General

Happy Holidays!

With the holidays approaching everything seems faster paced, more rushed and tensions run high. Sometimes it even gets the better of me, I say something negative or out of character and have to centre myself again.

What I’ve found that helps keep the good vibes going

– Understanding that even the grinchy people are people too, say a kind thing to them

– Giving small thoughtful gifts to people and their pets

– Random acts of kindness, holding the door, letting someone in during rush hour, helping someone

– Taking a friend out for coffee

– Listening to up beat music. I like to crank the tunes!

– Having some down time reading, enjoying a bath, having some me time

– Playing with dogs, when we get excited they get excited and it helps to keep the good vibes going!

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General

You know you’re a pet sitter and dog walker when…

You know you’re a pet sitter & dog walker when

  • Your work schedule changes from hour long days to 14 hour days. Early mornings and late nights to make sure everyone has been cared for.
  • You’ve put tons of mileage and time into driving from house to house (rural pet sitting)
  • You’ve driven through almost every road condition (black ice, tons of snow, wind, hail, etc) to let a dog outside to pee.
  • A day off consists of an overnight pet sit with furry friends.
  • You feel super sad when you can’t fit in a last minute client into the schedule
  • You’ve walked in the cold -25C winter storm weather with a dog because they were having the time of their life (snow dogs especially)
  • You’ve cut walks short in the same weather to let the chilled pups in the house right away
  • You’ve been slobbered on by various animals (dogs, cats, cows etc.)
  • You’ve stepped or kneeled in Dog poop at least once by accident.
  • Visited Pets on holidays, as even they need some holiday lovin’ too!
  • You’ve celebrated the good times with your clients and supported your clients in the bad times
  • The pets in your care become like your own pets, you celebrate the happy times and mourn the loss of beloved friends when they pass over the rainbow bridge.
  • You wouldn’t trade what you do for the world, even if you happened to win the lottery. You have a passion for pets and their people.

Let us know if there are any points you would add to this!

General

Positively Dog Walking

Why hire a professional dog walker when I could hire a neighbour/kid/friend/etc.? Is a question I’m sure quite a few people have. Yes, I’m quite sure that you can hire all of the above. Although I think there are much better reasons to hire a professional dog walker.

What makes us different?

  • Our business is insured and bonded
  • We have been serving the Okotoks area for 4 years
  • We have current Pet First Aid
  • We have current criminal record checks
  • Our Lead Walker is currently attending a dog training apprenticeship program
  • We attend various courses and seminars on animal training, care and well being. Continued education is very important to us.
  • We are current members of Pet Sitters International

Our Walking Tools

  • On our walks we use flat buckle collars, martingale collars (for dogs that can slip their collar easily), head collars or harnesses.
  • Most dogs are clipped to our hands free walking belt on walks. The length of the leashes can extend from 1 foot to 6 feet to allow more space as needed (this is done by clips and “O” rings). The hands free belt is used as a safety tool and is like our safety belt to your dog. We use this as we found not all leashes are easy to use with thick winter gloves on, the buttons on retractable leashes can be faulty, and also the leash is impossible to drop or let go of.
  • Poop bags are attached to our belt and all waste is deposited in the garbages where appropriate.
  • Tasty low calorie treats (Freeze dried beef liver, 3-5 calorie small training treats) are used as rewards. For dogs with sensitivities, their own kibble may be used.

We don’t use

  • Prong Collars, choke chains, slip leads, shock collars, citronella collars or other aversive walking tools.
  • Aggressive Positive Punishment (adding something to stop or alter behaviour I.e. kicking, hitting, yanking on the leash etc.)

What are some things we do to help dogs walk better? I.e. pulling, barking

  • Usually we’ll prime the relationship we have with the dog by simply “Yes” and giving a treat. This is repeated a few times so they understand that the word “Yes” gets them a reward.
  • “Yes” May also be used to help improve behaviour, if a dog is walking better or nicely we will use the “Yes”/treat cue to encourage the better behaviour
  • We use a treat as a lure in our hand to help coax the dog away from something they may be pulling towards, or barking at.
  • Make interesting sounds to get the dogs attention back to us.
  • Stop & Go: if a dog is pulling we stop walking and wait for the dogs attention to come back to us, then we continue the walk
  • While this list is certainly not exhaustive, our aim is to provide force free/positive reinforcement methods to encourage the best behaviour from our dogs.

Disclaimer: please note our blog is not a substitute for the advise from a professional behaviourist or trainer. We recommend contacting a professional trainer or veterinarian for any questions regarding your pets behaviour. Please use caution when working with any animal. We are not responsible for the use of misuse of any information on our blog.

Chews

Raw Bones – Natures Tooth Brush

raw bone

Just the other day I was performing the weekly check of everyone’s teeth. All of the cats teeth were in fine condition, Vitzy’s teeth were at the same level. Finally I got to Tucker, I checked his left side and everything was pearly white, when I checked the right then I noticed it… A broken tooth with root exposed on his top right carnassial… Damn…

I wondered to myself ‘What had I do wrong?’ & ‘What was different than any other week?’

Then I realized, the one thing that could have caused this was his ‘raw hock bone’ as Tuck doesn’t chew on anything other than dehydrated duck feet and his raw bones. I thought I was doing the right thing by providing raw bones to my pet. I did a little research, and I was right to a degree. Here are some of my findings:

Beef, Bison & Elk Bones
Hock bones, marrowbones (like soup bones and centre cut marrows etc), Dino bones and knuckle bones are among some of the hardest bones available on the market. They are all weight-bearing bones (and to think these animals often are more than 1000lbs in weight) so they are thick and sturdier than other bones. If staying with beef, bison or elk opt for non-weight bearing bones such as rib bones and neck bones as they are more maliable and less likely to fracture teeth.

Chicken & Turkey Bones
I’m still not too keen on feeding chicken or turkey backs and wings, just seems like too many little bones of different sizes. I think they could cause obstruction in a large dog if they don’t chew them down properly. Instead opt for turkey or chicken necks, as the bones in the next are more uniform in size and are easily passable to most dogs.

Other bones to consider
Lamb & llama bones are thinner in profile the the regular beef & bison bone. These are far more easily chewed down and are a better alternative to the larger weight bearing bones.

Pros to Raw Bones
– They help clean teeth by the friction of chewing and the availability of natural enzymes
– They keep dogs entertained and relieve stress
– Save money on unnecessary dental cleaning
– Alternative to artificial and raw hide dental chews

Cons to Raw Bones
– Can cause teeth to fracture and break, if not given an appropriate type of bone
– Dogs could choke on pieces if not supervised

More Information
Dogs Naturally – Recreational Bones
CAUTION: Bones Can Kill Your Dog – Find Out Which Ones Are Safe!
IVC Journal – Raw Bones

Uncategorized

Happy Thanksgiving for you and your pet!

thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, it often brings to mind cherished time with family and loved ones. With a table filled with such dishes as turkey, ham, potatoes, gravy and the like. Wonderful conversation and great togetherness to celebrate what we are thankful for.

For the busyness of the occasion it is better to be prepared as there can be dangers in sight of your pets. If you’re worried about how your animals will react around people or if you have just introduced a new pet-family member to your household, there are a few good things to implement as prevention to pet emergencies and the like.

A few things you can do in preparation are:

  • making sure your pets are well exercised before company arrives (walk your dog or play with your cat for at least 30 minutes) as any pent up energy could be released on un-expecting house guests.
  • Be sure not to allow any access to cooked bones to your pets, for example turkey bones and ham bones, as these are frail and may splinter easily.
  • Give your dog something to do while you sit down for dinner, mine enjoy getting a beef knuckle as they have to chew around all the crevices in order to get at the meat and marrow.
  • Feed the animals before dinner so they have full stomachs and may be less likely to beg at the table.

Great Thanksgiving Treats for your pets

  • Pureed sweet potato or pumpkin
  • Raw ham bone
  • Raw turkey neck and giblets
  • Thanksgiving themed canned food

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Nutrition

Nupro All Natural Supplement for Dogs

 

I like to try new supplements, foods, toys and treats on my dogs to see how they like them and I’d like to share my experiences with you.

Nupro is a All-In-One supplement with natural ingredients to re-enforce supplementation with minerals, vitamins, enzymes and omega fatty acids. It contains Decciated Liver, Norwegian Kelp, Amino Acids and Enzymes, Yeast Cultures, Flaxseed, Lecithin, Garlic, Calcium Citrate and Lactobacillus Acidophilus. It looks like a brown powder and almost smells like gravy in the container. When added directly to the kibble or B.A.R.F. diet with water it mixes in smoothly and smells delicious. When trying to make just the gravy alone with water the kelp and heavier ingredients sink to the bottom making a kind of slush. I’ve tried it on both Vitzy (mixed in with her freeze-dried mix) and Tucker (In his kibble) and both of them polished off their bowls in minimum time. I used it for a two week period and stopped for a day to see what they would do… both stared into their dishes and looked back up to me as if to say “What am I supposed to do with this now?”. From the dogs it gets a Two-Paws up and is added to my regime of supplements.

Benefits of Nupro
– Complete Multivitamin/ Mineral supplement which can be added to any diet (kibble, Raw, dehydrated raw, freeze dried, home made, and any variation thereof)
– Promotes hair growth and stops itchy dry skin
– Steadies nerves (as proper nutrient absorption allows for better flow of nutrient absorption)
– Norwegian Kelp contains vitamins such as A, B1, B2, C and E which helps with bone and muscle growth. And also contains Iodine for proper glandular function and metabolism.
– Bee Pollen contains vitamins, minerals, amino acids and enzymes. Is known to support the immune system and supports allergy protection.
– Yeast Culture contains proteins, Zinc and Biotin. Which is beneficial to the skin and coat, helping with dry itchy skin, hot spots and excessive shedding.
– Flaxseed contains Omega 3 fatty acids which help with the skin and coat
– Lecithin which contains choline which supports nerve, brain and liver function.
– Garlic contains Allicin and anti-microbial source is used to support the immune system.
– Lactobacillus Acidophilus is a probiotic allowing for gut friendly bacteria and a healthy digestive system.
– Calcium Citrate supports healthy bones, teeth and nerve function

Ways to use Nupro
– As a delicious food topper (gravy)
– Add water to the mix and freeze in ice cube trays for a quick nutritious treat
– Add Nupro to home made biscuits for dogs, for an added plus of vitamins and minerals

 

Website

NUPRO Supplements

 

For Extra Thought

Have you tried NUPRO Supplements? What are your thoughts on it?

Chews

Bully Sticks

bully stick

Bully Sticks (or pizzles) are a treat for some debate. Most consumers don’t know the origins, how they are made and the amount of calories they posses.

Bully Sticks are often dehydrated raw – bull, steer or even veal (baby cow) penises (Ewww! for us, but often dogs love them). For those familiar with by-products, bully sticks are technically a by-product of beef. Although with the label as by-product, there can be different grades (quality) or additives to any product which can effect your pet. For example products from China can be of poor-quality and can often spell trouble for our pets, whereas some products from Canadian or American inspected facilities often have higher quality, and less harmful additives in the bully sticks. For best results, read the labels and ask the manufacturer if the product was “made” in Canada or the U.S.A, as products can be “packaged” or “assembled” in Canada and the U.S.A. and may be a very different product then expected.

Bully Sticks by nature are calorie dense, meaning a 6 inch bully stick can contain more than 88 calories. The recommended amount of calories in treats per day should amount to about 10% of the diet. Meaning if needed you can provide the bully stick for short durations 10-20 minutes for a nice treat for your dog if there are concerns about gaining weight or is already overweight. Caloric information can sometimes be found on the manufacturers website, or you can send an inquiry as to the calories directly to the company.

As with any treat made from one meat ingredient (ex. beef, duck, elk, pig, lamb etc.) it is best to ere on the side of caution with cleanliness. Meaning you should wash your hands and general area (any surface the treat has come into contact with: counters, floor, dish etc.) after handling any such treat to stop the spread of diseases and infection. As well as limiting the exposure to children, the immune-compromised and pregnant women. With any chew there should also be supervision to ensure the dog is chewing on it appropriately. As there is a danger to dogs if they try to swallow a large piece of the bully stick, or the bully stick becoming lodged in the mouth.

From my experience with bully sticks I have had no issues with any bacteria associated with them, as I try to maintain a very clean area when coming into contact with any such treats. My dogs love them, and a twelve inch bully stick will last my German Shepherd Mix a month or two (He’s a very light chewer, maybe a few nibbles a day on it). And if needed you can freeze the bully stick to rid of most of the bacteria and to also strengthen it as a chew. All in all bully sticks are a great healthy alternative to over-processed treats (rawhide for example), and the added benefit of the abrasion against the teeth will also help with plaque and tartar control and removal.

Additional Resources

AAHA – Misconceptions of Bully Sticks

Dr. Becker – Bully Sticks

Dogster Forum – Bully Sticks