puppy easter

Hidden Dangers of Easter – Why Easter Lily, Easter Grass, Chocolate & Xylitol are Dangerous to your Pets.

puppy easter

With spring right around the corner, most of us start preparing for our Easter festivities. Bunnies, eggs, and colorful flowers start to pop every where you look.  Even though Easter is a wonderful time to spend with family and enjoy the warmer temperatures, there can be hidden dangers for our pets.  

 

Dachshund puppy dog with spring pink tulip flowers.

Easter Lillies

Although a beautiful addition to any festive home, the Easter Lily can be lethal to our pets, especially cats.  If they ingest the flower without you knowing, they could die from kidney failure within a few days.  Other symptoms include, lethargy, vomiting and loss of appetite. If it’s just not Easter without the lily, opt for the synthetic version to make sure your pets stay safe.

 

Chocolates & Sweets

Most of us know that chocolate is bad for our pets, but it can be easy to leave it out during sweet filled holidays such as this.  Children’s baskets filled with chocolate bunnies and hidden eggs are often left on the floor, but they should never be left unattended when your pet is around.  Make sure your children know that their sweets are not to be shared with the dog because it will make them sick. 

Also, many well-intending sugar conscious parents can unknowingly buy candy that is toxic to your pets.  Many sugar free goodies contain Xylitol which is extremely lethal if ingested by your cat or dog.  While eating a small amount of the sugar substitute is not certain death, it will cause at least discomfort and illness. It is best just to leave any products containing Xylitol at the store or locked up securely away from pets at all times.

If you fear your dog has ingested Xylitol or any other harmful substance or plant contact your Vet or the Pet Poison Hotline immediately.  Please note the hotline does have a fee for incidents, but when it comes to the safety of your pet it is worth it.

 

Easter Grass

The plastic green grass is a hallmark of Easter.  It is often stuffed in arrangements, baskets, and eggs around the house during Easter.  However, it can wreak havoc on your pet’s intestinal tract if they chow down on it while playing.  It moves with the slightest of breeze which can make it almost irresistible for cats and playful dogs. Since the plastic can’t be digested, it can get knotted up and stuck in the their intestines.  The better alternative is paper grass or even try real grass or straw that looks just as festive, but it is much safer and biodegradable too!

As long as you are aware of some of the hidden dangers of Easter, you and your family are sure to have a fantastic holiday.  After all, it’s the time to celebrate, not a time to worry about sickness.

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”

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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. ” 

caption

~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! 🙂

Fun Ways to Exercise Your Dog

There are a lot of ways to burn excess calories, but getting out to exercise your dog is simply the best. You have a playmate to come along with you and they will thank you for the attention and stimulation. Here are some great ways to exercise your dog and have fun while doing it.

 

Go For A Run To Exercise Your Dog:

A simple run with your dog is an easy and fantastic way to get exercise with your dog.  We’re built to run and so are dogs.  If you’re new to running then start slow, take walks with short bursts of jogging or running.  Soon you will both be sprinting to the finish line!

Chuck It Throw Toy To Exercise Your Dog: 

This gadget is really neat, you can throw a ball twice your usual range without the shoulder pain or slobber. The Chuck It toy is perfect for games of catch in the yard or at the park.

 

Swimming Is An Excellent Way To Exercise With Your Dog:

Most dogs love to swim and it really is a full body exercise.  So next time the weather is nice and the water is cool. You and your dog should take a dip! Just watched to make sure you dry them off properly and the chlorine doesn’t hurt them.

 

Exercise Your Dog By Hiking:

Hiking in Scottsdale is one of the best ways to exercise.  The changing elevations are great for cardio and muscle strengthening, plus you’re usually hiking to a beautiful vista or grove which is a great incentive to get out there and move!  All the sights and smells are arousing to your dog keeping him mentally and physically stimulated. Being in nature is a beautiful way to spend the day and your dog is sure to agree.

 

No matter what you choose, the most important part of getting exercise with your dog is just getting out there and doing something active.  If you and your dog are mostly couch potatoes, make sure to start easy, don’t bite of more than either of you can chew in one day.  Don’t forget about safety either, never wrap their leash around your wrist during any exercise, this could cause injury for both of you. Make sure to wear any appropriate hear (helmets, pads, etc) and get plenty of water.  Now get out in the sun and have a great time with your dog!

 

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.

Raising Money For Gabriel’s Angels Paw Prints 2016

gabriel angels

There is a new event coming up from Gabriel’s Angels that I hope you all consider supporting. As the event website says:
Join the Gabriel’s Angels Board of Young Professionals for a lively evening of art, wine, and food! Guest artists, and well-known members of the community, have been invited to create one of a kind paintings over the course of 30 days. The guest artists’ personalized canvases will be posted online for public viewing. Viewers will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite painting by donating $10 per vote online, with the top three paintings raising the most donations earning a People’s Choice award. The canvases will all displayed at the event, where Guest Judges will award their picks the Judges’ Choice Award, and all canvases will be auctioned off at the event. Proceeds from Paw Prints 2016 will help Gabriel’s Angels continue to serve over 14,000 abused, neglected and at-risk children in Arizona.

 

Get Involved!

There are two ways that you can get involved:
1 – Vote on a painting. Each vote is $10. There is a good chance you might even know of some of these movers and shakers! J.E. Pizarro is a friend of mine and Danielle Lerner is a ABC15 Morning show Anchor!
2 – Buy a ticket to the live event.

[button link=”https://www.crowdrise.com/PawPrints16″ color=”lightblue”] Vote Here[/button]

This isn’t our first time…

Throughout the years, I have always been a huge fan of the work that Pam Gaber and her entire organization Gabriel’s Angels have always done. They are a a non profit that provides pet therapy for abused, neglected and at-risk kids here in AZ.

We have worked with them during the Barrett Jackson Pet Fashion Show  and I even worked through the training for Rocco to be certified as a therapy dog. We have sponsored tables at their Unleash The Love breakfasts and just all around been paws up about supporting them!!!

They are an organization that we have so much love for and always want to stand behind. I hope you consider helping support Gabriel’s Angels as well!

How to Make Paw Print Ornaments with Your Pets

paw print ornamentsNothing is quite as special as the ornament that makes you smile every year as you hang it on the tree. What’s even better is when that ornament commemorates a loved one.  With just a few ingredients and an afternoon, you can easily have your very own paw print ornaments to hang on your tree every year.

 

What You Need:

2 Cups of Flour

1 cup of Salt

1 cup of room temperature water (lukewarm)

Pre-heat oven to 250°

 

The Process:

Mix the flour and salt into a bowl, then slowly pour in water as you stir until it’s a dough-like consistency.  If it seems too dry add a little bit more water, if it’s too runny then add more flour.  Knead the mixture for a few minutes until it is smooth, then roll into a small ball.

Use a roller to flatten the dough onto a cookie sheet lined with foil and press your dog’s foot into the salt dough; and don’t worry, if you don’t like the print you can always roll it back up and try again.  Once you have a paw print in the center of the dough you can cut the sides down and make the circle smaller and more define. Then use a straw to make a whole at the top for the string.

Then pop the paw print ornaments into the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes to 2 hours.  Times really can vary for this craft depending on your oven and the thickness of our ornament.  For Valentine’s Day I did salt dough footprint hearts with my son and it actually took four hours to bake because it was so thick.  The trick is to just keep checking it after 30 minutes and make sure it’s completely dry and hardened.

 

Visit for more info: http://www.homevolution.co/2012/11/dog-and-cat-paw-print-ornaments.html

Visit for more info: http://www.homevolution.co/2012/11/dog-and-cat-paw-print-ornaments.html

 

The Finish:

Once it is hardened and cooled you can paint the ornament with any colors that strike your fancy.  However, it does look best when you color the paw a different shade than the background to make it stand out.

After the paint is dry, spray the ornament with a gloss coat to protect it.  As soon as the clear coat is dry you can put a ribbon or string through to hole and voilà your paw print ornament is done!

How to Turn Thanksgiving Day Leftovers into Dog Treats!

Tday Treats

It’s almost time for Thanksgiving and while we prepare to sit at our bountiful tables, it occurs to me, why should we have all the indulgences?  Our ever dutiful and thankful pups also want to enjoy some special dog treats this holiday season too!   We’ve collected a handful of dog treat recipes that your pup is sure to love!

Turkey Meatloaf:  This one sounds so good I think I would eat it!  Combine oats, eggs, carrots and sweet potatoes with ground up leftover turkey and serve it up!  Cover it with just a smidgen of gravy and your pooch is sure to like the plate with this one.

Hound Hash:  Make this one with cut up turkey scraps, (make sure there are no bones or skin) toss with finely diced white and sweet potatoes with some chicken broth. Maybe drizzle a little bit of gravy on this one too, for a little added flavor, I mean it’s Thanksgiving after all!  I’m declaring that this one is sure to be a hit with the hound!

Pumpkin Pie Biscuits Pumpkin is an excellent food for your pup and there is no doubt they will love this little sweet treat!  Just make sure not to use pumpkin pie filling, get the can of pureed pumpkin or make your own puree fresh to really pack in the health benefits!

Turkey and Cranberry Treats:  I don’t think you can go wrong sharing the traditional turkey and cranberry combo.  As for treat making goes, this one is seriously easy too.  Cranberries packs a healthy punch as well, so I say this one is a must make.

Just for Dogs Thanksgiving Meal:  It is pretty much a complete Thanksgiving meal made especially for your dog.  It has turkey, gravy, sweet potatoes and cranberries all together.  I think if you put a little bit of leftover mashed potatoes and stewed carrots with this and your dog will be in holiday heaven.  Just make sure the potatoes and carrots don’t have too much butter or cream and they will love it!

Make sure to click the titles up there to get the details on how to make these delicious little delights.  There’s no reason to leave our furbabies lacking this holiday season, so let’s make sure to include them in the kitchen.  Happy bellies for all!

 

 

Things to Think About On Thanksgiving With Your Pets

The Thanksgiving holiday is all about spending time with loved ones, and we often gather with family and friends who we don’t see as often as we’d like to. With all the excitement of visitors and preparing the big meal, it’s easy to overlook our four-legged friends. However, it’s important to remember a few key ways to ensure your dog enjoys the day, too, or at least that they stay safe. From using the best dog fence to keep them contained, to knowing how to recognize signs of stress, to making sure they don’t ingest anything dangerous, here are some simple ways you can make sure your dog stays safe on Thanksgiving.

Options For Traveling With or Without Your Dog

Thanksgiving is one of the busiest times of the year for traveling. If you’re joining the hoards of cars on the road and bringing your dog, be extra cautious. Your dog should be secured in the car with a special dog seat belt.

If you don’t have one, keep your dog in their crate, so they can’t jump into the driver’s lap unexpectedly. If your dog is trained to use a wireless dog fence, bring it with you to use during rest stops or at your destination, if it doesn’t have a yard with a fence.

Make sure you add items for your dog to your car’s emergency kit, too, such as an extra leash, food, water, toys, and a copy of their vaccination and health records.

Granted, the smartest alternative to keep your dog safe and stress-free is to hire a pet sitter. By doing this you reduce traveling stress and allow your dog to remain in a familiar environment without the risks associated to crowded boarding facilities.

dog and thanksgiving

Look Out for Dangers Around the House

If you are staying with friends or relatives, be on the lookout for potential hazards, especially if their home isn’t “dog-proof” already. Make sure your dog can’t access things like cleaning supplies or medications. If your dog likes to chew on electrical wires, hide or cover as many as you can, especially when placing light up decorations around your own home. Lit candles should always be on a high shelf. Also be aware that things like corn stalks and pumpkins can be hazardous if chewed by your dog, because large chunks can cause intestinal blockages.

Don’t Allow Your Dog in the Kitchen

The kitchen is actually the most dangerous place for your dog to be, especially during Thanksgiving. With all the activity going on to prepare the big feast, it’s much easier for your dog to get in the way, such as causing people to trip. Hot stoves, sharp knives, and boiling liquids are all very dangerous to everyone, so the best bet is to banish your dog from the kitchen entirely.

This might sound unconventional, but if you have a large opening into your kitchen, an indoor invisible dog fence works great to create a boundary for your dog. With an electronic dog fence, you don’t have to worry about stepping over a baby gate or other barrier. Or, keep your dog in a closed room or in their crate, especially during the most active cooking times.

Don’t Feed Your Dog Any Table Scraps

Not only should your dog stay out of the kitchen, they also shouldn’t be allowed to sample what you’re cooking. While it’s tempting to share the delicious food with your beloved dog, it’s better to get them their own special dog treats or cat treats. Most people don’t realize that fatty foods, especially turkey skin, can cause dogs to get pancreatitis.

dog and cat thanksgiving

Turkey bones also cause the most injuries during the Thanksgiving season, because they can pierce your dog’s stomach, intestines, or throat. Chocolate, alcohol, and xylitol are all poisonous to dogs. Onions can also make your dog sick. After the meal, take all trash outside to the big garbage bin so your dog can’t help themselves. Here is a great list of good and bad foods for your pets on Thanksgiving

Observe Your Dog for Signs They’re Stressed

Dogs can become very stressed out during holiday parties, because they’re usually not accustomed to so much noise and activity. The best thing to do is keep an eye on your dog throughout the celebration, and remove them to a quiet, dark room if they’re acting odd or unlike themselves.

Other signs of stress in dogs include cowering, hiding, shaking, panting, growling, jumping, pacing, raised fur, showing the whites of their eyes, and freezing up or backing away. If you put your dog in a closed room, just make sure they have plenty of water to drink.

Talk to Your Loved Ones About Dog Safety

Finally, it’s smart to briefly discuss safety precautions with anyone who will be around your dog. Remind everyone not to leave their plates or drinks unattended, and tell them not to give table scraps to your dog. Talk to young children about safely approaching your dog, and let them know that dogs don’t enjoy being hugged or kissed.

If your dog is wearing an e-collar for an electric dog fence, let your relatives know where the boundaries are so they don’t try to coax your dog to cross them, especially if it’s being used inside the home. Also ask your visitors to inform you if they notice your dog acting strangely or eating table food; the more eyes on your dog, the better.

While a lot of these tips are common sense and things dog owners already look out for on a regular basis, it never hurts to be reminded of them. When so much is going on already and everyone is enjoying themselves, the last thing you want is to have to deal with any unexpected incidents. Following these tips will help you avoid the vast majority of accidents and injuries, and your dog will make it through the holiday as happy and healthy as they were before. If you have any other tips for safety, please share. Happy Thanksgiving!

To learn more about safe dog containment options at a price everyone can afford visit Dog Fence DIY, our partner in dog containment education. This article has been sponsored by Dog Fence DIY.

6 Safe Foods For Your Dog on Thanksgiving

Bella - Nov Week 1a - Safe Food PIC

Photo from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

You can almost hear tummies rumbling around the country as we start dreaming about Thanksgiving.  In just a few short weeks we will be diving into a smorgasbord of delectable dishes.  We may love the decadent butter and cream filled foods and may think our pets under the table will enjoy them as well, but this is not always the case.

Veterinarians actually see an increase in office visits after holidays due to digestive issues brought about from our rich holiday spread.  If you know your pet will be heartbroken without at least a few bits of table food this holiday, make sure to feed your dog on Thanksgiving things that are best for them to digest.

  1. Lean turkey: Turkey is actually a pretty healthy choice for your pets to eat on Thanksgiving. However, it is really filling, so they don’t need a whole lot to fill their bellies. Also, make sure it has no bones or excessive fat on it and they should be good to go.
  2. Rolls: Who doesn’t love a good warm roll?  Just like us, most dogs love bread and rolls are something that they definitely can enjoy in moderation. Small bites are best and no extra butter!
  3. Pumpkin Puree:  If you’re making a pumpkin pie then save a little of the plain puree for your pup.  Pumpkin has actually recently been touted as a doggy super food; helping them with digestive and urinary health.  Make sure you don’t feed them raw pumpkin or pie filling, but canned cooked pumpkin can be an excellent choice for their holiday feast.
  4. Potatoes:  This one comes with a bit of a caveat. If your potatoes are extremely rich with butter and cream then it’s not the best choice as it may give your dog a stomach ache. Plain potatoes are much better suited for  their digestive system, so before you add all the extra flavor spoon them a little to the side and save it for them to have at dinner.
  5. Sweet Potatoes: If you’re regular potatoes seem too savory for your dog, then they may enjoy sweet potatoes instead. Avoid candied yams, or sweet potato casserole because the butter and sugar could spell a stomach ache for them.
  6. Carrots: As with the rest of the items you can serve your pet this holiday, make sure the carrots you give them not too buttery or have too much brown sugar in them.

It’s hard not to let our pets enjoy holiday food, especially our dog on Thanksgiving when they look at you with those pleading eyes.  But it’s good to keep in mind that their digestive track can’t handle all of the spices and things we add to our foods.  In fact, vets tend to see increased office visit for gastrointestinal reasons during the holidays.  It may be best just to give your pets a special store bought treat just for them to avoid any needless discomfort this holiday season.  After all, it’s the holidays, a time to be jumping around, not down with a tummy ache!

 

 

Simple Dog Costumes

dog costume

Next week is Halloween and it’s hard to believe it is already time to dress up and parade around the neighborhood for candy, or stay home and hand it out.  There is still time to get your dog a simple dog costume so they can participate in the festivities of Halloween.  Here are a few simple ideas to get you going.

 

  1. Hulk Hogan – As a child of the 80’s, I really love this one, and the best part is that it’s probably the most simple dog costume you’ll see. All you need is a yellow wig, a bandana and some cute little doggie underpants and you have yourself a doggy Hulk Hogan brother!
  2. Oscar the Grouch – This idea is simple, but may take a little more work than the Hulk Hogan. A little trash can, a few fake bags of garbage, and some green non-toxic hair paint is all you need to transform your pup to a grouch.
  3. Police Dog – Of course, this one is a given. There’s nothing as cute as a dog that means business, just make sure not to jaywalk while trick or treating.
  4. Shark – Sharknado has nothing on the Sharkfido! This simple and cozy outfit is great for cool Halloween’s out in the neighborhood.
  5. Yoda – No surprise this one is on my list since I’m sort of a sci-fi nerd (okay, so I’m a sort of a big sci-fi nerd). Yoda makes for a pretty simple dog costume too, floppy green ears and a tan over coat will do the trick.
  6. Minions – I really like this idea if you have more than one dog. Plus, minions are super popular so your dogs are certainly going to be a hit if they are dressed up like these little yellow guys.
  7. TY Beanie Baby – I have to admit, this one is the simplest and maybe the cutest one on the list. You can easily make this one at home because all it takes is a red heart shaped tag with the letters TY on it just like beanie babies have.  You can attach this to their collar and they look just like a sweet little beanie baby.

It’s always fun to dress up our fur-babies, just make sure they are comfortable and safe.  You don’t want to sacrifice your dog’s safety for a simple dog costume.  As long as everyone is safe, you’re sure to have a great time.  Don’t forget to check back next week for tips on how to get the best pic of your pup in their costume!