Thursday, July 31, 2014

Dog Boarding

At Home Dog Boarding is a new service we are offering! 

Here is what we offer:

  • Your dog will be boarded at the home of one of our pet sitters where he or she will enjoy all the comforts of being in a home environment. 
  • Reservations are limited to one dog or one family of dogs. 
  • No other dogs will be present in the pet sitter's home except yours! 
  • Your dog will receive exclusive care and attention.
  • A fenced yard will allow your dog outdoor time to play and go potty.

Our requirements:

  • Dogs must be fully house broken.
    Puppies just can't help it! 
  • Only crate trained dogs will be accepted. Dogs will be crated when the pet sitter has to run errands to protect the dog and the pet sitter's home. Aside from an occasional errand the pet sitter will be home with your dog.
  • Dogs must be well behaved (no excessive barking, no chewing on furniture, no aggressive or fearful dogs)
  • No puppies. We love them but they sure do get into a lot of trouble!
  • No escape artists! If your dog jumps, climbs or digs under the fence we will not be able to board him.
  • Dogs must be in good health and current on vaccinations. Leaving home can be stressful for a dog and can aggravate a pre-existing health condition. We recommend having a pet sitter visit your dog at your home to alleviate any potential stress and subsequent complications if your dog has a medical condition.
  • Dogs must be microchipped.

Please bring:

Leash and collar

Proof of vaccination
Food and water bowls
A few favorite toys
A favorite bed or blanket

If you want to board your dog in a home environment please contact us to make reservations.


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Client Scheduling Guideline

Our clients enjoy the power and freedom of managing their schedules in their online accounts. Here are guidelines for using the scheduling system and tips and tricks for getting the most out of your online account.

Let's get started! Here is what you will see when you log in to your account. 

  • Click on Request Visits.

We highly recommend watching the short video on requesting services which will take you through the 3 easy steps. In the above screen shot we are scheduling for Labor Day Weekend and the first and last dates of service have been selected.

  • Our next step is to select the service type on the first day.

Services explained: 

  • Basic Visit is 25 minutes. This is full service with meals, play time and potty breaks included.
  • Extended Visit is 45 minutes
  • Kitty Stop to clean litter boxes, feed, fresh water.
  • Overnight is typically 7pm-7am. Our sitter will stay in your home for a 12 hour period. Breakfast and Dinner will be fed.
  • Potty Break is 20 minutes. Choose this if your dog just needs to get out to go potty and a meal is not required.
  • Dog Boarding is 24 hours a day (dogs must be pre-screened)
  • Dog Park is a one hour trip to the dog park to let your dog burn off a lot of energy! (dogs must be pre-screened)
  • Dog Walk is 30 minutes
  • Pet Taxi - choose where we will pick the dog up (at home or at the appointment)
  • Weekly and Biweekly Pet Waste Removal service. You determine how often we come but if you have more than one dog we ask that you schedule weekly service.
  • Home & Garden - No pets? No Problem! We'll come over to check your home, bring in packages, water plants and more!

  • Next we choose the time of service.

Our hours of service are 7am to 9pm seven days a week and all holidays. If your pet has special needs and requires visits outside these hours please call to have us schedule a specific time. Visits outside our service hours have a $2.00 surcharge which is passed on to the pet sitter. All major holiday visits have a $3-$5 surcharge added.

Simply hover over the time of day to see the hours covered. In this screen shot the Morning time frame is displayed as 7am - 9am. This means we will come during those hours and we will stay for a 20 to 45 minute block of time based on your selected service type, above.

Dogs who need to go outside to potty and pets on time sensitive medication are visited first.

Mornings are the busiest time frame. We ask that if your pet doesn't need breakfast or let out in the morning you choose Midday so we can visit when convenient to our travels. This is handy for cats and outdoor dogs who are on one visit daily.

  • Select the pets we will be visiting

All Pets is the default selection and you can leave it at that unless only certain pets will be home.

Let's say one of your pets will be staying with your neighbor to play with their dogs. Select the pets that will be staying home.

Or maybe you are taking a dog to the dog show and the others are staying home.

Please let us know which pets we will be watching if it isn't everyone. That way we won't be frantically searching for your missing baby! This will cause us great stress as we try to reach you to tell you we can't find Jake who is peacefully snoozing in the hotel with you.

  • Now you are Done OR you can add another service for this date.

If you only need one visit on this date click Done

If you need another visit or service click Add a Service. This can be to add an afternoon potty break, a dinner pet sitting visit and/or a bed time potty break. You may even want a trip to the groomer added on a special day.

If your indoor dog doesn't have a doggy door please choose at least 3 visits each day so he or she can go potty. The first and last days typically need fewer visits.

  • Don't forget to add a note before clicking Done to tell us anything that isn't covered in your account under the Pets, Home and Custom fields. 

  • Now we are going to save time by copying our saved service to the future dates.

You can copy each service to All Days. If you don't need one or more of the services on the last day just delete it.

  • Now we are ready to review!

This page will show you all the visits you have scheduled.

Notice I deleted the evening visit on the last day after copying it to all future days

You can make any changes until it is just the way you want it.

When you have everything set the way you want, click NEXT

Your schedule will appear on a calendar.

This big warning window is going to appear to let you know you must submit your schedule

The big yellow warning line tells you that your schedule has not yet been submitted

If everything looks good click the Submit button next to Step 3

Your schedule will go to an administrator to assign your visits. Allow one business day for the schedule to be processed. You'll get a schedule confirmation invoice from us when your schedule has been accepted. Electronic payment (Credit Card or PayPal) is due a day or two in advance or by personal check on the first visit.

When you log back into your account later or the next day you will see your schedule on your Home page. You may need to adjust the date range to include your service dates if you've scheduled well in advance.

While you are logged in please click on your Profile tab to update your Home and Pet sections to make sure we have the most up to date information. More is better!

That's it! 

Your schedule will appear on the pet sitter's cell phone app. As they visit your pets they will mark their visits complete and leave daily notes for you by text, email or even in your appointment. You can check your online account at any time to see your completed visits.

Rest assured that your pets are receiving the best care in the comfort of home while you are traveling.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Bee Stings

Bee Stings

I was letting two Dachshund puppies out for their daily potty and play time break on a beautiful summer morning when inspiration for a pet care article struck. While waiting for them to go potty I noticed bees swarming around the swamp cooler. One of the puppies also noticed and went over to investigate. Dachshunds, and many other breeds, are fearless and inquisitive little soldiers! The bees reacted to his presence at their water source and began buzzing around his head. The puppy found this activity to be very curious and was ready to do battle - how dare these little flying creatures defy me!

I quickly called the puppies away from the area before any harm was done and notified the client about the bee problem along with recommendations to resolve the issue.

Here in Southern Arizona africanized honey bees are on the rise and behave more aggressively than typical honey bees. You should be vigilant about protecting your pets from them. Here are a few tips to follow.

Eliminate water sources. Bees are attracted to water and can become aggressive around it.
Fish ponds, water bowls, bird baths, swamp coolers, livestock troughs and leaky faucets will all attract bees. Check your yard for water sources and take preventative measures so the bees can't get to them or move them away from your pet's yard.

Manage food sources. Hummingbird feeders should be bee-proof and placed outside pet areas. Flowering shrubs and ground cover plants should not be planted in an area where your pets play.

You may notice bees "bumping" into you or your dog. This behavior is a warning - the bees want you to move away from the beehive, food source or water they are protecting.

Nest Prevention. Bees (and snakes!) will be attracted to dense, brushy areas and piles of debris. Keep your pet's yard well trimmed and free from clutter such as empty flower pots, rock piles and other debris.

What to do if your pet is stung. If your dog is stung by a bee watch for signs of an allergic reaction which include difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing (most of the time they are stung in the face and mouth) and excessive swelling. Seek immediate veterinary attention.

Home Remedies. Normally bee stings do not cause an allergic reaction and simple home remedies can help your pet be more comfortable. If you can see the stinger you can remove it by scraping it with your fingernail, a credit card or similar object. Avoid squeezing the stinger, as with tweezers, as this will cause more venom to be discharged. You can make a thick paste with baking soda and water and apply this to stings to draw out the venom (for obvious reasons this is not recommended for stings inside the mouth!). Applying ice packs wrapped in a thin towel will help reduce pain and swelling; be careful to not cause discomfort by applying and removing the ice pack in 5 to 10 minute intervals. 

Creature Comforts Pet Sitting Service serves pets in the Sierra Vista, Fort Huachuca and Hereford area. We offer pet sitting, dog walking, dog biking, pet waste removal and pet taxi services.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Why do Dogs Jump the Fence

Why does your dog jump the fence?

Imagine spending a month in your house and back yard. Never leaving to see what is out there on the other side of your walls. A shocking number of dogs are forced to live their lives under this confinement.

Dogs are, by nature, compelled to travel; to explore territory, to hunt and to mate. When high energy dogs are confined their frustration level will eventually reach a point where they must escape or become destructive. Barking, digging, chewing (on anything they can find in your house/yard or even on themselves), and aggression are escalating signs of destructive behavior.

Preventing your high energy dog from getting to the point of jumping over the fence (or digging under it) demands exercise and leadership. Your dog needs to be challenged; physically and mentally. She needs a calm and assertive human pack leader who will provide for these needs. The best way to provide physical and mental stimulation is to take your dog for a walk, a bike run or rollerblading for at least one hour each day. An alternative (when you can’t go outside) is treadmill time. Your male dog needs to be neutered to overcome the strong urge to go in search of a mate (female dogs should, of course, also be spayed). 

Lower energy dogs also feel the stress of confinement. They may not get to the Houdini point but they may develop neurotic behaviors that let you know they are stressed. Signs would include spinning in circles, urinating/defecating indoors, becoming territorial over food/toys/furniture, chewing on themselves/excessive licking and changes in dietary habits. A lower energy dog may not be thrilled with the idea of sprinting alongside your bike but she will most definitely benefit by the challenge of a daily walk for 45 to 60 minutes.

What if you have a dog who is already jumping the fence? Here are some suggestions. 

·      Install a radio boundary system. This is a wire that goes along your fence line that transmits a series of beeps followed by progressively stronger shocks as your dog approaches the fence. Some dogs will charge through this field to freedom but this has a higher success rate when applied with a fence rather than as the sole barrier. Try installing the wire a few feet in front of the fence to increase the field size.
·         If your dog always jumps at one point put a scat-mat there. This is a battery powered mat, similar to one you would use under your office chair, which shocks when stepped on. This will work in that location (usually a gate) but your dog may simply move his preferred jump spot.
·      You can build a higher fence (boy is this going to be expensive!) One client just added on to her block fence to make it 8 feet tall only to discover her dog was athletic enough to get over it, yikes!
·     Install a strand of wire just in front of the top of the fence and put PVC pipe over the wire. The dog is not able to get a foothold at the top of the fence as the PVC pipe rolls on the wire. 
·   There are No-Jump harnesses that go around your dog’s rear legs and across the chest to the collar; preventing the dog from being able to lift the front legs off the ground well enough to jump. It does not impede any other physical activity. If your dog doesn’t destroy it this is pretty successful and, at $15.00, is also the least expensive solution.
·       For dogs who are serious escape artists a chain link kennel in the yard with a secure roof and door on a cement foundation may be your only option. This is not an ideal full-time solution as it further confines an already stressed dog but would be acceptable if your dog is getting 60-minute daily walks and is only kept in it for short periods of time.
·     NEVER chain your dog. One or more of the above solutions should work. Chaining a dog is not a humane solution and can lead to injury. Chained dogs can easily become aggressive dogs.

These suggestions should be combined with a daily exercise program for your dog’s mental health and best success. Hopefully, having considered all of the above solutions and the difficulty involved in correcting this problem, you have become inspired to walk your high-energy dog before he discovers the joy of jumping the fence.

Creature Comforts Pet Sitting Service offers dog walking and biking sessions as often as needed. We will also come to give you and your dog treadmill training sessions.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Cat Exercise Wheel

Does your cat go dashing around the house, vaulting over furniture, skidding on the tile floors and using your area rugs as traction control devices in his quest to burn off pent up energy?

Our feline friends are in luck! Wheels are no longer just for hamsters. Your high energy cat can now have his own exercise wheel.  The music stops at 30 seconds and the narrative begins. It's pretty interesting!


Friday, July 18, 2014

Diabetic Cats

Diabetes is fairly common in obese cats, particularly as they age. Cats are, by nature, meat eaters. It can be difficult for some cats to process a high carbohydrate dry food diet which can cause blood sugar to rise, leading to obesity. This can cause the body to be less sensitive to insulin and the cat can become diabetic.

If your kitty is becoming a bit chubby talk to your vet about diabetes risk and consider switching to a canned food diet which is high in protein and low in carbohydrates.

If your cat is diabetic and insulin dependent he or she can still lead a long and happy life (you will want to get their weight down to a healthy range). But what if you want to travel?

Cats, as a rule, don't like to be boarded. They become very stressed being confined in a strange environment surrounded by other cats, barking dogs and chaos. They are much happier in their home where they reign supreme.

You can leave your diabetic cat at home when hiring our professional team of pet sitters. We are experienced in administering insulin and we have many happy clients with diabetic cats. We will be on time every 12 hours to ensure your cat receives the insulin injection on schedule.

Here is Tiger, one of our diabetic clients. Tiger is on the shy side and we were concerned that he would hide and not come out from under a bed or remain hidden deep inside a closet where shy cats can become invisible! Fortunately, Tiger is also a hungry kitty and the sound of the can being opened and his food being prepared won him over. After just a few visits he was waiting for us and we became friends. 


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Jenny and Lilly

Jenny, the Shih Tzu and Lilly, the Bichon Frise, are two new clients. They were a little unsure on the first visit. They were so relieved to learn I was not a burglar that they were going to have to fend off!

We lounged on the bed where we became best friends by the end of the visit. By the time we got to the final visit they were running with glee and had quite the wild party on the bed in their joy to see me. 

Mom and dad enjoyed the pictures and videos of their adorable girls.

This picture was taken mid-play, you can see the spunk in Lilly's eyes as she is about to pounce on Jenny.

Your pets will also be happy at home while you travel! Give us a call today to set up your customized pet sitting appointments.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Sprinkler Monsters

Sprinkler Monsters 

Taxi and Dinah are two of our daily walkers. While mom is at work we go out for a potty break near mid-day. We have a great time walking down shady sidewalks to the community park where they get to enjoy walking through the wet grass.

Sometimes our timing meets up with the Sprinkler Monsters! Poor Dinah was minding her own business smelling very interesting things in the grass yesterday when quite suddenly the sprinkler monster heads popped out of the ground and blasted her from all directions!

Today she narrowly escaped the same experience...


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Fourth of July Pet Safety

Four ways to keep your pets safe this Fourth of July

More pets are lost on the 4th of July than on any other day of the year. The animal shelters are filled to capacity with those who are lucky enough to be found and captured. Sadly, most lost pets are never found. Here are six ways to keep your beloved pets safe during the celebrations.

1) Don't take your pet to the Fireworks celebration. It is not exciting for them and they are not impressed by the loud booms, chaotic crowds, smoke and explosive lights in the sky. Most dogs will be terrified by the experience. Others will be highly stressed; you will notice them trembling, panting and drooling.

2) Keep your pets indoors in an escape proof room or crate. Even if your pet is normally kept outdoors it is wise to bring him inside. Keep the windows and blinds closed in the room where your pets will be to reduce their chance of escape and to cut down on the noise and flashes of the fireworks your neighbors may be enjoying. Leave a soft light and the radio or TV on for comfort.

3) Have your pet microchipped. In the event your pet does escape and is found, any animal shelter or veterinarian's office will be able to scan her and contact you. If your pet is already microchipped, be sure to update your information with your current address and contact phone numbers.

4) Use a GPS tracking collar. If your pet becomes lost a GPS tracking collar can help you find him by launching an app on your smart phone. This is often the only way to locate your missing pet as they run as far from the chaos as they can and become lost in the desert or city.

When all of the festivities are over take your pet outside for a supervised potty break. They may be in a stressed state and should not be left unattended outdoors until the next day.