Advice for Pet Sitters

cat in suitcase
Do you love animals? Need extra cash? Perhaps you might want to consider investing your spare time in pet sitting. There are responsibilities that come along with owning a pet. People need vacations and like to travel and boarding their beloved animal can be expensive. If you are thinking about pet sitting, here are some pointers to help get you started!

Research:

You should do your homework ahead of time. Don’t just keep at the basic “dog” or “cat” Google search. Dig a little deeper. The more you know about the type of breed you are sitting, the better you will be able to adapt to certain situations and maintain its happiness.

Ask Questions:

Find out what is expected of you so that there are no letdowns. Certain pets have certain needs. You never want to walk into a pet-sitting job completely blindsided. Common questions you could ask:

–    How much exercise is expected per day?
–    Should I follow a specific feeding schedule?
–    Are there any allergies I should know about?

Meet and Greet:

Arranging a mini meet and greet is important to assure that you are not afraid of the pet you are sitting. Go over any questions, introduce yourself to the pet, and make sure you and the owner are on the same page.

Communication is Key:

Before the owner takes off on any adventure, make sure you have a list of contact information in case of emergencies. You just never know what can happen and need to make sure you have all of your ground covered. Whether it be an emergency visit to the vet, unusual behavior, or a check in email here and there, make sure you have the information you need!

It’s important to have a good mindset before going into any caretaker responsibility. If a certain breed intimidates you, don’t be afraid to say no. Have fun with it and treat the pet as your own. Once you build a clientele, you could have a small business in the making!

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on Google+

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Teaching Your Cat To Behave

sleeping kitty

Cats. Those interesting creatures can be a hit or miss. It’s like you can strike gold and get a cuddly little snuggly creature, or you can strike out and end up with an anti-social, no fun, keeps to itself, super rough and tough cat. These ferocious felines are so unpredictable. One thing that’s great about owning a cat is the fact that they are so independent…that if it came down to it, they could totally take care of themselves. So if you’re single, crazy busy, and looking for a companion…investing in a cat might just be what you’re looking for. Intimidated by the unknown? I don’t blame you. However, with the right amount of attention and patience, a cat can totally be trained into the perfect little kitty.

Before training starts it is important to understand that Cats do not speak English. They speak feline. A foreign language that is nearly impossible to learn. They learn by experience. If the experience is good, they will repeat it. If the experience is bad, they will try to avoid it. 

With that being said, the key to training a cat is simple (insert laughs here):

Whatever you want your cat to do must be exceedingly rewarding and pleasurable (lots of cat treats).

Whatever you don’t want your cat to do must never be fun or rewarding. It must be unpleasant.

Keep in mind: Reprimanding your cat will usually work against you.

Cats are not like dogs. If you see a wet spot on your kitchen floor, you can’t drag your cat to the spot, yell at it, and send it to the litter box. Doing this will associate “you reaching for them” as a bad experience, and the litter box is a torture chamber. Punishing them makes them stressed out. Stressed out cats will behave badly.

Your dog, wants to please you. They love you and their lives are surrounded by the only sole purpose of pleasing you. Cats, don’t care. It is important to remember this. The best way to “punish” your cat is to basically increase their playtime. Give them a reason to behave not a reason to misbehave. I know, it sounds twisted and complicated… but who said cats aren’t complicated? No one.

Use the Positive Reinforcement Training Method.

begging kitty

To speed up the process, use tasty treats and a clicker. I’m sure you would have guessed the tasty treats part to this process, but a clicker? If you don’t have a clicker on hand a pen will work just fine.

The instant your cat does something you like, click, and then offer them a treat. The click lets your cat know the instant he does the right thing… it will help him catch on faster. Like humans, cats learn through repetition. Like a human with attention deficit disorder, cats get bored easily.

Keep your trick time short, and switch up the drills when they start to catch on.

Some people crave the challenge of the Cat. It takes some work to make them love you, but when they do, they’ll love you like no one else will. I hope this post helps you bond with your feline friend.

Matching Bracelets

Please feel free to leave other tips and tricks in the comment section of this blog.

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on Google+

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Thanksgiving Leftovers – What’s OK to Feed Your Dog?

Princess begging
Thanksgiving is tomorrow! Every year the same thing happens – you have tons of delicious leftover food to gobble up, even days after Thanksgiving has ended. With so much extra food, it might be tempting to share the love with your pet. You know they’ll be begging. But what about those warnings you’ve read — like how table scraps are never OK to feed your pet? Or how a lot of salt and sugar is bad? Or how fatty foods should be avoided? It’s all true, and although some Thanksgiving food is off limits, there’s also some you can feed your pet safely.

Carrots

Dogs need their dose of veggies, and nothing beats a little bowl of leftover carrots. They’ve got potassium, fiber, and vitamins — all things your dog needs to stay healthy. Hard carrots might sometimes be tough for a dog to take down. Cooked carrots are much easier – and those are usually the type of carrots served on Thanksgiving!

Broccoli

Freshen up your dog’s breath with a little leftover broccoli! The vitamins and fiber found in broccoli can help with your dog’s digestion. Just be sure to only give your dog very small portions of it! Eating a large amount of it can lead to irritated bowels and poisoning.

Mashed Potatoes

Regular mashed potatoes can be a little treat for a dog. Mashed potatoes are rich in nutrients — just be sure to only serve a small portion. Always avoid mashed potatoes with onions, raisins, or any other toxic ingredients. Also avoid adding gravy.

Plain White Turkey

Turkey is a lean, mean, protein machine! The number one food of Thanksgiving is is A-OK to feed your pet! Just make sure you peel off excess skin and fat. Also make sure there are no bones, and ensure that’s it’s cooked thoroughly. Plain, white turkey is the best option.

Cranberry Sauce (From Scratch)

Cranberry sauce that you make from scratch (with fruit) can be nutritious for your dog because it will provide various vitamins. If you’re serving your house guests jellied cranberry sauce, or cranberry sauce from a can, avoid serving it to your dog. It’s high in sugar.

Green Beans

If your dog is putting on a little weight, green beans can help fill your dog up and keep their weight down. Green beans have Vitamin C, Vitamin K, and they’re low in calories.

While these foods are OK to feed your pet, always serve them in moderation — you’ll avoid dealing with your dog bloating, having gas, and other digestive issues. If you don’t think a food is right to feed your dog, it probably isn’t.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on !

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Tips for Holiday Travel with Pets

I treat my dog like it’s my child, and I rarely leave home without it! He’s my better half and I couldn’t imagine traveling without him. Every dog is different. If you are thinking about traveling with your furry friend this holiday make sure you have your bases covered.

Be Prepared Before You Travel:

  1. Properly identify your pet with ID Tags. We recommend you give your pet an additional tag with the address and number of the place you are staying just in case your pet wanders off once you get there!
  2. Talk to your vet before making your trip. It is important to make sure your furry friend is healthy enough to travel! Some pets get anxiety while traveling in cars. If this is the case, your vet may be able to write you a prescription for some sedatives. Also! While you are at the vet, it wouldn’t hurt to have a copy of your pets most up-to-date record and vaccinations (it’s better to be safe than sorry)
  3. Make sure you have EVERYTHING you are going to need. Depending on your stay arrangements, trusting new litter or a different pet food might not seem like a big deal to you, but when your pet is adjusting to a new environment it can make a huge difference. The last thing you want is for your pet to act out and decide to use that newly installed carpet as a litter box. Try to keep their lifestyles as normal as possible.

Traveling by Car?

  1. Make sure you keep your dog out of the front seat. If the airbag goes off, it could seriously hurt your furry friend.
  2. Cats belong in carriers. Most cats are uncomfortable traveling in cars, so it’s best to keep them constraint while traveling.
  3. Plan Rest/Exercise Stops
    Make sure to stop frequently to allow your pet to exercise, go to the bathroom, and hydrate. Pets are like humans, they can only hold it for so long- the last thing you want is for an accident to happen in your car while traveling! That smell would not be pleasant! Plan Accordingly! If traveling long-distance it is ideal to try and stop every three hours.

We try not to recommend traveling by plane due to the possible harsh conditions of the cargo. Unless your friend is small enough to be used as a carry-on, we recommend you think about overnight kennel boarding options. Double check with your airline to make sure pets are allowed. Ask about carrier restrictions and try to arrive to the airport early to alleviate any additional stress on your pet.

Whatever you decide to do, travel smart, be safe, and enjoy the time spent with your loved ones. Happy Holidays from my family to yours!

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on !

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To Declaw or Not Declaw? That is the Question.

We all love our furry little four legged felines, but let’s be honest. When they attack your furniture, blinds, curtains, and skin their prickly little claws can be a pain. Some may think it’s similar to getting your baby girls ear-pierced at a young age, and argue that they won’t remember. Others think the process is too traumatic, and compare it to removing the fingertips of human hands.

Let’s go over the Pros and Cons. You can make your own decision.

Con: It’s actually like cutting the tip of your finger off!

The actual procedure sounds pretty awful.
In order to declaw your feline, a piece of the bone the claw grows from has to be removed. To do so, you actually have to carve into a piece of the bone. (see diagram below)

Cat Declaw Operation Diagram

Not so much the simple nail trim we are eager to believe.

Con: Physical and Emotional Problems

When you remove the claw, the cat tends to lose it’s mojo. If you think about it, their history involves them using their claws as a weapon of defense. They also like to maintain a high standard of personal hygiene. Removing their claws would take away their ability to brush out their hair and remove tangles. This could cause personality issues. Beware of the angry kitty below.

Angry Kitty

If you choose to declaw make sure you stop at the pet store and grab a brush to maintain that pretty coat of fur (should help with the shedding too!)

Pro: Save your Furniture! Save your blinds!

It’s a territorial thing. Dogs pee on trees and cats scratch furniture. It just is what it is. The most obvious pro to having your cat declawed is to prevent it from ruining your newly paid leather sofa or sheer curtains.

Pro: Protect yourself from those sharp nails!

Whether it be accidental or intentional you never really know when your cat is going to bust out those little diggers. I think everyone can agree it is a sting and leaves a nice little red scratch on your skin. Declawing your cat could prevent any scramble search for a first aid kit and eliminate the constant need for Neosporin.

Poor little guy took it like a champ!

Ultimately it is your decision. Everyone is different and has their own morals and values.  Weigh your own personal pros and cons and if you do decide to declaw your feline, just make sure to make the necessary steps to a healthy recovery!

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7 Foods Your Dog Should Avoid

Annabel 3 months old
Dogs are often known for begging. Sometimes it can be really hard to resist feeding them whatever you’ve got nearby, especially when they devour it happily. However, it’s important to know that dogs have a very different digestive system than humans. Feeding your dog a healthy, balanced diet will keep them living longer. Here are seven of the worst food offenders for your dog!

Chocolate

With Halloween right around the corner, chocolate might be easier to find than water. Dogs should never consume any chocolate, and the darker it is, the worse it is. The theobromide chemical contained in chocolate could make your dog experience many of the same traits as a sick human. This could include vomiting, increased thirst, and more. Sugarless candy is also an offender. The Xylitol found in it could cause a drop in your dog’s blood sugar, and cause many of the same effects as chocolate.

Nuts

Nuts are very high on the “avoid” list. Macadamia is the main type of nut to avoid. Just a small handful of Macadamia nuts could make your dog uncomfortable for up to 48 hours. This includes weakness in the legs, pain, and tremors. Even worse, it could be near fatal. You’re better off not letting your dog near most types of nuts – for example, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, etc. are also dangerous. Your dog can eat peanut butter, but you should be buying it all-natural. It has less salt and sugar.

Raisins and Grapes

Raisins and grapes are notorious for causing kidney damage. Be careful if your dog consumes even a small amount, because the lethal dosage varies depending on the dog. Your dog could experience various gastrointestinal problems as soon as one day after eating raisins or grapes.

Onions

The rainbow dog 2
If you’ve ever eaten onions, you’re aware of the “kick” it gives your taste buds. It’s important to understand that dogs can’t handle onions as well as humans do. An onion on a piece of pizza that falls off the table probably won’t significantly harm your pet, but watch out for larger doses than that. Any large helping of onions, or even a little bit of onion served regularly is dangerous. Your dog could develop hemolytic anemia which leaves them short on oxygen.

Moldy and Old Food

There are many dog owners that think it’s less wasteful to give their dog moldy food. It’s not! Rotten fruit produces ethanol, and that’s associated with alcohol, which your dog cannot have. Other foods can contain toxins; this can lead to convulsions among other problems. Make sure your dog can’t access the trash, either.

Cat Food

Your dog might enjoy the cat food, and if they’ve had a little of it once in awhile, it’s not terrible. However, cat food typically contains more protein and fat, as well as different vitamins. Since dogs and cats have different digestive systems, your dog should be eating food specifically designed for them to avoid potential health problems.

Table Scraps

A dog that’s continuously fed table scraps is getting an unhealthy, unbalanced diet. It’s okay for your dog to eat a couple of things that fall on the ground, but watch out for it happening regularly. A meal that you can’t finish is probably better off in the trash, despite it feeling wasteful.

This list includes some of the worst foods to feed your dog, but if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call your local veterinarian.

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on !

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5 Pet Care Tips for Fall

Fall is a busy time of year for many families. The kids go back to school and schedules change. However, with all the change that fall brings, it’s important to make sure your pet is happy and healthy. Here are some tips to keep your pets safe all season long:

Feed them pumpkin

Believe it or not, canned pumpkin is good for your pet’s diet! The soluble fiber in pumpkin can actually help with digestive issues. Does your dog have skin problems? Pumpkin also contains antioxidants and fatty acids that can help promote healthy skin and fur. Other nutrients found in pumpkin are beta-carotene and iron, which can help reduce the likelihood of your pet to develop cancer.

Here are some tasty pumpkin recipes for your furry friend:

Brush pet regularly

One of the biggest nuisances pet owners face is unwanted hair in their homes. Unfortunately for us, many pets begin shedding their summer coat during fall to make room for their winter coat. However, you can reduce the amount of shedding by brushing your pet daily. Brushing will also make your pet’s coat softer and cleaner.

Daily aerobic exercise

Take advantage of the beautiful fall weather by taking your pet for a long walk or throwing a Frisbee in the park. Exercise helps to keep pets healthy, agile and limber. It also helps to prevent injury. With today’s busy lifestyles, many pet owners find it difficult to give their animals the exercise they deserve. While the amount of exercise needed depends on their age, size, and breed, most pets will benefit enormously from daily aerobic exercise.

Flea and tick control

With fall, comes flea and tick season. Fleas carry tapeworms that can drain your pet of blood and nutrients. In order to control fleas and ticks, it’s important to keep the area surrounding your home clear of debris. You can also apply an outdoor insecticide that is labeled specifically for ticks. Don’t forget to check your pets regularly!

Bundle up

UntitledFall months bring chilly weather. If your pet spends most of its time outdoors, make sure he or she has a warm place to sleep at night. Prolonged exposure to cold can result in frostbite. It’s equally as important that your pet stays dry, as a wet coat loses its insulating properties. Hypothermia can occur when a pet has been submerged in cold water for long periods of time.

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Importance of Vaccinating Your Pet

Puppy LoveVaccinations play a major role in protecting your pet’s health. Because some illnesses can be transferred to humans, vaccines can protect you too! The most common vaccines used today are for rabies, distemper and hepatitis. Vaccinating your pet is one of the easiest ways to help him or her live a long, healthy life.

What are vaccines?

Vaccines can help your pet’s immune system to fight the invasion of disease-causing organisms. Vaccines contain antigens, which look like a disease-causing organism to the immune system, however they don’t actually cause disease. When a vaccine is introduced to your pet’s body, their immune system becomes activated. Then, if your pet is ever exposed to the real disease, his or her immune system will recognize the disease and fight it off entirely or at least minimize the severity of the illness.

Types of vaccinations

There are several types of vaccines recommended for all pets. While vaccines differ slightly for dogs and cats, the end result is protection from illness. The first type are core vaccines. These vaccines are generally recommended for all pets and protect against potentially fatal diseases. The second type are non-core vaccines, which are given depending on your pet’s age, lifestyle and the geographic area in which you live. Some veterinarians will recommend yearly vaccinations. Work with your veterinarian to determine an immunization program that fits your pet’s needs, risks and lifestyle.

Health risks for your pet

The most common reason people choose to not vaccinate their pet is because they worry about the potential side effects. Like any medical procedure, vaccinations do have some risk. However, the risk is often much greater if you do not vaccinate your pet at all. Reactions to vaccinations are rare and generally include pain or swelling at the point of injection. If you have any questions about vaccinating your pet, please talk with your veterinarian. They will always have your pet’s best interest in mind.

Vaccinations have become second nature for pets today, as they can effectively prevent against life threatening diseases. Not only can vaccinations protect your pet’s health, but also the health of your entire family. While there are some risks to vaccinating your pet, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on !

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How to Prevent Flea and Tick Infestation

Labrador pupFlea and tick prevention can help keep your pet happy and healthy. And it’s much cheaper than controlling them once fleas and ticks have settled on your pet. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with fleas and ticks, they are considered external parasites that can cause extreme discomfort and serious illness in pets, sometimes people.

Flea and tick prevention is very important because it can help prevent diseases, such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. When ingested, fleas can cause tapeworm, which can drain your pet of blood and nutrients. As you can see, preventing flea and tick is necessary for the health and well-being of your pet. Here’s how you can prevent flea and tick infestation:

Flea and Tick Preventatives

The best way to protect your pet from fleas and ticks is by using preventatives. These products are typically administered orally by tablet or topically, using a liquid medication. Most liquid medications should be applied between your pet’s shoulder blades or at the back of their neck. Always read medications carefully. For instance, some flea products only protect against adult fleas, while other preventatives also target other stages of the flea life cycle, which is more beneficial to your pet.

Avoid Tick Habitats

Another way to protect your pet from infestation is by keeping him or her out of tick habitats, such as heavily wooded areas and tall grass. In your personal yard, you should strive to keep grass short and brushes cut back. This will help significantly to create a tick-free zone for your pet to play safely. Ticks also like moist areas. With fall right around the corner, it’s important to keep leaf liter at a minimum around your house.

Check Pets Regularly

Get your pet accustomed to regular tick checks. You can do this by checking your pet every time it comes indoors. If you have dark-colored or long-haired pets, this is especially important. When checking your pet, make sure to check their entire body. For a long-haired animal, consider giving him or her a haircut in the spring and keeping it short through the fall. Trust me, it’s much easier to check for ticks on a short-haired animal. If you find a tick, never remove it with your bare hands. Always use a pair of tweezers and grasp as close to the mouth as possible.

When it comes to flea and tick prevention, some medications can be highly toxic to different animals. Therefore, you should always use products on the species for which they are intended for. Don’t let your pet get bit this season. Protect him or her today!

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on !

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Keeping Pets Safe In Summer Heat

Bonzer in the kiddie Pool
Even though the end of the summer is approaching, there are plenty of warm days left. In order to keep your pets healthy, you need to make sure they’re safe in the summer heat. Even if it the temperature feels okay to you, it might not feel okay to your pet! Read this guide for some advice on keeping them safe and sound.

Looking for Heatstroke in Pets

A high body temperature means your pet is in danger.  If it’s between 104 and 110 degrees (specifically for dogs and cats) you should seek veterinary help immediately. Often times, however, you won’t be able to tell what the body temperature is. Look out for other clues – like your pet walking differently, excessive panting, a very fast heartbeat, salivation, and more. When you cool down your pet, make sure you’re doing it properly. You never want to put ice water on your pet; it will make them more cold and potentially create more damage.

Never Leave Your Pet in the Car

No pet owner is an exception to this rule. Even if you intend to run into a store for a minute, it could take a lot longer than you planned. And heat rises rapidly in a car. Think about the times you’ve come back to your car in the summer. It’s always hot, right? Imagine your pet being in there. Rolling the windows down slightly won’t help either – the temperature in the car won’t drop significantly enough. Remember that animals can feel as hot as you do, so leave your pet at home, or make sure you’re going to places that are pet friendly.

Keep Water Stocked

It seems simple, but you’ll probably need more water for your pet than you think. Make sure it’s clean, fresh, and changed often. Like humans, pets lose water through sweating, but also through panting. If you need to install something to hook up to your outdoor faucet, by all means, do it!

Keep Your Pets in a Cool Area

When it’s really hot out, pets should be kept out of direct sunlight. Shade is a pet’s friend. Try getting your pet a kiddie pool if tget can swim. Just remember – pets can get sunburned. Just like for humans, sunburns aren’t healthy!

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on !

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