Navigation

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!

 

 

 

 

The Key Lock box: Convenience or Asking for Trouble

close up of combination lock with numbers 987

A key lock box may leave your home vulnerable

It seems the new fad for pet sitting and dog walking companies is to offer their clients a key lock box so that the company doesn’t have to bother with client keys any longer, but what is the risk to your home and pet?

What is a Key Lock Box?

A key lock box is a small metal box that can be attached to your door or home. It is equipped with a combination that opens the box. Inside you are supposed to place the key to your home for easy access. It is the same thing that realtors use for houses they are trying to sell. The big difference is most homes with a lock box are empty.

How Secure is a Key Lock Box?

I did a little research and I found several YouTube videos with step by step instructions on how to break into a lock box. All the thief needs are a pair of scissors, an aluminum can and a little knowledge. The thief can break into that lock box in less than three minutes. Once the thief does that he or she has the key to your home where he or she can let themselves in to not only steal from you but either harm, steal or release your beloved pets.

But I live in a Secure Building.

A secure building does help, but these building also have workers coming in and out. If someone is adept at breaking into lock boxes it won’t take them very long before they have your keys in hand. And while a lot of these building have security cameras, someone intent on getting in and out of your apartment or condo without being caught on camera is going to do just that. Why give them extra help by providing them with a key?

Why We Decided against them

When I was selling my mother’s home our real estate agent would not put a lock box on the door because she felt that it would make my mother’s home vulnerable. There were still items inside the home. I’m sure a lock box would be fine for a realtor who wants to sell an empty house but are you willing to take that chance with your home and pets. I know I wouldn’t be.

From the very beginning Dances with Dogs has taken the security of our clients’ homes very seriously and that is why we will not be jumping on the lock box train unless the technology improves considerably.

What is your thought on the key lock box?

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!

 

 

Disaster Preparedness for Your Pets

Blacktop road with yellow are you ready wording.

Disaster preparedness should include your pets. Are you Ready?

September is National Disaster Preparedness Month. What most of us think about when we think about disaster preparedness is how do I keep my family safe? How many days of food and water should we have? How much water do we need per person? What important papers do we need to keep with us? What should we take with us if we need to evacuate?

You have prepared for your human family, but what about your pets? Here are a few things to help your disaster preparedness for your pets.

Identification

All dogs and cats should wear a collar and identification tag. It is a good idea to put more than one phone number on the tag if possible, in case you lose your cell phone. Pets can escape if your home is damaged or if you must evacuate and your pet gets scared and bolts out of an open door.

Microchip

Collars come off for a variety of reasons, so it is a good idea to have your pets microchipped as well. Make sure your information is up to date with the microchip company.

Pet Rescue Sticker

Some emergencies require you to leave your home in a hurry and scared pets can be difficult to locate. A pet rescue sticker will notify rescue workers that there are pets in your home. This sticker should be placed where it is very visible and should be updated to include current pets in your home.

Pet-Friendly Places to Stay

If you must evacuate with your pets you will need a pet-friendly place to go. Don’t wait until the last minute to try and find a place to evacuate to with your pets. Not all emergency shelters accept pets and once the pet-friendly shelters are full they cannot take in any more people and their pets. Some boarding facilities and veterinarians will board your pets during a natural disaster, but if they are under mandatory evacuation you will once again be looking for a place for your pets. These facilities also fill up fast, so make arrangements well ahead of time. You can also talk to friends and family that are out of harm’s way and close enough to get to, ask if they will take your pets. If you want to keep your pets with you, here is a list of pet-friendly hotel chains.

Who Near You Can Help?

If the disaster happens while you are away from home who can you call to help you with your pets? Choose someone who lives near to you that will be able to get into your home and evacuate your pets if you can’t.

Have an Emergency Kit for Each Pet

Each of your pets should have an emergency kit that includes the following:

  • Carrier – If you need to evacuate your pet you will need a way to contain them and easily move them. If you are going to stay in your home you should still contain your pets, in case your home is damaged.
  • Collar or harness and Leash – While your dog or cat should always be wearing identification, you should have an additional collar with identification in case the collar your pet is wearing should break or get lost. An extra leash should always be on hand.
  • Food and Water – You should have a week’s worth of food for each of your pets. This should be stored in airtight containers and stored with the rest of your evacuation items. If you feed dry food, make sure you change out the food every two months to prevent spoilage. Canned food should be changed out every three months. There is a possibility that authorities will declare the water unsafe to drink. Make sure that you have enough water for everyone including your pets.
  • Litter and Pans – If you are evacuating it might be easier to have several disposable litter pans that you can take with you. Make sure you purchase the pans that have the litter included. If you are going to be staying home have enough litter for at least one week and store in an elevated area where it will not get wet.
  • Pet First-Aid Kit – There are some great pet first aid kits on the market, but always check with your veterinarian to ensure your kit is complete. Your vet may suggest some items that are not included in a commercially available kit.
  • Medication – Plan to have at least two weeks’ worth of your pet’s prescription medication. Your pet should be up to date on heartworm and flea and tick preventative too. If their next dose is looming near make sure you have those mediations on hand also.
  • Photographs of your pets – If your pet gets lost you want to be able to post their picture on lost pet sites and make lost pet posters quickly. This is also important so that you can provide proof of ownership if your pet is found.
  • Vaccination records – You will want to have proof that your pets are vaccinated.
  • Small pets – If you have small pets such as gerbils or hamsters make sure you have enough extra bedding for their cages. Be sure to take a water bottle for them.
  • Birds – Depending on the weather, have a misting bottle on hand to keep your bird cool in warmer weather. You may need extra blankets to cover their cage if the weather is cooler. Having a catch net and heavy towel or blanket on hand is a good idea.

Are your pets prepared for a disaster? Share your disaster preparedness plans with us. We would love to hear how you have prepared.

 

 

 

 

 

Lost Pet Prevention: 7 Tips for Protecting Your Pet

Lost dog poster on light post

Lost Pet poster.

July is Lost Pet Prevention Month. It only takes a second for one of our beloved pets to get away from us and become lost. Here are 7 tips for keeping your pet safe so that you can prevent having to go through the heartache of losing your precious pet.

1. Entryways

Always make sure doors and windows are secure. It only takes a second for your beloved pet to slip out of a door that wasn’t properly latched or an open window. Teach your dog to wait at doorways until released. By teaching this valuable cue you could prevent your dog from walking or running out the door and becoming a lost pet before you even realize he or she is gone. Ask your friends and family to be quick when entering and exiting your home so that doors do not have to be open for too long.

2. Gates and Fences

Before you let your dog in your yard make sure all gates are closed and latched. It a good idea to do periodic checks of your fence perimeter to look for holes or gaps your dog could slip under or through. And never leave your dog in the yard unattended. 

3. Collars and Harnesses 

Avoid a Lost Pet, make sure your dog has a properly fitting collar with an identification tag.

Make sure your dog’s collar or harness fits properly. A loud noise or aggressive dog could cause your dog to panic and back out of his or her collar or harness. Always keep a firm grip on the leash when out for a walk.

4. Recall

Teach your dog to come when called. This could save your dog’s life in numerous situations, but if your dog does get away from you a good recall could prevent your dog from running away and getting lost.

5. Seatbelts and Crates

Avoid a lost pet when transporting to your veterinarian or groomer. Secure your pet in a crate when in the car.

Always have your pet secured in a crate when transporting him or her to the vet or groomer. If you have a large dog, you can secure them in a harness that attaches to your car’s seatbelt. Pets can find travel stressful and if they accidentally get loose in a strange environment they may startle and run. 

6.Identification

If your dog or cat does get loose it is important for them to have identification so that you can get your lost pet back to you as quickly as possible. Your pets should have a collar with an ID tag attached. But tags come loose, and collars come off and get lost so your pet should also be microchipped. Read our blog on microchipping to learn more about this invaluable form of identification.

7. Proof of Ownership

If your lost pet is found, you will probably be required to show proof of ownership. Having your pet’s records and a few photos of you with your pet will go a long way to you getting your pet back quickly.

Contact us to learn more about teaching your dog to wait at the door and come when called.

Microchipping Pets: Costs and Benefits

Losing a pet is a pet owner’s worst nightmare.  Sometimes, pets are never recovered, but microchipping your pet increases the odds of being reunited with your lost pet. According to PetFinder.com “Only about 22 percent of lost dogs that entered the animal shelters were reunited with their families. However, the return-to-owner rate for microchipped dogs was over 52 percent (a 238 percent increase). Less than 2 percent of lost cats that entered the animal shelters were reunited with their families.” 

Little girl reunited with her dog

Microchipping your pet increases the chances you will be reunited if they are ever lost.

What is microchipping?

A microchip is about the size of a grain of rice. This electronic chip is enclosed in a glass cylinder and when a scanner passes over the chip, the chip is activated and transmits an identification number unique to your pet. It is inserted under your pet’s skin, usually between the shoulder blades, through a hypodermic needle. There is no surgery required and it should not be any more painful than a normal injection.

What Information Does the Microchip Contain?

Your pet’s microchip will contain an identification number and is registered with a microchip registry where your contact information is stored. If your pet should become lost a veterinarian, shelter or rescue group can scan your pet and contact the microchip registry to notify them that they have your pet. The microchip registry will then contact you. Your contact information is not shared with the rescuer.

Cat being scanned for microchip

If your lost pet is found a veterinarian or rescue will scan for a microchip.

Do Microchips Have GPS?

No, microchips are not the same as GPS and do not have the capability to track your pet.

Do I Still Need Identification Tags if My Pet is Microchipped?

Yes! Identification tags are the quickest way for you to be reunited with your pet. While a microchip is a permanent identification that cannot be tampered with, having an identification tag attached to your pet’s collar makes it easy for the person who finds your pet to contact you immediately. However, if your pet’s collar is removed or lost, a microchip may be the only way you will be reunited with your pet.

Are Only Dogs and Cats Microchipped?

No, all kinds of pets are microchipped including rabbits, horses, cows, ferrets, reptiles and many more.

At What Age Can my Pet Be Microchipped?

Most Shelters and veterinarians will microchip your dog or cat once they are 8 weeks old. It is actually the size of your pet that determines when they can be microchipped.

What Are the Risks of Microchipping?

Complications from microchipping your pet are very rare. There have been cases of a pet developing a cancerous tumor at the microchip site, but those cases are very rare. The benefits of getting your lost pet back far outweigh the risks. 

Veterinarian injecting microchip into a dog.

Microchipping can be done by your veterinarian or local shelter.

How Do I Get My Pet Microchipped?

Your veterinarian or local animal shelter can microchip your pet for you. If you adopt a pet from your shelter or local pet rescue it will most likely already be microchipped.

How Much Does Microchipping Cost?

The average cost is about $45 however, your local shelter or Humane Society will usually offer microchipping at a discounted price. The price is a one-time fee. If you are adopted your pet from a local shelter or rescue, it is likely that your pet is already microchipped.

Do I have to Register My Pet’s Microchip?

Yes. When your pet is microchipped the shelter or veterinarian will provide you with the information you need to have your pet’s microchip registered. If you move or change phone numbers, you will need to update your contact information.

May is National Chip Your Pet month. This is a great time to get your pet microchipped if you have not already done so. This is also a great time to have your pet’s microchip checked by taking them to your local veterinarian to have them scanned.

Is your pet microchipped? Tell us what type of pet you have and why or why not you have chosen to have your pet microchipped.