Monday, March 27, 2017

What Your New Orleans Pet Sitter Can Do For You

Our furry family members hold an important place in our lives and taking care of their needs is a top priority. Unfortunately, because many pet parents are forced to spend much of their day away from home due to work and other obligations, their babies are often left unattended for hours on end without entertainment. This is where having a pet sitter to call on can come in handy.

Is your fur baby getting enough quality time? These days most of us have come to realize that having a pet at home involves quite a lot more than just feeding, occasional bathing, and picking up after an animal. We understand that dogs, cats, and other cuddly critters have some of the same need for stimulation that their human caregivers do. They crave attention and affection, and keeping them active is important to both their physical health and emotional well-being.

Our client, Harold, enjoying a good head scratch.

Having an insured pet sitter visit your home at least once a day while you're working ensures that your fur baby avoids boredom - and doesn't engage in destructive behaviors. It will also keep your BFF from being too sedentary - which can lead to obesity and other unwanted health issues.

In New Orleans, Petit Pet Care provides in home service to households with "petit" pets up to 40 lbs. Dog walking services are available in the morning, afternoon or evening, and pet sitting services are provided 7 am to 7 pm all seven days of the week. Insured and bonded, we are members of Pet Sitters Associates, and we're Red Cross certified in dog and cat first aid as well as pet CPR.

Our client, Benson, after returning from a walk.

Many pet parents work full-time jobs and are up and out very early in the morning on weekdays. That can mean a quick let-out in the morning with your pup is all there is time for. Having a professional pet sitter come over to walk and play with your BFF is a great way to make certain he won't have to wait all day to relieve himself again, and he'll get to have fun and even enjoy some beneficial exercise.

Hiring an in-home caregiver is an especially good idea for those living in apartment buildings without the benefit of a real back yard. Your New Orleans pet sitter can pick up your dog while you're at work and take him to City Bark or one of the other local off-leash dog parks for a good tiring out. As everyone knows, a tired dog is a better behaved dog.

Our client, Tillie, looks suspicious because she knows her pill is coming. 

Older pets in particular, and those with special needs, can especially benefit from the personalized care a professional, in-home pet sitter provides. At Petit Pet Care we have experience caring for pets with medical needs and can administer your pet's topical and oral medications, as well as insulin injections.

In-home pet sitting isn't just for when you're at work. In the event that you have to travel, in-home sitting offers a number of advantages over boarding. Your fur baby gets to stick to her routine in her own familiar surroundings where she's most comfortable and be a lot less stressed while you're away. In addition, you get the peace of mind of knowing she won't be exposed to any of the potential risks that can come with kenneling.

Our client, Olive, taking advantage of pet taxi service.

Petite Pet Care doesn't do pack walks; that means your pet gets our full attention. We also provide additional services for our established clients such as pet taxi and lockout assistance. On extended sits we also bring in mail, water plants and will turn lights on and off as needed.

For more information on our dog walking and pet sitting services please visit our web site.

Useful links:

The Benefits of Hiring a Pet Sitter

What to Expect From Professional Pet Sitters

Choosing a Pet Sitter

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Benefits of Regular Grooming For Your Cat

Many pup parents frequently take their fur babies in for regular grooming, and for even more, regular baths at home are the norm, but what about feline family members? Cats spend quite a lot of time grooming themselves in the course of even a single day so it might be surprising to learn that they can actually benefit substantially from a little assistance by you.

If the idea of grooming a cat seems funny or foreign then consider this: Regular grooming is the best way to prevent hairballs. It promotes healthy skin, helps manage shedding and dander, prevents mats and tangles for long haired cats, and circumvents the digestive problems (and vet bills) associated with those nasty, dreaded trichobezoars (the technical term for hairballs) -- and that's just for starters.

So just exactly what is involved in grooming a cat? Regimens will vary slightly according to cat breed and age, but essentially, tending to coats, skin, claws, and ears monthly, weekly, or even daily is what's needed. Cats can be groomed at home or taken to a professional. Keep in mind that older cats and those in a single cat household will need a little extra help with the areas they can't reach themselves.

Our Clients Bean and Cosmo helping each other out with grooming tasks.

Most cats have a double coat. That means they have a layer of short hairs as well as another of longer hairs that are different textures and serve different functions. Indoor-only cats tend to shed a bit year-round, so it's a good idea to brush them regularly to keep hair from ending up everywhere from in their gut to all over your clothing and furniture.

Short hair cats can benefit from weekly brushing while long haired cats will need it more often - like daily. You can even follow up a good brushing with a few passes from a wipe/moist towelette to get at any remaining hairs. Be sure to choose the right brush for the type of coat that your cat has, and keep in mind that brushing also promotes good skin health.

In addition to regular brushing, some cats will actually benefit from an occasional bath. While it's generally thought that cats naturally loathe water, the truth is that many don't mind it all. If your cat is young, affectionate, and/or likes attention, chances are bath time will go over a lot easier with them.

Our Client Mina thinks water is for playtime.

The good news though is that baths are rarely necessary - only when kitty has gotten into something sticky, smelly, greasy, super dusty, or something you wouldn't want her to try and lick off. Of course if kitty spends time outdoors this will increase the chance of her getting dirty and possibly needing a wash.

A dip in the tub could also be in order if your cat is older and can no longer reach everywhere as easily. Be sure to check the backside of fur babies with long hair for "leftovers"... If the time comes where you've determined your feline friend does indeed need a bath, be sure to only use cat approved shampoo as anything else can be too drying to their skin.

Bath or no bath, when it comes to grooming your cat you will actually want to start with their claws, especially for felines not used to a grooming regimen. Cats need to scratch and claw to maintain their nails so you can proactively protect your rugs and furniture by helping them out with a regular mani-pedi.

These sweet little paws belong our client Gherig.

An added benefit to regular nail maintenance is that it allows affectionate kitties to play with you and put their paws on you without snagging your clothing or accidentally clawing and scratching up your skin. It will also make any visits to the vet easier and safer. By no means should you ever declaw a cat.

If you're not squeamish, you can learn to clip the tip of kitty's nails yourself, taking special care to avoid the quick (that pink area). You'll want to clip only the tip, and at just the right angle; here's a great youtube video from PetCo that demonstrates how to give kitty a nail trim.

Does your kitty have any extra toes? Polydactyl cats in particular will need a regular nail trim to protect their paws from ingrown nails. Kitties with extra toes need to be monitored carefully so they don't incur injury, and in some cases poly cats may need their extra claw removed (not a declawing) in order to prevent infection and trauma.

Our client, David, is a polydactyl.

In between nail trims it's also a good idea to regularly inspect paw pads for cuts or other issues, and you might give them a wipe periodically as well. After all, kitty spends a lot of time walking around the house barefoot.

Cleaning your cat's ears is something you won't have to do often, but they should be checked regularly to be sure kitty doesn't have any ear health problems. Examine the outer area first and call your vet if you see anything out of the ordinary such as bald spots or sores. If kitty's ears are a little dirty they can be cleaned easily with a moist cotton ball.

Never use cotton swabs inside, and unless you have experience cleaning your cat's ears, it isn't a good idea to try an ear solution. Extensive cleaning is best left to your vet, especially if your cat is a little older and not accustomed to grooming. To get your fur baby used to having her ears handled, you may want to start my gently massaging them. In addition to looking clean, a healthy ear should smell clean. If there's any doubt, check with your vet.

In addition to the overall health benefits, grooming provides an opportunity to examine your cat for any possible skin conditions, lumps, bumps or insects. It's also a great way to to bond with your fur baby and show affection.

For more information on grooming and other aspects of cat care, be sure to check out our Pinterest board: Cat Culture

Useful links:

Health Benefits of Grooming Your Cat

A Cat Parent's Guide to Grooming

Cat Grooming Tips from the ASPCA

Different Strokes for Different Coats

Tips For Preventing and Treating Hairballs in Cats

How to Best Take Care of Cat Claws

Safe Alternatives to Declawing Your Cat

Monday, January 30, 2017

Walking in a NOLA Wonderland

Audubon Park uptown provides a great space for a winter afternoon walk.

When we think of winter pet care, what immediately comes to mind (besides shivering) is images of animals outdoors in the cold encountering snow, rain, and other horrors of frigidity, but for those of us living in the deep south in the U.S., the reality of winter is something altogether completely different.

Believe it or not, New Orleans averages just six nights of freezing temperatures per year. Because our subtropical climate generally spares us from harsh temperatures and snow, it can be easy to forget that in many places, this time of year winter really is winter. It can also be easy to forget how to be prepared when real winter does happen. For us in New Orleans, winter is a constant cycle of do we wear a sweater today or a T-shirt?

Ironically, January is National Walk Your Dog Month. While the average daily temperature this time of the year is 61F for New Orleans (our coldest month), it's not nearly that pleasant in most of the rest of country. That leads to the question, who decided that January should be walk your dog month? Had to have been a southerner.

Our client, Lulu, pausing to brace herself in the wind.

Since New Orleans is green year-round, taking walks in winter when it's not oppressively hot is great for both dogs and humans (especially on those days when it's in the 60s). Regular walks allow dogs of all ages to get exercise as well as learn about and interact with the world around them.

For most dogs, outdoor temperatures in the 50s don't pose much risk, but for small breeds there is some potential for unsafe conditions beginning at about 40F. All breeds are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia so don't take it for granted that your BFF doesn't need a sweater or booties. Also, don't forget about the potential effect of wind chill on your fur babies.

Some older pets, puppies and kittens, as well as animals with health issues can all have trouble regulating body temperature. When it's windy out, the natural body heat given off at the skin's surface will be reduced, making it harder to stay warm enough. In extreme cases, strong winter wind can even cause eye damage.

Our client, Sam, all bundled up for his outing on a chilly day.

We covered a number of important winter pet care tips in a previous blog post, but there a few points worth repeating: Never leave animals in a car for any length of time. Just as a car can heat up to oven temps on warm days, it can get refrigerator frosty during cold snaps.

Make sure pets are able to stay hydrated both indoors and out, and keep them away from space heaters which can cause serious burns. Not everyone has central air and New Orleans is full of drafty old houses so if you must use a space heater, purchase one that automatically shuts off if tipped over.

Provide beds with sides for both cats and dogs, and consider adding pads that use the animal's own body heat to help them stay warm without electricity. Special pads and extra blankets can be especially useful for older pets with mobility issues or those with short legs.

Our client, Biscuit, chilling out on his nice comfy bed.

We've already mentioned the benefits of walking at any time of year - and we'll continue to do so in the future - but if your New Year resolution was to exercise and be more fit, your four-legged BFF couldn't be a better partner. Who better to keep you motivated than someone who always wants to go out?

While fitness is essential to good health, the second most important reason for walking your dog regularly is the mental stimulation it provides. Dogs who aren't bored during the day and who get to burn off excess energy will automatically be better behaved, especially when you have to be away from home for several hours.

Our client, Benny, all set to explore.

Be sure to change things up on your route from time to time to provide different sights and smells. If time allows, consider venturing to another part of town. Your dog will be in ecstatic with an entire new set of sights and smells to experience.

Whether it's National Walk Your Dog Month, or any other time of the year, taking your dog (or cat) out for an ambulatory excursion is a great opportunity to get in some real quality time. If you and your BFF have a favorite place to hang out in the New Orleans area, we'd love to know about it! Leave a comment below and tell us your favorite place in the area to explore, walk, run or play.

For specific information on winter protection, be sure to see our Pinterest Board on Winter Pet Care.

Useful links:

Winterizing Pets Can Take the Chill Away

Keeping Your Indoor Cat Warm in Winter

5 Ways to Protect Pets This Winter

Cats and Cars in Cold Weather

An Explanation of Wind Chill