5 Quick Halloween Pet Safety Tips

halloween cat safety

Halloween is one of our favorite holidays. With the excitement Halloween generates, it can be easy to forget the real dangers for your pets. Here’s a quick list of Halloween Pet Safety Tips you might want to keep handy this Halloween:

  1. Chocolate–  The darker the chocolate the more poisonous to you pet.  It contains caffeine and theobromine, can lead to various medical complications and even be fatal.
  2. Candy–  Large ingestions of sugary, high-fat candy can lead to pancreatitis, which may not show up for two to four days after the pet ingests the candy. Also, be cautious of candy covered in Xylitol, that powder substance you find on wrapped gum. It can be instantly deadly to pets
  3. Candy Wrappers–  Can get stuck in your pet’s airway causing them too choke. Wrappers can also damage or block the digestive system.
  4. Raisins–  Although a healthier treat for humans, it can cause kidney failure in cats and dogs.
  5. Costumes–  We all love to see a pet in a costume and some of us dress up our own.  However, be sure not to restrict movement, vision and more importantly airway movement.

These are just a very few of many safety tips and actions for survival that are covered in our PetTech First Aid and PetSaver classes.  If you want to know more about pet safety, wellness and pet first aid/ CPR, come sign up for a class by clicking here.

 

Disaster Preparedness Kit for Pets

Here in Central Florida, hurricane season runs June 1 through November 30, with the peak periods in August through October. While many of us prepare with kits of canned food and water, we may overlook the needs of our furry family members during a crisis.

Even if you’re reading this in the midst of the season, it’s never too late to consider your plans during a natural disaster. 

Dark-grey cat is looking at the rain through the windowThe key to preparing for a natural disaster is to develop a Disaster Preparedness Kit for Pets. Like your families Preparedness Kit, you’ll want to consider every possibility in the event a hurricane strikes. For your pets, you’ll want to include:
  • Medicine and Medical Records: In the event you must flee your home, or a pet is injured and your vet is not available, you’ll want to keep a copy of your pets medical records for any available vet to review. Additionally, you’ll want to keep a supply of any medications your pet is required to take for up to 5 days.Place the records and medications in a water proof container.
  • Current Photos of Your Pets: In the event your home is damaged and your pet escapes or otherwise runs away, you’ll want to have a printed photo of your pet. Better yet, include a photo of you and your pet.Remember, all those Facebook photos of Fluffy and Fido are useless if there is no power to charge a device or long into your computer. Print the photos and keep them with your medical records.
  • Food and Water: Measure and package food into servings and collect gallons of water. Consider the amount you need sustain your pets for 5 days. Label the food bags if your pets eat different amounts or foods in the AM and PM.
  • Litter boxes, Litter and Scoop: Pack a container that can be transported to a hotel containing your cat’s litter box needs. Consider using a disposable container for the litter box.In 2004, I used an aluminum cooking pan (the type you would use to bake a turkey, purchased at a grocery store) in place of a large, bulky plastic box. This saves space and works in a pinch.
  • Leashes, Collars, Harnesses and Carriers: Have your pets daily travel supplies standing by and easily accessible. Make sure the leashes and harnesses are not torn or worn.In the event of a natural disaster, your dog will be anxious and scared. The last thing you want to deal with is a leash, harness or collar breaking as you’re trying to leave.Additionally, make sure your cats carrier closes securely and theres no hangups for the zipper to close tightly.
  • Update Tags and Chips: Have you moved? Changed phone numbers? Your pet’s collar tags and microchip information doesn’t update it’s self. Take a moment to ensure both items list your current information.List of Pet Care Contacts: Our Pet First Aid and CPR students receive a contact card as homework to be completed when they get home that day. It is a resource to list vet, pet sitter, poison control and shelter phone numbers, which can be carried in a wallet or pocket.If you haven’t taken our class, make sure to carry a physical list of this information to easily access your pet’s important numbers.
Once you’ve created this basic Disaster Preparedness Kit for Pets, take a moment to consider you pet’s specific needs. Are there toys, blankets or a kennel that would make them feel more safe or calm?
Supplements? Poop bags? Make your kit reflect the actual needs of your pets. Now that you’ve created your kit, keep it in an obvious place like a closet near your front door or by your vehicle in the garage.
For more ideas about keeping pets safe and sound during accidents or disasters, consider taking our Pet Tech Pet First Aid and CPR class or our Pet Tech PetSaver class. Information can be found by clicking here.

Big Paw Pet Care Earns Professional Pet Sitting Certification

Mike Meibuhr, Co-Owner of Big Paw Pet Care, Earns the Pet Sitters International Certificate in Professional Pet Sitting

[Windermere, FLORIDA] (August 11, 2015)—Pet Sitters International (PSI), the world’s leading educational association for professional pet sitters, has announced that Mike Meibuhr, owner of Big Paw Pet Care in Windermere, Florida, has completed the PSI Certificate in Professional Pet Sitting and earned the designation of PSI Certified Professional Pet Sitter.

PSI-CPPS-logoTo earn this prestigious designation, a professional pet sitter must successfully earn the PSI Certificate in Professional Pet Sitting, agree to adhere to PSI’s Recommended Quality Standards for Excellence and agree to abide by PSI’s Member Code of Conduct and Ethics.

Successfully completing the Certificate in Professional Pet Sitting Program indicates that an individual has acquired the knowledge necessary to make vital assessments on pet health and nutrition, canine and feline behavior, separation anxiety, pet loss and more. A certificate holder is also equipped, as a business owner, to make decisions on customer service, employee hiring and safety.

According to Ellen Price, PSI’s academic manager, the certificate is earned after completing extensive coursework and successfully passing a comprehensive final exam on 39 sections of instructional material.

“A PSI certificate holder brings valuable knowledge to the care of companion animals,” Price said. “A pet owner who relies on a program graduate will receive top-quality pet care. The curriculum’s in-depth material also assures that a pet sitter is highly capable of making accurate judgments and quick decisions in an emergency.”

Mike’s commitment to his business and clients led him to pursue this certificate.

“As a pet sitter, I value continuing education that allows me to offer reliable service to the pets entrusted to my care,” Meibuhr said. “Earning the designation of PSI Certified Professional Pet Sitter demonstrates that I am an animal steward committed to delivering excellent service.”

 

3 Simple 4th Of July Pet Tips

4th of July

It’s the biggest party of summer! July 4th brings about family and friends, cookouts, fireworks and fun. But your pets may not find the holiday as much fun as you. So we’ve compiled three simple 4th of July pet tips to help you out.

Fireworks make the Fourth of July holiday the number one day each year when pets are reported lost. The crackle and booms of fireworks draw oohs and aahs from humans, but they can be downright terrifying for dogs and cats.

Don’t let your pet add to the statistic this Forth of July. Take a few steps to ensure they are ready for the big celebration. Here’s a few 4th Of July oet tips to keep your happy safe this July 4th:

dog id tags1. Update your pet’s microchip information and secure their ID tags today: Start with the worst case scenario: your pet escapes during the fireworks display. Give them the best chance of being returned to you by updating their microchip information and add tags to their collar with their name, your address and phone number.

 

dog walking2. Walk your dogs and feed your pets late afternoon: Don’t wait until dark to take your dog for a walk. Take them out before sunset to do their business. Feed them early to help move along the process.

 

cat sleeping3. Create a safe zone in your home: Pick a room with few or no windows. Create a comfortable place for them with their favorite blanks, bedding or toys. Turn on the TV, radio, or use a white noise machine to muffle sounds. If possible, don’t leave your pet home alone. (If you are taking your pet along to a celebration, make sure they are not left alone. Keep them by your side and for dogs, bring lots of treats to reassure them during any big fireworks displays.)

The Fourth of July is a time to celebrate with family. By taking these simple steps, you’ll create a holiday that’s enjoyable for you and your furry family members.

Windermere Pet Sitter Says: Don’t Forget Your Pet’s Care

Summer here is here and it’s time to finalize those plans for summer vacation. You’ve made packing lists and have your passports, birth certificates and boarding passes all set to go. New toothbrushes, travel size everything has been purchased. But…

Did You Call Your Windermere Pet Sitter?

2013-11-25_1385392018Big Paw Pet Care has been serving Central Florida since 2011, bringing it’s loving brand of care to your pets, in your home. If you’re worried about the effects of boarding your pet, you’re not alone. Cats find new environments to be stressful. Dogs can be taught to potty inside with most indoor-play yards at local boarding facilities. And we haven’t even discussed diseases and fleas picked up at local boarding facilities.

Hiring your Windermere Pet Sitter means your dog or cat enjoys all the comforts of home…at home! We try to keep their routine as normal as possible with dog walks throughout the day, playtime and more.

Keeping Your Home Safe Too

Pet Sitting In OrlandoDays of no movement at your home makes it enticing to burglars. With Big Paw Pet Care’s services we always include free concierge services like plant watering, bringing in the mail or newspaper or packages. We also rotate lights, and open/close blinds to give your home that lived in look.

But My Friends and Family Watch My Pets

pet sitterYou love your pets and treat them like family. But don’t be fooled into thinking your friends and family love your pets as much as you. We’ve worked with hundreds of clients and many of them use us because they no longer can trust their friends or family to be there when they need them.

Some clients even tell us they’re surprised that the neighbor’s child didn’t perform as well as expected. Big Paw Pet Care’s pet care providers are experienced pet care professionals trained in pet health, safety and CPR/first aid. Do you believe your pet’s are getting the best care from the neighbor kid?

Big Paw Pet Care makes it easy with online reservations, predictable care and daily updates from your pet care provider. Never worry about your pet’s getting the love and care they deserve with Big Paw Pet Care.

Create your profile today by clicking here and schedule a FREE Meet & Greet with a pet care provider. Big Paw Pet Care services pets and their families in Dr. Phillips, MetroWest, Gotha, Ocoee, Windermere and Winter Garden.

Give yourself some peace of mind this summer vacation and call Big Paw Pet Care for your pet care needs.

5 Fun Facts About The Chihuahua

ChihuahuaOne of the most popular breeds of dog in the world is the Chihuahua. They actually hover around the 20th most popular breed in the US for each year surveyed.

Small and spunkiness are the key features of this breed. They are also known to be loyal to a fault – it’s said a Chihuahua can die of a broken heart if separated from it’s owner.

Here are 5 Fun Facts you may not know about the much loved Chihuahua:

  1. Chihuahuas were originally known as the Arizona Dog, for the predominance along the present day Arizona and Mexico boarder.
  2. Archeologists have found remains of the Chihuahua in dog effigy pots buried deep in ancient Mexican tombs. Scientists have a consensus that the breed may be a descendent of the Techichi breed, who’s remains have been found dating back as far as 300 BCE.
  3. Chihuahuas are the smallest breed of dog with a average weight around 10lbs. For show dogs, the suggested weight is 6-7lbs. Chihuahua puppies can weigh just a few grams at birth!
  4. The “Taco Bell Dog” served as Taco Bell’s mascot from 1994 to 2002 and is credited with the breed’s popularity explosion over the last two decades. (Bonus Fact: The Taco Bell dog was a female named Gidget.)
  5. Small breed dogs outlive their larger counterparts, but the Chihuahua can live 10-18 years with many living a long and full life of 20 years.

5 Fun Facts About The Chihuahua If you’re considering adding a Chihuahua to your family, here’s a couple things to know about owning the breed:

  • These small dogs are susceptible to serious dental conditions. A program of brushing their teeth early on his a good way to prevent illness or sickness caused by gum and tooth infections
  • Known to be nippy and protective, a good dog training program is required from puppy to adolescent ages.
  • The Chihuahua is highly susceptible to separation anxiety and boredom. Lots of exercise and walking is key to the foundation of managing these conditions. A bored or anxious Chihuahua can also be very “barky” and aggressive towards strangers or other dogs.

 

Pet First Aid Month: Pet Wellness Assessment

In our Pet Tech First Aid Classes we show students how to perform a Snout-To-Tail Wellness Assessment. It’s a systematic method to set a baseline for your pet’s everyday health. The more you know about your pet’s body, normal bumps and lumps, the better prepared you will be if something abnormal appears.

Remember: Early detection means early intervention.

It is also a good bonding experience for you and your pet. You should be able to touch all parts of your pet without them becoming nervous or agitated. Doing regular Snout-To-Tail Wellness Assessments makes your pet comfortable with being touched and helps your pet be more comfortable being examined by the veterinarian.

The Assessment

IMG_2301Starting with your pet’s snout, check for any abnormal discharges or cracking in the nose, tenderness in the muzzle. Move on to the eyes- do they appear? Are they tracking together?

Next, its time to inspect the mouth, teeth and gums. Look for swelling, smells or odors. Followed by the head, skull, neck, spine and skin. Do you know what the signs of mites or infection may be? Chest and ribs should be free should be free of lumps, easily feel the ribs under the coat and breathing should be smooth, rhythmic and easy.

Move each of your pet’s legs independently to see if there’s any wincing or pain, they should move fluidly with no interruptions. Move on to the stomach and genitals. Giving slight pressure to the abdomen, check for signs of bloat. Do you know the seriousness of bloat and how it should be handled?

Finally, we’re at the tail. It should have a full range of motion, but don’t push your pet’s tail beyond it’s normal range.

Celebrate Pet First Aid Month: Take A Class

There you have it! A wellness assessment for your pet that’s easy, thorough and repeatable. The assessment is intended to find irregularities in the coat, skin, lumps or bumps that may have changed since your last assessment.

If you’d like to learn first hand how to complete this Snout-To-Tail assessment, sign up for our one of Pet Tech Pet First Aid and CPR or PetSaver classes today. It’s fun, interactive, informative and most importantly – hands on.

Meeting Your Pet Sitter

Pet owners are naturally wary about leaving their pets in the care of people they don’t know particularly well. That’s why we at Big Paw Pet Care do everything we can to alleviate some of that worry and set your mind (and heart) at ease when entrusting us with the four-legged members of your family. One of those is setting up a pet sitter Meet & Greet with you at your home.

During these approximately half hour consultations, you will get to learn everything you need to know about our service and the sitter assigned to care for your furry loved ones while you are away from home. Almost any question or concern can be addressed here until you feel fully comfortable with your pet in our care. Conversely, our pet sitters will learn all they need to know about you and your pets.

What Does a Pet Sitter Meet and Greet Cover? 

There are potentially an infinite amount of topics to cover when you meet our sitters, but there are a few necessary ones you’ll want to make sure you highlight during our visit. Since our sitters will normally visit the pets while you will be gone from the home, knowing where all the essential materials are located will be important. Leashes, food, litters or trash receptacles to dispose of waste, medications if necessary are all things you’ll want to make sure is pointed out during the visit.

If you have an alarm, the code and location of the keypad(s) should be discussed. It also doesn’t hurt to actually test the key you give to the sitter in the door lock just to make sure it works. (Sometimes those copies the hardware store makes for you aren’t quite right!)

Like humans, pets are persnickety creatures and often like certain things a certain way. Tell us what they like, what their favorite route is to take on their walks, how they like their belly rubbed. All of our pet sitters are qualified and trustworthy, but it sometimes it just comes down to feeling. Your pets won’t know if we arrived within the designated time block or whether we properly locked the front door, but they’ll know if they like us and can get along with us.

Windermere Dog Walkers Warn Pee Pads Cause Problems

Every morning I, like everyone else, scroll through Facebook to check up on family, friends and (sadly) catch a bit of news. With each view comes the obligatory ad or two for products you may or may not have heard about already. This morning an ad for PeePooPads.com scrolled through my feed. Pee Poo Pads promise to “save you money, protect your floors and make house training a breeze”.

The ad also stated that Pee Poo Pads are cheaper than dog walkers. But are they? [Read more…]

Does My Dog Understand Me?

Does your dog know what you say when you say it? That’s the question posed by Jon Hanson, Ph.D. He introduces us to Chaser, a border collie who’s owner has taught her more than 1000 words. That’s as much as a preschooler!

But does she really know what is being asked of her? Watch now:

What is obvious is that with after standing by our sides for thousands of years, dogs have really figured us out. From our tone of speech, to facial cues and posture, a dog knows what we’re really saying, without saying it.

Can I Make My Dog Understand Me?

Like children, dogs can learn words and basic commands through positive reinforcement. I’m proud to say my golden retriever can go potty on command – that’s #1 AND #2, thank you very much!

Have you had success training your dog to be as smart as Chaser? Share in the comments below now!