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Things to Consider Before You Get A Pet This Christmas

Cute pets wearing Santa Hats

Should You Really Get Pet This Christmas?

It seems perfect, right? The family has been talking about getting a pet why not surprise them? The kids need more responsibility, a pet would be the perfect way to give them that. But it’s not always perfect. Here are some things to consider before you get a pet this Christmas.

#1. Does Everyone Want A Pet?

Before you set out to get a pet you might want to make sure everyone is on board with the idea. Everyone should also agree on what kind of pet your family might want. While you are thinking of a cute little kitten, your family is thinking more along the lines of a Golden Retriever.

#2.  Aren’t you Already Busy?

Christmas is a very busy time of year for everyone. There is shopping to do, presents to wrap, parties to attend, and family to entertain. And what about after the holidays? There is work, school events, afterschool programs, and so much more. Puppies and kittens require a lot of work! Are you going to able to add that to your schedule? Puppies need training, playtime and frequent potty breaks. Kittens need playtime too, as well as training (yes, I said training). Routine is important for any animal, so make sure you can keep your pet on a regular schedule before you get a pet this Christmas.

#3. Holiday Visitors

Christmas is a particularly hectic time with family and friends dropping by to celebrate and exchange gifts. Your doors will continually be opening and closing. This is the perfect opportunity for your new puppy or kitten to get lost in the shuffle of Christmas celebrations.

#4. Cost

Those cute little furry kittens and puppies can cost a lot of money, so make sure you take all costs into consideration before adding a puppy or kitten to your home. Here are a few things to think about:

Veterinary care – From initial vaccinations to monthly heartworm treatment. There is also the accident or illness that may happen. And don’t forget your pet requires a yearly check-up just like you.

Supplies – There’s food, toys, beds, carriers, treats, leashes, bowls, collars and so much more.

Daily care – If you decide to get a puppy what will you do with that puppy every day that you are at work and the kids are in school? Puppies need to get out to go potty and eat in the middle of the day. If you can’t come home during the day, you will have to hire a dog walker to come in to care for your puppy while you are at work. Kittens also need a lot of personal interaction and feedings, so unless you already have other pets in the house and open feeding your kitten will need attention during the day also. A pet sitter is a great way to socialize your kitten as well as provide much-needed playtime and food.

This list only scratches the surface of the costs that can arise.

#5. Are You in It For the Long Haul?

So you get a pet this Christmas, but it will be with you for many Christmases to come. A dog or cat is a long-term commitment. Our shelters are overflowing as it is and after the holidays it gets worse. Pets are not something to play with on Christmas break and the discard at the animal shelter when it gets too difficult or costly.

Cats and dogs can live for 20+ years. Are you willing to make that commitment? What are your future plans? Are you moving? Traveling? Planning a family? How will your pet fit into your life not only now, but in the future?

#6. Do You Have Other Pets?

Before you get a pet this Christmas, take the pets you already have into consideration? Christmas time is very stressful for everyone, including your pets. It might be a good idea to wait until after the holidays, when everything has calmed down, before adding another pet to your family. How will your current pets accept a new pet into the family? Remember, most of your pet care costs are going to double when you add another pet to the family.  

Final Thoughts

If you have decided to get a pet this Christmas, please consider adopting from your local rescue or animal shelter after the Christmas holiday. This will give your pet time to adjust to its new environment and you will be saving a life. Millions of unwanted pets are euthanized each year across the United States. These unwanted pets are wonderful animals (I know I have six) who just need a family to love them. Most rescues and shelters offer gift certificates and you can make it a fun family outing after the holidays, while still giving the kids something to open on Christmas day.

How can Dances with Dogs help? Our Professional Pet Services can take some of the pressure off your busy schedule as well as help you with training your new dog or cat. Contact us!

 

 

 

 

Mobile Veterinarians in Miami

Golden retriever puppy playing with stethescope.

Mobile veterinarians in Miami provide great care for your beloved pets.

Just a few weeks ago I was at a client’s house, an older couple, and they were telling me how hard it is for them to take their pets to the vet as they have gotten older. I told them about a mobile veterinarian in Miami who also has an office not too far from their home. They were delighted and now use this veterinarian because it works so much better for them than trying to get their pets into an office. There are not a lot of mobile veterinarians in Miami. Here are the ones we are familiar with and our clients have used and are happy:

Coral Reef Animal Clinic

Location: 15301 S. Dixie Hwy, Palmetto Bay, FL 33157

Phone: 305-233-2920

Along with the office, they have a mobile veterinary van that is fully equipped. I know because I had the opportunity to go inside. They have been there to help several of our clients who needed or wanted at home veterinary care for their pets. We have so many clients that just love everyone at this clinic. They are knowledgeable and compassionate.

The Visiting Vet

Location: 8279 SW 124th St., Pinecrest, FL 33156

Phone: 305-235-1578

I have had personal experience with Dr. Snyder and her team when a client had to say goodbye to her beloved dog and The Visiting Vet came to her home to help her dog transition peacefully in his own home. I was so touched by their caring, compassion and bedside manner. What a wonderful group.

Links of Love

Location: 13033 SW 112th St., Miami, FL 33186

Phone: 305-338-3620

We have several clients that use Links of love for their veterinary care and are thrilled with not only the expertise but the kindness their pets have received. They too have an office that is state of the art and their mobile veterinary van is fully equipped.

Have you ever used a mobile veterinarian?

 

 

 

 

10 Ways to Keep Your Cat Happy

Orange long haired kitten playing with multi-colored ball on white background

Toys are a great way to keep your cat happy.

September is Happy Cat Month, so how do you keep your cat happy? Here are 10 tips for a happier cat.

Entertain Me!

Cats need lots of different types of entertainment. Provide a variety of toys such as catnip stuffed toys, toys with bells, toys that roll, kick toys, and toys they can chase such as wand toys with feathers attached. Be sure to put any toys with strings away when you are not there to supervise. You don’t want you cat getting caught up in the string. Boxes and paper bags are loads of fun for cats too. Even a crumpled-up piece of paper that your cat can bat around can provide fun entertainment. Make sure you rotate your cat’s toys. You don’t want your cat to get bored, mix things up.

Providing toys is great but you also need to play with your cat. Playing with your cat on a daily basis will strengthen your bond.

Lots of Love

Spending time with your cat is another way to keep your cat happy. While cats don’t mind spending time alone doesn’t mean they don’t like attention too. Spend time petting and playing with your cat daily.

Calico cat using cat scratching post

Provide proper scratching items to keep your cat happy.

Scratch, Scratch, Scratch

Scratching is a way for your cat to stretch their muscles and sharpen their claws. It is a natural instinct, so it is important for you to provide appropriate things for your cat to scratch so that your cat doesn’t choose something inappropriate, like your furniture. Not all cats like to scratch the same way. Some cats like vertical surfaces, while others like horizontal surfaces. Some cats like carpeted items, while others prefer things covered in rope. Some cats would rather scratch the corrugated cardboard scratching boards you can buy at your local pet supply store. Take the time to find out what your cat likes. It will save your furniture and carpeting in the long run.

A Place to Escape

While cats enjoy spending time with you they also need a place where they can get away. Provide your cat with a place where they can sleep, hide or just relax.

black and white cat sitting on floor looking out window.

Provide a place for your cat to view the outside world to keep your cat happy.

A Room with A View

Cats love to look outside. Provide them with the window where they can see the birds, lizards, squirrels, and other wildlife while remaining safely inside.

Keep it Clean and Private

Want to keep your cat happy? Keep their litter box clean and secluded. Cats are fastidious when it comes to their litter boxes. Cleaning their litter box daily will give you a happier cat. Don’t be surprised if your cat finds another place to go if you don’t keep their litter box clean. Cats also like privacy and will be happier if their box is located in a private place such as a closet or unused room. Do not put their litter box near their food. Cats don’t like to eat in their bathroom any more than we do. If you have a multi-cat household you will need one litter box per cat, plus one extra box. So, if you have three cats, you should have four litter boxes. Don’t have all the litter boxes in the same place. Disburse them throughout the house. As I said, cats like their privacy.

Persian cat eating cat grass

Cat grass is one way to keep your cat happy.

Let the Grass Grow

Cats love to graze on different types of grasses. Purchase some cat-friendly grasses at your local pet supply store and place the containers throughout your house. These grasses can be good for your cat’s health and are easy to grow. Your cat will thank you.

Cat drinking water from kitchen faucet

Fresh water should always be provided to keep your cat happy.

Fresh Water and Good Food

Provide your cat with fresh water at all times. Some cats prefer drinking water that is moving. You can purchase a drinking fountain online or at your local pet supply store. Providing fresh water is important especially if you feed your cat dry kibble as there is very little water content in dry food.

Don’t overfeed your cat. Open feeding can cause your cat to overeat and become obese. An overweight cat will become sedentary and unhappy. If you are concerned about your cat’s weight talk with your veterinarian about the best way to get your cat back to a healthy weight. Do not put your cat on a diet without first talking with your veterinarian.

Keep Them Healthy

Regular veterinary checkups are a great way to keep your cat happy. Cats do not show signs of illness readily, so regular trips to your veterinarian are imperative to making sure your cat is healthy.

Train Them

Yes, you read that correctly. Train your cat! Train your cat to walk on a leash so that they can safely enjoy the great outdoors. Teach your cat tricks to keep their brains challenged and amaze your friends. You can teach a cat to do anything you can teach a dog to do. Cats can learn the basics, such as sit, down, stay and even more complicated behaviors such as running an agility course. Keep your training sessions short and fun. Get creative.

How Can Dances with Dogs help?

If you want help training your cat our certified trainers can get you started. If you don’t have time to keep your cat entertained or litter boxes clean our professional pet care specialists will be happy to take care of those things for you. Don’t have time to get to the store? Our pet supply shopping service can pick up that kitty water fountain, those fun toys or the cat grass you cat is craving. Does your cat need a ride to the vet? We can do that too! Contact us for more information.

 

 

 

 

 

Why Do Cats Knead?

Orange kitten lying on back on grey sofa

Why do cats knead? There are several reasons.

That motion of your cat or kitten pushing their paws in and out against your lap, pillow, blanket or other soft surface is called kneading. I have even seen cats knead another resident cat and the resident dog. You may have heard it referred to as “kneading the dough” or “making biscuits”. Not all cats knead and not all cats use their claws. Most of the time your cat is purring contently. But why do cats knead?

Why Do Cats Knead?

Child’s Play

There are a lot of opinions on why cats knead. Kneading is most likely instinctive. If you have ever watched newborn kittens nursing, you have seen them knead their mother’s belly. This action helps stimulate milk flow so that the kittens get nourishment. As kittens get older is most likely continues to be a behavior that provides comfort for the cat.

Let’s Get Comfy

Cats like to sleep on soft surfaces. In the wild cats would knead down leaves and grass before bedding down. Now you might notice your cat kneading a blanket or pillow before bedding down.

Mine!

Cats are territorial, and kneading may be a way for them to mark their territory. Cats have scent glands in their paws and kneading activates those scent glands. This territorial behavior can also be seen when cats scratch surfaces from sofas to tree trunks. Their scent is like a calling card saying, “this is mine”. Next time your cat is kneading you it may mean she is claiming you as hers.

Love and Trust

Cats may knead as a sign of affection. Since kneading is a comforting behavior, next time your cat is kneading while lying in your lap it may be his way of telling you he loves and trusts you.

Kitty Yoga

Kneading could be a way for cats to stretch and flex their paws and legs. After all, being agile is important when you are a cat.

Pure Bliss

Cats purr and knead when they are happy. So next time you see your cat purring and kneading you can know they are happy.

Can You Stop Your Cat From Kneading?

It is never a good idea to punish your cat for any reason and since kneading is an instinctive behavior it will be virtually impossible to stop her from doing it. If your clothes are getting snagged from kitty claws kneading in your lap, make sure your cat’s nails are trimmed regularly. You can also place a towel in your lap.

Do Your Cat’s Knead? Let Us Know

Planning a Trip? What Are Your Best Pet Care Options?

Happy dog with bowl

What are the best Pet Care Options for your pets?

As a pet owner, it is likely that one one of the things on the top of your list when planning a trip is what are your best pet care options for your beloved pet.

While some pet care options may not fit your needs others may be exactly what you are looking for. Here are a few to consider. 

Boarding

Boarding is a popular option, but here are some things to think about:

  1. Most kennels are very loud and can cause undue stress to your dog. If the facility boards both dogs and cats the constant barking of dogs can be especially stressful for your cat.
  2. Does your pet really want to leave home? Most pets do best if left in their own environment, with their own beds, toys and the familiar smells of home.
  3. Car travel to and from the boarding facility can be stressful to both dogs and cats.
  4. While you take every precaution, your pet is still at a higher risk of contracting a disease.
  5. Cats are not big on any kind of change to their surroundings.

Friends and Family

If you want to save money it is safe to say most friends or family members will not charge you to care for your pets. But before imposing on your family or friends here are some things to consider:

  1. Will they know what to do if there is a true emergency? Will they know the signs if your pet is ill and what to do?
  2. Will your pet be their first priority? What happens if they have other plans or commitments?
  3. While they won’t say it outright, asking your friends or family to care for your pet is an imposition especially if you are not paying them.
  4. Can you comfortably tell your friends and family how to care for your pet without sounding like you are their boss?
  5. How will you handle it if they don’t do a good job or something happens to your pet while under their care?
  6. Will they have a backup plan? If your friends or family have an emergency who will take over the care of your pet? Do leave it up to them, make sure you have a contingency plan in place.
  7. Will they send you regular updates? It’s a lot to ask of your friends and family.
  8. Of course, as stated earlier, it is definitely the most affordable option.

Professional Pet Sitter

With a Professional Pet Sitter, your pets get to stay where they really want to, home. A Professional Pet Sitter is skilled to care for all types of pets and will visit your pets as many times per day as you would like and tries to keep your pet on their normal routine.

When you are looking to hire a Professional Pet Sitter here is what you should look for:

  1. Are they true Professional Pet Sitters with bonding and insurance? What other qualifications do they have? You want a business that operates full-time as a pet care company.
  2. Are your visits guaranteed? What is their backup plan?
  3. Do they provide you with a contract? A true Professional Pet Sitter will have a contract that protects you and your pets.
  4. Will they send you updates? A Professional Pet Sitter should happily send you updates and pictures of your beloved pets.

How Can Dances with Dogs Help?

We offer Professional Pet Sitting and Dog Walking as well as professional dog and puppy training. Please contact us if you feel Professional Pet Sitting would be the best option for your pets.

 

 

What Does Pet Sitting Cost in Miami?

Dog paw and human hand

There is more to pet care than the pet sitting cost.

You are planning a business trip or getaway and you have decided to hire a professional pet sitter, but what does pet sitting cost?

On your search, you will find a wide range of prices and while your budget is important, you will be entrusting your beloved pets to someone so there are a few things that you should also consider when choosing a Pet Sitter.

What is Their Experience?

Experience matters when it comes to the care of your pets. Make sure your pet sitter knows not only how to care for your pets, but what to do in an emergency. If you have a shy or fearful pet your pet sitter should know how to work with your pet in order to keep your pet as calm and relaxed as possible. Read our blog on why you should use a professional pet sitter.

How Long Have They Been in Business?

The age of a business is important for many reasons. If they have been in business for a long time it means they have had time to implement proper procedures in order to provide the best pet care possible. Being in business for many years means they are serious about their business and won’t be leaving you to look for another pet sitter next time you need to take a trip.

Do They Have a Back-Up Plan?

An emergency can happen to ANYONE, so having a backup plan matters! What would you do if your pet sitter couldn’t complete their visits to your pets because they had an emergency? Who will care for your pets? What would you do? When hiring a professional pet sitter, you want to know what their back up plan is so that you can relax while you are away.

Do They Use Online Scheduling Technology?

While it may not seem important on the surface, it is actually a very important part. Scheduling software not only makes sure you are scheduled properly and not jotted down on a piece of paper that can get lost or written on a calendar somewhere. It ensures that everyone who needs to know your pets’ care schedule does. Our scheduling software sends an email out each day to our pet sitters so that they always have access to their schedules no matter what. Scheduling software ensures that your pets’ care instructions are always available to your pet sitter and their back up sitter if needed. All care instructions are recorded according to your specifications and how do we know that they are according to your specifications? Because you provide us with those instructions through our software!

Will They Communicate With You?

You want to know that your pet sitter will communicate with you and how. Will it be daily? Every visit? Once in a while? Never? How will they communicate with you? Email? Text? Phone call? A part of our scheduling software allows us to communicate with you at any time.  We send regular updates at every visit so that you can rest assured your pets are being cared for.

So, when looking at what pet sitting cost there is a lot to take into consideration there is so much more than price lone when it comes to the important task of taking great care of your pets.

Please Contact Us To Find Out More About Our Pet Sitting Cost and What We Will Provide You and Your Pets.

 

 

 

 

 

Spaying or Neutering Your Cat: Why is it Important?

In a world where we all see stray cats wandering the streets, is there ever are a reason for not spaying or neutering your cat? The American Veterinary Medical Association has supported early spaying and neutering of cats since 1993. What is early? Eight to 16 weeks of age. 

While that does seem early, that is the age when most kittens are adopted from rescues and shelters and these organizations feel it is imperative to spay or neuter these kittens before they go off to their new homes. There is no guarantee that the kitten’s new family will follow through at a later date.

Reduces Shelter Overpopulation

According to the ASPCA, approximately 1.4 million cats and kittens are euthanized in shelters across the United States each year. In order to help bring that number down it is important to spay/neuter your cat.

Less Chance of Your Cat Getting Lost

If you do not neuter your cat and he gets out of your home there is a good chance he will go in search of a mate. That is not to say your neutered cat won’t wander off while hunting, but neutering will reduce the risk.

Cats who are not neutered tend to wander.

Better Health for Your Cat

You remove the chance of testicular diseases when you neuter your male cat.

Your spayed female cat will no longer run the risk of pyometra, which is an infection of the uterus. The chance that your female cat will get mammary tumors will be reduced.

According to research done at the University of Georgia, spayed and neutered pets live longer too.

Cleaner House

Male cats are inclined to spray inside the house due to hormones. Neutering your male cat should eliminate this urge. If your neutered male cat is still spraying it might be time for a trip to the vet.

Less Fighting

Neutered male cats are less likely to fight with other cats in the house. And, if you let your cat outside he will be less likely to fight with other neighborhood cats. Cats that get into fights are more likely to be exposed to diseases such as feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and feline leukemia (FeLV). This is because those diseases can be transmitted through bite wounds.

A peaceful cat household.

A Calmer Household

Spaying or neutering your cat removes the desire to breed and therefore they are not on the constant hunt for a mate.

 

No Unwanted Litters

There are millions of cats and kittens looking for homes each year, so finding good homes for an unwanted litter can be a daunting task. 

Spaying and neutering prevents unwanted litters.

While spaying and neutering will not solve all cat-related issues, it can certainly help with quite a few.

Are Your Cats Spayed and Neutered? Please Let Us know Your Thoughts in the Comments Below.

How to Tell if Your Pet is Overweight and What to do About It.

 

Did you know that over 50% of dogs and cats in the United States are overweight according to the latest veterinary surveys? An obese pet is at greater risk of developing severe health problems. Is your pet fat?

What are the Health Risks?

  • Heart disease

    Overweight dog

    Having an overweight pet puts them at risk for several health issues.

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney disease
  • Arthritis
  • Many forms of cancer

How can I tell if my dog or cat is overweight?

There are many Body Condition Score (BCS) charts you can find online, but here are a few guidelines for dogs and cats:

  • Obese – It is difficult to feel the ribs because there is a thick layer of fat. The base of the tail is thick and it is difficult to feel the tail base because there is a thick layer of fat. When viewing your pet from above, the back is widened and no waist definition. When viewing your pet from the side there is no waist and your cat may have that hanging belly that swings from side to side when it moves.                    

    Overweight cat

    Having an overweight pet puts them at risk for several health issues.

  • Overweight – It is hard to feel the ribs because there is a sufficient layer of fat. The base of the tail is somewhat thick and hard to feel because of the layer of fat between the bone and the skin. When viewing your pet from above the back is widened and there is little if any waist definition. When viewing your pet from the side there is little if any belly tuck and your cat may still have that hanging belly that swings from side to side when it moves.

What is the ideal body condition for my dog or cat?

  • You can easily feel the ribs.
  • You can feel the base of the tail.
  • When viewing your dog or cat from above there is a defined waist.
  • When viewing your dog or cat from the side there is a belly tuck.

What can I do to help my overweight pet?

Cutting back on their food and increasing exercise are two great places to start. Talk to your veterinarian about how much you should cut out of your pet’s diet and how much exercise they suggest. This is also a great time to rule out any health issues that are already present or are brewing.

Start increasing your pet’s exercise gradually. Just like you can’t get from couch potato to marathon runner, neither can your pet.

While you can grab a leash, and take your dog for a walk, exercising cats take a little more creativity. Use your cat’s inner hunting instinct and play, play, play. Cats are more active at sunrise and sunset, so those are the times you will get more play activity from your cat.

If you don’t have the time to exercise your dog or cat, consider hiring a dog walker or pet sitter to get your pets moving.

Dances with Dogs has a proven track record of helping pets drop unwanted pounds. Click here for more information on how we can help you help your dog or cat lose the weight.

Daily Visits for Cats: Why We Require Them

 

Cat being pet

Cats need social interaction.

It is easy to see the independence and aloofness of cats as cats not needing much social interaction and care. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Cats need daily care for several reasons. Here are a few:

Cats Are Cats

What does that mean? Cats can find themselves in some precarious situations.

A few years ago, I went to care for one of our kitty clients. It was cold for South Florida, down in the 50s. When I arrived at the house I could not find one of the cats, Gizmo. I looked all over the house and called his name, but no Gizmo. I looked under beds and in cabinets. No Gizmo. I knew he had not gotten out, the house was secure, but I walked out onto the patio anyway, calling his name. As I turned around to go back inside I saw him. He was wedged between a desk and the other sliding glass door. He was on his back with his feet up in the air, unable to move. I rushed to get him out of his predicament. How long had he been there? How long had that cold glass been pulling the heat from his body?

Fortunately for Gizmo, the ending is a happy one. I got him warmed up and he was fine, but what would have happened if I had been visiting every other day? Would the ending have been the same? I can’t say for sure, but I don’t think so.

Cats get trapped in bedrooms and closets, drawers and crawl spaces. Cats are curious and that curiosity can get them in trouble.

Cats Are Social

Contrary to the old myth that felines are aloof and independent, cats are actually very social creatures. Cats get lonely and need daily social interaction. Even if you know your cat is going to hide under the bed when the pet sitter arrives, your cat will appreciate having someone in the house. 

Cat in bowl by window

Cats are social and need attention.

Illness

Kitties are incredibly sensitive creatures and delaying medical attention can be life-threatening. If your cat falls ill while you are away a professional pet sitter should be able to get your cat to the veterinarian in a timely manner.

Overeating

Yes, cats can regulate their intake of food, but will they? Obesity is a problem not only for people but also for pets (click here for more information on pet obesity). Leaving “extra” food down for your cat while you are away can lead to your cat overeating and getting sick. A pet sitter will not only be able to portion out your cat’s food properly but will also be able to judge how much or how little your cat is eating. Loss of appetite can be a sign your cat is not feeling well. 

Cat on table

Cats can overeat.

Water, Water, Water

Cats need to have access to fresh water at all times in order to flush toxins from their kidneys. If your cat plays in their water bowl or accidentally tips their bowl over, they could be without water for quite some time if they are not being visited daily. Your pet sitter will also be able to notice if your cat is not drinking enough water which could be a sign of illness.

Checking on Your Home

Some of the things that burglars look for when casing a house is a pile-up of mail, newspapers, packages, and advertisements on the door. Having your cat visited daily has the extra benefit of having your home checked on too. And then there are the unexpected things that happen to your home such as roof leaks and burst water pipes. Having a pet sitter check on your home daily means having these problems caught early so that the damage can be mitigated.

Next time you are making travel plans, be sure to hire a professional pet sitter to check on your cat daily while you are away. Your cat and home will thank you.

If you would like more information on our cat sitting service please contact us.