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Madison Dog Blog

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Learn more about our pet services by reading our weekly articles.

By Doghaus University, Jan 24 2017 03:36PM

Does Your Cat Really Need a Pet Sitter?

For those who live a more active lifestyle, typically when they choose a pet, they choose a cat. Cats don’t need to be walked every day, they fare a little better on their own, and you don’t need to let them outside to go potty. So when it comes time to travel, many cat owners don’t feel like they need to invest in a pet sitter for their cat, but should you?

If you are only going to be gone for a day or two, it is likely your cat will be fine on their own. However, a cat is only fine right up until they are not. A lot of things can go wrong while you are away.

Caring for your Cat

As long as they have food, water, and a clean litter box, your cat is going to be just fine, right? Unfortunately, even if you go to great strides to make sure your cat is provided for, what happens if they do something that compromises that?

Some cats, like most dogs, might see an overly full food dish that is enough to provide for them for several days and eat the entire thing. Not only are they likely to start throwing up from too much food, but it leaves them to starve for the rest of the time you are away.

As for water, there might come a moment in extreme boredom where they knock that dish over and have nothing to drink for the rest of the time while you are away.

As for the litter box, well, the litter box is probably going to be fine if you are only gone for a few days. While the rest of these cat scenarios are just the worst cases, they could happen. If you are gone for more than just a night or two, this leaves your cat suffering.

This means you need a cat sitter. However, you don’t want to get a pet sitter just to care for the basic needs of your cat. They need attention, too. Even if you have a cat that is shy around people, they still get lonely, and will benefit from a little attention from other people. Instead of spending every moment snoozing and boringly watching the birds, a pet sitter assures that your cat gets the mental stimulation that comes from play and the emotional stimulation that comes from a solid petting session.

What Else Could Go Wrong?

Having a pet sitter for your cat isn’t just for basic emotional and physical care, they are there to make sure your cat stays safe. Think of all the trouble your cat could get into while you are gone:

They could accidentally get themselves locked in the bathroom or closet.

They could get into something they shouldn’t have and become very sick.

They could get their head or legs stuck in something and become rendered immobile.

They could claw through the screen of an open window and escape.

These are just a few examples of what might happen, and while some might sound far-fetched, you know cats are crafty enough to make it happen. Don’t neglect having someone come to check in and care for your cat until something bad does happen while you are away. You cat is important to you, and should be treated as such.

If you need pet sitting in the Madison area, contact us today. At Dog Haus University, we may sound like we only like dogs, but we love all our pets and have flexible plans to make sure they are always well cared for while you are enjoying your time away.

By Doghaus University, Jan 7 2017 08:59PM

Getting Your Dog On A Regular Schedule To Prepare For Day Care

When taking your pup to a pet day care center, it is important to know that they will be experiencing a schedule that is different from the one they have at home. As a result, it is important to ease them into their new schedule by performing this simple routine at home.

Set A Regular Wake-Up Schedule

The first step in preparing your dog for the rigors of pet day care is to create a specific wake-up time that you both follow. The idea is to get them used to a schedule, especially getting up early to get to the center. What is a good time to wake up?

Most doggy daycare centers have a 7:00-8:00 am check-in time. So it might be necessary to get them up around 6:00 or so in the morning. This works out for you if you are already waking up early for work, but how do you get your pup out of bed if they aren't used to such an early schedule?

By making it a game! Wake up in the morning full of energy, jump out of bed, and start playing with your pup immediately. Though they may be groggy at first, their natural playfulness will kick in and they will start having fun.

Now, feed them some food and get them ready for the day. It's best to do this on the weekend, when you don't have to take your dog to the day care center. This give you time to perform the rest of these activities.

Keep Playing After Breakfast

After check-in, most day care centers are going to have several hours of games, which are used to exercise your dog and keep them active. Typically, games include ball-fetching, chasing, climbing fun items, running through tunnels, and interacting with other dogs.

Dogs that aren't used to these activities need to be carefully introduced to them at home to get them in shape. Spend at least two hours every morning playing with your dog and engaging in these kinds of activities. You don't need to go “full speed” the whole morning, but your dog should be active and having fun.

Make sure to take “water” breaks so that they don't get dehydrated. You should also take “cuddle breaks,” where you spend time petting your pup and engaging with them.

Tactile sensation is important for dogs (this is why they love sitting on your lap, getting petted, and even licking you), and spending time with them in this way makes them feel loved and happy. It also emulates the attention they will receive in their day care center.

Feeding Times And Taking Breaks

Day care isn't a constant blur of full-energy exercise. It also features a lot of down time and specialized attention, including lunch at noon, naps, dinner, and a lot of one-on-one time.

Naps usually occur after lunch, followed by less severe one-on-one exercise activities at about two and then dinner at around five. Dinner is typical in day care centers if the dog is staying the night.

However, they also get a lot of personal attention during this period, including grooming, petting, and interacting in a more individual way. So make sure to spend time just enjoying their company, giving them special grooming attention, and just giving them they love they deserve. They will give it right back to you.

By following this process, you help your dog get acclimated to the idea of doggy day care and make it more fun for them when they do attend. To learn more about pet day care, please don't hesitate to contact us today.

By Doghaus University, Nov 8 2016 09:47PM

4 Ways Pet Sitting Benefits You and Your Dog

Your dog is your best friend. She's there to greet you with a wagging tail, and a few kisses, when you get home. As a dog owner you know that a dog is much more than a pet, your dog becomes part of your family. When you have to leave town, and can't bring your dog with you, you want the very best for your four-legged friend. You want to ensure that your dog feels safe, comfortable, and happy in your absence. Pet sitting is a great way to do that. Here are a few of the fantastic benefits pet sitting has to offer you and your dog.

Your Dog Won't be Alone

While dogs can handle a few hours of alone time, they definitely need companionship. Having someone stay with your dog, or come check on her a few times a day, will really lift her spirit. Your dog will look forward to the visits, or spend the entire day making a new friend. Having someone to play with, snuggle up to, and go for walks with, will help dog from becoming too sad at your absence.

You Know That Your Dog is Safe

It's incredibly easy for you to worry about your dog. Even a well-behaved dog can get into trouble. Knowing someone is in the house with your furry friend will give you tremendous peace of mind. They'll be there to make sure your dog isn't chewing anything hazardous. They'll also make sure that your dog gets the proper amount of exercise and eats normally.

Your Dog Won't Have to Change Routines

Most dogs are on a schedule. Some might be more rigorous than others, but it's likely that your dog knows when it's time to eat, go for a walk, or go potty. It's not easy for your dog to learn a new schedule while you're away, and it could cause your dog some stress. By keeping your dog's schedule as close to normal as possible, you're giving your dog a sense of peace and normalcy. Too much change can turn a dog's life upside down. They like their day-to-day, and having someone stay with them, or at least check in often, is an excellent way to keep their lives from spinning out of control.

Your Dog Receives One-on-One Attention

Some dog boarding options, while adequate, don't give your dog a lot of attention. They have so many dogs to care for, that your dog simply blends into a sea of faces. There's a difference between knowing that someone is looking after your dog, and knowing that someone truly cares for your furry family member. With pet sitting, you have the added assurance that someone will be there with your dog, making your dog a priority, and showing affection in addition to general care. Your dog will feel special, and what's better for a dog owner than knowing your furry friend is with someone who will treat her like their own? Your dog is a huge part of your life. You want your dog to feel loved, valued, and important while you're away.

Leaving your dog will never be easy, but it is certainly easier with pet sitting. As a dog owner your priority is your dog's happiness, and pet sitting provides you with quality service so that your dog is safe, comfortable, and happy. At Dog Haus University we love dogs, and know just how important they are. Our staff is well-trained, and will go above and beyond to meet your, and your dog's, needs. If you're going out-of-town without your four-legged friend, please contact us. We'd love to care for dog while you're away.

By Doghaus University, Oct 23 2016 09:38PM

Can A German Shepherd With Separation Anxiety Have A Successful Pet Sitting Experience?

Pet Sitting

Separation anxiety is a common problem in many dog breeds, but is perhaps most common in German Shepherds. These beautiful dogs often react poorly if left at a pet sitting center. In fact, you may have heard some people say that German Shepherds cannot successfully adjust to this environment.

That's simply not true. It will take some work to prepare them for pet sitting, but it can be done. Preparation will require patience, great care and kindness, and the loving hand that is so necessary with any breed of dog.

German Shepherds Suffer From Extreme Separation Anxiety

Though the popularity of the German Shepherd has dipped slightly, they still remain a very popular dog. There are many reasons for that. First of all, they are incredibly friendly and rarely have troubles with biting strangers or children. They are also very loyal to their owners, to the point where it can become a problem

German Shepherds are among the top sufferers from separation anxiety. It can drive them into a severe panic when you leave them alone, including at a dog sitting center. Separation anxiety can cause a wide range of negative behaviors which can make it difficult for pet sitters to handle them.

Symptoms Of This Problem

If you are uncertain if your German Shepherd suffers from separation anxiety (not every one will), it is worth watching them for the following symptoms. These indicate that your dog is very uncomfortable being away from you:

Digging at the doors or windows

Howling and barking while you are gone

"Going" on the floor due to distress

Greeting you frantically and desperately when you come home

Destroying items in the home to relieve anxiety

You have to remember that German Shepherds are bred to be social dogs that are close to their family.

When members of that family leave, they are very unhappy.

Separation Anxiety Can Be Broken

Breaking your German Shepherd of separation anxiety will be a challenge, but it's one that must be taken. First of all, you need to get them used to being alone without you while at home. Start leaving them for short periods of time, extending the period over a several month period. This helps make it easier for your dog to handle being separated from you.

Eventually, you need to work up to leaving them alone for 8-10 hours (with appropriate food and water, of course). When they can handle that (be prepared for a lot of chewed items and howling), you need to take them to the pet sitting center and repeat the same process. By now, it shouldn't be as troubling for them to stay alone, but they may still have some difficulties.

To alleviate these concerns, send items from home (such as favorite toys, food dishes, and snacks) to make the pet sitting center feel more comfortable. It may be a difficult, and at times, exasperating process, but it is worth it in the long run.

Hopefully, you're no longer afraid to try out pet sitting with your German Shepherd. It might make the difference between keeping them or having to give them up. No pet owner wants to give up their beloved pooch, so be willing to fight for your pup: they'd do the same for you.

If you need any more information about pet sitting, its benefits, or how you can adapt your dog to its unique nature, please don't hesitate to contact us today. We can set up an appointment with you and your dog that will calm both of your nerves and create a more positive and inspiring experience for everyone.

By Doghaus University, Oct 23 2016 09:35PM

Never Drive with a Dog in a Convertible

Dog Sitting

Driving with your dog in a convertible car is great fun. Dogs who stick their faces into the rushing air often look totally ecstatic. So, especially if you’ve driven with a dog in the car before, you may be tempted to take your favorite pet for a spin in a convertible. If the convertible is new, you simply may crave seeing Fido in the Miata—what a kick!

Not Safe for You...

However, having an unconfined dog in the car if you're dog sitting must drive them around is not safe for you, your record as a safe driver, or the dog.

It is not consistent with safe driving principles to have dogs in a convertible if they’re not confined. They need a dog seat belt, carrier, or crate.

Sorry, we know some people hate to confine their dogs. However, that’s the way it is, and you’ll see why if you think through several driving situations.

If your dog is unconfined, for example, they may joyously leap upon you as you’re driving. If you were shifting, you’re suddenly not, and the car could stall—not a good thing in traffic as it increases the chances you could be rear-ended. If you were accelerating, suddenly a warm body is pressing against your leg—and you speed up much more than you meant. You enter a crosswalk you never would have entered, or shoot through a yield sign—both these have potentially dangerous consequences.

In addition, it is possible you would be liable under law not only for any accident, but for letting your dog be loose and unattended, depending on where you live.

Overall, having an unconfined dog in a convertible is a very bad idea. Be sure to use adequate safety equipment for your dog in a convertible, just as you would for yourself

...Not Safe for the Dog

It can be very cool to think of taking your dog in your new convertible. Mitzi or Rover might love to travel. Say they love the water, and you're planning to take them to the nearest dog park with stream, or to a dog beach. Just thinking about their excitement makes you smile.

So, is it ok to simply put them in the car, or do you have to confine them in a travel carrier?

Despite their unabashed joy in going with you and sitting next to you, it is too easy for them to leap out of a convertible.

My dog is sensible, you say, and would never leap out. Oh, think of a squirrel dashing across the road—or a cat. Who’s to say your dog would never leap after it? It all likelihood, the time would come when they in fact would jump to chase it.

But leaping is only half the equation. The very pleasure of a convertible—its openness to nature, trees, fresh air, and visibility—is part of the reason that it’s so dangerous for your dog. It doesn’t take much—an unexpected and abrupt stop, a turn that’s a little too fast—for the dog to be thrown from your car. For a dog, as for a person, that’s potentially deadly.

In addition, if your dog should hit a person as it's thrown from the car, that’s potentially dangerous for the passerby as well.

Frankly, they don’t need to leap. If you come to a sudden stop, or if someone veers in front of you and you stop unexpectedly, your dog could go flying out—with nothing to break his or her velocity, as there would be in a non-convertible.

Overall, having an unconfined dog in a convertible is just not a good idea. What's good for people is good for pets! Protect them in a carrier just as you protect yourself with seat belts.

Please contact us to discuss your pet's needs.

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