Best Pet Sitters & Dog Walkers In Dallas TX

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)!

Traveling With Pets? These Are The Best Pet Carriers

Are you planning a vacation any time soon? Are you traveling with pets? If so, do you have a safe, cozy place to carry them? If not, you may want to invest in a pet carrier before you head out on your trip. We don’t see this often, but there are still some people who think that stuffing their small cat or dog in their purse will do the trick.

It may, depending on the size of your pet, but they would feel much better if they had a designated place that is cozy for them. It also looks better and is a much more suitable way of storing your pet when you are traveling, out and about and around other people in society. In fact, most airlines will actually require you to store your pet in an airline approved pet carrier. When flying, their number one priority is safety for the passengers as well as any pets and it is unacceptable to have pets not safely stored and secured during the flight. So, take a look at what we consider to be the best pet carriers and you be the judge as to whether or not we hit the nail on the head.

PetsFit Expandable Airline-Approved Pet Carrier

This airline-approved pet carrier is often the first choice of many pet owners because it is stylish, it can expand or retract to ensure maximum comfortability for your pet, and allows for easy storage or transport. It also comes with an adjustable shoulder strap to allow for easy carry and this works perfectly if you happen to have rolling luggage bags. This carrier comes in different sizes and can hold pets that weigh up to 20 pounds.

SleepyPod Dog Carrier

This multi-purpose dog carrier acts as an airline-approved pet carrier, a car seat and even a dog bed. It is flexible to fit under most airline seats, can hold nearly 20 pounds, has a slim, sleek design, allows for easy access for your pet, and is made with luggage grade fabric as its outside material. This carrier has been given 5 stars by many pet owners because of its utility and many different uses it offers for pets.

Snoozer Wheel Around 4-in-1 Pet Carrier

This Snoozer Wheel Around 4-in-1 pet carrier is one of the best pet carriers because it has consistently received nearly 5 stars from all of its merchants. This is perfect for any pet owners who would rather not lug their pup around over their shoulder for the entire trip. Putting your pet in this roller gives them plenty of room to work with and allows you to be able to transport them easily with very minimal effort. It has large mesh panels, it has an extending, telescope handle, and can even be worn as a backpack if you choose to carry your pet rather than roll them around.

Conclusion: Traveling With Pets? These Are The Best Pet Carriers

In our opinion, as well as the opinions of other pet owners, a pet carrier is something you should invest in, especially if you foresee some traveling in your future. Life keeps us busy. Sometimes, so busy that we will need to take our pets with us to care for them on our trips. So, if we have to take them with us, why not let them travel first class in one of these comfy, stylish carriers?

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 outside in leaves

Fall Time Safety for your Pets

We love fall! But…

Here’s a few quick things to be aware of to keep your pet out of trouble as things turn cooler and wetter.

Mushrooms

Wetter fall weather can lead to more fungus in your backyard or favorite outdoor places. Make sure you can identify toxic mushrooms to keep your entire family safe.

Rat poison/rodenticides

Rats and other rodents like to come in out of the cold too – right into your home(!) If you notice these unwelcome house guests, consider using pet-friendly pest control – this link has a lot of great ideas you can use.

Fleas and Ticks!

Fleas and ticks are still around in spite of the cooler weather, so continue with your pet’s prevention routine until it really gets chilly.

Darkness

Shorter days mean your pet is out and about more in the darkness. Use reflective collars and/or apparel to make him more visible and safe.

VIP Logo


 

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…

 

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

 

 

 

Dog drinking water out of bowl

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.

 

dog paw wrapped in gauze hand of human

Cuts, Scrapes & Injuries On Your Pet

By Cate Burnette

Minor Injuries You Can Care For At Home

When a pet sustains an injury, concerned pet parents often have a lot of the same questions as human parents, such as, “How bad is this, really? What should I do to treat this? Is this an injury requiring immediate professional medical care, or can it be dealt with at home?” That’s why it’s good to have an understanding of what the difference is between a major and a minor injury in your furry companion.

What is the difference between a major trauma and a minor injury?

Major traumas include:

  • Bite wounds
  • Puncture wounds
  • Burns and scalds
  • Snake bites of any kind
  • Deep lacerations
  • Broken bones

These injuries should NEVER be treated at home and your pet needs to see your local veterinarian or emergency clinic immediately. A deep cut can get infected and require stitching and even small burns or scalds can send an animal into shock. Snake bites – both poisonous and non-poisonous – can cause pain and extreme inflammation and, of course, broken bones necessitate professional care.

Minor injuries are issues like torn nails, bruises, skin scrapes, insect bites or stings (without allergic reaction), and/or minor intestinal problems such as occasional constipation or diarrhea. You can treat most of these matters at home and contact your vet if you have any concerns.

Home Treatments for Minor InjuriesInjured orange cat with paw wrapped in gauze in the hands of a vet with gloves

As concerned pet parents, you know that your veterinarian needs to be called for traumatic wounds, ongoing illnesses and sudden, acute disease symptoms. However, for any inconsequential injuries, there are treatments you can do at home with items from your medicine cabinet and kitchen to help your pet heal quickly and pain free.  

 

  • Bumps, Bruises, Twists, and Sprains – Tenderness, swelling, limping and mild to moderate pain can indicate a bruise, sprain or strain of limbs and paws. Keep your pet quiet and restrict exercise by crating if necessary. If the signs continue for more than 2 or 3 days, contact your veterinarian.
  • Torn Toenails – Dogs and cats can slice up their nails in a variety of ways. Everything from a too-close nail trim that nicks the quick, to running outdoors over sharp rocks. When the bleeding doesn’t stop, dip the hurt nail into a tiny amount of styptic powder, typically found on the shaving aisle found in most commercial pharmacies. If you don’t have styptic powder available, corn starch or regular baking flour will also curtail the bleeding.
  • Cuts and Scrapes – Please Note: If the injury site is swollen, bruised or bleeds excessively, you must assume your pet has sustained a bone break or sprain and you should allow your veterinarian to provide treatment and pain meds immediately. For minor cuts and scrapes with no other signs, clean the site of dirt with a cloth or towel and a non-stinging antiseptic diluted in warm water. Apply a cold compress (you can use a bag of frozen veggies) and keep it in place for a few minutes to alleviate any inflammation and pain. Place a dab of 3-in-one antibiotic ointment on the cut and bandage lightly to keep your pet from licking the area. Contact your vet for further advice and additional treatment.
  • Bug Bites or Bee Stings – Bug bites or stings typically occur around the face and head of a dog or cat. Once you notice the area, apply a cold pack to the bite to reduce swelling and itching. Look for a stinger. If one is still in the skin, use a credit card or other flat, rigid object (NOT tweezers) to scrape it out. Take your pet to the veterinarian immediately if you notice any swelling in the head or neck area that can affect breathing or if you find a stinger in the tongue or the roof of the mouth.
  • Swallowed Objects – In many cases, if your dog swallows an inappropriate object, you can take a wait-and-see approach to watch if the item passes without any trouble. However, swallowing sharp objects, extremely large objects, or any type of long item, is very dangerous.  Additionally, cats often swallow tinsel, fishing line or thread that can become wrapped around the tongue. In those cases, or if your pet shows signs of consistent vomiting, has a distended or painful abdomen, or is not having bowel movements, contact your veterinarian for immediate emergency treatment.
  • Constipation, Diarrhea, Hairballs, and Other Minor Digestive Issues – Most pets, at one time or another, experience digestive upsets that last for a few days and disappear. If these upsets are not related to other major health issues, then a dose of canned pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling) can do the trick. Veterinarians recommend giving 1 teaspoon per every 10 pounds of body weight either as a treat or in the normal diet one or two times a day until the issue resolves. Pumpkin is rich in a soluble plant fiber that eases the pains of both constipation and diarrhea.

 

If the symptoms of any injury or trauma are excessive – or continue for more than 1 or 2 days – contact your veterinarian for treatment. Remember, if your pet is sick or injured, it’s important to protect yourself and anyone else who may be caring for or handling her, so using a muzzle on dogs or a pillowcase on cats may be necessary. Even the most docile and gentle of pets can bite in response to pain or fear.

——

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.

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!