Helpful tips

Can your dogs and cats enjoy the holiday feast?

Most of us think of our pets as furry family members, so we consider sharing our holiday meals with them. We sample along the way, and share a taste with Fido or Fluffy. And we gain a few pounds over the weekend. After the holidays, we exercise or diet to lose the extra pounds. But an extra pound on a 150-pound human it doesn’t affect us like an extra pound affects a 10-pound pet. For us, it’s an increase of .006 in body weight. For a 20-pound pet, that’s an increase of 10 percent!

Consider the calories
Any additional food means added calories, so if you give your dogs or cats an extra morsel, remember to take away a little of their regular kibble or soft food to keep them at a healthy weight. A little taste is fine, but consider these comparisons from Hill’s Pet Nutrition: http://www.hillspet.com/weight-management/human-food-translator.html

What is the equivalent of small piece of cheese, a snack or a hot dog for our pets?
The chart below compares a 20-pound dog and a 10-pound cat to a 150-pound person’s calorie intake.
* 1-oz. piece of cheese to a dog = 1 ½ hamburgers with bun and fixings
* 1-oz. piece of cheese to a cat = 2 ½ hamburgers with bun and fixings
* A cookie to a dog = 1 hamburger with bun and fixings
*A potato chip to a cat = ½ hamburger with bun and fixings
* A hot dog given to a dog = 2 ½ hamburgers with bun and fixings
* A cup of whole milk given to a cat = 2 ½ hamburgers with bun and fixings
Of course, smaller pets will be affected more, and larger animals may have a little more.

Aren’t proteins healthy?
Lean proteins are healthy snacks, so a bite of lean turkey is fine. But be sure the meat is lean. Fats in cheese, bacon, pate, sausage, gravy, turkey skin can cause obesity and contribute to pancreatitis. Pancreatitis symptoms can range from mild discomfort to difficulty breathing http://pets.webmd.com/dog-pancreatitis-symptoms-and-treatment. “A little piece (not more than 1 cm. x 1 cm. per 20 pounds of dog body weight per day) of any of these items is unlikely to cause a problem as long as your dog does not have an underlying health issue.” http://moderndogmagazine.com/articles/do-s-and-dont-s-sharing-food-your-dog/17293#sthash.9i87BqZK.dpuf

Limit Fats and Sugar
Of course, fatty foods and goodies high in sugar content such as that in dried fruit, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie filling can cause diarrhea, especially when coupled with the excitement of the holidays.

Plain pumpkin (NOT THE PIE FILLING) and plain yogurt doled out in tablespoon-size servings can help with diarrhea and constipation. But if the condition lasts longer than 24 hours, contact your vet.

Some foods harm both dogs and cats.
Garlic and onions harm red blood cells.
Grapes, raisins, chocolate, and cause kidney failure.
Xylitol, a sweetener made from the birch tree, is found in baked goods, gum and candies, and some peanut butters, causes liver damage.
So consider the ingredients in stuffing, fruit salads and sweets before you share them with your furry family members.

What medicines are okay for pets?
Humans take an assortment of medicinal products after a big meal and lots of excitement, from Pepto Bismol or Tylenol. Check with your veterinarian before giving any human medicine to your pets, whether prescribed or over-the-counter!

We all enjoy the special foods the holidays bring. Our pets are no different. But look out for them like you would your human children and limit how much you let them splurge.

By Beth Crosby

Many people with larger dogs get walked daily by their pooches. Those who don't know the secrets to happy dog walking. Their dogs are the delight of pet sitters because of their great manners.

Ideally, start off on the right paw with proper dog training so your dog strives to please you in all things and listens when you say "no" to any unwanted behavior. Training the dog to sit, stay, come and drop objects (and more!) should be part of every dog's basic upbringing. Professional dog training may help you if you're not sure how to train a dog.

If you can't run with your dog, give your dog some running time by playing fetch in your yard before a walk. That helps release some of his pent-up energy. It may also help to enlist a dog sitter to stop by and play with your dog so he won't sleep all day while you're at work.

As for walking your dog, don't use a long, retractable leash. They give rambunctious dogs too much lead. Instead, use a shorter one that keeps your dog by your side. Select a collar that fits right.

Very stubborn, hard-to-train dogs may benefit from using a leash attached to a training collar. It exerts pressure when the dog attempts to flee, but releases the pressure when he's by your side. The collar should not be so big as to easily fall off. When put on properly, the collar should attach to the leash on the top of the neck.

Only use a training collar for dog training if he does not respond to positive reinforcement and verbal commands while walking. Some dogs possess a very high prey drive, making training harder.

Do NOT use this collar as his daily collar, but only for walks. Only use a special collar for training if you are absolutely sure you know how to both fit it and use it. Don't use the collars with prongs on the inside. These can hurt your dog's neck.

If you use a training collar on walks, keep his normal collar on, too. In case he gets away from you, you'll want his identification, registration and rabies tags on him. Many municipalities require proof of rabies and registration at all times.

Dog harnesses actually encourage pulling behavior in larger dogs. He's the sled dog and you're the sled. He can pull to his heart's content because the harness enables him to do so. (Of course, small dogs may need a harness for safety; however, they're not capable of pulling their walkers.)

Once you have your dog gear and you're ready to walk, keep the dog on one side of you at all times, not in front and not behind. Try to keep  steady tension on the leash. Hold the loop in the hand opposite of the dog's side, and wrap the leash around the same-side hand a couple times. Allow the extra slack to fall between your hands, not between your hands and the dog.

Continuously talk to your dog to keep his attention on you. Chatter about anything in particular in a positive tone. As your dog starts to dart off, say, "heel!" in a firm voice to remind him of where he needs to be. And if you use a training collar, use it according to the manufacturer directions. Again, if you're not sure how to use it right, don't use it.

As with any dog training, consistency is key to achieving the results you want. Make sure your dog sitter knows of your training efforts so she can become your partner in dog training.

If you still struggle with walking your dog, ask a professional dog trainer to work with you and your pooch for further help.

by Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

Some dogs needs space. This doesn’t mean that they’re aggressive or mean or violent. These dogs might be fearful of strangers, in pain from recent surgery, slowing down with age, or in training. It doesn’t mean that they’ll bite any stranger that approaches. But it does mean proceed with caution. Not many dogs like strangers sticking hands into their face or hearing a strange dog running up behind them to say hello. Can you blame them?

blog4-YellowDogThe Yellow Dog Project was created to help the owners of dogs that need space, and to educate the public and dogs owners alike on how to identify dogs needing space, promote the correct way to approach a dog, and assist dog owners with identifying their dog as needing space. 

You’ll know when you encounter a dog that needs some space by the yellow ribbon tied to its leash. Don’t assume that the dog will be reactive and bite—the yellow ribbon simply means proceed with caution, for whatever reason. All that matters is that you give the dog the space it deserves, either by crossing the street to walk past or giving the dog time to walk around the situation, and definitely by asking the owner permission to approach the dog before doing so.

Maybe your dog loves people and loves getting pet by strangers and loves kids running up to say hi. But not every dog does. Every dog needs, even dogs that need their space, to get out of the house and go on walks, and it’s not always possible to avoid people unless you live in the middle of nowhere. For the rest of us, it’s likely that we’ll encounter someone while walking our dog. 

The yellow ribbon is a tool to help let others know that, while you’re working on it, your dog is just not ready to be approached by strangers—and that’s okay. Tie a yellow ribbon or a bandana or a scrap of yellow fabric to your dog’s leash to help let others know that your dog is not a people-puppy. It’s a tool to help you as the pet owner, but it doesn’t mean that you can expect everyone—especially those without pets—to know what it means. It also doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work on your pet’s issues, if possible, or expect people to stay away if you do take your dog into a stressful situation.

The yellow ribbon is not an excuse to avoid proper training, nor is it a waiver of pet owner responsibility. The yellow ribbon means that your walking buddy has space issues. It does not mean that you can take your fearful dog into a park full of children and expect everything to go smoothly. If you know your dog is afraid of loud, rambunctious groups of kids, it is your responsibility as the owner to not put your dog in a situation where he has a slim chance of being successful. You cannot assume to let your guard down just because your dog is wearing a yellow ribbon, and while it is gaining popularity, not everyone knows what the yellow ribbon means.  

So spread the word. If your dog is wearing a yellow ribbon, let others know what it means. With education, the yellow ribbon can be a great tool for everyone. 

By Rachel Leisemann Immel

 

 

20141022_103320We’ve all been there—we come home after a long day and the dog toy stuffing is strewn all about the living room. Or maybe Rover’s favorite rope toy is no more, and its components strung all along your couch. Maybe you’ve found a favorite, hard toy that seems more durable than all the rest—but only until a chunk goes missing and, coincidentally, Rover stops eating. (When that happens, it’s time to call the vet).

Despite all the advertising—“indestructible,” “world’s toughest,” "most durable”—any owner of a dog that loves to chew knows that nothing is guaranteed when it comes to the everlasting dog toy. (But some companies do offer a guarantee—if your dog destroys the toy, they’ll replace it for free).

Finding the dog toy that will outlast any other seems like a quest many of us are on—start typing “indestructible” into Google, and “indestructible dog toys” is among the first phrases to pop us. And while I’m sure many a dog toy manufacturer is working on it, there are a few things you should keep in mind until the elusive, truly indestructible dog toy appears:

  1. No dog toy is indestructible.

This means that you should always keep an eye on Rover—make sure all the toys are accounted for at the end of the day, and if a chunk of toy goes missing, try to find it. If you can’t find it, it just may turn up in a puppy pile in the backyard. If not, keep a close eye on Rover. If he stops eating or drinking, defecating, or just generally acting odd—give your veterinarian a call.

  1. Some toys should never be left alone with your dog.

Once upon a time, when my dog was very young and I was a new dog owner, I felt guilty going to work all day and leaving her in her kennel (and she loves her kennel). So I put a comfy blanket in there, a couple of toys, and a treat. When I came home, the blanket was shredded, one toy was left intact, and the treat was untouched. After that, she only got one toy in her kennel that was fairly trust worthy (a rubber-like toy that I stuffed with peanut butter), and no blankets until she was a bit older and more reliable. I still tossed the occasional treat in—but I expected that to be gone at the end of the day.

Some toys can be more dangerous than others—rope toys, for example, can unravel, and be eaten piece by piece. Dogs have died from obstructions after doing just that.

Rawhides, while a favorite of many dogs, should either not be allowed, or allowed only under supervision. Depending on your dog’s voracity, chunks of rawhide can be pulled off and swallowed whole. The chunk can swell in the moist digestive system, and cause an obstruction. 

The same can happen with stuffed toys, if the stuffing is eaten. Many dogs can’t resist the stuffed toys, tearing them open and leaving innards all across the house. Plastic eyes and buttons on these toys can also become choking hazards. Any toys, and toy parts, small enough for your dog to swallow can become a choking hazard.

  1. Cooked bones from the kitchen are always a “no.” 

Cooked bones can splinter and choke your pet, or cut the insides of his mouth and throat. If your dog loves bones, check out the selection at your local pet store—these have been specially treated to be safe for chewing. Antlers and bully horns make great alternatives, too.

No toy will (likely) ever be 100% indestructible. So let your dog have fun with his toys, but know which to put away and which to keep a watchful eye on. And if you ever find this holy grail of dog toys, spread the good news and let us know.

By Rachel Leisemann Immel

Fluffs of Luv Pet Care offers an array of customized pet care services, including in home pet sitting, dog walking, cat only pet sitting, overnight visits and cat and dog grooming and more. As the most reputable pet sitters and dog walkers in Charlotte and the surrounding area, Fluffs of Luv has put countless clients at ease by caring for their cherished companions while they were away.  Give Fluffs of Luv a call for a free in home consultation for pet care or to set up a grooming appointment 704-421-3492 or visit www.fluffsofluv.com.  

 

Wasn't it fun picking out dishes for your first home? You probably considered the dishes' color, material, pattern and durability. Some of the same consideration goes into selecting your pets' dishes. 

Glass or ceramic bowls keep water and moist food fresher than plastic, since some plastic dishes can leech odd odors or flavors into their contents. Some pets are sensitive to these effects. But glass and ceramic don't hold up as well for pets that like to tip their bowls. It makes a mess and can waste the food. Lightweight plastic dishes may endure the abuse, but they tip easier.

Stainless steel metal dishes in tip-proof designs can keep food and water fresh and neat, though they're more costly than other options. Dishes with a rubberized, weighted bottom help prevent skidding. Look for dishes with a larger bottom than top. This design makes dishes nearly impossible to tip. Raised dishes can also make tipping a lot harder.

Of course some cats and dogs seem to outwit every fancy dish meant to prevent dish tipping. In these cases, don't resort to placing rocks in the bottom of the dishes. Your pet may try to eat them and injure his teeth and mouth. 

Some pets tip their dishes because it's a game to play during an otherwise boring day alone. Especially if your pet tips his bowls only while you're gone, and if he has other behavior problems such as destroying household items, boredom could be the reason. Buy tip-proof dishes and a variety of toys for him. Make sure he gets plenty of exercise when you're home. If the behavior problems persist, a pet sitter dropping by may help break up his day instead of him breaking up your house!

Pet training can help curb the urge to tip. Watch your pet eat and say "No!" sternly when he starts pawing at the dish. When he eats and drinks properly without trying to tip it, praise him. Remove the food bowl after each meal and offer small servings of water more often to minimize the mess. If you don't have a pet sitter checking in with him, offer adequate water and place a heavy towel under the dish or place it in the tub.

Make sure your offer fresh water at least daily and anytime the water isn't clear. Some cats are very finicky about their water and may tip it over to show their displeasure.

Automatic pet watering and feeding dishes offer convenience for you; however, if your pet tends to overeat, these dishes could worsen the problem. If you want to use these dishes instead of having a pet sitter stop by, think again. Suppose the dish malfunctions or the water gets tipped over? A pet sitter is worth the peace of mind that your pet gets what he needs. Also, a pet sitter can relieve your pet's stress and make sure that your pet hasn't placed himself in danger.

by Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

Fluffs of Luv Pet Care offers an array of customized pet care services, including in home pet sitting, dog walking, cat only pet sitting, overnight visits and cat and dog grooming and more. As the most reputable pet sitters and dog walkers in Charlotte and the surrounding area, Fluffs of Luv has put countless clients at ease by caring for their cherished companions while they were away.  Give Fluffs of Luv a call for a free in home consultation or to set up a grooming appointment 704-421-3492 or visit www.fluffsofluv.com

Potty BellsI will never forget the day a close friend asked  “do your dogs ring the bell to go outside yet?”. I was completely dumbfounded by this question. He explained that dogs can be trained to ring a bell when they need to go out. I went online to see if this “trick” was valid, and surely it was. I have had dogs my whole life and I never knew doggie doorbell ringing existed.

I googled  “how to train your dog to use a bell to go outside”  and sure enough a ton of articles and” how to” videos magically appeared on my computer screen. Even though all these success stories were peering at me, I was sure my two 2 month old labradoodle puppies would not master this feat. In fact all I thought was, my adorable dogs will probably eat the bells and I am out 20 bucks.

It turns out the bell ringing is quite easy to teach. There were many varieties of doggie bells online but we purchased the bells at our local pet supply store so we could get this challenge underway. We placed it on our door handle and hoped for the best. When training a dog it is always key to get them to associate the task you want them to do with something else. In this case, they needed to associate the bell with going outside to go potty. There are various ways people imbed this association. We chose the “paw to bell” technique (again, there are a few so google it and see what works best for you and your dog). Whenever we took our dogs outside we would touch their paw to the bell so it jingled and then let them out, we would also say “time to go potty” or “let’s go outside”. Surprisingly it took only a few days for them to begin doing it on their own. My puppies are now just over a  year old and they use the bell whenever they want to go out. 

Ringing the bell is a good trick but more importantly it is a great way to communicate with your dog. It also helps limit accidents because if a dog is sitting quietly by the back door and you are someplace else in your house, you don’t know that he/she needs to go out. This technique alerts you to their needs so you don’t have a mess to clean up.
A link to help you out is as follows:
http://www.wikihow.com/Potty-Train-Your-Puppy-Using-a-Bell

By Lisa Altman

Fluffs of Luv Pet Care offers an array of customized pet care services, including in home pet sitting, dog walking, cat only pet sitting, overnight visits and cat and dog grooming and more. As the most reputable pet sitters and dog walkers in Charlotte and the surrounding area, Fluffs of Luv has put countless clients at ease by caring for their cherished companions while they were away.  Give Fluffs of Luv a call for a free in home consultation or to set up a grooming appointment 704-421-3492 or visit www.fluffsofluv.com. 

Bryce and Alli 001She stares at you from across the room, those emerald eyes glowing. She stretches out her front paws and yawns, revealing her pink tongue. Tail high, twitching, she moves toward you. She meows lowly and rubs against your legs. You reach down to stroke her back and BAM! She hisses, claws your hand and darts away, leaving a trail of blood in her wake.

Cats. Those fluffy, cuddly, playful and mysterious creatures.

Their behavior is tricky, but not impossible to predict. It’s all about their body language.

Here’s what to watch for: 

  • The Body. The whole furry body is what people usually notice first. A cat who’s lying on his back is usually relaxed and happy. (Just be sure to listen to those noises—a growl could mean he’s getting ready to strike!) A cat who’s back is arched and fur flat is ready for affection; but a cat who’s back is arched with fur standing on end is angry or scared. Did you know that a cat who rubs against your legs doesn’t necessarily mean she wants attention? It’s actually her way of marking her territory (surely you’ve noticed how many objects in your home your kitty rubs against?). And what about a kitty who kneads on you or her cat bed? That means she’s very content—not that she’s trying to claw you to death. Sometimes you can her disposition by her body alone, but often her ears, tail and sounds give you the best clues.

Continue reading

...pet habits, that is. As much as we love our furry children, some of their behavior is not so lovable. Here are some common habits that make pet parents everywhere want to yank their hair out by the fistful, and ways to stop them.

1. Begging
When it’s dinnertime and your puppy or kitten gets a whiff of that delicious meal you’re getting ready to tear into, they might park themselves right by your feet, wearing the most adorable expressions on their faces. However, if you reward their begging with food, it will happen again, and again...and again. An alternative to letting begging get you down is to put your pet’s food out around the same time you’re eating. This way, they’ll be too preoccupied with their own spread to beg for a bite of yours. 

2. Marking Indoors
Dogs and cats pee inside to mark their territory. This is especially a concern when you introduce an additional cat/dog to your household, which your first pet may see as a threat until they get to know one another. Leaving the area untreated will encourage continued marking, so be sure to use an enzymatic cleaner that will completely eliminate the odor. And if you catch your pet in the act, stop them right away (of course) and express your unhappiness at what they’re doing.

3. Chewing (Dogs)
Dogs (and some cats) love to chew. For dogs, it’s usually shoes, sticks, and furniture. Curbing this particular behavior can be as easy as replacing the thing they’re chewing with a more appropriate item, like a toy or a treat designed to clean their teeth as they chew (e.g. Greenies, Dentastix, etc.) and praising their choice of appropriate item to chew from then on.

4. Scratching (Cats)
Everyone probably has that image of a cat riding down a curtain with their claws out, shredding the fabric on the way down, etched into their brains. If cats (like dogs) don’t have a fixed object of destruction, they’ll find the next best thing. Make sure your kitties have a scratching post (or two), some cardboard, or even a cat tower if you can nab one. They and their claws will appreciate it — and so will you and your furniture.

5. Jumping
Some dogs can be very excitable and will jump on a person (familiar or unfamiliar) to lick their face and get attention. The alternative to pushing them off of you is to turn your back while firmly saying “no.” According to WebMD, "Even eye contact is a reward. Just keep walking, look straight ahead, and don't touch them.” It will likely be difficult not to engage with your fur-baby when they are so excited to see you, but it might help to imagine the goal, which is you walking through the door and your dog showing that they’re happy to see you without knocking you to the ground. 

These are just a few of those sometimes annoying habits our pets have. What are some of the habits you wish your pet would quit? What ways of curbing bad habits have worked for you? 

By Gianni Washington

Fluffs of Luv Pet Care offers an array of customized pet care services, including in home pet sitting, dog walking, cat only pet sitting, overnight visits and cat and dog grooming and more. As the most reputable pet sitters and dog walkers in Charlotte and the surrounding area, Fluffs of Luv has put countless clients at ease by caring for their cherished companions while they were away.  Give Fluffs of Luv a call for a free in home consultation or to set up a grooming appointment 704-421-3492 or visit www.fluffsofluv.com.

20140318_085926As temperatures skyrocket this summer, don’t forget about keeping your dog cool. Whether your dog spends most of his time outdoors or indoors, these tips are important for the health and wellbeing of every pooch.

  • Check and refill water bowls a couple times a day. It’s hot! Your dog’s going to pant more and drink more. Watch for signs of dehydration: An overheated dog will drool excessively, become lethargic and have bloodshot eyes. If your dog lives outside, it might be smart to invest in an automatic dog waterer.
  • Provide shade from the sun so you dog has a cool place to get out of the heat. If you don’t have air conditioning, be innovative. Cesarsway.com suggests investing in a kiddie pool, setting up a fan in front of a pan of ice or misting your dog with sprinklers. If you have a white or lighter-colored dog, you might have to apply sunscreen to the tops of his ears and nose to help prevent sunburn.
  • Exercise early or later to avoid the hottest part of the day and keep your dog’s paws from burning on the pavement—or from overheating. If you have to walk during the hottest part of the day, bring water for your dog. You might even purchase doggie boots at your local pet store to protect his feet.
  • Spray your pup with water to cool him off quickly. Because dogs cool from the bottom up, spray his paws and belly first. Water is a dog’s best friend during the summer. So look for opportunities to swim!
  • Never leave your dog in the car, not even with the windows down and water to drink. According to PETA, on a 78-degree day, the temperature in a parked car can reach 100 to 120 degrees in just minutes. On a 90-degree day, try 160 degrees in less than 10 minutes. Animals can die from heatstroke or sustain brain damage from such high temperatures.

By Deanna Morono

 Fluffs of Luv Pet Care offers an array of customized pet care services, including in home pet sitting, dog walking, cat only pet sitting, overnight visits and Cat and Dog Grooming. As the most reputable pet sitters and dog walkers in Charlotte and the surrounding area, Fluffs of Luv has put countless clients at ease by caring for their cherished companions while they were away.  Give Fluffs of Luv a call for a free in home consultation 704-421-3492 or visit www.fluffsofluv.com.

 

Hungry? Want to go out to dinner with your dog? It’s totally do-able in this city.  According to BringFido.com, a huge online dog travel database, there are more than 48 restaurants in Charlotte that allow dogs.

This list is based off the highest-rated restaurants and bars in Charlotte based on the tastiness of the food, the fun atmosphere and the overall awesome time your dog will have!

1.      The Wine Vault | 9009 J M Keynes Dr

In the University area? This wine and beer bar is nestled in the Shoppes at University Place. With multiple restaurants nearby, it’s a great place to take your dog, eat and hangout by the lake. BringFido reviewers say it’s a “wonderful patio” and very dog friendly—sometimes dozens of other poochies hang out there.

2.      River’s Edge Bar and Grille | 5000 Whitewater Parkway 

For great exercise and a day of fun, take your dog to the Whitewater Center! The River’s Edge Bar and Grille is a pet-friendly restaurant in the heart of it all—enjoy listening to live music, checking out the festivals and eating delicious, healthy foods. 

3.       VBGB Beer Hall and Garden | Parkway 920 Hamilton St.

As an award-winning bar, the VBGB Beer Hall and Garden boasts the largest patio in Charlotte—and it’s dog friendly. Their website calendar lets you plan for family-friendly events, guest DJs, game days, and food and drink specials. They even have a dog bath set up for those hot summer days! Reviewers rave that it’s a fun, exciting and clean environment for dogs.

4.      The Dog Bar in NoDa | 3307 Davidson St.

While the Dog Bar doesn’t serve food, it’s known as THE place to bring your dog when you’re craving a drink (plus they provide take-out menus for all the local restaurants). Well-behaved dogs are welcome indoors and out OFF LEASH, and you can even reserve space for a dog party. Upon your first visit, you can get a membership for a fee of $10 per dog (just be sure to bring your vaccinations records with you). BringFido reviewers rave about the unique atmosphere that dog lovers will surely enjoy. *Must be at least 18 years old to enter.*

Deanna Morono

We can't wait to play with your furry family member. Call us today for a FREE consultation.

Fluffs of Luv, LLC

Pet Sitting, Dog Walking, Cat Sitting & Overnights

(704) 421-3492 (828) 668-2860 Text (704) 612-8166 Fax PetSitter@CallFluffs.com

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