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

Chews

Essential Fatty Acids

salmon

The use of essential fatty acids is vital in any format of nutrition. The use of fish based or plant based oils are the most common forms of supplemental EFA’s. An essential fatty acid is something that the body cannot produce on it’s own and must be supplemented into the diet. Omega 6 is the only essential fatty acid for dogs and cats, although both Omega 3 and Omega 6 are recommended as a combination.

Where the B.A.R.F. diet requires Omega 3 and 6 supplementation, any diet could benefit as well, including any kibble based diet or dehydrated/ freeze dried diet. Common Omega 3 and 6 sources include: Salmon Oil, Pollock Oil, Coconut Oil, Flax oil, all-in-one combinations are also available. Once opened these oils (with the exception of coconut oil) should be refrigerated to maintain their benefits.

Benefits of Fatty Acids (Omega 3 and 6 combination)

  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Aids in cardiovascular function (i.e. heart health)
  • Improved skin and coat (i.e. less shedding)
  • Digestive health
  • benefits the nervous system and eye function
  • Improves cognitive function

Efficiency of Oil

  1. Salmon Oil  – most readily bio-available for dogs
  2. Pollock Oil
  3. Coconut Oil
  4. Flax Oil – least readily bio-available for dogs

Other Sources of Omega 3 and 6

  • Salmon, tuna and other fish meat
  • Eggs
  • Spirulina
  • Evening Primrose Oil
  • Raw Organ Meats

 

Additional Resources

 Flax Council – Omega 3 Enriched Eggs

Walk N Roll Over – Coconut Oil

The Whole Dog Journal – Salmon Oil

Food Sources of Omega 3 Fats – based towards human nutrition

Dogs Naturally – Omega 3

The Dog Food Project – Essential Fatty Acids

 

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

Amazing Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil is a supplement that can benefit both people and animals. Its properties have been known to be antibacterial, antiviral, anti fungal and it also has beneficial properties when used both topically and orally.

Coconut oil is pressed from fresh coconuts and should be cold-pressed, unrefined, unbleached and extra virgin. Meaning the product should not be tampered with, and is often best found in its natural form in Health food stores. The unique thing about the fat in coconut oil is the fact that it contains (MCT’s) Medium Chain Triglycerides, which the body can break down in the Liver to promote efficient burning of energy and is also considered a healthy source of fat. The great thing about MCT’s are they are easily burned energy and can often assist with weight-loss programs. Other health benefits of using Coconut Oil are: Healthy skin and coat, immune system support and when applied externally it’s healing and soothing.

A Few Benefits for Humans

– Reduces Cholesterol (as Lauric acid increases the good cholesterol to improve ratio levels)

– Improves Insulin use (and blood sugar levels)

– Can Improve Alzheimer’s disease

– Improves many skin disorders (fungal infections, eczema, acne, etc.)

– Kills many bacteria and Viruses

 

A Few Benefits for Animals

– Improves skin conditions such as eczema, flea allergies, dermatitis, and dry itchy skin

– Reduces Allergic Reactions

– Disinfects and promotes healing of wounds, hot spots, dry skin and bug bites

– Improves digestion and nutrient absorption

– Helps reduce weight and increases energy

– Aids in Arthritis

 

In Closing, Coconut Oil is an amazing supplement that can be used by both people and animals. It is delicious as a topper on popcorn, or for use in cooking (works great in stir-fry’s). Or when used to benefit your animals health, It is a great alternative to many new synthesized sources of nutrients. An added plus it tastes delicious, my dogs love it mixed in their dinner (they lick around the kibble or raw patties to get at it first).

 

Additional Resources

Coconut Oil.com

Coco Therapy

Dogs Naturally Magazine – Coconut Oil

Dr. Oz – Coconut Oil

Whole Dog Journal – Cancer Prevention (Coconut Oil)