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HOW TO CHOOSE A PET CARE PROVIDER

In this article I am going to offer some honest advice to anyone looking for a pet sitter who will treat their pet well and keep their home safe and secure.  After spending years studying best practices, building up a business from scratch, attending business seminars and experiencing setbacks I feel that I have learned a few things along the way.

There are many horror stories about things that can go wrong in a pet visit.  Often times, this is because a person decides one day to call them self a pet sitter without any idea of what it entails and no training other than a love of pets.   I hope to help you avoid those scary experiences.  By describing exactly what a professional pet care company should offer you will be better equipped to pick the right one for your family.

What to avoid in a potential pet sitter:

  • When you are shopping around, be sure to choose a company that is dedicated to pets – there are several in the Tri-City area.  A company that also does yard work and runs a delivery service is not going to be focused on your pet care needs.  We do not recommend asking a friend or family member.  Many times we get asked to step in after that friend becomes ill or gets too busy – and this is a confusing situation for the pets. 
  • As much as you may want to help a teenager out with a job, a young person (under age 18) is not equipped to handle all the challenges that can come up when working with pets.  We always recommend that teenagers volunteer with a rescue group to gain animal experience.
  • Are you considering hiring a person who says they “recently worked for” a local boarding facility, pet sitter, groomer or vet?  We HIGHLY RECOMMEND that you call the business they worked for and make sure that this person left on good terms.  I cannot stress this enough:  there may be a good reason this person is no longer working there!  
  • Is the person you are considering hiring “just starting out”?  As a minimum requirement, they should still have liability insurance that is specific to the pet industry (homeowners insurance will not cover pet sitting accidents).  Ask to see proof!
  • Does the person you are considering have a back-up plan for if they become ill or have a family emergency?  If they cannot complete a visit will your dog be stuck in their crate until you can locate someone to check on her?  Will this back-up person have a key to enter your house?  Always ask about their “Back-up Plan”.

What to expect from a Professional Pet Care Company:

Rescue Pets:

Many pets have had a rough start in life.  Perhaps they were in a shelter before joining your family and are especially anxious when they need to go to a kennel for boarding.  Some rescue pets are also extremely nervous around strangers; especially when they walk into your home. A professional pet sitters is trained and has many hours of experience working with pets with special needs.  Are you considering adopting a Rescue pet? Some organizations will even ask you what you plan to do for pet care.

Puppies:

Are your kids asking for a puppy?  Are you reluctant because you don’t want that fluffy cuteness to spend long days in his crate?  Did you know that dogs are often destructive until age two?  Consider having your pet sitter do two shorter visits (mid-morning and mid-afternoon) until their pet is 1 – 2 years old and then go to one walk a day after it is more mature.   A mid-day walk can provide enough mental stimulation to take the place of destructive activities (and save your pillows)!  A tired dog is a GOOD dog!

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Walk to END Alzheimer’s

The Pet Sitters at Paula’s Pet Sitting (PPS) are leading the way to Alzheimer’s first survivor by participating in the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s®. Currently, more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s and that number is expected to grow to as many as 16 million by 2050. Our future is at risk unless we can find a way to change the course of this disease.

PPS has several Pet Parents that are living with Alzheimer and we see their struggles on a daily basis.  We want to support them in any way we can and want to END this terrible disease!  We will be walking as a group at the Midland Dow Diamond on September 21st, 2019 starting at 9 a.m.  We will be so happy to accept donations in ANY amount between now and September 21st.  THANK YOU for your support!

Together, we can end Alzheimer’s disease. Please go to our official team page to make a donation to advance the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association. 

Thank you for joining the fight against Alzheimer’s!

Introducing a New Pet to your Pack

Bringing home a new addition can be the most exciting time for both you and your other furry housemates.  When adding a new cat or dog to an already fur-filled house, though, both mental and material preparations should be made.  In case you are clueless what that means, don’t worry, we’ve laid out some pointers to guide you through the process:

 Setting the Stage for Success:

Just like with bringing home any pet, don’t bring home your new bundle of joy until you have all the equipment necessary to make them feel at home with your other furry friends.  While these items differ whether you are bringing home a cat or a dog, some things remain the same: be sure to get a comfortable bed, a crate, a baby gate, and interactive toys. These items, while making sure your cat or dog remains engaged and safe, will also smooth out your new additions introduction to your other furry family members.

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Which Harness or Collar is Right for You and Your Dog?

We’ve all been there; we just want a nice stroll down the sidewalk with our pooch, watch the leaves blowing around, stop and chat with a neighbor on the way. Instead, what we get is more of an involuntary sprint down the street, digging our heels in until our dog decides the neighbor’s lawn is the perfect spot to leave a ‘present’.

Pulling on the leash is one of the most common complaints of dog parents everywhere, and it can severely impact your relationship with your dog. Fortunately, there are a few steps that everyone can take to get you (and your enthusiastic leash-puller) the peaceful outing that you both deserve.

Starting off on the right foot, or paw, can be as simple as getting the right collar. Believe it or not, there is a world of difference between the behavior from one type of collar and another, read this list to see which is the right one for you. [Read more…]

Strange Cat Behaviors and What They Mean

Cats, our eccentric companions who go bump in the night, mystify us with their jumping and sprinting on a daily basis. Unfortunately, they don’t come with an instruction manual to decode their behavior. If you have ever been curious why your cat loves boxes, hates cucumbers, and seems to love offering small animal sacrifices to you, wonder no more. We have compiled a list of the top five mysterious behaviors of cats, and what you can do about them, in this quick and fascinating list:

  1. Kneading Everything with Their Paws:

Making biscuits, cat massages, or just kneading machines, cats caught pressing their paws into all kinds of surfaces has melted the heart of the internet for years. Why cats do this mysterious behavior is equally adorable: it’s a sign of affection. Kneading behaviors start as early as kitten-hood, where young cats knead their mother’s stomach to help milk production. Continuing this behavior into adulthood, cats knead surfaces and people when they are feeling particularly relaxed.

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Business Insights: Why Do We Have a Meet & Greet?

Three important things take place when one of Paula’s Pet Sitting team stops by for your Meet and Greet. First (and most importantly), we get to meet your pet. While this may seem silly since we would eventually meet anyway, the first meeting is a chance to exchange a lot of information. By having us over while you are home and can set a friendly tone to us being in your house, your pet is much more likely to greet us with perked ears instead of bared teeth in the future.  You can also watch how we interact with your pet so you are assured we will take care of them just like you would.

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Dog Flu Outbreak in Michigan: What You Need to Know

Reports have been coming in as early as January this year that Michigan should expect an unwanted visitor in the form of a new infection for your cats and dogs: the Dog Flu.

With headlines often sending a grim message about this new menace, it is easy to become alarmed about the potential threat to your loved furry one when you don’t have all the facts. What you should know is that dog flu is not as deadly as it seems, it already has a perfectly functioning vaccine to prevent it, and you can take precautions to lessen the chances your pet will pick it up at the doggy play yard. [Read more…]

Pet Safety During the 4th of July

With your entire family planning to gather around the barbecue and enjoying the sunshine on the Independence holiday coming up, keeping an eye on everyone can get overwhelming. Fortunately, there are several easy steps you can take to make sure everyone has a good time, including your pets:

Realize That Not Everyone Will Enjoy the Fireworks Display:
While it might seem like a special occasion to you, some family members may be miserable once the sun sets and the cracklers come out; namely some veterans, animals, and very small children. So that [Read more…]

Home Security is More Than Just a Deadbolt

We live in a time when we welcome more strangers into our homes than ever before. Professionals like house cleaners, electricians, dog walkers and pet sitters, even the delivery people for Amazon have access to lockboxes with house keys! With such unprecedented access to our homes (as well as more people working outside the home), Paula’s Pet Sitting wants to make sure that our clients understand that home security is more than locking your windows and doors while you are away.

Here is a useful list of steps you should consider while ensuring your home, and possessions, will be safe from intruders and unscrupulous visitors:

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What is Microchipping – And Why Should You Do It?

Microchipping your pet has become a more popular trend over the years, one offered by most vets at the pets first wellness visit. What are microchips, where did they come from, and why are they so important for your pet, though? Here are all the facts about this tiny device, no bigger than a grain of rice, that can be the most valuable purchase you make for your pet’s health.

The History of Microchipping:
This small computer, inserted under your pet’s shoulder blade and activated by a handheld scanner, can hold all their identifying information. The chip releases a unique code, read by the scanner, which is connected with a profile on the manufacturer database. This database, which enables storing information such as owner address and contact info, health problems, and veterinarian information, enables pets to be returned to their owners if separated.

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