a vibrant nervous system, facilitating your companion animal’s natural ability to heal.


Official Guidelines

The American Veterinary Medical Association officially describes alternative veterinary practices as “Complementary and Alternative Veterinary Medicine (CAVM).” While the AVMA has recognized these types of therapeutic methods for usage, they have still implemented various guidelines that call for appropriate evaluation of each alternative procedure, insisting that programs dedicated to promoting CAVM practices need to demonstrate “a substantial body of scientific knowledge.”


As the official AVMA guidelines state, these recommendations include:

  • “Veterinarians should ensure that they have the requisite skills and knowledge for any treatment modality they may consider using.
  • Diagnosis should be based on sound, accepted principles of veterinary medicine.
  • Proven treatment methods should be discussed with the owner or authorized agent when presenting the treatment options available. Recommendations for effective and safe care should be based on available scientific knowledge and the medical judgment of the veterinarian.
  • Owner consent should be obtained prior to initiating any treatment, including CAVM.
  • Medical records should meet statutory requirements. Information should be clear and complete. Records should contain documentation of client communications and owner consent.
  • Veterinarians should be aware that animal nutritional supplements and botanicals typically are not subject to pre-marketing evaluation by the FDA for purity, safety, or efficacy and may contain active pharmacologic agents or unknown
  • If a human health hazard is anticipated in the course of a disease or as a result of therapy, it should be made known to the client.”

According to a recent article in the Dallas Morning News, in Texas, holistic therapies must either be offered or approved by your TVMA-licensed veterinarian.


Cate Burnette is a semi-retired registered veterinary technician with clinical experience in small and large animal medicine. With 30-plus years of journalism experience, she went back to school after 9/11 to work with her first love: animals. The pet parent of four cats, three dogs and one ex-racehorse, Cate is a certified rescue volunteer with the American Humane Association’s Red Star Emergency Services and served with the group in New Orleans doing animal search and rescue after Hurricane Katrina. She is also a horse safety and horse management expert, and has volunteered with US Pony Clubs as a district commissioner and horse management judge.

Celebrate International Cat Day on August 8th



In a world filled with furry pups, our feline friends often go unnoticed. However, on August 8th cats get their day in the spotlight as International Cat Day is celebrated across the nation!


Back in 2002, a group of animal lovers known as the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) created International Cat Day as a way to bring awareness to and provide information about the wonderfully wacky (and lazy) world of cats.  


This celebration confirms that dogs aren’t the only best friends of humans; a kitty can make an equally fun, entertaining and loyal (albeit lazy) pet. Felines provide their owners with unconditional love, companionship and oodles of entertainment (think funny cat videos).  


Cat lovers everywhere can celebrate this fantastic feline frenzy in a variety of ways.  Here are a few ideas to get you inspired:

  1. Give your kitty a brushing to remove excess hair (this may help with hairballs later).
  2. Take funny pictures of your cat in costume and share them!
  3. Treat your feline pal to a special meal, a new bed, or some distracting toys that they can chase around the house.  Maybe fill a favorite toy with a bit of naughty catnip and watch the elegant slinky fun ensue.
  4. Get your kitty a shiny new collar with a fancy name tag – even if you can’t take them for a walk, they will appreciate the thought.


At VIP pets, we would love to see how you and your pet celebrate International Cat Day – share your favorite furry cat photos with us by tagging us at @vippetslove.  


Shelters and Fosters

What is the Difference between Shelters and Fosters?


For many unwanted and displaced animals, an animal shelter can mean the difference between life and death. Animal shelters are typically funded by local government and offer a safe reprieve for rescued strays. However, a shelter isn’t the only viable option for an unwanted pet. Shelters often have limited space and rely on the kindness of animal lovers who wish to provide a foster environment for homeless creatures.


Like shelters, fosters provide a haven for animals, offering food and time to heal before being placed up for adoption. Unlike shelters, fosters are self-funded and partner with the local shelters to provide care for an animal. This partnership frees up space at the shelter for additional animals in need.


A foster environment typically involves a person or family who volunteers to care for an animal in their home for a short or definite period, whereas a shelter will often keep the animal as long as possible, or until it can be re-established with a family.  


Since many shelters operate predominately on donations, they rely heavily on the time and resources provided by volunteers; it’s crucial to give what you can to keep shelters in operation. Here are a few ways you can help:


  1. Donate – You don’t have to donate money (although cash donations are appreciated). One may donate pet supplies to include food, as well as equipment such as bowls, leashes, beds, and toys. Also, volunteers can donate their time to assist with cleaning, animal care and administrative duties.


  1. Fundraise. Consider holding a fundraiser at the local dog park or school to honor our furry friends and the shelters who help them.     


The key is to take action sooner rather than later, as thousands of homeless animals are in dire need of homes. With a bit of creativity, you can do your part to ease the homeless animal crisis.


Dehydration & Pets

By Cate Burnette


When Texas summers get as hot as they normally do, all pet parents need to watch out for our dogs and cats becoming dehydrated from a lack of body water. Dehydration occurs when the total body water is less than normal and involves loss of both water and electrolytes (minerals such as sodium, chloride and potassium).

When there is not enough body water, fluid shifts out of the body cells to compensate, leaving the cells deficient in necessary water. This leads to dehydration. The severity of the dehydration is based on the magnitude of these body water shifts. Pets normally lose fluid through breathing, panting, urinating and defecating and those fluids must be restored regularly to maintain optimum health.


Causes and Symptoms of Dehydration

There are a number of ways your dog or cat can become dehydrated. Your pet may not be eating or drinking enough to take in appropriate amounts of water. Dehydration can cause the loss of appetite and, in a frustrating cycle, your animal loses even more body water when she won’t eat or drink. Illnesses that cause bouts of frequent vomiting or diarrhea and/or high fevers can result in your pet becoming dehydrated. Any dog or cat that is overheated may also be suffering from dehydration.

So what are some of the symptoms that you need to watch for?

There are basically 3 levels of clinical dehydration, with the final levels being the most serious.

Beginning Signs

  • Excessive panting and warm skin
  • Dry mouth, nose and gums
  • Visibly tired, less animated
  • Sunken eyes, lack of moisture

Intermediate Signs

  • Loss of skin elasticity – If a gentle pinch of shoulder or neck skin doesn’t immediately pop back into place, your pet is probably dehydrated. As the tissue under the skin loses moisture, the skin moves back more slowly. In extreme cases, the skin doesn’t pop back at all.
  • Delayed Capillary Refill Time (CRT) – Place your thumb or index finger firmly against your pet’s gums so that they whiten. Remove your finger and count how many seconds it takes for the gums to become pink. Any time longer than 2 seconds is a sign of dehydration and/or other illness.
  • Rectal temperature greater than 105º F

Final Signs

  • Your pet is wobbly and unsteady on her feet
  • You notice hind end weakness


How to Prevent Dehydration

Maintaining a constant body fluid level is as important in animals as it is in humans. The Humane Society of the United States issues these tips for keeping your pet hydrated in even the warmest weather.

  • Leave several bowls of water around the house so that your cats and dogs get enough to drink.
  • If you notice your pet hasn’t had a drink in a while, start by allowing her to have a few sips of water every few minutes. Overdrinking can easily lead to nausea and vomiting and losing even more fluids that she needs.
  • After strenuous exercise, monitor the amount of water your dog drinks and don’t allow overdrinking.
  • Take a collapsible bowl and plenty of cool water with you when you’re exercising or playing outside with your pet. Allow plenty of down time (especially on hot days) and find a place for shade so your pet can cool down.
  • If your dog or cat is outside for any length of time, ensure there are bowls of clean, cool water available for drinking.


What can I do if I suspect my pet is dehydrated?

  • Give an electrolyte (such as Gatorade®) mixed with water if your pet is showing the early signs of dehydration. While water helps in replenishing a lot of nutrients, electrolytes can do the job more quickly.
  • Animals who have gone a long time without drinking water may have a hard time holding it down. Allow your dog or cat to lick ice. She’ll rehydrate herself as the ice melts.


  • If your pet refuses to drink for any extended period of time, see your veterinarian immediately!


Veterinary Treatment of Dehydration

The veterinary care for moderately and severely dehydrated pets revolves around the administration of supplemental fluids. Typically, fluids are given either subcutaneously (SQ) under the first layer of skin or intravenously (IV) through a vein. The latter requires hospitalization and the insertion of an intravenous catheter. Your vet can determine the amount of fluids to be given and the route of administration in the best interests of your pet.



Cate Burnette is a semi-retired registered veterinary technician with clinical experience in small and large animal medicine. With 30-plus years of journalism experience, she went back to school after 9/11 to work with her first love: animals. The pet parent of four cats, three dogs and one ex-racehorse, Cate is a certified rescue volunteer with the American Humane Association’s Red Star Emergency Services and served with the group in New Orleans doing animal search and rescue after Hurricane Katrina. She is also a horse safety and horse management expert, and has volunteered with US Pony Clubs as a district commissioner and horse management judge.


Pet Services Header Brunette Lady Hugging White Dog

Celebrate All American Pet Photo Day on July 11th!

For many pet owners, their pets are part of the family.  In fact, scientists believe that some people form such strong attachments to their pets that they gain more satisfaction from a relationship with their pets than those with humans.  Some say pets can be similar to children, and this notion could stem from pets providing the unconditional love that kids do, and which can sometimes be absent from relationships with other adults.

One thing is for sure; people enjoy taking photos of their pets. Whether you own a dog, cat, bunny, bird, reptile or a piglet, all proud pet owners can celebrate All American Pet Photo Day on July 11th. This day hallmarks a time for grateful pet owners to show off and give praise to their furry friends by sharing their pet photos.  

Some fun ideas for making the most of All American Pet Photo Day include uploading pictures of your pet doing the activities that they enjoy, such as playing ball, hanging out the park or maybe wearing a fun outfit!  You can take photos of your animals enjoying an afternoon nap, rough housing with other furry friends, talking, performing tricks, or just stealing your heart being themselves.

This special day is an excellent reason to indulge and treat your pet to something special, such as running through the sprinklers, a new toy or maybe wading in a kiddie pool filled with water.  

We love animal photos and invite you to tag VIP Pets in all of your pet photos on Instagram using @vippetslove and show us how you love your pets!

Keep it Cool with VIP and The Dog Days of Summer


Like humans, pets enjoy treats as a part of their balanced diet.  Some favorite pet treats include raw hide, fruits and veggies, dog biscuits or cat treats, and even ice cream that is safe for pets. Experts warn to steer clear of potentially toxic foods for dogs such as raisins, onions, grapes, chocolate or anything with caffeine.


You can find store-made treats at your local pet or grocery store, or you can make some on your own. For example, check out the DIY Recipe for homemade doggy ice cream.  This easy and safe recipe includes all the ingredients that dogs love such as peanut butter, bananas and yoghurt.  Just freeze and serve for a refreshing treat on a warm summer’s day.  What a terrific way to end a long walk or a day at the dog park!


Here at VIP Pets, we love your pets as much as summertime, and would like to see how you stay cool this summer! We are running a fun-filled program where pet owners can allow their dedicated sitter to give their precious pets some Frosty Paws ice cream! Participating sitters will purchase and dole out the frosty delicacies, and take a photo or video to memorialize the unique summer experience. Throughout the summer we will post pics and videos of all of our pets and caring sitters.    


This program is a wonderful way to treat your pet and provide an enjoyable summer luxury for the ones we love.  Feel free to use Hashtag #dogdaysofsummer and send us your photos and videos showing how you and your pet are keeping it cool when the weather heats up!


June 6th is Pet Appreciation Week

It’s that time of year again, the time when pet owners have an opportunity to celebrate all of the wonderful ways that pets enrich their lives! June 6th marks the start of Pet Appreciation Week, and there’s never been a better time to show appreciation for all of the fantastic ways your pet enhances your life. Not only do pet owners reap the benefit of constant companionship and unconditional love, but pets also offer their owners a chance at a very special friendship. Pets are also great motivators, nudging owners to get out of doors for walks.  They also encourage owners to give and receive love, without judgment or pretense.  

Pets can provide humans with a host of mental and physical health advantages that may include lowering high blood pressure, increased exercise, as well as greater opportunities for socialization. Finally, pets provide their humans with a more positive well-being that goes along with caring for a living creature.  

Here are a few ways you can show your pet some love:  

  • Mix up your regular walk – head to the dog park
  • Indulge in some dog biscuits, kitty treats or whatever treat your pet enjoys
  • Purchase your best friend a new toy
  • Take a car ride and let your pet enjoy the breeze
  • Splash around in the water
  • Sport a new collar and safety tags
  • Enjoy a nap – together!  


Tell us how you showed your pet you care and share your pet photos with us on our Facebook page.  We can’t wait to hear about how you admire your furry friends for Pet Appreciation week!  

What Is a ‘Specially-abled’ Pet and What Do I Need To Know To Live With One?

By: Cate Burnett

National Specially-abled Pets Day Is May 3rd

A specially-abled pet may have had an injury, a birth defect, or a disease that requires her to use a wheeled harness, a sling, or a stroller. These dogs or cats may be blind or deaf and may not always have the chance to get out and socialize with people other animals. Many ‘specially-able’ animals end up in shelters where they are routinely euthanized because they have not been adopted.

At VIP Pet Services, we want to celebrate and honor those pets with disabilities and give you information to help you determine if adopting a blind, deaf or paralyzed dog or cat is something that can fit into a plan for your family.  

Living With a Blind Pet

Whether your pet is blind because of illness, genetics, age or trauma, blind animals with no other health issues can live long and happy lives. The sense of sight is actually number three in importance behind a dog’s sense of hearing and smell. By utilizing the blind animal’s other senses, loving pet parents can help a blind pet adapt and move easily through the home environment while interacting with the family and other.

Some tips for helping your sightless pet might include:

  • Maintain a normal daily routine, allowing your smaller dog or cat to learn her way around your house without being carried. Even though you may think it helps your blind pet feel safe – and, let’s face it, it just feels good! – carrying around a perfectly healthy animal fosters an unnatural dependency on your care, just like it would with your human child.
  • Speak in your regular tone of voice and talk often. Unless your pet is also hearing-impaired, blind animals can still hear you without needing a raised voice or a loud, squeaky tone to get your message across. Your voice can be very soothing to your pet, particularly one that is anxious or is newly blind.
  • Announce your approach for your blind pet by talking and using her name. Your voice, plus walking with a “heavy” foot to make vibrations, will alert your dog that you are coming so that she’s not startled.
  • Squeaky toys make good playthings for blind animals. A toy that contains a bell or a noisemaker allows your pet to follow and easily locate it while playing ‘toss and return’ or other fun activities. Toys that hide treats also work well with sight-impaired animals by forcing them to use their sense of smell.
  • Keep your blind pet’s environment static so that she learns her way around and feels safe. Stick with a furniture layout you like without changing it. Place a carpeted runner or area rug in your pet’s main living area so that she can feel exactly where she can safely walk and play. Save your pet from running into things by keeping your floors and carpets picked up from shoes, toys, bags and other items.
  • Open the crate door – or totally remove it – if your blind pet is accustomed to going into a kennel to eat or sleep. If she tries to go into her ‘safe place’ and hits the door, she may injure herself and/or become so anxious she no longer wants to use the kennel.
  • Fence off any hazardous areas (ponds, swimming pools, etc.) that your blind dog might wander into while she is playing outside in the yard. Even if she knows how to swim, deep water can be treacherous if your pet can’t find her way out of a pool. Hang a wind chime by the door so that your pet knows exactly how, and where, to get back into your house. You can place a ‘warning track’ of mulch or bark chips 1 to 2 feet around any trees, building or posts that will help alert your dog that danger is close.
  • Continue to socialize your sightless dog while letting others know your pet is blind. Clothe her in a vest or bandana that says “I’m blind” and lets other doggy parents know of her disability. Let your pup smell new people and animals before allowing her to be petted or play with new acquaintances. When meeting other dogs, remember your dog will not be able to “read” their body language. So take things very slowly. In addition to an identification tag, get a tag for your dog’s collar that says, “I’m blind.”


Caring For a Deaf Pet

Some pets are born deaf from congenital abnormalities. Other animals can go deaf from a variety of causes, ranging from chronic ear infections or injuries to drug toxicity and old age. If you suspect your pet might be deaf, try this test: wait until your animal is asleep or not looking at you and make a loud noise behind him, say experts at The Deaf Dog Education Action Fund (DDEAF), a non-profit organization geared to assisting the lives of hearing-impaired dogs.

Training your deaf pet can be as easy as learning hand signals, instead of vocal calls, say animal behaviorists. The key to working with a deaf pet – just as one who hears – is kind consistency. According to the WebMd website, the secret is having a clear hand signal for each action you want the animal to learn. Both cats and dogs can be trained using hand signals, but pet parents may need to consult with professional trainers knowledgeable in working with these disabled animals to get the best results.

Safety concerns for your deaf pet can be overcome using common sense solutions. Keep your deaf cat inside and your deaf dog on a leash or in a fenced yard if outside. To keep track of your pet – put a bell on her collar or harness. Get your deaf pet’s attention during the day by going over and touching her; at night, flick a porch light, flashlight or room light to get her attention. Let other pet owners know your dog or cat is hearing impaired by wearing a bandana or vest that says “I’m deaf.”

According to the DDEAF, the myths and misinformation surrounding deaf dogs causes many animals to be sent to shelters or euthanized when a little knowledge would prevent such tragedies. For example:

  • The “Startled/Aggressive” or “Time Bomb” Myth – Many people believe that, deprived of its ability to hear, the deaf animal walks through life easily startled by whatever crosses its path. According to myth, over time, these constantly startled dogs develop fearful, aggressive personalities; they will bite when startled, or attack for no reason. The truth is that deaf dogs adapt to their hearing loss, and become comfortable with their surroundings. In the same way a hearing dog can be startled by a loud noise, a deaf dog can be startled by an unexpected touch. A deaf dog can be conditioned to wake easily in response to a gentle touch. Pet parents of deaf animals can flap their hands in the air, gently blow on the pet, or flip a light switch on and off to alert the dog or cat to their presence before walking up.
  • The “Never Live with Children” Myth – As long as a deaf animal is well-socialized to children, and those same children are taught how to approach the pet in a quiet, respectful manner, hearing-impaired animals can be incorporated into the family unit. Your kids will need to learn the same hand signals that you use to communicate with your pet, but you can make that a fun family project that benefits everyone.
  • The “More-Likely-To-Be-Hit-By-A-Car” Myth – Keeping your pooch on a leash or inside a fenced yard can easily prevent your deaf dog from running under the wheels of an approaching automobile. Training your hearing-impaired animal to pay attention to leash signals and to sit and wait before walking through a door or crossing the street can also prevent accidents and trauma. One of the best ways to reinforce this is not to take the dog for a walk unless she sits and allows you to put on her leash. The dog quickly learns “no sit, no leash, no walk.”


Living With a Paralyzed pet

Having a pet at home that is paralyzed might seem overwhelming at first, however, in most instances this paralysis is only temporary and your pet will gradually regain the ability to walk and control urine and bowel movements over a period of time. Naturally, the larger your pet, the more difficult nursing care will be for you.

The following is a list of 6 helpful hints that may ease the burden of this care, whether your pet is temporarily – or permanently – disabled.

  1. Food and water: Give your pet her normal diet depending on your veterinarian’s advice. Make sure that water is easily accessible and your pet’s bedding is cleaned often.
  1. Bedsores: Also called ‘decubital ulcers,’ bedsores can develop over time on the pressure points of your pet’s body. These ulcers heal very slowly and can lead to systemic infections that can prove fatal. You can prevent them by keeping the skin dry and free of urine and feces. You may need to bathe these areas daily. The OTC Desitin® ointment used for diaper rash can be applied to areas of irritation or redness that develop. Clean blankets and a soft, padded or egg-crate mattress should be provided for a bed.
  1. Elimination: Depending on the extent of your pet’s paralysis, you may need to have your veterinarian teach you how to express your animal’s urinary bladder. This should be done 3 to 4 times a day until she regains physical control. Diapers with a hold cut out for the tail can help for the times you’re not at home or if she is constantly leaking urine. Most paralyzed animals defecate unassisted 1 to 2 times daily, but you’ll need to watch for constipation. It goes without saying that cleaning the perianal area of urine and/or feces is paramount to keeping your pet healthy.
  1. Medication/Sutures: Give all medications as directed by your veterinarians and keep surgical sites clean and dry. Any external sutures should be removed at the vet clinic.
  1. Hydrotherapy/Physical Therapy: Most paralyzed pets can benefit from both hydrotherapy and physical therapy to keep flaccid muscles from becoming atrophied. A daily 10-15 minute swim in lukewarm water may speed recovery time by encouraging the temporary patient to use the paralyzed limbs. Bicycling exercises and massage of the hind limb musculature also enhance blood flow to the paralyzed limbs. Please ask for a demonstration from your vet or a veterinary physical therapist on how to perform these exercises.
  1. Towel Sling: With larger paralyzed animals, a towel sling can help your back while allowing your pet greater mobility. With your pet in a standing position, place a towel under and across the abdomen close to the hind legs and support the weight of you’re animal’s hindquarters by holding the ends of the towel above its back. Lift your pet gently and support the rear limbs while she walks.

Too many specially-abled pets end up in shelters or rescues and too many die annually because pet owners do not know how to care for them. With family education and the help of pet-care professionals like VIP Pet Services, we hope to see that number drop and these ‘special’ animals get adopted into loving, forever homes.


Cate Burnette is a semi-retired registered veterinary technician with clinical experience in small and large animal medicine. With 30-plus years of journalism experience, she went back to school after 9/11 to work with her first love: animals. The pet parent of four cats, three dogs and one ex-racehorse, Cate is a certified rescue volunteer with the American Humane Association’s Red Star Emergency Services and served with the group in New Orleans doing animal search and rescue after Hurricane Katrina. She is also a horse safety and horse management expert, and has volunteered with US Pony Clubs as a district commissioner and horse management judge.

National Kids and Pets Day – April 26th


National Kids and Pets Day is a great opportunity to spotlight the special relationship between kids and pets! It’s also the perfect time to adopt a new pet from a local shelter. Kids with pets enjoy a number of significant benefits, including:

  • Pets teach responsibility. Helping with feeding, bathing, walking, and cleaning up after a pet is a good way for a child to learn responsibility, scheduling, and organization. A child who looks after a pet learns to nurture and care for others, too.
  • Pets can help with learning. Reading to a pet can be much less stressful and more fun for struggling learners. It’s relaxing and fun, and your child can even involve their furry audience – showing them pictures, for example, or explaining what’s happening on each page.
  • Pets provide comfort. Children who are being bullied at school or who are stressed out about some other situation can glean a lot of much-needed support and love from a pet. Pets are also great listeners and the best secret-keepers around!
  • Pets help kids stay healthy. Besides the healthy immune-system-building effects of being exposed to a certain level of germs at an early age, pets who need to be walked or played with regularly offer a fun way for kids to get sunshine, fresh air, and exercise.
  • Pets bring their families closer together. Whether you’re walking the dog, laughing at the cat’s antics, or even just watching fish swim in their tank, if you’re doing it together, it’s a beneficial team-building activity for your whole family.

Celebrate National Kids and Pets Day by adopting a family pet, or by spending some extra time with yours!