Monday, September 18, 2017

Be Prepared for Puppyhood With My 15 Item Shopping List

My Rhodesian Ridgeback friend, Chopper, is ready for puppyhood!

This week I became inspired to advertise a convenient "Puppy Prep" shopping service for clients because with all of the nerves and excitement of bringing home that bundle of joy it's hard to concentrate on anything other than picking up your pup at the adoption site, right? Wouldn't it be great to arrive at home with all of the items ready for him or her or go shopping with a professional pet sitter who knows exactly where to go and what to buy?  

My first puppy client, Rocky, a Cairn Terrier,  in 2006!
Please enjoy the following shopping list which was compiled from my own personal experience as a new mom of my coon hound, Daisy, and from clients who hired me to watch over their puppies over the years:

1) A size-appropriate crate (for example, a Chihuahua doesn't need an extra-large crate) that is metal rather than made of fabric because fabric crates will be destroyed easily. Should you purchase a crate that you anticipate your dog will grow into I strongly suggest you buy a divider that can be moved backwards as your pup grows.
2) A ticking clock (it has been proven that the ticking reminds pups of their mom's heartbeat) that could either be wrapped in a towel and placed within the crate, above the crate, or in the back half of the crate.
3) Classical music CD's to soothe pups while you are away.
4) Chew toy to keep them busy - I recommend a Kong Classic Dog Toy that can be filled with plain peanut butter (I recommend the all-natural brand, Teddie) or cheese.
5) A water bottle dispenser or a no-spill bowl that securely attaches to the crate (because some pups might knock over their bowl).
6) Toys - Avoid toys that have ribbons, feathers, strings, eyes, or other small parts that could fall off, be removed, chewed or eaten. I recommend EVERYTHING from the Kong company
7) Pee pads BUT I caution they not be placed inside the crate until you get to know your pup as some love to shred them!
8) Doggie playpen - An alternative to an open crate but some puppy parents like the idea of placing a crate inside the playpen area so pups have optional spots to rest and in. However, I recommend this dual option months down the road once he/ she has been trained.
9) No-pull Lupine brand harness or no-slip Martingale collar (these collars have 2 metal rings and work as a training tool, slip over their heads, and gently nudges the pup when he pulls without the fear of the collar getting loose.

10) Four or six foot leash and no longer and that includes avoiding retractable leashes which are unsafe and only encourage poor walking habits.
11) Bach's Rescue Remedy Pet drops which are known as a natural anti-anxiety product that can be administered orally or added to their water.
12) Treats -I recommend organic, grain-free soft treats or carrots but every dog has their own distinct tastes! 
13) Dog crate cover (a blanket will serve the purpose just as well as a store-bought one) to make the crate become like the sanctuary it is meant to be!
14) Dog crate bed/mat - Until your pup is fully potty trained I recommend using blankets or towels from home at first!
15) ID tags - Of the many options available I've found that the most economical ones are at the Quick Tag booth inside Walmart!

 Nellie, my dearly departed King Charles Cavalier client, preferred hamburger in her Kong rather than peanut butter!
Whether I do the shopping for you or whether you do the shopping yourself I hope this list gives you a stress-free start with your new bundle of joy!

Do you have any other go-to shopping items that I've forgotten to add to the list? Please share them! I'm sure all puppy owners would love to read about your experiences! Thank you!

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Sunday, September 17, 2017

Thursday, September 14, 2017

6 Purrfectly Simple Hairball Remedies to Make You & Your Cat Happy

Do you feel like you've tried every remedy known to man to prevent your cat from having to go through uncomfortable hairball symptoms like coughing, gagging, hacking, and vomiting?  In my home and in many of my client's homes over the years I've had to clean up many hairballs and, believe me, it has never been pretty so I did some research to find simple remedies to combat this issue head on! Here's what I've found and I certainly hope they make you and your cat happy!

Canned Pumpkin

This orange vegetable can help hairballs pass all the way through your cat’s system. Mix in one to two tablespoons plain canned pumpkin to your cat’s food each day or a couple times a week. You can add it as is, but for cats with a sensitive stomach, warm up the pumpkin. The natural fiber in pumpkin keeps your cat regular and assists pushing swallowed hair out with bowl movements.

Olive Oil 

A teaspoon of olive oil every week or so should do the trick. Oil throughout the digestive system will help your cat eliminate hair in its stools and aid in digestion. This should cut down on stomach aches associated with hairballs. Other oils, such as mineral oil, corn oil or saffron oil can also help.


A teaspoon of butter will work like the oil. Melt it in the microwave and drizzle over your cat’s food once a week.

Cat Food 

As a precautionary measure or if hairballs are a persistent problem in your cat’s lives, feed a hairball formula food. Hairball formula food helps hairballs to pass out the other end while improving hair and skin health and reducing shedding.


Brush your cat daily to decrease the amount of hair that is ingested. To remove as much loose hair as possible, wipe her down with a damp cloth in the direction of hair growth after brushing. Assisting with grooming is especially important for long haired cats and older cats. 

Petroleum Jelly 

You can trick your cat into relieving his or her own problems by applying a bit of petroleum jelly to a paw. Your cat is sure to lick the jelly away, lubricating the digestive track. This will help make feces elimination more comfortable, thus removing hair in the cat’s digestive tract. Do this once a week or so.

Which of these remedies have you tried and what were the results? Are there any other remedies that I forgot to mention here that you'd like to add? Please leave a comment below!  Thank you!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Why Del Prefers Visits In-Home Visits Rather Than Boarding

Before I began taking care of Del he stayed at a boarding facility where he began to show signs of stomatitis (inflammation of the mouth due to harmful bacterial plaque on the teeth) that went unnoticed for days until someone on the staff stepped up and alerted the vet on call. 

It goes without saying that the expense (as well as the stress) to bring Del back to health was enormous (he had to have several teeth extracted, for example) but ever since I started caring for him in his home his mom has been able to relax because I've been sending her updates twice-a-day for the past eight days! As you can see, this arrangement has worked wonders for him as well!

Even though he misses his mom he enjoys sleeping on HIS furniture and eating from HIS plate and that alone cannot be replicated at a boarding facility! 

Many cat owners do not realize that cats have a much more difficult time adjusting to unfamiliar territory than dogs do so it is in the best interests of your cat to consider in-home care so that he or she can relax with a responsible pet sitter who will cater their needs. 

If you live in the Dover, New Hampshire, area please give Teacher's Pet Sitting Service a call! If you live outside of my area try this website to help you find a professional in-home pet sitter for your cat(s)!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Remembering Golden Retriever, Bretagne, the Last Search and Rescue Dog From 9/11

Denise Corliss is pictured with Bretagne at Ground Zero in New York City in September 2001. It was their first deployment together.

Today the world will be remembering the tragedy and the aftermath of 9/11 so since this blog is about pets I thought I would honor a golden retriever named Bretagne who spent 10 days trying to find and save people trapped in the rubble of the World Trade Center.

This post below was published in June 2016 in remembrance of this kind soul and I hope you will take a moment to thank her for her service as I'm sure she is watching from above!

Bretagne, the last surviving search and rescue dog from 9/11, is walked by her handler Denise Corliss, past a flank of members of the Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department, as she was brought into the Fairfield Animal Hospital, Monday, June 6, 2016, in Cypress, to be euthanized.
It was a very sad day for the men and women of the Cy-Fair Fire Department as they gave their final salute to Bretagne (pronounced "Brittany") who is the last known surviving 9/11 search and rescue dog. She would have turned 17 in August. 

In March 2016 Bretagne was still carrying her bag of treats in her mouth until Denise finally give in and opened it.
In recent weeks she began experiencing kidney failure and was slowing down. When Bretagne failed to do her favorite thing for three consecutive days — eat — her owner Denise Corliss realized it was time to say goodbye.

"She was really anxious last night and she just wanted to be with me," Corliss told TODAY on Monday. "So I laid down with her, right next to her. When she could feel me, she could settle down and go to sleep. I slept with her like that all night." 

Even though Bretagnes's suffering ended at 5:00 p.m. today she will forever live in the hearts of those who loved her best. 

I am heartbroken for her owner tonight and hope Denise finds comfort in the memories she shared with her.