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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?

 

 

 

 

Halloween Safety Tips for Your Pets

dog wearing bee costume

Halloween safety tips that will help you keep your pets safe and calm.

Halloween is right around the corner and while we are planning what costume we will wear and what treats we will be handing out we also need to think about our pets. Here are a few Halloween safety tips for your pets.

Walk with Care

The Halloween decorations start showing up on our neighbor’s lawns a month before Halloween. Some of these decorations can be very scary for our dogs. Whether it’s an inflatable skeleton riding a motorcycle or a giant inflatable pumpkin, for our dogs those things can be terrifying. This is the time to make those walks as positive as possible. If your dog is too stressed out by those novel Halloween decorations it might be wise to skip your walk until the decorations are gone or contact a professional dog trainer who can show you how to make those decorations less scary for your dog.

Six children in costumes trick or treating at woman's house

Keep your pets away from open doors. People in costume can be scary for your pets.

Keep Them Calm and Secure

Halloween can be a very stressful time for our pets. Doorbells are ringing, there are lots of knocks at the door, there are strange people coming to the door dressed in costume, children are yelling “Trick or Treat!”. It’s all very stressful on our pets. The best thing you can do for your pets on this stressful night is put them in another room with the door closed and either turn on a radio, television or white noise machine. Do not leave your pets outside.

Identification

While you want to keep your pets confined and away from open doors accidents happen. Make sure your pets are wearing a collar with an identification tag attached. Collars can get lost, so your pet should also be microchipped.

Tire Them Out

Before the Halloween festivities begin, get your dog out for a nice run or game of fetch in the backyard. Breakout your cat’s favorite toy and get them playing. By tiring your pet out, you should be able to reduce some of their stress.

Ceramic pumpkin filled with Halloween Candy

Halloween Safety Tips for Your Pets Include Keeping All Candy Safely Out of Reach.

Keep Candy Out of Reach

Chocolate is toxic to both dogs and cats and can cause symptoms of vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, rapid breathing, and even death. The darker the chocolate the more toxic to your pets it will be.

Xylitol is found in many types of candy and gum. Xylitol can cause liver failure, a drop in blood sugar, and seizures in dogs. If you suspect your pets have ingested chocolate or any candy it is best to be safe and get them to the veterinarian.

two bernese mountain dogs dressed up like clowns on white background

Have “dress rehearsals” if you want to dress up your pets for Halloween.

Let’s Play Dress Up

Not all pets like to be dressed in costume. If you want your pet to wear a costume on Halloween practice “dress rehearsals” before the big day. When getting your pet used to wearing a costume make it a positive experience and if they are uncomfortable, don’t force it.

Are Your Pets Ready for Halloween? We Would Love to See Pictures of Your Pets in Costume!

 

 

How Much Exercise Does Your Dog Need?

Dog lifting weights wearing blue hat, blue shorts and gold chain

How much exercise your dog needs depends on several factors.

Owning a dog carries a lot of responsibility, food, water, veterinary care, love, and exercise. But how much exercise does your dog need? Generally, dogs need between 30 minutes and 2 hours of exercise per day. How do you know where your dog falls on that timeline though?

Dogs need to get out and explore their world so daily walks are important for not only their physical health but also their mental health. Walking, however, is not always enough. Here are some things to consider when thinking about how much exercise your dog should get and what type of exercise is right for them.

Health Advantages

Just as exercise is good for your waistline, exercise is also good for your dog’s waistline. Exercise will help keep the weight off, keep muscles toned and help extend the life of your dog. Exercise is also good for the mind. If you have ever experienced a bored dog, you know they can become destructive as a way to burn off excess energy.

Age

No matter whether your dog is young or old, they need exercise. But the age of your dog will be one of the determining factors in how much exercise your dog needs. Age is also a factor in what kind of exercise your dog should be getting.

We all slow down as we get older. While our senior dog will always enjoy getting out to sniff and stretch their legs, take your dog’s advancing age into consideration before setting out on a long, strenuous hike. Old creaky bones are not going to enjoy a high impact run through the neighborhood either.

Dog’s under one year of age should also avoid high impact exercise as their bones are not fully developed. Young puppies will not have the stamina to go very far either.

Breed

Some breeds are higher energy than others and require more physical exercise. Other breeds are much lower energy and require much less exercise. So, while some breeds will only require 30 minutes of exercise per day, others will require 2 hours of exercise per day.

A word of warning for owners of brachycephalic dogs such as Pugs, Bulldogs, Rottweilers, Boxers, Boston Terriers, etc.: These dogs are prone to heat stroke, so use caution when exercising your flat-faced breed.

Types of Exercise for Your Dog

While walking is a great way to exercise your dog, it is not the only way.

Letting your dog out into your yard to exercise himself will usually not work. Running along the fence line barking at the neighbor’s dog may get some of his physical energy out, but it is most likely not good for his mental health. And expecting him to run around by himself is something most dogs don’t do. If you have more than one dog and they are close in size and age, then you usually have a built-in dog park. Dog play can be a great way to expend energy, but keep in mind it is difficult to know how much exercise your dogs are really getting, so it is best not to count this as the main way they are getting a workout.

If your dog likes to retrieve, then playing ball can be a great way to get some of that pent-up energy out.

Training your dog is the perfect way to exercise your dog’s body and mind. A few short training sessions a day will not only improve your dog’s health but will improve your bond together.

Before Getting Started

Before you start an exercise program with your dog it is a good idea to talk to your vet. Your veterinarian will tell you whether your dog is ready and how much exercise you should begin with.

How Can Dances with Dogs Help?

Our dog walking service can get your dog out when you are working long hours, not physically able to get your dog out for a walk or you just don’t have enough hours in the day. Our training program is perfect for people who want a better-behaved dog, have limited time but can squeeze in a few short training sessions a day, and want to further strengthen their bond with their dog. Contact us if you would like to learn more.

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.