Monday, August 16, 2010

Keep your Pets Cool

Summertime is here, and according to Eric and Barbie at WLBT, it's going to be hot for a while longer!  When we get hot, we can get a cool drink, go inside, or set the thermostat a little cooler.  Our dogs and cats can't do that, so it’s up to us to be sure they don’t overheat.
With the dog days of summer before us, pet owners should beware of the dangers of heatstroke in pets.
Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition that results when pets cannot adequately rid themselves of excess body heat. Pets rely on panting to cool down. Although panting is a very efficient way to control body heat, it is severely limited in areas with high humidity or low ventilation. The intake of cool, fresh water improves the cooling effects of panting.

Dogs with pug noses are more likely to develop heatstroke because their small nasal passages make it difficult to circulate sufficient air for cooling. Overweight dogs, whose extra layers of fat act as insulation, are also prone to overheating. Age can also be a factor in an animal’s tendency to overheat. Very young pets and elderly pets are more likely to develop heatstroke.

For information on the dangers of leaving dogs in hot cars, or in other potentially hazardous situations, see

Thursday, August 12, 2010

How To Pick a Good Companion Dog

If you are thinking of a dog as a good companion, you may be tempted to first look at some of the more popular breeds, pick out some puppies and then select the character that you want. And there are hundreds of breeds to choose from - just think of the Artois Hound and the Francais Tricolore. But, try looking for a dog that fits your personality. Seek a pet that is the picture of what you planned and can bond with you. Whether the dog is a puppy or an adult is not really a consideration most of the time. Breeds may have a certain reputation, but there are no hard, fast rules. These tips, though, can help you find a good companion dog.

Search for a puppy or adult that has a personality that fits your own needs and your experience. If you have handled dogs before and have experience, then a more dominant, independent dog may work for you. However, if you are not aggressive yourself or are not used to working with dogs, a submissive animal may be a better choice for you. When you are looking at puppies or small dogs, try to turn it over on its back. A dominant dog will oppose you, trying to turn it over. If it fights to turn over, try to comfort it. If it settles down shortly, it is more submissive. If it does not struggle at all, but just relaxes, you have a very submissive dog.

A dog that is fairly quiet and requires little care is better for you if you are more laid back yourself. If you have an active lifestyle, you may discover a more active, hyper dog to be more your style. If you spend much of the day away from home and your dog would be alone during that time, you want to find a dog that is a little independent and is less likely to suffer from separation anxiety.

You also want a dog that will be your companion dog to be smart and eager to please. This will make it easy to teach it what you want it to know and it will be eager to learn the skills and perform them. When you take your dog out in public, you don't want a fear biter or a dog that is aggressive to strangers. Of course, avoiding this will come from socializing the dog frequently.  The quick-learning dog will pick up cues from you when determining who is friend and who is foe.

Dogs can be superb companions, when they have the right characteristics for your needs. Also, while many folks feel that only puppies can be trained, this is patently false. Many adult dogs are rescued from shelters daily and they are trained quite easily. The key to training a dog is bonding with it. When you have bonded with your dog, it will do anything that you ask. They will learn to anticipate what your needs and will even try to find new ways to communicate with you. If you are attentive, you and your dog can establish your own special form of communication and this can give you a companion dog that is invaluable.

Article is available at

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Growing up on a Farm

When I was a child, my family had all kinds of animals.   Daddy had hound dogs, bird dogs, yard dogs, but never a house dog.  I remember Lucky, our English shepherd, loved to run in the pasture to help Daddy with the cows.  Yep, we had cows and horses, too.  Chickens and pigs rounded out our crew on the farm.

Our summers were spent baling hay, putting it in the barn for the animals to eat in the winter.   For six years I raised a hog for my 4-H project.   We would buy a March-born pig from another farmer, get it at weaning age, and I would take care of it until the fair in September.  We knew just what week the pig needed to be born to get to the right weight by fair time. My sister and I walked our pigs down the lane beside our house to get them ready for the show.  At the fair we bathed them and shined them up with oil.  I still have my showmanship trophy and lots of the ribbons.

And I still have the work ethic that I learned from caring for animals and gardening on the farm.   As teenagers my sisters and I could not go to every activity and event that was offered in town.  We worked in the gardens until nightfall, ate supper late, and got up early to go to school the next day.  We helped my mother with canning and freezing and pickling and preserving all of the produce that the family would eat all year long.  Valuable lessons were learned on the farm.

Today I live in town.  A hot Mississippi town.  We have nine kids, and not much room for them to have outdoor pets.  And some of my close family members are allergic to indoor animals.  So I get my puppy love by visiting friends with pets and caring for the pets while their people are out of town. 

Call me to help you take care of your pets.  Your first "Meet the Pet" visit is absolutely free!  601-750-2896

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Meet the Pet Sitter

Pet Sitter Meet and Greet

Here are some tips for your first meeting with a potential pet sitter.

1)  Does the pet sitter arrive on time for your appointment?  Punctuality (or the lack thereof) can tell you a lot about a person's attitude toward you and your pets.

2)  Is the pet sitter prepared for this meeting?  Did he or she bring forms such as a vet release, information sheets, etc.?  A professional pet sitter will also be prepared to answer any questions you may have.

3)  Is the pet sitter insured and/or bonded?  What does the insurance coverage mean to you as a pet owner?

4)  How does the pet sitter approach your pet?  Does he or she know how to make your pet feel at ease?

5)  Does the pet sitter have references  you can call to make sure they performed their tasks properly in the past?

6)  Does the pet sitter offer the "Meet the Pet" visit for free?

7)  Does the pet sitter write down all of the instructions that you give about the care and feeding of your pets?   Attention to detail is the mark of a professional pet sitter.

You will get all this and more when you call me to be your pet sitter in the Jackson, MS, metro area.