Hydration is a crucial part of keeping your pet healthy, especially during these hot summer months. Hydrating your pet is so essential the US has declared the month of July National Pet Hydration Month. Did you know that your dog should drink 1 ounce of water per day for every pound of body weight? For large breed dogs that means a lot more water than the recommended 64 oz for humans every day.
Why do pets need more water than humans? It may come as a surprise, but dogs and cats are made up of 80% water, as opposed to the human 55-60%. This means it is 20-25% more likely for a pet to become dehydrated. How do I know if my dog/cat is drinking enough water? We understand it is not always easy to know exactly how much water intake your pet has had each day. Here are some important symptoms of dehydration to look out for.
- Loss of appetite
- Reduced energy levels
- Heavy panting
- Sunken eyes
- Dry mouth/gums
- Loss of skin elasticity
If your pet experiences any of these symptoms try to entice them with a fresh bowl of water. Whenever possible monitor your pet’s water intake. In addition to watching for these symptoms, performing the skin elasticity test is a great way to detect if your pet is experiencing dehydration. If the symptoms persist/worsen you will want to give your veterinarian a call as medical attention may be needed.
Tips to keep your pet hydrated
Providing fresh water for your pet daily may sound like a no-brainer, but there are a few tricks that will ensure your pet stays hydrated even through the hot and dry season.
- Keep water bowls clean
Your pet may not seem to mind day old water but a freshly clean bowl with fresh water is ALWAYS more enticing than a slimy, lukewarm dish. Cleaning your pet’s dish daily will also keep the harmful, biofilm at bay!
- Use more than one water dish
Increase opportunities for your pet to drink water by placing a few water dishes throughout your home as well as in several outdoor areas. This will help to up their water intake exponentially.
- Frozen Treats
Offer your pet frozen treats, such as ice cubes, frozen broth, or pet-healthy smoothies. These refreshing, fun treats keep your pet coming back for hydration again and again.
- Get a drinking fountain
While some dogs or cats may not mind standing water, others are far more interested in drinking from a bubbling fountain. Can you blame them? Drinking fountains often also filter the water which removes tastes and odors that may prevent your pet from drinking up.
- Add water to your pet’s food
This is an especially good idea for older pets. Start with a small amount of water until they feel comfortable with the change. You can safely add water to any type of pet food from kibble to canned food. It is a great way to up their hydration without them feeling like they are being forced to drink, drink, drink.
As always, our goal as pet parents is to have the happiest and healthiest pets possible. Knowing the signs of dehydration and tips for how to keep your pet hydrated will keep your fur baby living their best life all summer long. Just remember, every time you reach for a drink of water for yourself, think of your pet. Or, maybe keeping your pet hydrated will help you to stay hydrated too!
Click here to get a downloadable infographic reminder for Pet Hydration.
How are you keeping your pet hydrated this summer? Share your tips and tricks in the comments!
Just Around the Corner offers daily Dog Walking and Pet Sitting in Plymouth, MA. To learn more about how Just Around the Corner can help, check out our Services Page. You can also Contact Us for more information. Be sure to Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Instagram!
We know you have many, many options for dog walkers. Knowing what questions to ask and when to ask them is the key to finding the perfect Dog Walker. Detailed questions allow you to match your dog with a walker that meets your needs and gives you peace of mind. That’s really what hiring a Dog Walker is all about, right? Knowing your dog is in the most capable hands possible for their needs on every single walk.
TIME SAVER: Are you a busy bee and don’t have time to read this, probably why you need a walker in the first place? Skip the read and download our FREE Dog Walker Question Guide to get started on your search for the best Dog Walker for you, today!
Before reaching out to your potential Dog Walker
Even before picking up the phone to inquire there are a few things you should know. From pricing to scheduling almost no Walker/Dog Walking company operates exactly the same. Your perfect match is out there, you just need a good understanding of what your needs are. Before you call answer these questions for yourself:
- What is your budget?
- What type of services does your dog need? Maybe Fido isn’t a huge fan of other dogs and needs a short solo stroll with only the Dog Walker. Does Lilly have so much energy anything less than an hour long group hike won’t do the trick? Get specific.
- Are you looking to have the same Dog Walker every visit or would you prefer Shadow to have the flexibility of having backup Dog Walkers?
- How much flexibility do you need with your schedule? Do you anticipate needing to cancel last minute frequently with the way your schedule works? Would a cancellation fee be a deal breaker?
- Is your dog anxious around new people/other dogs?
- Has your dog ever been home alone when someone they don’t know comes into the house? How does that go?
Answering these questions will put you in a great place to start your search for your perfect Dog Walker.
Inquiring about Dog Walking
Before you commit to a meet and greet there are questions to ask that will let you know pretty immediately if a Dog Walker has the expertise and credentials that you prefer. It is important to have a solid idea of what your expectations are going into a phone inquiry. Every pet owner is different and staying in tune with what works for you and your dog will give you a clear understanding when/if someone isn’t a good fit.
- What services do you offer?
- What are your prices?
- How long have you been in business?
- How many Dog Walkers work with you? If you are solo, is this your full-time job?
- Are you local?
- What areas/regions do you cover?
- Do you have a Meet and Greet with all of your clients?
- Can you supply 3 references or online reviews?
Keep in mind that the answers to these questions are only right/wrong based on your preferences. Some people may prefer to see a 10 year history of being in the business and 3 pages of references. Other owners and dogs may be totally comfortable with a part-time college student looking to earn some extra cash. Different strokes for different folks. Again, knowing what is right for you and your dog is the most effective way to sort through a list of local Dog Walkers.
Meet and Greet with your new Dog Walker
The greatest benefit of a Meet and Greet is being able to see how your dog responds to the person coming into your home. The way your dog and the walker react to each other may tell you all you need to know. Once everyone has met and things are going smoothly these questions will take it to the next level.
- Are you Pet First Aid and Pet CPR certified?
- How do you ensure the safety of the dogs you walk and those around them?
- What would you do if a dog got off his/her leash?
- Where will my personal information be stored?
- What is the procedure in the event of an emergency with my dog?
- What is the key policy? Giving someone access to your home and your pet is a privilege and should not be taken lightly.
During a meet and greet you want to make sure the physical aspects of your dog with the Dog Walker are cohesive. If they are unable to harness/leash your dog without the dog running to hide or baring teeth you may need to consider a few “trial visits”. If you just didn’t get a good vibe keep looking. There can be any number of reasons your dog doesn’t mesh with this particular Dog Walker.
The Dog Walk
Hiring a dog walker means trusting another person with your precious fur baby. You deserve peace of mind while you are away, knowing that your pup is in the most capable hands possible. Ask specific questions regarding the walk itself. The questions below will give you a better understanding of how each visit should/will look day in and day out.
- Are you able to feed and water my dog during your visit?
- Where will you walk my dog?
- Will they be in a vehicle? If so, how do you ensure their safety?
- How do you handle unruly behavior among dogs?
- What would you do if my dog got off his/her leash?
- Do you provide daily updates of how my dog is doing and what they did on their walk?
- What supplies do you keep with you on the walk?
- How can I (the Dog Owner) contact you (the Dog Walker)?
Asking the right questions is the key to finding the perfect Dog Walker. Don’t miss a single one! We have compiled an exhaustive list of questions for you (BEYOND the ones listed above) all in one place! Get your FREE downloadable Dog Walker Question Guide today!
See something missing? Let us know! Comment below with any Questions you have found to be helpful when in your search of the perfect Dog Walker.
Just Around the Corner offers daily Dog Walking and Small Group Dog Hiking in
Plymouth, MA. To learn more about how Just Around the Corner can help, check out
our Services Page. You can also Contact Us for more information.
Do I really need a Dog Walker?
Hiring someone to come into your home to care for your precious fur baby isn’t a decision to take lightly. When you look at the benefits, you see that hiring a Dog Walker can increase the quality of both you and your pup’s life exponentially. Whether you’re looking to get Fido a little more fresh air, hoping to help Gracie shed a few pounds, or just wanting to increase the quality of Lucy’s daily life a Dog Walker can be a great option for you and your baby.
Here are some of the ways that having a Dog Walker in your pet’s life will help:
Exercise is a crucial component to any dog’s life no matter their age. Finding the right dog walker to give your pet the appropriate amount of physical movement for their breed, age, and energy level is important. Exercise improves the overall health of your dog which can increase their life span. Who doesn’t want their precious pup around as long as possible?!
Saves You Time
Are you a Busy Bee? Early mornings/late evenings? Never enough hours in the day? You want to give your dog a beautiful, long walk just for them everyday but simply don’t have time? A dog walker helps to ease the stress of one more thing on your to-do list. Enjoy having a happy, tuckered out, pup post-walk and the peace of mind that you provided something just for them that day without the stress of squeezing it in!
Improves Pet Behavior
A well-exercised pup is a well-behaved pup. Many times our dogs have energy that we can’t help them exert. That energy can manifest negatively in chewing on the furniture, barking at every squirrel that runs by the window, or giving the mailman a piece of their mind. Sound familiar? When our dogs are well-exercised they release those held energies through exertion and stimulation of their senses improving their overall behavior at home.
While you may not be a social butterfly and you think your pet isn’t either, socialization is a wonderful way to build their confidence. Meeting a new person and building trust with them as they walk will expand your pet’s “social circle” which ultimately lessens fears and apprehension they may be carrying. Likewise, group hiking/walks is an excellent way for them to socialize with other dogs. This can help to ease the alpha dog mentality they may have, making them a happier more well-rounded pup.
BONUS: Benefits of Exercise for your Dog
Whether you walk your dog yourself or you hire a dog-walker, good exercise is one of the most important gifts you can give to your dog. From their everyday health to their overall confidence, exercise is the best medicine you can give your dog for a happy, healthy lifestyle!
Top three benefits of exercise for your pup
- Positive overall health “If you don’t use it you lose it” is true for our pets, too. It may seem obvious to you, but you may be surprised by how many dog owners don’t actually walk their dogs on a daily basis. Exercise in dogs has been known to drastically reduce the risks of heart disease, nasty infections and even depression. Daily exercise keeps obesity at bay, stimulates over all healthy joints, and ultimately causes fewer visits to the vet. This means a fuller heart as a pet parent, and keeping a little money in your pocket isn’t a bad perk either!
- Improves behavioral problems such as excessive barking, licking, chewing, digging, and overall anxiety. Many pet owners may not realize that most often these behaviors occur out of boredom. Every walk stimulates your dog with thousands of new scents and sights, which actually makes them even more tired. In addition, the exertion of their energy makes them feel more fulfilled and ultimately calmer when back at home. This reduces their need to bark, dig, chew, scratch, etc. creating a more positive living environment for everyone involved.
- Builds Confidence Exercise outside of the home can help your pet trust their environment more. From scents to sights, the exposure that physical activity gives your pet builds confidence with every walk they take with you or your walker. If your dog does not receive exercise they will find a way to release their energy in destructive behaviors. By giving them a place to exert that energy they are able feel a sense of comfort and control, all thanks to you!
Still debating if hiring a dog-walker is for you?
Take our 5 question quiz to find out for sure!
Is Bailey dogging your every step? Do you notice Fluffy is more catty than normal?
Given the amount of time we have all been spending with our fur babies during the “Stay At Home” order, we can expect all our pets to experience Separation Anxiety.
While we wouldn’t trade a second of our time with them (right?), our transitioning back to lives outside of the home may be difficult for many of our four-legged family members. I know I feel anxious at times at the thought of this re-entry into the world. Can you imagine how they will feel? Will my cat be confused? Will my dog eat the entire armchair? Will our new kitty understand the abrupt shock of no more mommy all day every day? Will my pup be mad at me and think I’ve abandoned him? Will it just be too much for my older pet who isn’t in the best of health as it is??? UGH, such agonizing questions that I am sure we are all asking ourselves in one form or another. Never fear, below you will find a simple guide to answer these big questions.
What is separation anxiety?
Separation anxiety occurs most commonly when an animal is hyper-attached to their human and feels abandoned when they are separated from that human (e.g. when their human returns to work outside of the home). This can manifest in different ways for different pets, with some becoming more vocal or destructive, and others becoming more quiet. Some signs of separation anxiety include
- Vocalization: howling/whining
- Chewing furniture/ personal belongings
- Inappropriate urination (peeing outside the litter box or on owner’s clothes)
- Scratching at the door
- Refusing to eat
- Become quiet or withdrawn
Generally, these behaviors will start once you have begun your routine to leave the home, like picking up your keys or putting on your coat. For other pets, the behaviors will begin soon after you are gone and the realization hits that they are actually alone. Now, we know those sound like some daunting characteristics. Rest assured in most cases separation anxiety can be aided and even eliminated from the pet given the proper care.
5 Ways to eliminate Separation Anxiety in pets naturally
The following steps will help identify, ease, and treat separation anxiety in your pet to make the transition smoother for both you and your fur baby as you move into this new normal.
#5 Practice your “exit routine” without the exit
How many times have you gone to put your shoes on to leave the house and one of them has magically disappeared? That is because our pets KNOW what it means when we put our shoes on. Try doing the final few steps of your exit routine without actually exiting. Put on your shoes, grab your keys, wallet/handbag, and then stay home. Instead of leaving, give your pet extra loving, maybe a treat, belly rubs and reassurance. When you do this, your pet will start to disassociate those “exit actions” with you actually leaving the house. Do this several times a day as you lead up to the real exit date. If you have already begun working outside of the home you can still practice this technique during periods of being home such as evenings, weekends, etc.
#4 Good Old Entertainment
Think about it, we would be a little anxious listening to ourselves breathe all day while missing our favorite person. Give your fur baby some light entertainment while you are away. Whether it’s the radio, the TV, or even an audio book, leaving something on with a human voice will make them feel like someone is there with them. This is a simple way to really comfort your pet and give you some peace of mind knowing there is something to keep them company while you are away.
#3 Stay Calm.
Yes, simply stay calm. Humans emit pheromones that our pets can smell. These hormone-like chemicals tell our pets when we feel nervous, fearful, or anxious. Our anticipation of knowing our pets will be anxious when we leave can cause us to emit those chemicals adding to their separation anxiety. If you can’t help but feel worried about leaving them, pop a mint or piece of gum into your mouth to throw them off your scent.
#2 Pawsitive association
Who doesn’t love a new toy or that special reward when we do something grand? Pawsitive association works for our sweet kitties and slobbery pups too! Try purchasing a new toy that you only bring out when you leave. This will give them something positive to enjoy while knowing you are leaving. Is the way to your pet’s heart through their stomach? Have a special snack, like tuna juice for those kitties or the ol’ frozen peanut butter Kong trick for the pups. This will keep them busy as you head out the door and leave them with the fondest of memories of you as they snack away!
#1 Exercise and interaction with other humans.
Exercise and interaction are a fantastic way to build up your pet’s confidence and ultimately relieve much of their anxiety. Spending designated time walking your dog or playing with your cat before you leave will also tire them out, and a tired pet is a calm pet.
If you have been home around the clock over these last several weeks with little interruption in the time you spend with your pet chances are both you and your pet will feel a void when the time comes to part ways. Hiring a midday dog walker or cat sitter is a great way to make sure the transition is smooth for both of you. A dog walker will make sure your pup gets fresh air and great exercise to prepare them for the second half of their day while waiting for mom/dad to arrive home. A cat sitter can come by during the day for some playtime and a treat or two. Having “outsiders” come into the home will help your pet become more adaptable. This ultimately places less hyper-attachment on you giving you a happier, healthier, less anxious relationship.
If you are concerned with cross contamination when considering hiring a dog walker/cat sitter check out https://justaroundthecornerpetsit.com/dog-walking-pet-care-the-new-normal/ to learn all about the safety guidelines Just Around the Corner Pet Sitting and Dog Walking is implementing to keep our clients, their fur babies and our employees safe during these unique times. Together we can ease our pet’s anxiety.
Have experience with an anxious pet? Let us know how you helped them overcome Separation Anxiety in the comments below.
What a winter we had, especially the month of March. And of course, April was not typical spring temperatures either. In fact, it was downright cold for most of the month.
Finally, we are in the heart of spring, with summer not too long away. We are all so happy to get out of the house and take our pups on some nice, long hikes. As much as we are excited to finally shed the winter clothes and enjoy the outdoors, we now have outdoor troubles to worry about. By that I mean: the dreaded ticks. Not a topic most of us want to think about.
Here is some helpful information for you:
Where are the common places dogs pick up ticks?
Dogs typically get ticks from walking through high grass, shrubs and wooded areas. Ticks will typically hang out at about 18-24 inches off the ground waiting for the next warm body to brush by. Did you know that ticks can live well over a year without feeding? They will lie and wait and wait and wait until an animal/human walks by the plant material that they are hanging onto, and from there climb onto their food source.
What do ticks do once they find your pup?
Ticks are NOT jumpers. Once a tick finds a host it typically starts from the bottom – feet and legs — and crawls upward. They usually land around the head, neck and ears where the skin is thinner. That is where they will bite, latch on, and hang on for days.
Once the tick bites its host, it can take around 24 hours for the germs, infections and viruses to make their way into the tick’s salivary glands to be released into the host. This is why it is so important to do a daily tick check.
How can I avoid having my pet pick up a tick while we are out?
Your pet is less likely to pick up a tick when they are walking with you on a path. When you can, avoid off-leash hiking in areas where there is high grass, dense undergrowth. Those areas encourage dogs to sniff and investigate their surroundings, and they can easily pick up a tick waiting at the top of the grass or brush for them to pass by.
What is the best way to remove a tick:
IT IS ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL to remove ticks properly.
It is best to go right to your vet to remove ticks unless you have a lot of experience removing ticks and are confident in disposing of them safely. Making an incorrect or unsuccessful attempt can cause more problems than if you left the tick alone until you can get your pet to the vet to have it removed properly. For example, you could easily break off the tick’s head, leaving it behind embedded in your pet’s skin.
If you feel you must remove the tick yourself as you are unable to get to a vet, pointy tweezers should be your weapon of choice. Using pointed tweezers, grasp the head of the tick as close to the skin as possible, and pull upward quickly. It’s important to squeeze the tick by its head only to avoid the risk of pushing the infected saliva into the bite wound.
3 common tick diseases in New England and possible symptoms:
Humans will most likely get a “Bulls eye” rash, but dogs are different and will not display a rash. Look for: random, sudden onset leg lameness and leg shifting that lasts more than a day, loss of appetite, depression, tiredness and reluctance to move.
Watch for loss of appetite, lethargy, lameness, reluctance to move, neck pain, neurological signs, bruising of gums and belly and nose bleeds.
Keep an eye out for depression, lack of energy, loss of appetite, discharge in the eyes and nose, nose bleeds, bruising on the gums and belly, lameness and joint pain.
These are just a few possible symptoms. The best rule of thumb: know your pet. Watch for any changes in them physically or emotionally. Remember, you are your pets’ best advocate. You know when they are not feeling well. They are not able to tell us what is happening. If you see any changes be sure to take them to your veterinarian.
WITH TICK BITES, PREVENTION IS KEY:
- Always do a complete body check for yourself and your dog after you have been out with your dog on a walk or hike. This is especially Important if you walk in areas known for high tick population.
- Take preventative measures to keep your pet from being exposed to ticks. These measures include topical applications (lotions, cremes), tick collars and even some oral medications.
- Consult with your veterinarian to find the optimum choice for your dog.
Being educated about ticks and following some simple rules will allow you to enjoy your walks with your pups…. Here’s to nice weather! Hope to see you and your pups on the Trailside!!
Do you have a favorite Tick Prevention idea? Post below!
You may have heard or read on social media last year that we sadly lost Bentley, a five-month-old member of our Just Around the Corner family, after he ate a toxic mushroom in his parents’ yard. This is a very difficult posting, but we want to let people know how dangerous mushrooms in your yard can be. There are just no words to express how deeply sad we are and how we wish we could make his mom and dad feel better.
Bentley was playing in his yard, as all puppies do. Everything in the mouth!!!!! He grabbed a mushroom in the yard and swallowed it before his dad could get it away. By the next day, he became very ill. He spent over a week in ICU at CCVS and, sadly, passed away soon after…
PLEASE…PLEASE…PLEASE always check your yard for mushrooms and remove them before letting your babies out. We send our deepest thoughts and prayers to Bentley’s mom and dad.
Despite the nearly year-round (except wintertime) occurrence of mushroom poisoning in most of North America, it is probably underestimated, so it’s wise for all of us to be vigilant. Don’t let yet another tragedy happen to you. “When in doubt, pull it out!”
We had an overwhelming response to this posting on Facebook, and requests for more information. Therefore, we have done our research, and the result is the following blog post:
Types of toxic mushrooms and symptoms of mushroom poisoning
Clinical signs of poisoning depend on the species of mushroom, the type of toxin in the mushroom, and the pet’s susceptibility.
Amanita, the most dangerous type, is attractive to dogs, particularly A. phalloides (death cap or death angel), A. muscaria (fly agaric), and A. pantherina (panther cap), probably because of the fishy odor. The ingestion of A. phalloides and other genera, including Galerina and Lepiota (false parasol), results in a series of phases: gastroenteritis, false recovery, and liver failure. Muscimol and ibotenic acid, the psychoactive toxins in toadstools (A. muscaria and A. pantherina), cause visual distortion and extreme sedation, among many signs.
Inocybe and Clitocybe produce muscarinic effects known as SLUD—salivation, lacrimation (excessive tear production), urination, and diarrhea.
Gyromitra spp. (false morels) generally cause vomiting and diarrhea. Most cases are mild, but seizures have been reported on rare occasions.
Hallucinogenic mushrooms such as Psilocybe (magic mushrooms, blue legs, or liberty caps), Panaeolus, Copelandia, Gymnopilus, Pluteus, and Conocybe cause disorientation, visual hallucinations, imaginary biting, hypertension, hyperthermia, seizures, and tremors, to name a few.
ASPCA provides more detailed information on the types of toxic mushrooms, mechanisms of toxicity, and treatment methods.
How to prevent mushroom poisoning
Keep an eye on your pets while taking them on a walk. Steer clear of areas where mushrooms grow.
Don’t take chances. Check your yard for mushrooms and remove them. It is difficult or even near impossible, even for mycologists (fungus experts), to distinguish toxic mushrooms from the nontoxic varieties. Adding to the complexity are the varying colors, shapes, and levels of toxicity in many species.
What to do after mushroom consumption
Although 99 percent of mushrooms are low-toxin or nontoxic, always assume that all mushrooms are potentially dangerous. Collect a sample of the mushroom, vomitus, or feces to bring with you to the animal clinic. Use a paper towel, waxed paper, or a paper bag for the mushroom. Do not use plastic material. Refrigerate the sample until you are ready to have it examined.
Take your pet to the vet for decontamination, in which vomiting is induced to remove the mushroom. In cases of actual poisoning, activated charcoal is administered to flush remaining toxins, followed by supportive care.
Contact the North American Mycological Association (NAMA) to identify and document the suspected mushroom. NAMA has a directory of identifiers across North America. There is also a listing for identifiers in Massachusetts.
Do you have an experience with a pet and mushrooms? Post your story below.