Category Archives: Pet Care

5 Dangerous Houseplants that are Toxic to Dogs

Houseplants Toxic to Dogs

Houseplants have many benefits in the home. They make a home cozier, can be used for medicinal purposes and purify the air. Unfortunately, there are some fairly common houseplants that can be dangerous to your dog. In this post, we will review some houseplants that are toxic to dogs.

Poisoning from these plants can occur in several ways such as:

  • Drinking the water from the plant tray or pot.
  • Eating the leaves, blossoms, roots or even the soil in the pot.
  • Skin contact with any plant sap or juice.

Before you purchase any houseplant protect your canine family member by doing a little bit of research.

Related: Plants That Are Poisonous to Cats

1. Philodendron
Philodendron

Philodendrons are very popular houseplants. They are fast growing, available in climbing and upright varieties and are easy to care for. These plants contain insoluble calcium oxalates which are toxic to animals and humans.

Symptoms of Ingestion: Oral irritation, pain and swelling of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing.

2. Pothos or Devils Ivy
Pothos (Devils Ivy)

The Pothos Houseplant has amazing air purification properties and is easy to propagate from cuttings which makes it a very popular houseplant. Though only mildly harmful in small quantities, Pothos also contains insoluble calcium oxalates.

Symptoms of Ingestion: Oral irritation, pain and swelling of mouth, tongue and lips, excessive drooling, vomiting, difficulty swallowing.

3. Peace Lily
Peace Lily

Containing insoluble calcium oxalates like Philodendrons and Pothos houseplants, the Peace Lily can be moderately harmful to your dog.

Symptoms of Ingestion: Drooling, pawing at the mouth, oral pain, decreased appetite, vomiting.

4. Aloe Plant
Aloe Plant

Aloe is a very common household plant due to its medicinal benefits such as purifying the air and is also provides natural burn/sunburn relief. For dogs though this plant should be kept out of reach as it contains saponins and anthraquinones.

Symptoms of Ingestion: Vomiting, abdominal pain, hypersalivation, diarrhea. Foliage is more toxic than berries.

5. Ivy or English Ivy
English Ivy

Ivy is a beautiful accent to your home with the way it cascades from hanging baskets but is very harmful to your pet especially if consumed in large amounts. Beware.

Symptoms of Ingestion: Vomiting, depression, anorexia, changes in urine color, and rarely, tremors.
 
 


If you suspect your pet may have ingested a potentially toxic substance, call the APCC at (888) 426-4435 or contact your local veterinarian as soon as possible.

Sources:
The ASPCA
Pet Poison Helpline


The Pet’s Home provides in-home pet sitting, dog sitting, cat sitting, dog walkingpuppy training andpet taxi services in the Plainfield, Oswego, Aurora, Naperville, Joliet and Shorewood area.

Contact us online or call (630) 854-8841


Cat Myths We Should Put to Rest

Cat resting

In this post, we address the most common of those myths that you hear about cats that are not actually true.

There are many things in the world we believe because we’ve heard them for so long, we assume them to be true. Many myths that people have about pets or animals are repeated so often, we never think to ask if they’re actually true.

Let’s review some common myths about cats and their behavior.

 

Cats are low maintenance

Because cats have a reputation for being so independent and aloof, some people think having a cat will be very easy. Like many pets though, owning one requires your commitment and attention. Cats need to be fed of course, but they also need to be loved, they need to be played with and entertained, and they need our help in getting their needs met. They require our understanding and patience sometimes too. 

 Related: Is Your Cat Bored?

 

Cats won’t be happy if you don’t let them outdoors

Indoor cats can be just as happy as outdoor cats. Cats that grow up inside can be very happy as long as you give them the entertainment they need. Provide them with plenty of toys, scratching posts, window they have access to for outdoor viewing and climbing towers. 

Related: Reasons to Keep Cats Indoors

 

Pregnant woman should not have cats

The truth is that you don’t have to get rid of your cat. It’s fine to be around cats when you’re pregnant, but you have to be VERY careful about cleaning the litter box. It is recommended that you have someone else do it if possible. Cat feces can carry a parasitic infection called toxoplasmosis, that could cause birth defects. Keep the litter box extra clean but the pregnant woman shouldn’t be the one cleaning it.

 

Declawing cats is no different than trimming nails

Declawing is NOT like trimming nails. In reality, it is actually the surgical amputation of the first joint of each toe of the cat. For many people and pet advocates, this procedure is viewed as mutilation of the cat. There are humane alternatives to declawing you can choose instead.

 


The Pet’s Home provides in-home pet sitting, dog sitting, cat sittingdog walkingpuppy training and pet taxi services in the Plainfield, Oswego, Naperville and Shorewood area. 

Contact us online or call (630) 854-8841


 

Reasons to Keep Cats Indoors

Many different people choose to have their cats be “indoor-outdoor” cats. Their pets get to spend some time outdoors as well as indoors.

Others choose to keep their cats inside exclusively.

There are many reasons people use to keep cats indoors, and some of these reasons can be very beneficial to your cat and their health.

Let’s review the best reasons to keep your cat indoors.

The most important reason to keep the cats indoor is that the lifespan.

Outdoor cats can live for only 3 to 5 years average. On the other hand the, indoor cats usually live about 13 to 17 years. The huge lifespan difference should be enough reason to keep the cats indoors. Even though it’s a risk to leave the cats outside some cat owners to allow their cats to go out.

Cats should always have kept inside the house, so they are warm, cozy and most importantly, it is safe for them. Keeping the cats in the house is one of the most important action you can take to encourage the cat’s Safety.

Main reasons to keep the Cats indoors:

  • Indoor cats live longer
  • Vehicle danger
  • Risk of poisoning
  • Animal fights
  • Allergies
  • Cats can get lost

Vehicle danger –  Outdoor cats are always at the risk of getting hit by a vehicle. It is easy for pets to get distracted while running or chasing, therefore, it’s hard to form to keep an eye on the road while playing. That can result in an accident. Sometimes the cat can survive but they can still suffer from severe injuries.

Risk of being poisoned – It’s easy for outdoor cats to get poisoned since they have a lot of exposure outside. Poisoning risks include toxins like lawn pesticides, food from trash cans, and intentional or accidental poisoning from people. Outdoor pets are at risk for eating poisoned bait left out for rats, raccoons, and skunks.

Even though there is a risk of getting poisoned indoors by different kinds of toxic plants or chemicals, you have more control over keeping your home safe. Once a cat is free outdoors, you cannot control what they may get into.

Related: My cats ate a mouse – should I be worried?

Animal Fights – Cats that are outdoors can have unexpected encounters with wild animals. Though a raccoon may ignore them, wild animals such as coyotes can be a threat. Outdoors cats may encounter them and get injured.

They could also encounter a wild animal with a disease such as rabies. Other cats roaming outside, whether domesticated or feral may be extremely territorial and will fight if they encounter your cat.

Allergies – Though you may love your cat like your own family member, many people with allergies to cats can’t stand being anywhere near them. They may not “hate” cats, but they hate the way cat dander triggers their allergy symptoms, from mild fever to full-blown asthmatic attacks. Though they may not often be a threat to your cat, if these people are your neighbors they can put a strain on your relations.

Lost – It’s tough for a cat that sleeps all day on your bed to get lost. Indoor cats don’t get lost since they are in front of your eyes most of the time. They are also safe from human abuse since they won’t get targeted by the cat haters.

Related posts: Cats & Cucumbers

Health/exercise – Keeping cats indoors doesn’t mean that cats can’t exercise their hunting instinct. It’s up to cat guardians to provide a stimulating environment with plenty of cat trees, window perches, and scratches. Daily playtime keeps kitty aactive.

Do not risk your cat’s life. Keep them safe and motivated to stay inside the house. That way your cats can have a happy and healthy lifestyle for many years.

Related: Is your cat bored?

 

The Pet’s Home provides in-home pet sittingdog sittingcat sittingdog walkingpuppy training and pet taxi services in the Plainfield, Oswego, Naperville and Shorewood area. 

Contact us online or call (630) 854-8841

How to Get Your Dog to Stop Barking

Dog barking

A dog barking is a totally normal behavior. With few exceptions, almost every dog barks. To them, it’s a normal form of communication.

Too much barking though can be a problem. It can be bothersome to you and your family, and even more so for your neighbors.

Is there a way you get your dog to stop barking so much?

Yes, there is, and as your dog’s pack leader, it’s your job to teach them how to behave. 

Let’s review how you can teach your dog to not bark so much.

First, it’s important to review the main reasons that cause a dog to bark. If you review this list, it may help you determine what the root cause of your dog’s excessive barking is. 

Why do dogs bark?

  • Warning
  • Excitement
  • Playfulness
  • Anxiety
  • To get attention
  • Boredom
  • Responding to other dogs

If you understand the reason for your dog’s barking, then you can figure out how to control that behavior.

For example, a dog that is bored needs more walks, play or exercise. If your dog is anxious, you can address the root causes or find ways to treat separation anxiety. If your dog barks at other dogs, you can desensitize them to other animals.

Training is also important. Your dog needs to know that there are times to bark and there are times to be quiet. Teaching them the basic speak/quiet commands is important.

Related: How to train your dog

If your dog has excessive barking issues, start working on addressing these as soon as possible. It will be easier to train them before the behaviors become too ingrained.

Related: Positive enforcement rules for you and your dog

Tips to help break the barking habit

  • Teach your dog the Speak/Quiet commands
  • Don’t yell. To the dog, it is like you are barking back at them.
  • Stay positive when you are working with them.
  • Be consistent with your dog at all times. Make sure everyone in the household is reacting to the behavior in the same way.
  • Do not comfort, pet, hug or give your dog a treat when they are barking for attention or out of anxiety. Even if it gets them to stop, it is encouraging and rewarding the behavior.
  • Get your dogs attention with a clap or whistle.  When they have quieted, redirect their attention to a toy or other reward.
  • Use the basic commands of sit and down in order to shift focus.
  • Do not let your dog bark constantly outside. Bring them in when they bark so they know they can’t be outside if they bark.

How to teach your dog to stop barking

Training Resources:

How to Get Your Dog to Stop Barking – Humane Society
Cesar’s best tips to stop dog barking – Cesar’s Way
Train Your Dog to Speak or Be Quiet – The Spruce

Related: How much exercise does your dog need?


We offer dog training services in the Plainfield – Naperville area with dog shuttle service available to and from lessons. We also aim to teach pet parents how to break their own bad habits, as well, so your dog can have consistency. 

Contact us online or call (630) 854-8841


 

Common Dog Parasites

Prevent parasites in dogs

In this post, we list the five most common parasites that infect dogs and how you can protect your dog from worms, ticks, and others. 

Unfortunately for your dog, there are several common parasites that can infect your best friend. All dogs can become infected, and sometimes these parasites can even be transmitted to humans.Any dog can get parasites, and some can be transmitted to humans. 

Any dog can contract parasites, and some of these can be transmitted to humans. There are treatments available for all these, but preventing your dog from becoming infected in the first place is always the best option. 

Most Common Dog Parasites

  • Fleas
  • Ticks
  • Heartworms
  • Intestinal Worms
  • Mites

flea parasite in dogsFleas

Fleas are tiny, hard-bodied, flightless insects that are external parasites of mammals and birds. Their source of food is consuming the blood of the host they have attached to. It has strong legs which allow it to jump up to a foot or more.

Flea infestations can be a hassle to deal with for both you and your dog. They can also cause a variety of problems including Flea Allergic Dermatitis, anemia, and tapeworm infection.

Prevention is your best option. You can use a variety of oral flea treatments, topical treatments, shampoos, washes, sprays, and flea collars to protect your dog from fleas. These should especially be used during the warm summer months here in northern Illinois.

tick parasite in dogsTicks

Ticks are tiny arachnids and relatives of both mites and spiders. Like fleas, they live on the blood of birds and mammals, including dogs and cats.

Ticks will jump onto your dog (or you!) and attach its jaw into the skin and suck blood until the tick has eaten all it possibly can. They can carry many diseases, including Lyme Disease.

Ticks will usually live in tall grasses and wooded areas. You can use products to prevent ticks from attaching to your dog, but during summer months you should check your dog regularly for ticks, especially after spending time in wooded or tall grassy areas.

Related Post: Ticks and Dogs

Heartworms

The dog heartworm is a parasitic roundworm that can spread to your dog through the bite of a mosquito.

It is one of the most dangerous parasites that can infect your dog. It can even lead to death if untreated. Even the treatments to rid your dog of heartworms is bad for your dog’s health.

To prevent heartworms, it is best to give your dog a monthly heartworm prevention. If you have not given your dog a heartworm preventer in months, you should have your dog tested by your veterinarian.

Related Post: Protect Your Dog from Mosquitos

Intestinal Worms

Intestinal worms that your dog can pick up from the outdoors include roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms.

Tapeworms can be contracted from fleas; the rest can infect your dog from contaminated soil or infected animals, such as mice or other animals. Some of these can also be transferred to humans.

Protecting your dog from fleas will help protect him or her from tapeworms. Regular veterinary checkups are the best way from preventing serious intestinal worm problems.

parasite mites in dogs Mites

There are two types of mites that can affect dogs: Demodex and Sarcoptic (also known as scabies). Mites can live in small numbers on your dog without causing problems. Higher numbers can cause itching, hair loss, and scabs.

Scabies is highly contagious to other dogs and also to humans. It is most often spread through direct contact with other infected dogs or mammals. It can be difficult to prevent because you won’t know when you come in contact with an infected animal.

Treatment can require both oral medication and medicated baths. If you believe your dog may be infected because your dog is showing intense scratching, then you should visit your veterinarian right away.

The Pet’s Home provides in-home pet sitting services, as well as pet sitting, dog sitting, cat sitting, puppy training and pet taxi services in the Plainfield, Oswego, Naperville and Shorewood area. 

Contact us online or call (630) 854-8841

How much should my cat sleep?

Cats are true masters when it comes to sleeping. They can sleep anytime, any place, under any circumstance. But why do cats sleep so much? Do they have sleep cycles like people do? Read on to find out more about cats and sleep.

Catnap

You may be wondering why your cat sleeps most of the time, don’t worry, cats actually require a lot more sleep than you and I. Cats are crepuscular creatures, crepuscular is just a fancy term that means they’re most active at dawn and dusk. Their vision is best adapted to the light levels at those times in the day so that is when they like to play, socialize, and hunt.

Younger cats and kittens require around 20 hours of sleep a day while adult cats will only need around 13~16 hours a day. Of course your cat may need more or less sleep than others just like the rest of us require different amounts of sleep.

Cats don’t really sleep eight-hour sessions like us, they will cycle in and out of naps throughout the day. While they are sleeping their senses remain finely tuned. They can jump out of bed at a moments notice to be alert. Just as quickly as they awoke they can fall back asleep.

Habits

Cats are predators and they are hardwired to chase and hunt small creatures, mainly at night. Although cats are domesticated, for the most part, housecats are still in touch with their wild side. Even when cats play they still show these instincts of creeping about and pouncing on their prey. Hunting takes quite a bit of energy and all that sleep is used to reserve that energy for hunting, running, climbing, and stalking.

Related: Is your cat board?

Sleeping Problems

Excessive sleep in kittens is rarely a concern but if your adult cat is sleeping more it may indicate a medical concern. Many feline diseases don’t begin to develop until adulthood. Any single illness can cause your cat to spend more time asleep. Excessive sleep in an adult cat could also mean they are in pain, such as arthritis.

If your cat seems to have endless energy and is sleeping less it may be a sign of medical problem such as hyperthyroidism. Other signs of hyperthyroidism may include weight loss, diarrhea, vomiting, increased appetite and thirst.

If your kitten seems lethargic or uninterested in her surroundings they may be sick and should be taken to the vet. Sudden changes in behavior, including sleep, can mean there is a problem.

Dog Flu Outbreak in Illinois

About the Illinois Dog Flu Outbreak 

There have been recent cases of Dog Flu breaking out all over central Illinois. Be cautious with your dog around other dogs.  Veterinarians say this is a new and highly contagious airborne virus that can spread quickly from dog to dog.

This virus can be transferred via nose and mouth secretions, coughs, and even sharing water bowls. Because this particular virus is airborne, it can spread without contact.

Most dogs are not naturally immune to the virus and when exposed to it will most likely contract it. 

How to Protect Your Dog 

The first thing you should do is talk to your veterinarian about canine influenza to see what they recommend is best for your dog. 

If you notice anything out of the ordinary isolate your dog and call your veterinarian as soon as possible. Do not wait or hesitate as this is a very aggressive virus and your should seek medical treatment immediately.  

A vaccine is available, if you have not already, the H3N2 vaccination is available for your dog. Discuss whether the vaccine is right for your dog with your veterinarian. 

Start boosting your dog’s immune system by feeding them a healthy and balanced diet.  Give them plenty of vitamins and minerals, essential fatty acids and probiotics. You can also use some of the many natural immunity boosting supplements and herbs to improve your dogs overall health and well-being.

Be sure to watch your dog for common symptoms such as: coughing, lethargy, lack of appetite, nasal or eye discharge. Give your dog lots of water and plenty of time to rest. 

If your dog does get the flu, keep them away from other dogs for at least 21 days.

Protect your dog from Mosquitoes

It’s almost summer, but to us dog owners we know what season really is almost here: flea/tick/mosquito season. It’s that time of the year when you become wary of letting you dog walk through ominous-looking grass and uncut lawns. After all, mosquito bites carry deadly consequences and can transmit diseases like heart-worm and West Nile. But if encasing your dog in a protective, impenetrable bubble doesn’t work for you, here are some ways to keep your dog sage and bite-free all summer.

Whatever you do, DON’T use human insect repellent on your dog.Mosquito Protection-Dog

Human bug sprays are great for us, but they’re toxic for our furry friends. Deet, the main ingredient in most drugstore bug sprays, can cause vomiting, seizures, and skin irritation when exposed to dogs.

When applying bug spray, make sure your dog doesn’t lick your skin, if they do, contact your vet immediately.

Avoid leaving standing water around your home.

Mosquitoes, much like humans, need water to live. Restricting their access to water is the best way to keep adult mosquitoes from breeding and, thus, unleashing more mosquitoes into your home.
To prevent this, eliminate any standing water around your home. You might also want to empty your dog’s water bowl at night when you know they won’t be drinking it.

Don’t walk your dog at peak mosquito times.

Just like how us humans have rush hours, mosquitoes have their own time of the day when they’re the most active, and those times are at dawn and dusk. Avoid walking your dog during these hours and they’ll be less likely to be bitten.

Buy insect-repellent products made for dogs.

Fairly self-explanatory, but stick to products that are made for dogs. That way you know they’re safe to use. Most flea and tick products are formulated to repel mosquitoes as well.
K9 Advantix and Bio Spot are two examples of great triple action products that should keep your dog free of bites all summer long. You can also buy sprays and other insect repellents from your pet store.

Don’t ignore natural remedies.Mosquito Protection-Dog

If you’re not comfortable using chemicals on yourself, let alone your dog, there are lots of natural remedies for mosquito prevention that work just as well as the chemical ones. Lemon eucalyptus oil is an effective repellent that keeps mosquitoes at with its repugnant smell.

Geranium oil and soybean oil when mixed together can also be used as a repellent. Although you can find products with these ingredients in health food stores, you can also mix together these oils yourself and make your own D.I.Y bug spray.

Fix any broken window screens in your home.

Most mosquitoes get into the home through open windows or broken window screens. If you wake up with new bites on your arms, your windows might not be protecting you and your dog as much as you think.

Be wary of any holes or tears in screens that might be letting bugs in. And don’t forget to fill in the gap between the air conditioner and the window frame, too.

Tips for Leaving Your Dog on Vacation

For many dog owners, leaving on vacation becomes a cause for anxiety when thinking about leaving your dog behind while you are gone.

We like to take our dog with us when possible but sometimes that just can’t be done. The logistics of the situation just won’t allow it. You might be going somewhere too difficult to take your dog or it could even be an unwelcome or even unsafe situation for them.

We’ve created a list of tips to help you out in this stressful situation with the hope that it makes things a little easier for you.

Chances are you’ll be more worried than your furry friend is so please try and have fun while you’re away.

Make sure your dog has up to date ID tags

We’re sure that you’re going to leave your do in the best hands possible but even then sometimes things happen. Make sure your dog has its tag with correct contact information on it.

Leave detailed instructions

Make sure your caretaker can get in touch with you and that they know what to do should any situation arise and you aren’t reachable. Be specific on how much food your dog gets for each meal, and how many treats they get. If they need medicine, leave instructions for how much they need to take and how to give it to them. 

Related: Pet sitting vs pet boarding

Keep in touch

Since we have tools such as Skype or Facetime, make a video call to check in on your dog. This always helps me out because I love the look on by dog’s face when she hears my voice. Her ears will perk up and I’ll get to see she’s okay and the warm feeling when she reacts to seeing me.

Make sure they’re aware of your dog’s behaviors

All dogs have they’re own quirks and behaviors that you manage without having to think about it too much. Your caretaker, however, will need to know if you’re dog will become a savage beast at the sight of a squirrel. Make sure they’re aware.

Leave comforting items for your dog

Perhaps you can leave a t-shirt in your dog’s crate so they can be comforted by your scent. Maybe you can leave special treats with them. Maybe if they’re being dog sat at their own home you can leave a radio on if they’re not used to the sound of an empty house. 

Related: The Advantages of a Pet Sitter Over Boarding

Don’t turn your goodbye into an event

If your dog is used to being left alone every day when you go to work, try keeping a similar routine. An unusual emotional goodbye may leave them feeling anxious. It may not be easy for you but you want to leave your pet feeling as relaxed and normal as possible.

Leave your dog in good hands

You can’t make it so that your dog is never sad or emotional. You can, however, make sure they are in a safe place where they will be well cared for. Leave your pet with someone you trust, whether it is a dog sitter or a pet boarding service. 

Know your dog loves you

We have never seen a case where a pet forgot who their owner is. Even the pets who enjoy the adventure of boarding with other pets and love their caretaker will still love their owner. Nothing will change that.

Is Your Cat Bored?

Take a look around your home. Are there things that your cat can do, play with and watch?

Kitty boredom can lead to a variety of problems and destructive behaviors such as:

  • Urinating outside the litter box
  • Overeating
  • Aggression
  • Scratching

Preventing Cat Boredom

It is important to provide your cat with a stimulating environment. This means an environment with things to do. Windows to look out of, things to watch, places to climb and safe toys to play with are all great ways to prevent boredom.

Here are some tips to entertain your cat and prevent undesirable behavior:
Cat Boredom

  1. Catnip – Cats LOVE catnip. Offer your cat some catnip on occasion to roll around in and eat. You can also revive interest in an old cat toy by sprinkling it with catnip.
  2. Window Perches – Cats enjoy having a comfortable place to watch what is going on outside. Purchase a window bed for your cat or position a cat tree near a window to create an outside view.
  3. Create an Outside View – Position a bird or squirrel feeder within viewing distance of your cat’s window perch.
  4. Cat Toys – Make sure that you are stocked with plenty of cat toys. Hiding and then reintroducing toys that your cat enjoys is a great way to keep them interested.
  5. Scratching Post – Even a declawed cat will enjoy scratching post. It’s an instinctive behavior that cats never lose. The scratching post should be tall enough that your cat should be able to really stretch when using it.
  6. Your Time –Take at least 10 minutes out of your day to play with your cat or allow them to curl up with you.

Keep in mind that behavioral problems can be caused by many things. Be sure to take your cat for regular checkups and vaccinations. A healthy kitty is a happy kitty.