Tag: holidays

What exactly does “vacation care” mean?

I’ve had a few calls recently requesting ‘boarding’ services which is something I do not offer.  I don’t have a facility, therefore, have no where to house any guest dogs.  I have my home where my own dogs reside with me.  What I offer is called “vacation care” which essentially means your dog(s) stay in your home and I visit them in the comfort of their own home.  We will work out a schedule that works for your dog depending on the time of your departure as well as your arrival back home.  I will visit 3 or 4 times a day so that visits are spaced out every 6-8 hours depending on your dogs’ needs, for 30 minutes per visit.  In the visit time I will walk, play with them, feed and refresh water for your dog – whatever their normal routine is I will try as much as possible to stick to.

What is the benefit to leaving your dog at home and having me visit?  There are numerous benefits; the first would be the dog is in the comfort of their own home and do not need to stress about being in a kennel with other dogs barking or in unfamiliar surroundings.  In their eyes everything is normal except I’m visiting to feed and let them out instead of you doing it.  Your dog doesn’t need to be given any additional vaccinations to stay at home as they do when going to a boarding kennel.  If you have other pets at the home such as a cat or small caged animals they will also be cared for on my visits (usually at no extra charge but depends on the work involved).  Other small tasks will be done at your home for no extra charge such as mail/newspapers brought in, plants watered, lights alternated so that your home looks lived in while you’re away.

The vacation care I offer may not work for all dogs, however, a lot of dogs do better staying at home.  It is especially beneficial for owners who have more than one dog as they are company for each other and boarding multiple dogs can be costly – think boarding costs as well as vaccination costs.  Many mature, well-settled dogs do just fine staying at home alone.  Dogs it may not suit would be very young dogs who require more attention or dogs who are crated/kennelled in your absence.

I recently took an overnight away and had someone come in to check on my dogs, feed them and let them out – exactly as I would do for your dogs and they were so settled and quiet when I walked in the door two hours ago.  Of course they were happy to see me but now are all sleeping at my feet as I write this blog.  No anxiety, no stress AND I didn’t have to drive anywhere to pick them up!

Of course you would need to live within my service area for me to offer this type of service as I will be driving to and from your house 6-8 times in a day depending on if you book 3 or 4 visits.  Three visits a day would be just like you going to work for a day and then spending an evening out as well, maybe at a class or attending your child’s sporting event, shopping, whatever the case may be and you see your dog in the morning, for dinner and again before bedtime.

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Winter and Holiday Hazards

Well the holiday season is well under way and as we prepare our homes for family and other guests we must remember to keep things safe for our furry residents as well.  The holidays are an exciting time with celebrations galore, breaks from school and work, decorating and gift-giving.  Our pets feel that excitement and energy from us, they notice the smells of baked goods, the giant tree (what? there’s a tree in the house!?), the decorations on the tree and the packages under the tree!  The excitement can make them curious, make them want to investigate these new things and new smells some of which could be dangerous for them.  Here are a few things to keep in mind over the holidays to keep our pets safe in our homes:

  • holiday ornaments, gift wrapping and tinsel can look like bright, shiny toys to our pets so ensure they are unreachable and up high on the tree or the tree somehow blocked with a baby gate when you can’t supervise your pets near the tree
  • holiday plants such as lilies, holly, mistletoe and pointsettias can be toxic to pets
  • alcohol should be supervised and kept away from pets as well as any baked goods containing alcohol
  • holiday foods such as chocolate, baked goods and fruitcakes with grapes and raisins, sugarless gums and candies containing xylitol can all be toxic to pets
  • leftovers and table scraps can be fatty and cause pancreatitis as well as the risk of cooked bones can splinter and cause intestinal damage

It is a good idea to know when your regular veterinarian is open over the holidays and to have a back up plan for when they are closed.  It wouldn’t hurt to find out where your nearest Emergency Vet is and what their hours are, even if you don’t need them for your own pet a family member or guest visiting with their pet might!  Another good resource is the Pet Poison Hotline.  They can advise you in advance based on what you are able to report to them if your pet should be rushed to an Emergency Vet in the case of an incident.  That number is 855-764-7661.  There is a fee and you will be given a case reference # to take to the vet if they feel your pet needs immediate veterinary care.

Even once the holidays are over there are a few extra things we need to be careful around with our pets over the remainder of the winter.  Some things to remember for winter:  keep antifreeze up high and away from where pets can get it, beware of what ice melters/salt you are using, checking vehicles for cats sleeping in the engine space or wheel wells to keep warm, get your dog a coat and/or boots for extreme cold days.  Our pets still need to get out and get exercise but in the cases of extreme cold I’m sure they’d be quite happy to potty in the yard and spend some time with you indoors.

The better prepared you are the easier the holidays will be for all!  Merry Christmas from me and my fur family to you and yours!