Can My Dog Really Love Me Back?

Yes, Your Dog Loves You Back!

Dogs have long been considered man’s best friend, but with new technological and scientific research, this can be proven! A lot of people think of their dog more as their baby than their pet, and now there are stats to back it up. You now have permission to miss, love, and spoil your fur baby more than ever.

The Science

Oxytocin can be thought of as the “cuddle hormone.” It’s extremely important in maternal bonding. When a mother and baby gaze into each other’s eyes, oxytocin is released in both of their bodies in a positive feedback loop. This is the foundation for building a trusting relationship when the baby cannot express him or herself in any other way. A study in Japan has now shown that this cycle also occurs when dogs and their owners gaze at each other. That’s right — you’re not just imagining the paternal or maternal instinct that you feel for your dog. In this study it was found that when owners and dogs spent a few minutes looking into the eyes of the other, the dogs saw a 130 percent rise in oxytocin levels, and owners saw a 300 percent increase. This bonding love cycle also introduced some new theories as to how dogs became domesticated.


Love my dog

Survival of the Friendliest

It has long been thought that humans domesticated wolves, but what if they actually domesticated themselves? Thousands of years ago when wolves began being domesticated, they were thought of as enemies to humans. They were aggressive toward each other and competed over the same food to eat. This makes it unlikely that humans would seek out to gain the company of wolves; instead, the smart and friendly wolves learned how to survive using the humans. They likely saw that they could get food and shelter from humans, and therefore only the friendliest would be tolerated and accepted. Bold and aggressive dogs would be killed, but the friendly ones had a greater chance of being taken in. This idea, as expressed in a National Geographic article, is how the relationship between dog and man came to be. The friendly dog genetics changed their personality and looks over the years, and the more aggressive wolves stayed in the wild.

Nurturing Your Dog-Human Relationship

Now that we know that humans and dogs are truly connected and how that came about, you may want to do more to nurture that relationship. Eye contact and one-on-one play are obvious but very important in making your dog feel relaxed and comfortable with you. You may want to spoil your dog with occasional treats from the table or letting him break another rule every once in a while, but this actually will stress him out more. Dogs do better under a set of rules, so they know what to expect from you. But what about when you’re away from home? Of course you can bond better with your dog when you are able to touch and physically interact, but with new technology you can still be seen and heard while away. New tech, such as the iCPooch Internet Pet Treat Dispenser, allows you and your dog to see and hear each other, and even for you to virtually dispense a treat in real time. You just need to purchase the device and a high quality tablet, such as the iPad Pro, and you’ll be ready to see your dog while at work, traveling, anywhere!

If you’re a dog owner, you have always probably thought that you and your dog had a special connection and bond. Now, we know it’s true! Spend time bonding with your pet, and you will both benefit from the happiness that is created.

What Questions Should I Ask a Pet Sitter?

So you just planned your vacation and you are excited to start planning all the fun things you will do. But wait, you forgot about the dog!

So you google and find some professional pet sitters in your area and after calling some professional companies, you decide to go the cheaper route of

Pensive young woman dressed in a brown sweater is sitting on the sofa in conservatory and she is looking ahead. She has her mouth covered by left hand

You find a profile you like, their pictures look great, they are replying to you fast, and soon you will have your first meet and greet. Overwhelming, right? I mean, you just met a complete stranger online, are about to give them your keys, and then leave the state. Your mind starts running all sorts of places and most of your questions you think, “I can’t ask them that!!”

Well stress no more my friends, I, your trusty professional pet sitter, am here to help hold your hand.


Why Choose

Usually pet owners choose a website like (or even,, etc) because they think that it will be cheaper in the long run. They are ok with having their pet cared for by a self-proclaimed pet lover, and then the social proof of their reviews from other website members factors in too.

Makes sense since we decide on the hotels we choose of, right?


Questions to ask:

Here is where I am taking your hand and looking you straight in the eye and encourage you to ask: 

How long have you been doing this?
Who else can I talk to that has experience with you over a long period of time?
Do you have any personal bonding and insurance or is it just the policy with the website? What company?
How often can I expect updates from you?
How often will you be coming to my home?
How long will you stay?
If something happens to you an hour before you are to visit my pet, who will know, how will I know, and who will step in?
How long should I expect to wait in order to get a call, text, or email back?
What is your cancelation policy?
How do I know my schedule is confirmed with you?
Can you repeat back to me the routine that will happen from when you enter to leaving my home?

The most important things for you to consider:

I know my Mom always said, “trust your gut” and I am sure you have heard it too. Not all, but many of the people that you find on these websites are doing it because they love animals. They think that they can turn their passion into a career.
{Hey, we all need to start somewhere}

I just want to warn you to be on the look out for the people who “love” animals and think they can make a quick buck. The ones that work a “real job” and this is their side money. That is something really important to take into consideration. If the job someone is doing doesn’t affect the roof over their head or the food in their mouth, it isn’t worth much to their life. By that I mean there is a chance they might not be as diligent on securing your home, tightening a loose leash, knowing if your pet is healthy or sick, remembering to do a pet sitting visit etc.

Please heed these warnings so you don’t end up another untrusting pet parents who struck out on the non professional sitters calling me with a horror story. I don’t want you to go through that. 🙂

How to Care For Your Goldfish

GoldfishMost of us remember playing carnival games for goldfish and then bringing them home in a bag as a treasured prize.  However, owning a fish is much more special than just winning a carnival prize. Goldfish can live for decades and grow to be quite large for a simple and common household carp. So how exactly should you care for you fish?

Goldfish Tank   

One of the biggest myths about goldfish is that they prefer and thrive in a bowl. It’s often too small, hard to clean, and doesn’t have enough surface space for proper oxygen exchange.  However, this is not even close to being true.  In fact, they thrive in large open spaces just like most animals.  You want to stick with a general rule of thumb, 20 gallons for one fish and an additional 10 gallons for every additional fish. They love to eat plants, so it’s a good idea to put some plants like Java Fern and Cabomba for them to swim around and chew on. Also, rocks and woodwork (like a sunken ship) that provide hiding and resting places and a fluorescent light are a must.


Goldfish are no different from other fish, they need a filtration in their tank.  They can produce a good amount of waste because they tend to eat a lot.  They also like to root around the rocks and gravel which can stir up the waste buildup that settles at the bottom of the tank. A full sized canister or hang-on filter is perfect for their tank and should be cleaned at least once a month.


Not all fish foods are the same.  These fish are actually omnivores and need a mix of both plants and animals in their diets. Also, they are continual feeders which means they spend their days foraging for food which means they need to be fed small frequent meals. Make sure to give them small amounts of dry food several times a day to prevent the fish from gorging themselves.  Only feed them goldfish food and not tropical fish food. You can also add frozen vegetables, spinach, live plants, and other plant material like Spirulina flakes or pellets is very beneficial to goldfish and will help meet their dietary needs. Plus things like hard boiled egg yolk, earthworms, and brine shrimp can be added to supplement their animal based protein needs.

No matter how hard you try, your goldfish may end up traveling to the great big toilet bowl in the sky. Some goldfish, especially the ones you get at the carnival, have been bred in cramp quarters and may already be sickly when you get them. Check out this funny short video on Telling Your Kid the Goldfish Died.

5 Tips for Owning a Happy, Healthy Dog in an Apartment

dog-apartmentNot all living spaces are created equal, but that doesn’t mean you can’t grow your family with a dog in an apartment. Just as you can find comfort in apartment living, so can your pup. Thinking about bringing home a dog? Keep in mind the following tips to ensure the newest addition to your family can live healthily and happily, even in a smaller space.

Find a Pooch-Friendly Apartment

Choose your breed with care,” recommends Apartment Therapy. Just because a dog is small doesn’t mean he’ll be a good fit for a dog in an apartment. Some small dog breeds like Jack Russell terriers are hyperactive with tons of excitable energy and need lots of playtime. Research breeds you’re interested in to make sure you have the resources to train properly and provide for the dog’s needs. Keep in mind, certain breeds can also suffer from separation anxiety and may disturb your neighbors while you’re away. describes a great apartment dog as quiet and polite with low energy and calmness while indoors. Dogs that adapt well to apartment living include the Boston terrier, bulldog, dachshund and pug, to name a few. If you adore larger breeds, research big dog friendly apartments. You may even want to offer a pet resume, letters of recommendation from previous landlords and a meet-and-greet with your new landlord.

Provide Plenty of Exercise

More than anything, dogs want your love, but even love isn’t enough for optimal health and happiness. Dogs need plenty of regular exercise, especially in an apartment where there’s likely no yard to fun freely. Without a lot of room to let out energy and play, your pet can feel cooped up and frustrated, says Apartment Guide. Don’t be surprised if your dog ends up releasing energy by shredding furniture or tearing up your shoes.

Make sure to exercise your dog at least twice a day, in the morning and at night. Socialize your pup at the dog park or go on a run together for higher intensity activity. Taking your dog outdoors—where he can sniff new scents and get fresh air—increases his quality of life.

Follow a Routine

An established routine helps your furbaby not only adapt to apartment living, but thrive. Take walks and feed your pooch at the same time every day. This helps your pup know what to expect daily, while you can count on less accidents, providing mutual benefits for both you and your pet. Eventually your dog will know exactly when to wake up, go for walks, eat, nap, play and go to bed. This level of expectation creates comfort, no matter what the size of your apartment is.

Create a Cozy Nook

For most dogs, their favorite place is on your lap or at your side. And the next best spot is a cozy space where they feel relaxed and safe. Dogs may love to sprawl on the bed or snooze on the couch, but they typically find the most comfort in their crate. Keep in mind, the crate shouldn’t be a place associated with punishment or anxiety, recommends Pet Plus. Rather, it should be a safe space for napping or escaping a busy household. Create a den-like space in your apartment with the right-sized crate. Your pup should be able to turn around, stretch out and
sit up without bowing their head. Cushion the create with a soft bed and use a crate cover to add privacy and security.

Stay Connected

If you’re gone at work all day, every day, your pup can become restless and lonely in your apartment. For some, hiring a dog walker, pet sitter or doggy daycare may be an option for improving your pooch’s well-being. But those services can be costly. You can still engage with your pet throughout the day by investing in iCPooch—a pet treat dispenser and video chat computer. Check in on your furbaby at any time and electronically deliver a treat to help ease doggy separation anxiety.

2015 Four Legged Client Awards

Here comes the Bella’s House & Pet Sitting first ever FOUR LEGGED CLIENT AWARDS. These awards are loving and some a little odd, but they are to celebrate our loving four legged clients and here to show the world how awesome they are. I asked the staff, If you had to give an award to a pet you care for, who would it be and what would it be for?” They came up with these awards and I had a great time putting this together.

Note: To all those not listed, you are still winners and we love you very much!

Sweetest Boy Award

~Sweetest Boy Award~

Sara says: Jack deserves an award for the best dog, clique, I know, but he truly is! Jack always listens to me and loves anyone no matter what! Even with the loss of his sweet sister, Emma, he is still so happy and sweet and he truly is just an all around loving dog no matter what comes his way!”

~Best Big Brother Award~

Pam says: “Keno for the best big brother! He let’s Ruby do whatever she wants to him and he just takes it in stride and will still wrestle with her.”

~Most Affable Award~

Aubrey says: Java gets the award for “most affable” because he loves everyone and has to greet everyone he sees on our walks (neighbors, cleaning ladies, landscaper crews, mailmen 🙂 )

Most Playful

~ Most Playful Award~

Aubrey says: Riley should get the award for best cat trick.  He does a trick where he stands on his back legs and waves both paws together in the air.  It is his signal for “i wanna play”


Jazzy, Most Happy!

Sara says: Jazzy’s award would be the most happy puppy, ever! She’s so playfull. I absolutely love how she runs around and brings her stuffed pig for you to play with her. She can also be a big love bug after we play she’ll settle down and lay next to me! Regardless to what we’re doing she is ALWAYS happy and loves to have company over 🙂

Foot fettish

~Foot Fettish Award~

Raini says: “Otis gets the award for a foot fetish! He loves feet/shoes. Every time I walk in the door he couldn’t care less about his food, he just wants to rub all over my shoes. His face. His paws. He even flops himself entirely onto them and rolls across then. It is hilarious to me! I don’t know if he smells my cats on them or if my personal hygiene is just on point!”

Gentle Giant

~ Gentle Giant Award ~

Pam says: “Dusty should get an award for being ” The Gentle Giant”.  There is a large flowering bush in his backyard that must contain a nest of some kind. When let outside, he very slowly and methodically approaches the bush.  He then very slowly lowers his head and places it under the bottom branches not moving any other part of his body.  He then stands there motionless with his head hidden.  After several minutes, he then backs himself out and goes about his other business without having disturbing anything.  He’s so good natured. ” 


~Best Behaved Dog~

Pam says: “An award would have to go to Sybil for being the best behaved dog ever.  On our walks she’s not even the least bit tempted to chase rabbits she startles from under bushes.  She just stands there and watches them cross the street.  When we return home, she immediately goes to the same spot in the kitchen and waits for me to take care of her water dishes and write my care note. Once she sees me approach the pantry, she goes to her crate and waits for her cookie that she gets before I leave.  She could also get an award for being the sweetest dog.  She gives me kisses every time I pick up her poop.  Must be her way of saying ” thank you”. 

We love all our clients at Bella’s House & Pet Sitting and this list is in no way to exclude anyone. It is interesting to see all the different personalities of the babies we care for and how they interact with their different sitters. We (as a staff) had a fun time talking about all the different quirks of the fur kids we love on and want to thank all of our two legged clients for allowing us to care for them! 🙂

Veterinary Bills

How To Get FREE Veterinarian Visits In Scottsdale

Veterinary Bills

We have been doing this quite a long time and over the years have gotten to know the ins and outs of many Veterinarian in the N Scottsdale, Az area. We know that going to a new veterinarian can be a taunting task. How will they treat you? Will they be affordable? Will they be compassionate and care about your pet as much as you do? Can you be candid with them and will they provide all the types of services that your pet requires?

We seem to remember some veterinarian’s giving free first visits to help aid in the beginning of these relationships so we thought we would call around to compile a list for you.

Here is who will give you a free veterinarian visit:

We called over 10 places in the area to find out that there are two highly respected hospitals that offer a FREE VISIT to all first time pets. One per household.

It is McDowell Mountain Ranch Animal Hospital  and North Scottsdale Animal Hospital. Both of these veterinarians are people we have and do trust with our own fur kids. In fact, if you are looking for a veterinarian in the Scottsdale area, I HIGHLY suggest you check them out!

Finding a veterinarian that works for you and your pets is key to their health. It is important that you  feel like you can trust and communicate with them anytime you need. Factors to consider:

  • Hours and operations
  • Distance from your home
  • Knowledge about your pet and breed
  • The ease of the office staff and scheduling.

You really can’t go wrong trusting one of these vets. So if you are looking for a new vet or just moved to the area, check out their websites and consider giving them a call!

Here is an article Dr Casey from McDowell Mountain Ranch Animal Hospital co wrote for us about heat exhaustion.
Here is Dr Josh from North Scottsdale Animal Hospital endorsing our pet sitting services.

If you are a veterinarian office in this list and would like to be added, please feel free to contact us and we will promptly add you!

Important Things To Do With My New Puppy

There no denying that getting a new puppy is a fun and exciting time.  They are so cute and cuddly, full of energy and life, basically putting a smile on the faces of everyone they meet.  Still, if you’re not familiar with having a new puppy, after the first few days you may be left wondering, “What kind of stuff should I do with my new puppy?”  Luckily, there are a lot of fun things to do with your new puppy that will help them learn while having a good time.

new pupppy

Socialize your new puppy:

Your puppy has more than likely been with other puppies for the majority of their short lives.  They need help getting introduced to the big world (and big people) around them.  Take them to the pet store, walks in the park or around your neighborhood, even to your friend’s houses (as long as they don’t have any other pets that may scare your new puppy).  Anywhere you go that is dog friendly, take along them so they can learn positive interactions with people.  Make sure to give them lots of treats and praise for situations that may be intimidating.  One piece of advice; hold off on taking them to the dog park to socialize.  Big dogs could scare your new puppy and also if they haven’t completed all their rounds of shots then they may end up getting sick.

Take Them To The Vet:


If your new puppy came from a shelter or local pet store, there is a good chance they have had their first round of shots.  Nevertheless, it is still a good idea to take your puppy to the vet soon after you get them settled.  This allows them get them acquainted with the vet at an early age which in turn makes future vet trips easier.  Plus, your vet will help get them set up on a shot schedule and probably send you reminders when it’s time to re-vaccinate.  Make sure to give your new puppy treats or a new toy on vet day so that they feel that it is a positive experience and they may even be excited next time you say it’s time to go to the vet.

Play Games With Them:


There are a lot of fun games to play with your new puppy too!  Old favorites such as fetch and tug of war are always good to get them active.   You can also play Hide and Seek with them to teach them their name as well as coming when called.  Run and hide then call your puppy’s name a few times until they find you.  Then make a big deal about what a great job they did and then do it again.  Puppies love this game because it gives them self-esteem and it can be a blast for both of you.  Another cute came to play with the family is Pass the Puppy; everyone sits in a circle with the puppy in the middle and you take turns calling the puppy and giving them treats.   This is also a great game to teach them about coming and also that the family is friendly and loving.

All of these are great activities that will help you teach and bond with your new family member.  No matter what you choose to do with your new puppy, as long as you’re taking care of their needs and giving them a loving home they are sure to be happy.

What You Should Know About The Different Types of Dog Beds

As cooler weather creeps into our forecast most of us love snuggling up in our cozy warms beds more than ever.  Our dogs are no different and they deserve a nice comfy place to lay their heads at night as well.  But just like the breeds themselves, there are a lot of different types of dog beds to choose from.  Here’s a quick run-down of dog beds out there so you can make the best choice for your dog.


Standard Dog Beds: 

This is the most typical of dog beds, the one that you will most likely see in homes all across America. It’s a pillow or cushion type bed and comes in various sizes.  Usually covered in flannel or fleece and stuffed with foam, synthetics, or even cedar chips (to decrease smell and deter bugs).

Dog Beds

Kennel Dog Beds: 

Also known as a crate, the kennel bed is a necessity for any dog that sleeps overnight or spends a good amount of the day in a crate.  Mostly they are just a thick foam pad with a waterproof cover for easy clean up. You want to avoid leaving towels or blankets in a kennel because a restless dog will usually kick them up and shove them in a corner, leaving them with a cold hard bottom to sleep on.


Heating/Cooling Dog Beds: 

There’s no denying that living in 2015 is good.  This is true even for our pets, who now have heating and cooling beds for their enjoyment.  As long as you follow the manufacturer’s instructions these beds are great for pets that need a little extra climate control in their lives.


Nesting Dog Beds: 

These beds are the ones with the rims and bolsters on the side that snuggle them in close.  They can be oval or even donut shaped and are extremely comfortable.  The only thing about these beds is that they don’t have quite enough support for older dogs that may need a more firm bed.

Dog Beds

Orthopedic Dog Beds: 

Perfect for older or arthritic dogs, the orthopedic dog bed had a firm memory foam type base.  This gives them much more support in their joints and makes it easier for them to sleep comfortably.

Personally, we love to get Rocco’s beds from Costco. Where do you get yours from?

puppy food

Why Do Puppies Have Puppy Breath?

Puppy breath is an interesting thing.  There’s something about it that most people just love;  even though there are a few people who don’t really find anything special about it. That sweet smelling warm scent that comes from their adorable little kisser can cause you to instantly fall in love.  In fact, I have even jokingly said I would love to foster puppies until they loose their puppy breath! 🙂

But just why do puppies have puppy breath? There are a few different reasons why it occurs, plus a few things you can do to make it stick around as long as possible.

puppy food


Mother’s Milk & Puppy Food

The common thought is that it is due to the enzymes in the puppy’s stomach that breaks down their mother’s milk and puppy food.  As the milk and food is digested it leaks out from their esophagus and forms the appealing scent that some people can’t get enough of.  

Limited Bacteria:  

It is also thought that puppy breath is due to the fact that a puppy has little bacteria in their mouths when compared to older dogs.  The always have fresh breath because the gentle food and wholesome milk from their mothers don’t cause a lot of build up.  As they switch to stronger food and wean from the milk, plaque and bacteria begin to grow faster which changes the way their breath smells.


Keep Puppy Breath Around Longer:

Some say you can keep puppy breath around longer by brushing their teeth (just make sure to use a doggy toothbrush, finger brush, and canine toothpaste). This habit not only makes their breath fresh, it is also beneficial for dental health later in life.  The earlier dogs are acquainted with having their teeth brushed the better.  Also, once they have outgrown puppy food, make sure to switch to organic natural foods.  Both brushing their teeth and giving them quality food will prolong puppy breath.


Top 10 Most Popular Pet Articles of 2015

A big part of Bella’s House & Pet Sitting’s mission is to spread education to the public. We don’t “just” want to be your pet sitter. We want to be your go to recourse for everything! To date, we have over 450 blogs published and coming up on our 10th podcast. That is a lot of content!

Have a question? Let us answer it, or as you will see below, find an expert to answer it. Here are the Top 10 Most Popular Pet Articles of 2015:


buying a dog1. Could The Chlorine In Your Pool Make Your Dog Sick?

This has been #1 for a very long time. The spoiler alert: Yes. Just like humans, it can irritate your pooch. So there are proper precautions you should consider when you let him/her in the pool! We have the experts from Clear Swim weigh in on this one. Read more here.


Dog walker scottsdale

2. ASK THE VET: When is it too hot to walk your dog in Scottsdale?

Scottsdale, Az can sure get H-O-T… and that effects our pets. I always tell people I would love to have a dog walking company, but Mother Nature sorta makes that impossible a good 4 months of the year. In this article, we ask Dr Casey of McDowell Mountain Animal Hospital as she helps weigh in on the answer. Hint: There is a temperature where it is recommended to not walk Fido.


Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 8.01.06 AM

3. Kendall Jenner’s Behavior With Her Puppy May Give You a Wake Up Call!

Ah, then even the Karashian’s spike the top of our list {I can’t believe it either!}  I was made aware of an episode that appeared to be pretty neglectful and irresponsible and I wanted to use it as an example to draw attention to proper pet care. A pet is a 24/7 responsibility and after reading the article, I sure hope she has a good pet sitter at home 🙂


Bella's house and pet sitting

4. How Much Does Pet Sitting Cost?

Ah, the age old question… How much does pet sitting cost? This is the number one most popular question we are asked on the phone and in person. A very valid one too. The answer, isn’t always clear. As we believe that each household is different, with unique needs, we must always learn more about where the client lives, what the routine is, and the needs of the pet(s). So here is the answer to: How much does pet sitting cost? 



5. Which Cat Litter Is The Best? Clay Based vs. Silica Vs. Biodegradable

This article was popular because it is a very real question that many cat parents have. We topped out the search engine because of the uniqueness of the title. Although it is also a very useful and helpful article when contemplating what type of cat litter you should get for your home. Who knew? All these different options for cat litter!


Rocco Approved: Dog Training, Doggie Steps Dog Training

6. ASK THE TRAINER: What Does It Mean When My Dog Holds The Leash When We Walk?

We had this question from a reader come in a couple years back. Ever see your dog “hold” his leash in his mouth? We see it all the time so we asked Mark from Doggie Steps Dog Training and he told us an answer. It is a funny reason why. Very infant like! 🙂 Awww