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How to Keep Your Pet Hydrated

How to Keep Your Pet Hydrated

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
  • Lethargy
  • 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.

Pine Hills cat with kitty water fountain

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.

  1. 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!

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

Tongue out golden dog with water bottle drinking

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!

5 Ways to Keep your Dog Calm During Fireworks

5 Ways to Keep your Dog Calm During Fireworks

Fireworks are often a terrifying experience for our pets, especially dogs. Did you know that July 5th is usually the busiest day of the year for Animal Shelters? So many pets get lost trying to get away from the incredible BOOMS of Fireworks. Summer Fireworks are inevitable, especially here in America’s Hometown, but there are several ways to keep your dog calm during this stressful time. These 5 ways to keep your dog calm during fireworks will allow your pet to enjoy summer calmly from the comfort and safety of their own home.

sad dog plymouth

1. Provide a safe space for your dog

Creating a space where your pup can go to feel safe and protected during a scary time (e.g Fireworks or severe storms) will ease their anxiety. A crate is a great place to start. Include a bed, add their favorite blanket, give them a few toys for comfort and their cozy den will feel like a safe house when things get spooky.  Setting up an intentional space for them to feel safe is key so they have more options than just hiding under your bed.

2. Desensitize your pet to Fireworks

Playing videos/recordings of Fireworks at home in short spurts can help your pet to become more comfortable with the “real thing”. Using a video like this one here (YouTube Fireworks Video) is a great place to start. Don’t overdo it, however. If after a couple of these sessions your dog’s reaction has not eased you may want to switch gears and focus on playing music or watching TV during the outdoor festivities. Shutting the curtains can help muffle the sound as well as hide the visual component.

plymouth dog walker with two small dogs

3. Exercise!

Never underestimate the power of EXERCISE!  Taking your dog for a nice long walk in the morning, a Fireworks-free time, will help to ease their anxiety in the evening. As the saying goes “A tired pup is a happy pup”. Having been properly exercised that day they are more likely to sleep or feel relaxed during stressful times. Be sure to take proper care when exercising your dog during the summer months. We recommend walking your dog during morning hours when the temperatures are cooler, and the ground is not hot/harmful to their paws.

plymouth dog on dog walker lap

4. Be home with your dog during Firework times

This option is not for everyone, but if possible stay home with your pet during prime Fireworks hours. Your presence will provide the best possible comfort to your four-legged baby. Being home allows you to problem solve, distract, and pivot as needed. When you are home you can adjust the TV volume and put on or take off their Thundershirt, as needed. The Thundershirt is another great tool to keep dogs calm during stressful times. Give them delicious treats to keep their mind off their anxiety or distract them by playing with them. Overall, they will be happier and less stressed knowing you are with them.

If you cannot be home, you may want to purchase a Dogness Smart Camera with treat dispenser. This will allow you to keep a close eye on your pet and provide a delicious distraction for them until they are safe in your arms again.

5. Talk with your vet

If you implement the above tips and your pet is still riddled with anxiety reach out to your veterinarian. There are many calming agent options a vet can recommend for your pet. This includes anything from all-natural CBD oils to calming chews as well as over-the-counter and prescription medications. Your Vet will be able to guide you in the best direction for your pet given their history and current state.

 

As pet parents, our best intention is to keep our fur babies safe. Fireworks, and our pets’ reactions to them, can be unpredictable. Pets escape from homes despite our best efforts. Make sure your pet comes home safely by keeping their ID tags up to date. Be sure to include your pets’ name, a working phone number, and your current street address.

Share this FREE infographic to spread the work and keep pets safe this 4th of July!

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.

Key Questions to Ask a Dog Walker

Key Questions to Ask a Dog Walker

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.

cute small dogs on leash in Plymouth

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.

Big white dogs Plymouth MA on dock

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.

 

Simple Guide to Adopting a Cat

Simple Guide to Adopting a Cat

Considering adopting a cat? There are many things to consider before bringing a furry feline into your home. Making it a smooth transition for the cat from the shelter to your home will set the tone for your future life together. This guide breaks down exactly what to consider before adopting. Already know adopting is definitely for you? Look no further, here we share the best ways to integrate a cat into your home!

Before you adopt

Evaluate your lifestyle

Before adopting a cat consider your lifestyle. Of course a precious fluffy kitty seems idyllic, but you must be honest with yourself to be sure you are ready for a lifetime commitment to a cat. What does it mean to evaluate my lifestyle you ask?  Start with asking yourself these simple questions.

  • Do I spend a lot of time away?
  • Do I have other pets? If so, do they get along with other animals?
  • Are there children in the home?
  • Does anyone in the home have cat allergies?
  • Am I able to take on the financial impact of owning a cat?

Answering these questions honestly will let you know if you are ready to move on to the next step!

Understand the commitment you are making

Adoption is for life.  It is crucial to understand that in making the choice to adopt a cat into your home has a furrever impact on the cat.  Being shuffled back and forth between homes and shelters is extremely taxing on an animal. Pets feel stress the same way humans do and being moved around multiple times leaves a lasting impact on an animal. Always remember Adoption is for Life.

Do your research

Research the shelter you are adopting from.  While most town/city shelters are reputable it doesn’t hurt to do a quick Google search for reviews and other information such as background and mission when it comes to pet adoptions. The more you know, the better equipped you will be when making this life changing decision. We suggest Adoption of a shelter cat rather than purchasing a cat from a breeder because every year over a million cats end up in shelters in need of a loving forever home. Be part of the solution.

Know the best fit for you

Know the type of personality you are looking for in a cat.  If you work long hours adopting a more independent cat might be the way to go.  Are you the laid back snuggling type?  Consider a cat who will be easy going and enjoys affection. Cats have personalities just like people! Decide what characteristics will be the best fit for your life and find the cat that suits you.  This will ensure a long lasting and enjoyable relationship for everyone.

Bringing your cat home

Choose a Vet

Plan ahead by choosing a vet that you know and trust. If you have never owned a cat ask your cat owning friends who they use. It is a good idea to get multiple recommendations and compare. Of course you can always do a good ol’ Google search and research Veterinarians in your area, read reviews, and make an educated decision on where to take your fur baby. Once you get the health records from your shelter it is a good idea to book your cat’s first check up ahead of time.  Many vets are extremely busy these days and it will be one less thing to think about after you bring your kitty home.

Cat Proof your home

Cats are curious, agile and smart so get ready! Become aware of the things that can pose as a potential danger to your cat. It may take a little bit to get used to but once you are aware of the items to keep an eye out for it will become habitual. Some things to look out for:

  • human food left out on the counter
  • small choke hazard items such as paper clips or tacks
  • electrical cords they may be playing with or chewing on.

Keep a close eye out for what they are playing with in the first month and arrange items in your home accordingly.

Stock up on supplies

You might be surprised by how many items your cat will need to feel comfortable and confident in their new home. Stock up on essentials such as food and litter, as well as treats, toys, and grooming items.  Download our  “Cat Supply Checklist” for a full list of items you will need as a new cat mom or dad.

Give love, patience and space

Last but certainly not least, LOVE, PATIENCE, and SPACE are three keystones for a happy, healthy, cat/cat owner life. Your cat may take several weeks to fully adjust to their new environment.  Exercising patience as they learn the “house rules” e.g using the litter box, not jumping on the counter, not chewing your shoes, will encourage them to behave appropriately. They may also need “alone time” in a designated space such as their sleeping quarters. It is important to allow them time to explore independently in their new home as it will build their confidence in their new environment and in you as their pet parent. Always remember Love, Patience, & Space.

Adopting a cat is a beautiful thing! Using this simple guide will ensure you and your new fur baby will have a long, happy, well-adjusted life together.

HAPPY ADOPTING!

Have a cat adoption story?  We would love to hear it!  Share with us in the comments.

 

How to Ease Your Pet’s Separation Anxiety

How to Ease Your Pet’s Separation Anxiety

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
  • Shaking/Shivering
  • 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.

 

Beware of Mushroom Poisoning in Pets

Beware of Mushroom Poisoning in Pets

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.

References
https://www.dogchannel.com/dog-health/mushrooms-poisonous-to-dogs.aspx
https://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2015/06/20/mushroom-poisoning.aspx
https://www.namyco.org/mushroom_poisoning_identifiers.php
https://www.namyco.org/mushroom_poisonings_in_dogs_an.php
https://www.petfinder.com/dogs/dog-health/pets-poisonous-mushrooms/
https://www.pethealthnetwork.com/dog-health/dog-toxins-poisons/dogs-and-mushrooms
https://www.petmd.com/dog/slideshows/6-poisonous-mushrooms-are-toxic-dogs