Thanks to our more advanced veterinary care, there’s a good chance you’ll have your pet with you quite a while. Whether you’ve had your pet throughout their life or recently adopted a senior animal, caring for older pets can be a challenge. You want to make sure they’re comfortable and enjoying life, but it can be hard to make sure you’re covering all of your bases, especially since elderly pets aren’t always able to tell you exactly what they need. Here are some basic guidelines for caring for your older fur kids.
- Up your annual vet visit to a semi-annual trip
You’ve likely been keeping your pet’s annual visit to the vet on the schedule for years, but older pets can benefit from going twice a year. These extra visits can help your care provider catch early warning signs of disease before they get out of control. The extra time with the doctor will also provide you time to ask questions about caring for your aging pet.
- Understand geriatric health risks
Elderly pets face a myriad of diseases. It’s important to know what these are so that you can keep an eye out for symptoms in between vet appointments. Depending on the animal, these diseases could include cancer, arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, loss of eyesight, and liver disease. Check with your vet about early warnings signs you should be looking for.
Just like us, aging animals may need to tweak their diet. They often need easily digestible food the older they get. Check with your vet about recommendations. You can also ask the Salty’s staff and the folks at Fang and Feather for some ideas.
- Maintain their mental health
The need for mental stimulation increases as your pet gets older. Take your dog for regular walks, provide toys that offer mental stimulation, and invest in quality time with them while they play. Keeping their mind young can help your pets stay with you longer, and enjoy a high quality of life while they’re here.
- Choose an end-of-life plan before you need one
It’s devastating to consider euthanizing your pet, and it’s understandable to not want to think about it. However, it’s much easier to consider what you will do when the worst happens well before that moment actually arrives. Many vets can provide you with a quality of life scale, to help you understand when your pet may be suffering. You can also plan with your vet what the day will look like if you have to euthanize your pet. It will be comforting to you that if the moment comes that you have to make this difficult choice, you will know what to expect and will know that your friend will comfortable and loved.
The “dog people vs. cat people” debate is a long running one. Many people do love both types of animals and even have both in their home, but plenty of people prefer one over the other. Some of those who don’t consider themselves “cat people” have misconceptions about what cats are like, and what kind of pets they are. These misconceptions often extend to people who do like cats and haven’t owned one yet. Cats can offer a life of fun and enjoyment for their owners and make great companions. Here’s some of the top misunderstandings about owning a cat.
Those who don’t like cats often say they’re grouchy, mean-spirited animals. While there are definitely grumpy cats (and dogs!) out there, cats are can be loving, loyal pets. Cats do prefer to do their own thing sometimes and like to nap frequently, but they also like snuggle, lay in your lap, and sleep close you at night. Many cats are very people friendly, and get along well with anyone willing to give them under the chin scratches.
- Cats take care of themselves
It’s true that cats don’t need the daily walks dogs require, and spend stretches of their day with no attention from you. However, this doesn’t mean it’s a great idea to leave them alone for the weekend, even with a very full food dish. Any number of accidents can happen while you’re away. Just because a cat doesn’t require as much daily attention as a dog, that doesn’t mean they’re totally safe alone for stretches of a few days. It’s important to still have someone checking in on them or place them at a boarding facility while you’re away.
Dogs are known for their lovable, playful attitudes, but cats can be the same way! Cats love to play with ribbons, cat nip toys, boxes, and anything else they can get their paws on. Interacting with them during playtime can strengthen your bond with your cat, and help them get the brain activity they need to stay healthy. We all know dogs can be big goofs, but cats are also silly! Any cat owner can tell you of midnight “goblin hunts” featuring their cat running around the house at full speed and attacking shadows in the middle of the night.
Cats don’t often use noise to communicate with each other, but they will vocalize to talk with their owners. This is most often to get their attention at dinner time, but cats have also been known to sit and “converse” with their owners. They also have special chirps for the birds they see out the window, and loving purrs during snuggle time.
We often worry about what we will do if we lose our own pets. It can be a very scary situation! We have to rely on the kindness and knowledge of others to get them home. This means it’s a good idea for you to know what to do if you find a stray pet; you can make the difference in getting them home to their families safe and secure. They may have a collar with contact information that makes it easy, but not always. Here are our top 3 tips for helping lost pets get home.
- Use caution when catching the animal
A lost pet is likely very scared, and may be in a less than ideal location. If you notice a lost animal, make sure you are secure first – don’t stop in the middle of traffic or attempt to run across a highway. You will need to approach the animal slowly, and know when they are too scared or aggressive for you to handle alone. If you have treats with you, it may be possible to lure them to the safety of your vehicle or home. Be on the lookout for signs of illness and aggression, and keep yourself safe.
- Be prepared to assume financial responsibility
If the pet you find is injured, try getting them to a vet or animal hospital once you have safely collected them. However, don’t plan on free vet care or the owner paying you back. Depending on the animal’s situation, this may not be an option. Be prepared to pay for the vet care they need out of your own pocket.
- Contact the local shelter and animal control
As soon as possible, get in touch with your local shelter and animal control. There is a chance the owner is frantically looking for their pet, and has already contacted these organizations to ask for help. Even if they haven’t called yet, the authorities may know where the pet belongs. It’s also important to be in touch with in case you can’t keep the animal in your home; they will need a place to stay until they are reconnected with their owner. If these organizations haven’t heard from anyone, sites like Craigslist are great resources. Owners searching for pets will often post here looking for help, as well as hang signs in community centers.
Spring is here at last! This time of year is fantastic for an overhaul on your garden, yard, or houseplants to add in fresh color and scents. However, it’s important to make plant choices that are non-toxic to our pets. March 20-26 this year is Pet Poison Prevention Week, which spotlights the need for safety for our furry friends with the plants, chemicals, and foods in our homes.
Some of the most popular flowers in the Pacific Northwest – including tulips – can harm your pet. Quite a few herbs happen to be pet friendly, however, meaning you can expand your flavor menu without worrying about issue with animal toxicity.
Here’s some suggestions for safe, beautiful plants you can incorporate into your spring plans while keeping your peace of mind, and some plants to avoid.
Non-toxic to Dogs and Cats:
Toxic to Dogs and Cats:
-Tulips (concentrated in the bulb)
Each March, Pet Poison Prevention Week spotlights the importance of keeping our pets safe from toxic substances. Unfortunately, many things that we can consume and touch without a second thought can cause serious harm to our animals. Ongoing education about what can affect our pets and how is vital. From food to chemicals, we have to be diligent about what our pets have access to.
It can be very scary when you discover your pet has eaten something you know is toxic to them. If this happens to your pet, it’s important to remain calm while you assess the situation. Our fur kids can often tell when we are scared and stressed, and can feel the effects. You’ll also be able to think more clearly if you keep calm. Acting quickly and efficiently can save your pet’s life. Here’s a guide to your next steps if your pet comes in contact with something toxic.
If you witness your pet eating the toxic substance, quickly remove it and/or your pet from the area. Note the ingredients of the product by writing down information from the label or taking a photo. Watch your pet for symptoms and changes in breathing, but know that they may act relatively normal at first even if they’ve been poisoned.
If you notice your pet breathing strangely or acting erratically but didn’t see them eating anything, place them in a safe location with a family member while you search for the potential toxin.
- Call the Pet Poison Helpline or your personal vet
The Pet Poison Helpline is a great resource for these types of situations. While they sometimes have a consultation fee for their services, they can be a major help particularly when you can’t reach your regular vet. You can program their number in your phone (800-213-6680) for easy access. You can also call your vet directly if it’s during operating hours, or if they have an emergency line.
- Do not induce vomiting or give medication
Unless specifically directed by your vet, do not give your pet any home remedies for poisoning or attempt to induce vomiting.
If the situation is serious, the Helpline or your vet may direct you to bring your pet in for an emergency visit. Try getting them into their travel carrier if you can to keep them safe and comfortable in the car. If possible, have someone else drive you there so that you can sit with your pet in the car and keep an eye on them.
After the situation is over and your pet is safe and healthy at home, review what it was they ate and where they got it from. Consider moving the item to a new location to prevent future issues. You can also use this time to go over other toxic substances in your house and how to keep them out of pets’ reach.
March 6th – 12th is Professional Pet Sitters Week! We all deserve and need vacation time, but it can be stressful deciding on care for your pets while you’re gone. It’s not always ideal to just have a friend stop by and check on them; they have their own busy lives to attend to as well. Boarding facilities can be a fantastic option – but the best ones are understandably often booked far in advance. A professional pet sitter can be a life saver and give you peace of mind when you’re travelling. You can hire a sitter to stay at your home, check on your pets throughout the day, or watch your pets in their own home.
You don’t want to just hire the first pet sitter you come across online, however. Here’s some tips for finding a caring, knowledgeable professional to look after your fur kids.
- Ask sources you trust for a reference.
- There are lots of useful sites and organizations that can help you choose a sitter, but some of the best recommendations come from family and friends who’ve used pet sitters in the past. You can also ask the experts on our team the next time you come in the store if they have any recommendations.
- Ask to see training certificates, proof of business insurance, and veterinary associations.
- Good professional pet sitters put in a lot of time and work to grow their business and their skill sets. When talking with a potential sitter, ask about what training they’ve completed and ask if you can see copies of certifications. You’ll also want to see their proof of business insurance. It’s also good for a pet sitter to have a relationship with an area vet in case of emergencies, so be sure to get this info.
- Interview and be interviewed.
- While you’re interviewing a potential pet sitter, see if they’re taking notes about you and asking detailed questions about your pet. A good professional will want to interview you just as much as you interview them!
- Define quality time.
- It’s important to clarify what the pet sitter considers quality time with your pets. Even if they’ll be staying at your house or keeping your pet at home with them, you’ll want to know how much time they’ll be playing with, cuddling, and focusing on your pet.
- Help your pet sitter help you and your pets.
- Set everyone up for success by making sure your pets are up to date on vaccinations before your trip; leaving detailed instructions; buying extra food and supplies before leaving; and making sure your pet has access to their favorite toys and items during the sitter’s time. Also, set up guidelines for updates from your pet sitter so everyone will know what to expect communication wise.
Parker’s still on high alert just in case we throw another party! After last weekend’s fun, can you blame him?
Ever rub your fingers on the inside of your pet’s water bowl and you feel a slippery slime of sorts?
There is a collection of organic and inorganic, living and dead materials collected on the surface of your pet’s water bowls called biofilm. This is both good AND bad bacteria.
Even though dogs and cats constantly lick their bowls clean, that doesn’t substitute for cleaning your pet’s food and water dish after every meal. What can you do?
- Wash and scrub both the water and food dishes with hot water and soap.
- Running them through the hottest cycle of the dishwasher to get them clean and sterilized is the best method.
Stainless steel or heavy plastic “crock-style” dishes are best for frequent cleaning: They last forever. Fortunately, stainless steel bowls are simple to clean and sanitize, and their nonporous surface helps keep bacteria away.
STAY Pet Hotel’s Waggin’ Wagon, a social club for dogs, allows owners to schedule regular play dates for their pets without the hassle of driving to the dog park or heading out for a walk after a long day at work. The Waggin’ Wagon comes directly to your home in the morning, picks up your pooch for an entertaining ride back to STAY Pet Hotel, and provides ample time for your dog to make friends, romp and play. After lunch, the pups are returned home safe and sound, ready to greet mom and dad after a busy day.
Parker, my three-legged rescue, comes back exhausted from playgroup. He’s made some great friends, and the socialization is not only paying off when he’s in the shop greeting other dogs – he’s a happier, more content dog at home as well.
Waggin’ Wagon offers its service in North and Northeast Portland and has recently expanded to cover Southeast Portland neighborhoods (covering from E Burnside to SE Division, and then East to I-205).
On Sunday, February 14, our sister store Salty’s Pet Supply welcomed friends (furry and human) to our 11th anniversary celebration!
The event also marked the end of our “Jake ‘n Max’s Boxes of Love” drive, a pet supply drive specifically for senior dogs. For the third year in a row, both Salty’s Pet Supply and Fang & Feather accepted donations for the drive, and this year’s drive beneficiaries were My Way Home Dog Rescue and Animal Aid. We had a lovely day with both groups, and My Way Home brought three dogs with them. Nick (the red guy on the right) got adopted by a couple that lives near Salty’s, so we will get to see him all the time!
Two of our vendors, Open Farm and Weruva, gave out tasty samples during our event. Lots of customers stopped by to enjoy the treats and support the groups, which also received 10 percent of anniversary sales and all proceeds from the raffle. Between Salty’s and Fang and Feather we raised $700 to split between the My Way Home and Animal Aid, and with the donation drive each store delivered nearly a car load each of donations of treats, beds, food, and other supplies. Thank you to all our wonderful customers for helping support these dogs and cats!
Special thanks to Spot Magazine for spreading the word about our our 11th anniversary celebration and Meat for Cats & Dogs and Tails R Waggin’ Doggy Day Care, which helped collect 2016’s “Jake ‘n Max’s Boxes of Love”!