Ocoee Pet Sitter Warns: Dog Treat Recall

Big Paw Pet Care

Another dog food recall

It what seems to be a never-ending cycle of warnings, yet another dog food company has issued a voluntary recall of their dog treats. We are warning all of our pet sitting clients and Central Florida pet owners of the alert.

Dogswell has recalled pet treats which are sold throughout Central Florida. Their press release states:

[box]During routine testing of our products, the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets (NYSDAM) discovered that a sample of our Dogswell Happy Hips Chicken Breast Jerky contained trace amounts of an antibiotic residue that has not been approved for use in the United States. [/box]

The press release goes on to say that only products labeled Chicken Breast and Duck Breast jerky under the Breathies, Happy Heart, Happy Hips, Mellow Mut, Shape Up, Veggie Life, Vitality, and Vitakitty brands that are labeled with a “Best Before” date of January 28th, 2015 or any earlier date” are part of this recall.

Dogswell sells products manufactured in the US however some of their treats are manufactured in China. China has been a common theme in many pet food recalls.

It’s important to note that this company has chosen to report this as a “withdrawal” rather than a “recall”. Why is that important you ask? Watch our blog later this week for more information on the ways pet food companies believe saving face is more important than reporting facts to their consumers.

Windermere Pet Sitter Warns: Coyote Danger To Small Dogs & Cats

This week the Windermere Florida Mayor issued a warning for all pet owners to keep extra vigilant watching over your pets while outside.

Windermere Coyote

Owners of cats and small to medium-sized dogs need to be extra cautious. Coyotes have snatched at least one small poodle this week. Remains of a cat have also been found. Several pets have been reported missing this past fall and within the past few weeks.

The warning has only been issued in Windermere, however close by neighborhoods like Ocoee, Winter Garden and Dr. Philips should also take note.

What’s a Coyote?  

Coyotes are wolf-like wild dog. They are nocturnal animals but you may see them late into dawn or dusk. Daylight appearances could be a warning sign that the coyote is ill or injured. Make sure you secure all trash as you would to ward off any animal. Finally, make sure to keep your cat or dog indoors during the nighttime hours.

What do I if I see a coyote? 

Trying “hazing” the coyote by using a loud, authoritative voice to scare it away. Make yourself appear as large as possible. Trying throwing rocks or whatever is handy near the coyote to force it to flee. Do not run or allow your pet to run or chase the coyote.

If the coyote is not afraid and doesn’t seem bothered by you – contact Orange County Animal Control. It’s a hard thing to do, but a coyote that is not afraid of humans can become a bigger threat.

If the coyote becomes aggressive towards you, or attempts to attack you – call your local law enforcement immediately.

Windermere Pet Sitter: Is My Pet Sitting Service Bonded & Insured?

Many times people ask if we’re bonded and insured. My initial reply is always “Yes, all of Big Paw Pet Care’s pet care providers fall under our comprehensive insurance and bonding policies”.

Then I usually follow up by asking: “Do you know the difference between insured and bonded?”.

Most of the time people do not. To be honest, before we started Big Paw Pet Care, I didn’t know what this meant either.

IMG_3262Pet sitting insurance is typically a general liability coverage that includes previsions for the safety and care of animals. Big Paw Pet Care’s policy covers us up to $2 million dollars in the event there is accidental damage to your property, home or your pet while under our care. All Big Paw Pet Care providers fall under our comprehensive policy. If while under our care, we break a lamp or accidentally leave a faucet running, you are covered for this damage and repairs by our policies. Sames hold true in the event that your pet suffers an injury as a result of our actions.

We’ve never made a claim on our insurance. We don’t intend to either. But it’s there, as part of our peace of mind promise to you.

Bonding is a little different. Bonding coverage kicks in when something intentional, or criminal happens. For example if you hire a contractor to remodel your kitchen only to come home and find your fine china is missing, you’re going to hope that company had a bond. Because when you report this theft to the police and they determine the culprit was a member of the construction crew – insurance no longer covers because the “damage” or theft was intentional. The company’s bond will cover the cost of replacing or repairing any lost or damaged items.

We don’t intend to use our bond either. But again it’s there for your peace of mind along with pet sitter background and reference checks. Big Paw Pet Care checks this information out so you don’t have to. We want your pet care experience with us to be easy and stress free.

So, you ask, why should I trust you did the background checks on your staff? Simply stated: if we hire a pet sitter to enter your home who has any record of arrest or criminal charges – our insurance is voided.

That’s a big deal. And that’s why we always check, check  and recheck that the person we’re hiring we trust enough to care for our pets…and yours.


Pet First Aid & CPR: Help Your Pets & Help the SPCA

We’re very excited today to announce two special Pet First Aid and CPR certification classes.

photoThe classes themselves will train you in the same procedures for treating bleeding, choking or applying CPR. But these classes are special for one simple reason: all proceeds will be given to the SPCA of Central Florida.

The SPCA of Central Florida was established in 1937 with the purpose of educating the general public about the responsible human behavior towards animals. Since then their vision has been firmly established: to no longer be needed.

The SPCA only accepts surrendered pets and that makes them responsible for nearly 300 pets every single week. By years end they will have had more than 15,000 animals in their care.

But the SPCA’s responsibilities don’t end at re-homing pets. They offer a food program for low-income or unemployed pet owners, with food delivered right to their door. They offer low-cost vet service in their clinic, summer camps and of course training classes. That’s where Big Paw Pet Care comes in…

This summer we’ll be offering a couple of classes, one in SPCA’s Sanford location and one at their Orlando location by Millenia Mall. All proceeds from the class will go to the SPCA as they continue their mission.

If you’d like to join us for one of these classes, please visit the Pet First Aid Training page of this website to register.

If you’d like to make a donation to the SPCA of Central Florida or maybe even volunteer, please visit: http://www.ohs-spca.org/

Windermere Pet Sitter Warns: Another Hartz Recall

Well as quickly as one recall was issued, Hartz has issued another pet recall. This time for dog treats.

windermere pet sitter They’re recalling one specific lot of Hartz Naturals Real Beef Treats for Dogs due to concerns that one or more bags within the lot may have been potentially contaminated with Salmonella.

Salmonella is an organism which can cause serious infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems, all of whom are at particular risk from exposure and should avoid handling these products. Salmonella symptoms may include fever, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and nausea in both dogs and humans. Anyone experiencing the symptoms of Salmonella infection should seek immediate medical attention. Owners of dogs exhibiting these symptoms should also seek veterinary assistance.

So there you have it…two for Hartz. If you’d like to contact them for more information or to obtain a refund please call 1-800-275-1414.

Windermere Pet Sitter Warns: Fish Food Recall

Well, I’ve not heard of this before…fish food recall? Sadly, it’s happened.

imgres-1The Hartz Mountain Corporation, located in Secaucus, N.J. is voluntarily recalling one specific lot of Wardley Betta Fish Food 1.2 oz. size due to concerns that one or more containers within the lot may have been potentially contaminated with Salmonella.  Hartz is fully cooperating with the US Food and Drug Administration in this voluntary recall.

So be sure to check your labels, fish owners. The affected fish food was shipped from May 13, 2013 through June 4, 2013.  In total, 8,112 1.2-oz. plastic containers ofWardley Betta Fish Food, UPC number 0-43324-01648, isolated to the lot code PP06331 (located on the bottom), which were packaged by Hartz at its Pleasant Plain, Ohio facility from a single production run.

For more information you can contact Hartz Consumer Affairs at 1-800-275-1414 (24 hours/day 7 days/week) with any questions and to obtain reimbursement for purchased product.

Windermere Pet Sitter Compares: Board or Hire A Pet Sitter?

Dog Boarding Versus Pet Sitting

Big Paw Pet Care is an in-home pet care service. We come to your home while you’re away at work or on vacation and keep your pets routine as normal as possible. We feed your pet according to their schedule, in familiar surroundings and smells. But that doesn’t mean every pet needs a pet sitter.

Many times pet owners ask us which is better, boarding or pet sitters. There is no right answer for every pet owner.

Before you decide on boarding versus pet sitting ask your self these questions:

1) How old is my pet? – Will the stress of a new environment and surrounding upset your pet? Older pets and cats are easily stressed by environmental changes. You know your pet best – do they run and hide at the first sign of a visitor to your home? Do they freak out on a car trip? These are signs that your pet will not handle boarding very well.

2) Is my dog spayed or neutered? – This is a common oversight by some pet owners, especially dog owners. If your dog is not spayed or neutered  they very well may not be welcome at a boarding facility. (Cats and other animals rarely interact with other pets while boarding so this question is not usually applicable – but always check the boarding facilities rules first just to be sure.) Furthermore puppies may not be welcome at a boarding facility due to lack of vaccinations.

pet sitter3) Is my pet high energy or low energy? – For high energy pets or those that require constant human interaction, pet sitting my not be the best option. A boarding facility with all day play yards and lots of socializing may be the right choice for your pet. But make sure that your boarding facility includes this playtime interaction. Many do not, those who do charge extra for it. Lower energy pets may become stressed by the constant noise and movement at a boarding facility. If their idea of a perfect day is sleeping on the couch while you’re at work – pet sitting may be the answer.

The long and the short of it is if your pet is older, slower and not accustom to change, a pet sitter will be a much better option for you. If your pet is used to lots of activity and interaction, a boarding facility may be a better option. But every pet sitter and boarding facility is different. Visit and/or interview all service providers first and make an informed decision.

Orlando Pet CPR Trainer: Keep Summer Fun For Pets

Now that the weather is warmer many of us are looking forward to going to the beach, basking in the sun and wearing lighter clothing.

It’s an awesome time of year and one of the reasons I love Florida.  Many of our pets enjoy basking in the sun, in a sunspot just inside those sliding glass doors or lay next to a window were the sun shines through. However, they can’t dress for the occasion like us, so instead, they’ll move away when it becomes too hot for them.

My girl Sookie checking out some tastey waves at the beach.

My girl Sookie checking out some tastey waves at the beach.

Some pets are less fortunate and end up in a backyard without shade or inside a vehicle with nowhere to go.  Even with completely open windows a vehicle can reach extremely hot temperatures, ultimately sending a pet into a heat stroke very quickly. It’s important to never put your pet in this type of situation during the summer months.

Some breeds are much more susceptible to heat stroke than others without preparation you could inadvertently put your pet in a situation just as dangerous as leaving them in a backyard. So if you do take your pet to the beach, make sure it’s not drinking the ocean water, as it may lead to hypernatremia,  a type of dehydration, which could result in kidney failure. Keep plenty of water on hand at all times and make sure you understand your pet’s limitations during walks or activities in the sun.

And keep an eye out for these signs of a overheated pet:

  1. Uncontrollable panting
  2. Excessive drooling
  3. Gums that are red in color

Knowing the normal temperature of your pet is another great tool as the temperature range is large depending on the pet. Have a digital thermometer handy in your pet first aid kit!

Enjoy the summer and sun with your pets, but as my mother always said, “be sensible about it”!

What Is It Like Pet Sitting in Orlando?

pet sitting in orlandoPet sitting is very common in big cities like New York, LA or Chicago and even Miami. But pet sitting in Orlando is not very well-known. Even today it is not uncommon for us to be approached by potential clients at pet events asking: “You will really come to our house to watch our pets?”.

The answer is always: Yes, we’d love to…

Maybe you, yourself didn’t know that pet sitting in Orlando was available to you. But every day professional pet sitters like us are out there, keeping an eye on your furry loved ones while you are away. Providing peace of mind.

Don’t get me wrong, pet sitting in Orlando has its challenges. In the summer we battle rain and thunderstorms every day.

In the winter, temperatures can reach the low 20s. Walking dogs in 20° weather when you’re used to 90° weather is a real wake-me-up in the morning.

In the spring we’re very busy as local families are visited by relatives from up north or head out on their own spring break vacations.

Dog Walk, Pet Sitter, Dog Walker, Pet Sitting In Orlando

And in the fall, we have to batten down the hatches for hurricanes that seem to spring up on your busiest weekend.

But that’s not to say pet sitting in Orlando doesn’t have its rewards. In fact, pet sitting is it’s own reward.

Like, when you arrive in a downpour to a pair of wagging tails and big tongued smiles, happy to see you in your soggy galoshes – everything seem to dry up instantly .

Or when you’re sitting on the floor with a kitty with a full tummy, curled up in your lap purring – your shivering hands warm up and steady.

Finally, when that email or text arrives full of gratitude from an extremely happy pet owner, you smile and your heart fills with pride. Because you know that the peace of mind you’ve given that pet owner is invaluable.

That’s what it’s like pet sitting in Orlando.

Give Your Dog a Bone (Or Not)

Dogs Love to chew. You could say it’s their hobby.

People play card games, enroll in basket weaving classes, they learn origami… but dogs chew. They especially like to chew bones that we give them. And Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday where we come together and devour a delicious turkey full of bones.

Unwittingly, some of us have made the potentially fatal mistake of giving a turkey bone to a beloved furry family member. So, it’s important to know which bones are okay to give and which ones are not. The general rule is to never give a dog a cooked bone.

The reason is that cooked bones tend to splinter and becoming a choking hazard but also causing trauma to the airway or esophagus. If you do decide to give your dog an uncooked bone, or any other treat, it’s a good practice to make sure they are supervised. Teach your family they should never leave a pet alone with their treat.

A portion of our Pet CPR / First Aid class is devoted to choking management. Student not only learn the necessary skills on how to stop a pet from choking but also learn hazard awareness and preventative measures to take in order to avoid choking all together. Hopefully no one will ever have to use these skills. But in the event choking happens, we feel confident knowing our students have the knowledge to handle it and have a plan of action.

So keep an eye on your pup during this holiday season full of feasts. And if you haven’t signed up for your Pet First Aid and CPR certification yet, please visit our Pet First Aid page.

Have a wonderful and Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy the company of family, food, drink and your pets! – Nick