The Jill’s Next Door pet care and dog walker blog covers the most important topics for pet owners, pet lovers, and anyone who works with animals. Peruse our popular blog topics and tips, including How to Find a Pet Sitter, How to Find a Good Dog Walker, Tips for Pet Owners, and Tips for In-Home Dog Sitting. 

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5 of the Best Pet-Friendly Florida Vacation Spots

Looking for epic pet-friendly Florida vacation destinations? Our sunny state has plenty of options for those looking to travel with their pet in tow, including a great selection of beach towns, hotels, and even restaurants that are happy to accommodate both you and your pet.

If you’re ready to start planning, here are some of our destination picks for vacations with pets in Florida.

Planning Dog-Friendly Vacations in Florida: Top Destinations

When it comes to pet-friendly places to stay in Florida, you’ve got plenty of options. Whether you’re in the mood for a day at the dog beach or a tropical nature hike (or both!).

Here are the destinations that should be at the top of your list:

1. Clearwater

Nestled in between the Gulf of Mexico and Old Tampa Bay is Clearwater, Florida, a beachy hot spot with lots of activities for pets and their people. Book a stay at a pet-friendly hotel like the Residence Inn by Marriott Clearwater Downtown, or opt for a pet-friendly Airbnb or camping ground. Then spend your days exploring, making sure to schedule stops at Sand Key Dog Park and Clearwater North Beach. And if your pup is small enough to sit on your lap, don’t miss the chance to take them out on the water with a kayak trip from Gregory’s Kayak N Paddleboard Adventure.

2. St. Petersburg

In St. Petersburg, directly south of Clearwater, you’ll find tons of fantastic things to do with your dog. Activities include romps at one of the city’s many fenced-in dog parks and/or cocktails and local craft brews (for humans) at The Dog Bar, a dog-friendly sports bar with more than 5,000 square feet of off-leash areas for your dog to explore. As for where to stay, check out the Hyatt Place St. Petersburg Downtown. Other options include a stay at the Lucky Dog Inn or the Hollander Boutique Hotel for a more luxurious experience.

3. Sanibel Island

Sanibel Island, located off the west coast of the state, touts itself as a pet-friendly paradise. All of Sanibel Island’s beaches welcome leashed dogs, as does the J.N. ‘Ding’ Darling National Wildlife Refuge, where you’ll find tons of trails—plus a chance to spot otters, manatees, and other native animals and species. Book your stay at one of the island’s many pet-friendly hotels with beach access, such as the West Wind Island Resort, Sanibel Island Beach Resort, or the Beachview Cottages.

4. Key West

What’s better than a lazy day at Margaritaville? A lazy day at Margaritaville with your dog! Yes, Key West, including the Margaritaville Beach House hotel, is quite accommodating to our furry friends, with dog parks, dog beaches, and dog-friendly hiking trails at the Fort Zachary Taylor State Park. For pets that like to be out on the water, be sure to book an excursion with Key West’s Lazy Dog Adventures, which offers guided kayak tours for pets and their humans.

5. Miami Beach

One of the most dog-friendly beach towns in Florida also happens to be one of its most popular all-around vacation hotspots. Pet-friendly hotels line the coast from North Miami Beach to South Beach, including the Eden Roc, Catalina Hotel & Beach Club, and the Residence Inn by Marriott Miami Beach Surfside, just to name a few. Spend your days at destinations like the Flamingo Bark Park or Performance Pups Freshwater Beach, and schedule some sightseeing with a dog-friendly Art Deco tour. Make sure to explore the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens too, where well-behaved dogs are welcome to stop and sniff the abundance of tropical plants and flowers.

Is there a must-see place you want to visit on your vacation that doesn’t allow dogs? We’ve got you covered. Fill out our contact form to arrange for dog walking, pet sitting, or other services from Jill’s Next Door during your Florida vacation.

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How to Find a Dog Groomer You and Your Pet Love

Wondering how to find a dog groomer that’s right for your furry friend? There’s a bit more to consider than just who’s cheapest and most convenient.

Dog groomers work closely with your pup and need to be skilled in what they do. You must also find a groomer your dog likes, trusts, and feels comfortable around. And while it can take some time to settle on the right fit, it’s worth it to do your due diligence and ensure you find someone who checks off all the right boxes.

Here’s how to find a dog groomer to hire, including the questions you should always ask before scheduling your first appointment.

Find the Right Pet Salon

When looking for a dog groomer, you’ll usually start by researching pet salons in your area rather than individual groomers. Ask friends for referrals, or talk to your vet or dog walker. Or, if you’d prefer to start your search for a groomer online, look up local pet salons and read through all the reviews. Digging into first-hand experiences is always more beneficial than going off a salon’s website. It can help you identify whether there are any ongoing issues you need to know.

Ask for a Tour

Visit the salon and groomer you’ve chosen in person. This allows you to see the facility and ensure it’s safe and clean. It’s also an excellent time to ask questions.

Questions that you will want to ask on your tour include:

  • How much experience do you have?
  • Did you go to school for grooming?
  • Do you have experience working with my breed of dog?
  • What does the grooming process entail?
  • Do you belong to any dog grooming associations?
  • What safety measures do you put in place?
  • What do you do if my dog is anxious while being groomed?

Be sure to ask about relevant certifications since many states require that professional dog groomers be certified and licensed.

Learn About Pricing Details

Cost is an essential factor when choosing a dog groomer. Ask about the salon’s pricing structure and whether you pay per service or purchase grooming packages. If it’s a package deal, find out precisely what is included in the base price and what additional fees there might be (such as for special services or products).

Have more than one dog? Ask about discounts for multi-pet households. Many salons offer savings for households bringing in two or more pups regularly.

Trust Your Gut

One of the reasons that visiting with a groomer in person before moving forward is vital is that your instincts can tell you a lot about whether someone is a good fit or not. If you’re having second guesses about a groomer because of their communication style, the state of their salon, or any other reason, big or small, that’s a sign you need to look elsewhere. As your dog’s caregiver, it’s your job to find a groomer who can provide them with the highest level of care. So trust your gut, and don’t feel bad letting someone know you’ve decided to go in another direction.

Schedule Your First Appointment

You’ve done your research, so it’s time to schedule an appointment with the groomer you chose. You probably won’t be able to watch the grooming session itself, but you should still keep an eye out for signs that it was (or wasn’t) a success. Did your dog come out clean and looking top-notch? If they’re stressed or anxious, do they calm down quickly when back in your presence? Look out for signs of ongoing stress like diarrhea or lack of appetite, which suggests your dog isn’t in the right hands.

Finding the right groomer can make all the difference. Remember to take your time, and always keep your dog’s needs front and center during your search.

Jill’s Next Door Dog Walking & Pet Services, LLC is a multi-award-winning dog walking and pet sitting company operating year-round in Delray Beach, Boca Raton, and Highland Beach. Contact us today for more information.

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5 Tell-Tale Signs Your Dog Loves You

Looking for signs your dog loves you? You don’t have to look very far.

Dogs are incredibly adept at showing us how much they care and display behaviors specifically geared toward showering their favorite human companions with affection. And while, like us, dogs all have unique love languages, there are a number of things you can look out for if you want assurance that your pup loves you as much as you love them.

So, how do you know if your dog loves you? Here are five signs to watch for, plus a quick quiz to help you get to the bottom of this all-important question.

How to Tell if Your Dog Loves You

They might not be able to speak our language, but dogs still have plenty of ways of telling us how they feel. If any of these sound familiar, then you can rest assured that your furry friend is truly smitten with you.

1. They follow you wherever you go

If your dog is basically your shadow, then you don’t have to wonder if they love you. Dogs follow us around for the simple reason that they like being in our presence. It’s also one of the signs your dog is protecting you since it’s important to them that you don’t get out of sight.

2. They let you sit and lay with them

Physical touch is one of the best ways humans and dogs can show affection. If your pup is comfortable letting you snuggle up with them—or if they seek out snuggles themselves—then they’re letting you know they feel safe around you and want to be close.

3. They wag their tail when they see you

Dogs wag their tails for a lot of reasons. But if the tail wagging is combined with happiness and excitement at seeing you, then it’s an obvious profession of love. Other signs that a wagging tail is a sign of love are if the tail is being held in a higher than normal position and if it’s wagging at a super-fast pace.

4. They want to play with you

Every time your dog drops a toy, stick, or rolled-up ball of socks in your lap and asks you to play with them it’s a sign that they truly love you. It’s a special human indeed who gets this level of attention from a canine companion, and it indicates that your dog is wanting to engage with you—and is willing to share something important with you, too.

5. They sleep in your bed

Sleep is a vulnerable state for dogs since their defenses are down. So if your dog sleeps in your bed (or better yet, curled up next to you), that tells you they know they can be vulnerable around you and feel totally and 100% safe and loved. How’s that for creature comforts?

Does My Dog Love Me Quiz

The more of these questions you answer “yes” to, the more clear it is that your dog really and truly loves you.

  • Does your dog sleep in bed with you?
  • Does your dog greet you at the door when you return home?
  • Does your dog feel comfortable spending time in another room when you’re home?
  • Does your dog make eye contact with you?
  • Does your dog play with you?
  • Does your dog lick you?
  • Does your dog steal your clothes and carry them around?
  • Does your dog perk up when they see you?

Remember, dogs have their own personalities, so some dogs might naturally be less affectionate or playful. If that’s the case with your dog, it doesn’t mean they don’t love you! It just means they might have different ways of showing it.

If you want to show your love right back, make sure your dog is taken care of—even when you’re not there. Learn about our at-home pet care services in Boca Raton, Highland Beach, and Delray Beach, and give your dog the TLC they deserve.

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5 of the Best Indestructible Dog Toys for Tireless Pups

A tired dog is a good dog, so stock up on the best indestructible dog toys and ensure your pup has an outlet for all their excess energy.

For many dogs, destroying their toys is the most fun part of playing with them. And while there’s (usually) no harm in shredding a stuffie to bits or tearing every last fuzzy patch off of a tennis ball, constantly replacing your dog’s toys can get expensive. So why not pick up some durable dog toys that can hold up to even the most determined of toy destroyers?

Here are five of our favorite toys for dogs who like to shred so your toy-maiming pup can finally meet their match.

What Makes a Good Dog Toy?

Before we get to our picks, let’s quickly go over what you should look for when shopping for high-quality dog toys.

As with any item you buy for your pet, safety is the first thing to keep in mind when buying dog toys. Any toy you purchase needs to be appropriately sized for your furry friend, which includes being large enough that it doesn’t pose a choking hazard. And if your dog is keen on destruction, it must be free of additional dangers like squeakers, bells, and polystyrene beads.

Regarding materials, look for toys made out of natural fabrics that won’t harm your pet if swallowed (such as wool or jute) or toys made out of materials that are hard to destroy in the first place (such as Kevlar, canvas, or hard rubber). Also, skip the rawhide bones since those can be quite hard on your dog’s stomach.

Finally, seek out interactive toys that offer more for your dog to do than just destroy on contact. Treat toys, puzzle toys, and toys with interesting textures will all do a better job holding your dog’s interest than their less-exciting alternatives.

The Toughest Dog Toys on the Market

When it comes to indestructible dog toys, “lifetime guarantee” and similar packaging phrases will let you know that the manufacturer has made the toy with heavy chewers in mind. Start your search with these five tough toys, and rotate your dog’s toys regularly, so they don’t get bored.

1. Kong Extreme Dog Toy Rubber Ball

You don’t get called an “extreme” dog toy without some seriously durable toughness. Kong’s fan-favorite rubber ball is bouncy and puncture-resistant, with a size that’s just right for medium and large-breed dogs.

2. Outward Hound Invincibles Dog Toy

Outward Hound’s collection of Invincibles features uniquely designed stuffies in tons of shapes and sizes, all of which have thick linings and double-stitched seams for extra durability.

3. NOUGAT Squeaky Dog Chew Toys

Swapping in tougher toys doesn’t mean your dog has to forego their beloved squeaks. But instead of a squeaker they can pull out, opt for one of NOUGAT’s BPA-free rubber squeaky toys, made with 100% eco-friendly material and featuring well-placed bristles that help clean your pup’s teeth while they chew.

4. Arm & Hammer Treadz Dental Chew Toys

Speaking of tough toys that do double duty for your pet’s health, Treadz dental chew toys by Arm & Hammer can be found in two shapes that are fun for dogs to chew and near-impossible to destroy. As a bonus, they’re infused with baking soda for even more teeth cleaning benefits.

5. Goughnuts MaXX

Your dog will have a blast trying (and failing) to chew through this indestructible rubber ring. This has been a go-to toy for chew-happy large breeds for a long time and also has a smaller version for dogs in the 10-40 pound range.

You can’t go wrong with any of these durable toys, but keep your dog’s general preferences in mind so that you choose a toy that will grab their interest—and withstand their chompers.

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7 Fun and Adorable Dog Birthday Party Ideas

Are you looking for dog birthday party ideas? You’ve come to the right place!

Your dog deserves the very best—especially on their special day. And while we’re sure your pup will appreciate any bonus birthday treat they get, it can be super fun to go the extra mile and throw them their birthday party complete with games, decorations, and doggie friends.

Below, we’re sharing some of our favorite DIY dog birthday party ideas with helpful tips for any pet parent looking to go beyond the basics for their furry friend’s big day.

Psst: Don’t know your dog’s birthday? These ideas work great for a “gotcha day” party too!

How to Celebrate Your Dog’s Birthday

Let’s be honest; your dog doesn’t actually know when its birthday is. But they do know when they’re being showered with love and excitement, and that makes all of the efforts of a dog birthday party more than worth it. So make it the best day ever with these puppy birthday party ideas that are sure to be a total hit.

1. Pick a Venue

There are lots of possible places to hold your dog’s birthday party, including a dog park, an agility course, or your own home. Decide what makes the most sense depending on how many doggie friends you’ll be inviting and what works with your preferences and your budget.

2. Choose a Theme

Every great party needs a theme. Choose one that speaks to your pup’s interests, or go more general if that’s your style. From there, the theme can be represented in decorations only, or it can be used as a basis for the entire event—for example, a “Dog Days of Summer” pool party or a “Dog Spa” with “paw”-dicures and a bubble bath station.

3. Decorate!

You have lots of options when it comes to dog décor. Add in some special touches that speak to your theme, and consider some personalized items like custom streamers featuring your pup’s face (available on Etsy). We also love the idea of a festive photo backdrop where four-legged partygoers can pose for pics.

4. Order Dog-Friendly Treats

It wouldn’t be a party without cake… pupcake, that is. Look for recipes online for homemade dog-friendly cakes if you want to DIY, or place an order with a nearby pet bakery. If you don’t want to do something custom, you could also just go to your nearest artisan pet store, which is sure to be well-stocked with whimsical dog cookies and other celebratory treats.

5. Play Dog Party Games

Plan some entertainment by organizing a few games for the party. An obstacle course, sprinkler, or bucket full of tennis balls are all sure to go over well, as would a “treat hunt” with little puzzle toys hidden around the yard. You should also set aside a toy corner where dogs can choose their favorite indestructible toys to chomp down on (and take home as a party favor!).

6. Set Up a Craft Station

Put together a fun surprise for your human attendees by setting up a craft table where they can make homemade dog toys. Other craft ideas that work great at a dog birthday party include a homemade dog ornament station, picture frame decorating station, or dog cookie decorating station.

7. Spoil Your Pup Rotten

You probably wouldn’t be planning a birthday party for your dog if they weren’t at least a little bit spoiled already, but now is the time to go all out. This is their day to shine, so surprise them with an awesome present just for them and make sure they feel like the star that they are.

Of course, your dog deserves the best every other day of the year too. Learn about our world-class pet care services, and fill out our contact form to schedule walks or other services for your pup.

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Are Your Cat’s Eyes Watering? Here Are Some Possible Causes

If you’ve noticed your cat’s eyes watering excessively, then it’s expected that you might feel concerned.

The eyes are more than just the windows into the soul—they can also be a key indicator of health. This becomes especially important with our pets, who are unable to speak to us directly about how they’re feeling. And while watery eyes might not be a symptom of something serious, it’s worth learning more about the causes so that you know whether you should seek additional care for your cat.

With that in mind, here are some reasons you might notice moisture in or around your cat’s eyes, including some additional signs that it’s time to call the vet.

Possible Reasons for Watery Eyes in Cats

A cat’s eye watering and squinting could signify that something is going on with your kitty. The most common causes of watery eyes in cats include:

  • Conjunctivitis (“pink eye”): caused by a bacterial or viral infection
  • Allergies
  • Upper respiratory infection
  • Foreign object in the eye

Conjunctivitis

Known as “pink eye,” conjunctivitis is an infection of the conjunctiva, which is the mucus layer covering the front of the eye and the inside of the eyelid. Both humans and cats have conjunctiva, which is why you may already be familiar with this term.

Conjunctivitis can occur from either a bacterial infection or a viral infection. For instance, if your cat has come into contact with another cat with the virus.

Watery eyes caused by a conjunctivitis infection may appear wet, gooey, or red and may be accompanied by squinting or excessive blinking. If you notice any of these symptoms, schedule a visit with your vet to discuss possible medications.

Allergies

Like us, cats can suffer from seasonal allergies or allergies to certain foods or substances. These allergies are congenital, which means your cat is born with them, and while they aren’t curable, they can be managed with limited exposure to the allergen.

In addition to watery eyes, a cat with allergies may also experience sneezing, itching, snoring or experience vomiting, or diarrhea. If you’re concerned your cat has allergies, work with your vet to identify the possible allergen so you can do your best to remove it from their environment.

Upper Respiratory Infection

An upper respiratory infection like a cold may look quite a bit like allergies, but unlike allergies, it should clear up on its own within a few days. If you notice watery eyes coupled with sneezing, itching, coughing, or other cold-like symptoms, keep a close watch on your kitty, and if they’re not better after three or four days, make an appointment with the vet.

Foreign Object

Your cat’s watery eyes may result from a foreign object that has made its way into the eye and is either still there or has scratched the cornea. In either case, it warrants a visit to the vet if you cannot remove the object yourself or there is an apparent scratch.

My Cat is Sneezing and Has Watery Eyes: Now What?

It’s always better to be safe than sorry about your cat’s health, so a vet visit is in order if you’re worried about their watery eyes. This is especially true if their watery eyes are accompanied by other symptoms like sneezing, coughing, redness, itchy skin, or different types of discharge.

The exact treatment method for your cat’s watery eyes will depend on what your vet has deemed to be the most likely cause of the issue. Standard treatment methods include:

  • Eye rinse
  • Medication for a viral infection, such as antibiotics or eye drops
  • Allergen elimination
  • Cone, to keep your cat from scratching their eye

The best thing you can do for your kitty is to stay vigilant and seek care as soon as possible if it appears that they are injured or ill. Also key is to keep up-to-date with regular check-ups, including an annual wellness visit.

Want to know more? Browse our pet care blog for additional information on how to take care of your furry friends, and get in touch to learn about our services, including cat sitting and more.

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Why Do Cats Like String?

Ever found yourself wondering why do cats like string so much?

Our cats have a lot of strange behaviors and preferences that we might have trouble understanding, including an infatuation with a seemingly simple object. So if you’ve got a cat obsessed with string, here’s what to know about where that infatuation comes from and what’s so endlessly entertaining about it!

Reason #1: Cats and Strings Go Together Like Predator and Prey

Cats are much less far removed from their wild ancestors than you might assume. They have an innate predatory instinct that informs many of their everyday behaviors. Aside from putting any small rodents that cross their path in danger, this instinct also drives their appreciation for string.

A piece of string is lightweight, airy, and has a lot of unpredictable movement as your cat swats it around. This mimics what prey might do if your cat caught it in the wild, which triggers that instinct to hunt and makes string a fun distraction at playtime.

Reason #2: Cats Playing with String Get Mental and Physical Stimulation

Speaking of playtime, the more your cat engages in play, the more mental and physical stimulation they get. That’s good news for both of you and essential for a happy and healthy pet.

Playing with string is just one of the ways that cats achieve this level of stimulation, making it a much-loved pastime and a great way to get out energy and boredom during the day. So if your cat seems disillusioned by their current toy selection, dangle a piece of string and see if that entices them to pounce around and have some fun.

Reason #3: String Naturally Catches Their Eye

Cats are keen to catch sight of even the slightest movements in their field of vision. But, again, this circles back to their predatory instincts since cats in the wild need to be able to identify an opportunity for food when it arises.

When you wave a piece of string around, that motion will almost certainly grab their attention. Then, depending on whether your cat is in the mood for some entertainment, they might decide to act on what they see and attack before the string can “get away.”

Reason #4: They Love the Texture of String

Us humans might not think there’s much going on with a piece of string, but to our cats, a long, thin, and smooth string is a textural oddity worth exploring. Cats enjoy swatting at the string and pulling at it with their claws, and they also like the texture as they chew it. And so long as you don’t let your cat actually eat the string, it’s fine to let them touch, chomp, and discover what string is all about.

Reason #5: String is Reminiscent of a Tail

It might be a bit morbid, but tails play a unique role in a cat’s hunting experience. They’re the last part of a prey animal to disappear when they get away and the easiest part to grab. So a string, with all its tail-like qualities, is a particularly intriguing plaything, especially as it disappears around a corner.

What Do Cats Like to Play With?

Play is crucial for cats, and string is one of many ways to get them going. Other household items that you can use to get your cat’s attention and inspire them to engage in play include:

  • Feathers
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Paper and canvas bags
  • Milk rings
  • Ponytail holders
  • Plastic and silicone straws
  • Cotton balls
  • Ping pong balls
  • Shower curtain rings
  • Leaves

Monitor your cat during playtime with an object until you know they won’t try to eat it. Some items, including string and string-like ribbon and yarn, can be hazardous if swallowed. It’s always better to be safe than sorry and to keep your cat away from a play item if you can’t trust them not to eat it.

Could your cat use even more stimulation? We’re here to help.

Learn about us and our pet care services, including cat sitting and care. Our team of cat lovers is always available to come and play with your feline friend, and are happy to do our part to keep them loved and cared for.

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Coping with the Loss of a Pet

Coping with the loss of a pet is never easy.

Pets are truly members of our family, and their passing can be heartbreaking in many ways. No matter how long your beloved animal companion was in your life, the mutual love, trust, and bond that you share is immutable. And losing that, coupled with losing the mere presence of your pet in your home, is incredibly hard and should never be undervalued.

Unfortunately, many people do not understand how deep the ties run between a pet and their human, and may not fully appreciate the extent of your grief. However you should never question whether your grief is valid. Give yourself permission to mourn, and consider trying one or more of the coping tips below as you work through the grieving process and make peace with your pet’s passing.

Ways to Cope with the Loss of Pets

When it comes to how to deal with a pet loss, there is no magic pill or secret tip for moving through grief and coming out on the other side. Instead, coping with the loss of a pet dog, cat, or other animal is an active process that takes time, and that may not follow a clear and direct trajectory. As you work through it, keep these coping tips in mind and remember that it’s okay to grieve however you need to.

Take Care of Yourself

Make your mental, emotional, and physical health a priority. It’s easy to get lost in your head and put your own needs on the backburner, but the better you care for yourself during this time, the sooner you can start to process what’s happened.

Keep Busy

You don’t need to overload your schedule, but do try to plan activities that will keep you distracted and on a routine. Even if it’s just sitting down to your favorite feel-good movie, anything you can do to redirect your focus is worth your time.

Talk to a Supportive Friend

Don’t keep your feelings inside. Reach out to a friend or loved one who understands the quality of the relationship you had with your pet and who will let you talk through how you’re feeling openly and without judgment.

Write It Out

Grab a pen and paper (or sit at your keyboard) and get your feelings down onto the page. Try stream of consciousness writing, which is when you simply write what comes to mind without editing it down or worrying about grammar and spelling. This will let you simply identify and address your thoughts, and is a productive way to channel your emotions and possibly find some clarity.

Practice Self-Care

Make sure you eat well, sleep well, and stay active during this time. And engage in other forms of self-care as needed, whether that’s a massage, a weekend away, or just a slice of pie from your favorite bakery.

Honor Your Pet

You may find it helpful to do something to honor and commemorate your pet. An example would be making a donation to a pet rescue organization or, when you’re ready, volunteering at a shelter. Other ways to commemorate your pet include planting a tree or bed of flowers for them, having jewelry made with their name on it, or hanging their picture in their favorite spot in the house.

If your goal is to figure out how to stop grieving over a pet entirely, it’s worth noting that acceptance of your pet’s loss will take time and cannot be rushed. It’s normal to feel how you’re feeling, and while it may be painful, it’s a testament to how much your animal companion meant to you. Things will be okay in the long run—just accept your feelings as they happen, and practice gratitude for the time that you got to share with your pet. There are many happy occasions ahead too, and eventually you’ll be ready to let them into your life.

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10 Ideas for Funny Dog Halloween Costumes

Funny dog Halloween costumes might not have the same scare factor as their spooky counterparts, but we still get a total kick out of them.

Getting your dog their own costume is a great way to include them in the Halloween festivities. If they’re up for it, your costumed friend can be a fantastic companion on your trick-or-treat route, or they can join you as you open the door to hand out candy to neighborhood kids. In either case, these funny Halloween dog costumes are guaranteed to garner smiles and will provide you with plenty of silly pictures to look at all year round.

10 Dog Costume Ideas for a Fun and Funny Halloween

If you believe the funniest dog Halloween costumes are the best dog Halloween costumes, then we’ve got some fun ideas to get you inspired for the upcoming holiday.

1. Walking Teddy Bear

Source:Amazon

Trick or treaters will definitely take a second glance when they see this two-legged teddy bear walking down the street. Note that this costume is best suited for dogs with short or medium legs, though it is available for larger dogs too.

2. UPS Delivery Driver

Source:Amazon

Rain or shine, your pup is here to make sure you get all your deliveries right to your door (though we can’t guarantee they won’t chew them up first). This funny UPS costume is a total crowd-pleaser and comes with sturdy stuffed “arms” to hold the box in place.

3. Hula Girl

Source:Amazon

Aloha, hula girl! Your dog will be a total delight in this funny costume, and you can easily coordinate your own costume by going with a related Hawaiian theme or going as a fellow hula girl yourself.

4. Lion

Source:Amazon

Your dog already has most of what they need to pull off a fantastic lion look—they just need a mane! This is a great choice for dogs who might not be open to a full-body costume and is also effortlessly hilarious to boot.

5. Octopus

Source:Amazon

Because sometimes four legs just aren’t enough, why not turn your dog into an octopus for Halloween? Just make sure they don’t use all those legs to suction up any spare candy!

6. Cheeseburger

Source:Amazon

Your dog likely loves the smell of cheeseburgers, so maybe they’d like to look like one too. This is a great option if you’re looking for funny large dog Halloween costumes since it’s detailed enough to stand out while also being suitable to fit bigger breeds.

7. Franken-Pup

Source:Amazon

This costume might be modeled after a famous monster, but we think your dog will look more hilarious than scary as they wear it around town. Even funnier, go as a mad scientist and let everyone know who’s responsible for this adorable creation.

8. Penguin

Source:Amazon

Brr, it’s chilly out there! Embrace the cold by turning your dog into a silly waddling penguin, complete with a fancy bowtie.

9. Pennywise from “IT”

Source:Amazon

If your dog has a history of clowning around, then Pennywise could be the way to go. There’s nothing terrifying about this killer clown costume, but there are guaranteed giggles every time you look over and see your pup in a wig.

10. Skunk

Source:Amazon

Let’s be honest, sometimes our dogs have more in common with skunks than we might like. And even freshly-bathed dogs will be a hoot when dressed up as one for the Halloween holiday.

Halloween will be here before you know it. Choose a costume from this list for an unforgettably hilarious day, or continue searching and find that perfect costume for your own oh-so-funny dog.

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The 11 Funniest Halloween Costumes for Cats

We don’t know about you, but when we think about our favorite Halloween costumes for cats they’re almost always ones that make us laugh.

Not all cats are open to dressing up on Halloween—and that’s totally okay! But if your festive feline is keen to get in on the fun, then you’ve got your pick when it comes to adorable costumes for kittens and cats.

It’s impossible not to smile when you see a cat in costume. Bring the grins (and the laughs) this Halloween with these hilarious pet Halloween costumes for cats, including genius ideas for complementing your own holiday get-up.

Funny Halloween Costumes for Cats

The best costumes for cats usually end up being the funniest, too. Get inspired with these top picks and make this a Halloween you’ll definitely never forget.

1. Cool Cat

Source:Amazon

Your cool kitty deserves a cool costume—and one that’s just a bit silly, too! As a bonus, this costume might come in handy again at your next summer BBQ.

2. Pirate

Source:Amazon

Does your cat have a tendency to dig for buried treasure in their litter box? This is the costume for them. Just be sure to hide any candy well out of sight, since this is one pirate who might be on the hunt for forbidden goods.

3. Sliced Bread

Source:Amazon

There was a certain era of the internet where it seemed like you couldn’t go a single day without seeing a cat’s head poking out of a slice of bread. If you remember those days fondly, then this funny costume is a great callback (and will result in equally great pictures).

4. Lion

Source:Amazon

Let your kitty channel their ancestors in this oh-so-silly lion mane. Even better if they’ve got the perfect “rawr” to go along with it.

5. Princess Leia

Source:Amazon

There’s a good chance your cat has curled up on the couch through many Star Wars viewings. And if so, they might love going as the epic and intergalactic Princess Leia, cinnamon bun hairdo and all.

6. Spider

Source:Amazon

Sneaky, quiet, and ready to pounce… our cats actually have a lot more in common with spiders than we normally give them credit for.

7. Unicorn

Source:Amazon

Make it a magical night with this endlessly humorous cat unicorn costume. It’s just a headpiece so your cat might be more likely to wear it—plus it’s a for-sure crowd pleaser.

8. Doctor

Source:Amazon

Did somebody call a “dog”-tor? Your pup might not be amused by their kitty sibling’s medical get-up, but you definitely will be!

9. Pizza

Source:Amazon

Cats and pizza are two of the things that we love the most in this world. Bring them together in one silly costume, complete with lots of cheese and an assortment of savory toppings.

10. Banana

Source:Amazon

For the health-conscious cat who still wants to get in on the funny food-inspired costumes, we recommend dressing them up as a bright yellow banana. Yum yum!

11. Monster

Source:Amazon

Your little monster is already perfectly suited to pulling off this little monster cap. You’ll know they actually look cuter than tough, but don’t tell them that.

Your cat is sure to be the talk of the neighborhood with any of these funny costumes. If you’re not sure which way to go, consider choosing a costume that coordinates with your own, or something that fits with your cat’s unique personality. There’s really no way to go wrong, so long as your cat is comfortable and enjoys all of the attention (because they’re certainly going to get a lot of it!).

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What to Know About Stress Colitis in Dogs

Do you know what to look out for when it comes to stress colitis in dogs?

Our dogs can experience physical manifestations of stress just like we can. That’s because stress has a direct impact on the immune system and its ability to fight off dangerous invaders. And while there are quite a few issues that may occur as a result, stress colitis is perhaps one of the most common.

Colitis refers to inflammation in the colon, and has a number of different causes. Here’s what to know about stress colitis and why it happens, as well as the symptoms and home remedies you should be aware of.

Symptoms of Stress Colitis in Dogs

Could your dog’s tummy ache be stress colitis? Symptoms of colitis include:

  • A sudden onset of diarrhea
  • Straining to defecate
  • Loose stools
  • Mucousy stools
  • Frequent need to defecate
  • Straining to defecate and/or experiencing pain during defecation
  • Blood in the stool
  • Changes in the amount of gas your dog is producing

What Causes Stress Colitis in Dogs?

There is a strong connection between the stomach and the brain, including in dogs. And when your dog experiences acute or chronic stress, it can result in an imbalance of good and bacteria in the gut – a condition that can in turn lead to intestinal inflammation and discomfort.

Stress is not the only potential cause of colitis, but it is one of the most prominent. All sorts of situations can stress out our pets, and they don’t always have a way to communicate that stress to us so that we can help them manage it before it turns into something physical. Stressful situations that could lead to stress colitis in dogs include moving to a new home, traveling (with or without your dog), abruptly changing your routine, or bringing home another pet or a new baby.

You know your dog better than anyone, so you know if they are already susceptible to stress and anxiety. If they are, you should also know that this puts them at a higher risk for stress colitis, and that it’s up to their benevolent human – you – to minimize their stress whenever possible and help prevent it from turning into something more serious.

Aside from stress, other potential causes of colitis include diet changes, internal parasites, bacterial infection, pancreatic issues, and food sensitivities, all of which warrant a visit to the vet.

Home Remedies for Stress Colitis in Dogs

Now for some good news: you may be able to clear up stress colitis all on your own, without the need for medication or an invasive procedure. Do call your vet, but know that they may recommend these tips for treating stress colitis at home.

Fast Your Dog for 24-48 Hours

Fasting gives your dog’s digestive system a chance to slow down and take a break, which could be exactly what the colon needs to reset and bring down the inflammation. If you fast your dog, just be sure to take it slow when you start reintroducing food so they don’t eat too quickly or too much.

Feed a Low Residue Diet

Low residue foods are easy for your dog to digest and produce a minimal amount of waste as they move through the body. Examples include fish, chicken, rice, eggs, and certain fruits and veggies such as melon, bananas, carrots, and potatoes.

Feed a High Fiber Diet

A fiber-rich diet can make a very positive difference in your dog’s digestion. High fiber foods that are safe for dogs include apples, carrots, kale, broccoli, pumpkin, and wheatgerm.

Again, always call your vet if you suspect colitis. But do know that relief is often quick and easy, and by acting fast your pup could be feeling like themselves again in no time.

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Pet Safety in the Summer: A Guide to Beating the Heat

Keeping your pet safe and healthy is a year-round endeavor, but there are a few more considerations to keep in mind when it comes to pet safety in the summer, particularly regarding the heat.

Our pets get hot just like we do, and can suffer heat stroke if not properly cared for. Some pets may even be especially prone to overheating based on factors like age, size, breed, and existing health conditions. As their caregiver, it’s your job to prevent that from happening—and to help them stay as comfortable as possible while enjoying summer fun in the sun.

Below, we’re sharing our best hot weather safety tips for pets, with must-know information for keeping your pet safe and cool all summer long.

How to Keep Dogs Cool Outside

Whether it’s a day at the dog beach or just a long walk, you should always be taking steps to prevent your pup from overheating—and these five tips are a great place to start.

  • Avoid the hottest parts of the day - We love walks and excursions as much as our dogs do, but during the summer it’s crucial to limit the time spent outside during the hottest hours of the day (usually between 10am and 5pm). Plan to do activities either early in the morning or later in the evening, and spend the rest of the day inside where it’s cool.
  • Stick to the shade - Shade can make a huge difference. If you’re going to be spending time outside, set up shop under a tree or canopy, or get a travel dog tent so your pup always has a place to escape the sun.
  • Provide fresh cold water – Prevent your dog from getting dehydrated by providing them with lots of cool water to drink. And if it’s really hot, throw some ice cubes in their water to get it as chilly as possible. This is also a great time to whip up some homemade pup-sicles!
  • Know the beginning signs of heatstroke – Get your dog inside at the first sign of overheating. Things to look out for include lethargy, excessive panting, drooling, and increased heart rate.
  • Don’t force it – If it’s too hot (or if your dog just doesn’t want to be outside), it’s totally fine to just relax indoors. We promise, cooler weather will be back before you know it and you can go back to spending more time out in the sun every day!

Need some ways to help your dog release pent-up energy when lingering walks are out of the question? Summer is perfect for breaking out puzzle games and treat-dispensing toys. You can also play indoor games with your dog like hide-and-seek, or set up an indoor agility course.

Summer Car Safety

Sometimes your pet has to go in the car with you on hot days. But heat stroke can happen fast in a car if proper precautions aren’t taken, so always put your pet’s safety first.

The first thing to note: never leave your pet alone in a parked car. Temperatures can rise more than 20 degrees Fahrenheit in just 10 minutes, and more than 40 degrees Fahrenheit in an hour, even with the windows cracked. And don’t let your pet hang out the window when you’re driving, since this is a serious safety hazard.

Think running the AC is enough to preempt heatstroke? Not quite. You can’t rely on your car’s systems to run correctly when you’re not present. Plus, in many states, it is illegal to leave a pet alone in a car, even if it’s on (and that includes here in Florida).

What Temperature is Too Hot for a Dog?

The best rule of thumb for keeping pets safe in the heat is that if it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for them. Beyond that, the risk of heatstroke goes up considerably for dogs when temperatures rise above 80 degrees Fahrenheit—though you should begin to monitor your pup closely as soon as temperatures reach 75 degrees Fahrenheit. This goes double if it’s a sunny day.

Your pet relies on you to make the best decisions for their health. Follow the tips above for pet safety in the heat, and make sure to find lots of fun things to do with your furry friend this summer that doesn’t put them at risk of overheating.

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5 Important Tips for Delray Pet Owners

Pet care takes a lot of work, but it’s well-worth the effort when you see your furbaby’s happy face. There are a lot of everyday activities you can do with your pet to keep it healthy, happy, and safe. Below are five important tips for being a responsible pet owner in Delray.

Add Exercise to the Routine

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, nearly 60 percent of cats and 56 percent of dogs in the United States are obese. Part of the problem is these animals are not getting nearly enough exercise. Find ways to get your pet active, whether through more walks or interactive toys. If you don’t have time to exercise your pet during the day, hire a dog walker or pet sitter to spend time with your animal and get it moving.

Invest in Rubber Booties

Sidewalks and sand can get scorching hot, especially if you live in the south. Invest in a pair of rubber booties to protect your dog’s paws while you’re out for the day. Rubber booties can be particularly beneficial on the beach as a lot of pet owners don’t think about the temperature of the sand. Just remember, if you can’t walk on it with your bare feet, your pup probably shouldn’t either.

Apply Sunscreen

Sunscreen is another commonly forgotten protection for your pet. Naked animals and those with very thin fur can easily get sunburned when outside for extended periods of time. Sunburns don’t feel good for anyone, so make sure to pack a pet-safe sunscreen for beach days and summer festivals.

Get Proper Identification

Every year, thousands of pets are lost and don’t make it back to their owners because they don’t have proper identification. Your pet needs to have a collar and tags for the day it dashes out the door. If the clinking of the tags bothers you, there are plenty of rubber tag options available that reduce the noise. You can also find plenty of comfortable collar options if that’s something that concerns you. Whatever your previous objection, it’s your responsibility to make sure your dog or cat has some form of identification.

Schedule Regular Hygiene Check-Ins

Pet grooming is not optional, it’s a requirement. At least once a month, you should give your dog, cat, or other animal a thorough hygiene check to ensure everything is good. Check nails, ears, eyes, teeth, fur, paws, and anything else that could be causing issues. A lot of people don’t notice their dog’s claws are getting too long until they start to curl. Cats are prone to eye infections, which could worsen if not caught right away. Really pay attention to your pet and look for any warning signs of infection or other hygiene needs. Your pets can’t tell you what they need, but, more often than not, you can easily spot any problems. Pet care isn’t just an occasional job. Loving and attending to your pet should be part of your everyday life. As a pet parent, your animals rely on you for love and care. Incorporate the above five tips into your pet care routine and you and your pet will be happier for it.

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5 Health Benefits of Daily Dog Walks

As soon as you say the word “walk” your dog probably starts dancing in place, eager for the leash to be clipped on so you can both go outside. Your enthusiasm, on the other hand, might be a little less exuberant. Pausing work to walk the dog can feel like a chore, which leads to you rushing through the task and cutting the activity as short as possible.

Instead of rushing through your daily dog walk, take the time to enjoy a relaxing stroll with your best friend. You might be surprised to learn that daily walks with your dog have tremendous health benefits not only for your pup but for you as well.

Meet Physical Activity Guidelines

According to a study published in Scientific Reports, people who own a dog are more likely to meet physical activity guidelines. Your pup helps ensure you’re meeting the recommended 150 minutes of aerobic activity each week and, in most cases, exceed that number. On average, people who own a dog get about 200 more minutes of walking each week than non-dog owners. By walking together daily, you and your dog benefit from exercise that’ll keep your bodies happy and healthy.

Improves Cardiovascular Health

Regularly walking outside each day is really good for your heart. The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of aerobic activity every day to help reduce blood pressure and lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. Most dog owners spend this amount of time strolling around the block with their pup if not daily then at least several times a week.

Boosts Happiness

A simple walk is a powerful mood booster. As you walk along the trail with your dog, your body releases endorphins that make you feel good. It’s also difficult to be in a bad mood when your pup is grinning from ear to ear sniffing every tuft of grass and fire hydrant.

Reduces Stress

Walking around outside gives you an opportunity to forget about your worries for a little while. Use this time to focus on your pup and your surroundings instead of any negative thoughts. A walk is also a perfect time to indulge in playtime with your dog, so don’t hold back when it comes to playing fetch.

Stronger Muscles and Bones

Daily walks are a great way to strengthen muscles and bones. Walking is a weight-bearing exercise and it requires your body to work a lot harder than if you were sitting. Your body is strengthened from this regular activity and so is your dog’s. Muscle and bone health are particularly important as you and your pup age, so make sure you don’t neglect this healthy activity.

These are five big health benefits to walking your dog, but this daily interaction with your best friend does so much more. By spending time with your dog, you’re creating a lasting bond and establishing your leadership in the relationship. Stop missing on this important one-on-one time with your pup and start taking advantage of the health benefits that come with daily walks.

Dog Walking & Pet Sitting Services in Delray Beach and Boca Raton

Your dog is a member of the family, and as such you want the very best care for Fido when you’re not around. Dog walking and pet sitting services are excellent resources when you work all day or are going out of town. Of course, you don’t want to hire a random person to watch your pet. You want to choose the best pet sitter to watch your pup on a regular basis.

What to Look for in a Daily Dog Walker

It matters who you choose to walk your dog. Plenty of people call themselves pet sitters without having much training or tools in place to properly care for your pup. You need someone who is experienced and also has the right setup to keep your furbaby safe and happy while you’re away. Below are three big factors you should consider when looking for trusted pet sitters.

Experience & Training

Professional experience working with dogs is a huge plus when choosing your pet sitter or dog walker. A person who loves dogs can be a good option, but you’ll get a lot more from someone with an experienced background. When meeting with a potential pet sitter, below are some questions you can ask to gauge dog walking and pet sitting experience.

  • How long have you been walking dogs/pet sitting?
  • Are you certified in canine first aid?
  • What are your methods?

References and Reviews

A top-notch pet sitter or dog walker will have a list of references ready when you ask. Call a few of the references to hear the first-hand experience of someone who has worked with the dog walker in the past. You should also be able to find reviews on the candidate’s website, as well. The number of positive reviews gives you a good sense of the kind of service you can expect from the dog walker. </span

Preparation

A really good dog walker will prepare for your first meeting in a number of ways. First, the candidate will be able to answer all of your dog walking and pet sitting questions. A great pet sitter will be able to answer where your dog will be walked, training methods used, and any other details you want to know. Second, a professional pet sitter will be ready to do a test walk and show you their methods. If someone doesn’t seem ready for your first meeting, then they might be inexperienced or not as professional as you’d like.

Pet Sitting Services to Discuss With Your Dog Walker or Pet Sitter

Once you find the right dog sitter, you need to have a conversation about how their pet sitting services will work. Below are a few topics you need to discuss before your dog walker gets started.

Emergencies

Accidents happen which is why you need to make sure your new pet sitter is prepared for an emergency situation. Outline your new dog walker’s decision-making level and provide your pet’s vet information in case a trip to the vet is needed when you’re unavailable.

Food

Discuss how much food your pup is allowed. This includes dog food as well as treats. Your pup might be allergic to certain ingredients so your dog walker might need to use special treats whenever interacting with your pup.

Equipment

Make sure your pet sitter knows what kind of equipment you’re OK and not OK being used on your dog. For example, you may have a harness on your pup as well as a muzzle for safety reasons during walks. Convey this information so everyone stays safe and happy.

Schedule

Work out a schedule with your pet sitter to determine how many walks your pup will get each day and how long they should each be. When discussing the schedule you can also mention important things like feeding time and potty breaks too.The more information you provide, the more likely you and your new pet sitter will be on the same page.

The Best Pet Sitter in the Boca Raton and Delray Areas

If you live in the Boca Raton or Delray Beach area, you know there are a lot of local dog walkers available. As we’ve already gone over, however, you don’t want just anyone to watch your pup. That being said, Jill’s Next Door Dog Walking and Pet Service is an excellent option to consider. Jill’s Next Door works with the most caring, qualified pet lovers in the area, and each sitter is run through an extensive screening test to ensure you get the best sitter for your furbaby.

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How to Return to Your Delray or Boca Office and Still Take Care of Your Pet After COVID

You’ve been at home with your pet for the last year, but the return to the office is finally happening. Businesses all over the state are opening back up to full capacity, and you’ll soon be back to spending a majority of your day at work instead of at home. No doubt your dog has loved having you shelter at home these past months, so the switch back to a regular work schedule could be a difficult adjustment. As you get ready to return to your office in Delray, make sure you also take the time to prepare your pet. Below are four steps you can take to care for your pet during the transition.

Step 1: Ease Into A New Routine

Hopefully you have a couple of weeks before your transition back to the office to slowly ease into a new routine. Take this time to come up with a new daily schedule for your pup. For example, if you normally do a morning potty break at 10:00 a.m. start waking up an hour earlier each week until you get to 7:00 or 8:00 a.m. Now is the time to also start cutting back on random walks and bathroom breaks, too. Build more structure into the day so your pup will have a routine to fall back on when you’re out of the house. Changing a routine can give your dog anxiety, but if you ease into the changes, you’ll have fewer issues.

Step 2: Practice Alone Time

It’s fun to include your pup in all of your activities, but it’s time to practice alone time. Your dog is going to be home alone for extended periods of time, so it needs to get used to the quiet of the house. Practicing short one to two-hour periods of alone time is also a great way to see how your dog reacts and what issues you may need to deal with. For example, if your dog has severe anxiety, this time alone could result in your pup getting sick. On the other hand, your pup may get bored and decide to tear apart your throw pillows. Whatever the case, practicing alone time will reduce the damage and give you a chance to address any bad behaviors.

Step 3: Create A Safe Space

You may want to limit house access when you’re away, so create a safe space for your pup to feel at ease. For example, set up the crate in your dog’s favorite room and give your pup a shirt you’ve recently worn. Your scent on the shirt will help comfort your dog while you’re away.

Step 4: Provide Entertainment

You’d be bored if you were stuck in a room all day with nothing to do, so make sure you leave your dog a few activities to stay entertained. Puzzle toys are a popular option that can keep your dog distracted for an hour or two. Another option would be to leave the TV on for the ambient noise and visual entertainment. If you’re really concerned about your pup, you could also set up a camera and speaker so you can talk to your dog throughout the day.

The transition back to normal life will take some work, but if you ease into it slowly the adjustment will be much more enjoyable.

The Importance of Healthy Treats and Meals for Your Pet

Just like humans, pets need a balanced, nutritional diet to keep them happy and healthy. A lot of house pets, however, are being overfed or consuming too much unhealthy food during the day. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, in 2018 approximately 60 percent of cats and 56 percent of dogs were overweight or obese in the United States. A pet that is overweight is more prone to health issues and the excess weight can impact longevity. Keep your pet’s weight under control by following some of the healthy treat and meal ideas below.

Healthy Pet Treats

Treats are an excellent tool for training your pets, but it’s important not to get carried away. Snacks should only make up about 10 percent of a dog’s daily diet. If you’ve noticed your pup or kitty packing on a few pounds, then switch from the calorie-dense treats you get from the store to fruits and vegetables. Below is a list of whole foods you can try cutting up and feeding your pets as treats.

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Cucumbers
  • Pears

It’s always a good idea to double-check what foods are safe before offering a treat to your pet. While the above fruits and vegetables are good for your animals in moderation, some foods, like grapes and raisins, can be toxic to your pets. It’s also a good idea to check with your vet before offering some of these healthy snacks to your animals. If your cat or dog has any medical conditions, certain whole foods might not sit well.

Preparing a Healthy Pet Meal

Considering the number of obese pets in the U.S., it’s clear people have a hard time determining how much food to give their animals. It’s incredibly important for your pet’s overall health to figure out the right amount of daily food. A lot of factors have to be considered when making this decision such as size, activity level, type of pet food, and the number of meals.

A good place to start is checking with your vet about the recommended weight of your pet. Once you have a number in mind you can monitor weight gain or loss a little better. From there, you can also look at food intake. If you feed your dog or cat dry food from a bag, then look at the recommended portions listed on the back. This is usually a pretty accurate assessment of how much you should be feeding your pet on a daily basis.

Choose A Feeding Style

You can also look into various feeding methods. For instance, free-feeding is when you place a bowl of dry food out for your pet and leave it there all day. Your cat or dog can eat whenever it feels hungry and you don’t have to worry about getting back for mealtime. Of course, the risk with free-feeding is overeating. Certain breeds of cats and dogs will eat well past feeling full, so make sure you only choose this option if your pet has a bit of self-control.

The other option would be scheduled feedings. With scheduled feedings, you can either measure out portions or set out a bowl filled with food for 20 minutes. If your pet is already a little overweight, then portion-controlled feedings are best. This way, you can monitor calorie intake.

If you decide to start mixing in whole foods during mealtime, make sure you’re providing balanced nutrients for your cat or dog. Often, when people decide to prepare their own healthy meals for pets, they end up leaving out certain nutrients vital for their dog or cat’s wellbeing. Make sure you fully understand what vitamins and nutrients your pet needs during mealtime so you can provide the most nutritious food possible. A well-balanced diet will keep your beloved fur babies in good health so they can stick around for many more years to come.

10 Reasons Why Rescue Pets Are The Best

Adopting a pet is incredibly rewarding and much needed. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, approximately 6.5 companion animals enter shelters every year. You have the opportunity to provide a loving and safe home for a dog or cat in need. Below are 10 reasons why rescue pets are the best pets you could have.

You Save A Life

Shelters can only support so many animals. Unfortunately, every year shelters are forced to euthanize animals when their numbers get too high. The fact is, too many pets come into the shelters but not enough of them are adopted. By taking an adorable kitten or puppy off their hands, you’re providing room for another animal in need.

Not Picky Eaters

Most of the time rescue dogs and cats aren’t picky eaters. They’re happy to eat whatever you put in their bowl so you don’t have to worry about buying premium food unless you really want to spoil your new fur baby.

Lower Medical Costs

Shelter animals often have a lot of their shots already and have already been spayed or neutered. This saves you a ton of money when getting a new pet because you don’t have to pay for vaccinations on top of a purchase fee.

Healthier Animals

Most pets found at the shelter are mutts, but this usually makes them healthier because they have a more diverse gene pool. A lot of purebreds have genetic health issues and dogs from puppy mills or breeders tend to have health issues from poor animal care practices. With a rescue, your cat or dog will be in better shape and will already have been treated for any medical issues it had when it arrived at the shelter.

Loyal Companion

Rescue pets are known for being fiercely loyal. When you take in a shelter animal you give them a home where they can feel safe and loved. The bond created between you and your pet means you’ll have a friend for life.

Less Training

A lot of rescues have already been house trained or are being fostered and taught proper behavior. Fewer accidents inside the house are good for your furniture and your sanity, which is another reason why adopting a rescue pet is the best.

No Puppy Stage

Puppies are adorable but this is also the time they can be at their worst. When you’re caring for a puppy you usually end up with a lot of indoor accidents, chewed up furniture, and scratched up carpet or floors. Adoption lets you skip the puppy stage and care for a pet that’s received some training and will be less destructive.

More Exercise

A rescue pet will help you get a lot of exercise because you’ll want to take them on numerous walks. Many rescues come from homes where they were often confined and not treated properly. You now have the power to make your new pet happy every day with a simple walk.

You Can Help Them Heal

It’s beautiful to watch your rescue blossom in a loving environment. When you first bring home your new dog or cat, you might notice hesitant or fearful behavior. As your pet gets more used to its new home, however, it’ll start moving around with more confidence and showing you more affection. It’s wonderful to see the transformation.

Support Local Shelters

Adopting a rescue is the best because you can rest assured knowing that you’re doing something good not only for your pet but for your local animal shelter or rescue. Puppy mills often add to the overpopulation at shelters, so support local humane organizations instead.Shop around at different shelters and rescues in the area to find the cat or dog that fits perfectly with your family. Once you do, you’ll see for yourself just how amazing rescue pets can be.

Pet Etiquette for Dog Parks and Dog Beaches

Taking your dog on outings can be incredibly fun for you and your dog, but pet etiquette should always be followed. Pet etiquette is important not only for the safety of your pet, but also for those around you. The next time you go to a dog park or dog beach, please keep the following pet etiquette rules in mind.

Pick Up After Your Dog

It’s your responsibility as a pet owner to pick up your dog’s poop. If you’re not willing to clean up after your dog, then don’t take them to the park or beach. Please know that forgetting a poop bag is also no excuse. You’re in a place filled with other dog owners. One of them will gladly give you a bag to clean up your dog’s poop so the space stays clean.

Pay Attention to Your Pup

Some pet owners see dog parks and beaches as a space to let their dogs loose and free. To a certain extent, this is true. Let your pup stretch its legs and sprint to its heart’s desire. However, that doesn’t mean you should stare at your phone the whole time or let your dog run far away from you. Dogs usually get into trouble when pet parents aren’t paying attention. You always need to be alert to your pup’s behavior when you’re around other dogs and people. If your dog is being too aggressive with other pups, call it back to you.

Respect Leash Laws

Leash laws are in place for a reason. They keep you, your dog, and others safe. Letting your dog off leash around other leashed dogs can cause a lot of agitation in the other animals. Don’t make a walk difficult for others by allowing your dog to run all over the place and get the dogs worked up.

Train on a Regular Basis

Proper dog training can be incredibly beneficial at dog parks and beaches. The ability to recall your pup with a simple command can keep your dog from getting too close to a dangerous area. Off-leash verbal control will make you feel more comfortable in public places, and you’ll feel better letting your pup off leash.

Protect the Environment

Dog beaches, in particular, have a lot of nests and plants important to the local environment. Excited dogs can do a lot of damage if not carefully watched. You don’t want your pup tearing up a nest or unburying turtle eggs. When you arrive at the beach or park, make note of any delicate natural areas your dog should avoid.

Be Considerate

Ultimately, pet etiquette is about being considerate of others and your surroundings. Pick up your pup’s poop, keep your dog from disturbing protected areas, and don’t let your dog get too aggressive. If you notice your pup is being too disruptive, you may need to take it home and come back after you’ve done more training. Visits to the dog park and the dog beach should be enjoyed by everyone. As long as you follow the pet etiquette rules above, you will have a good time and so will those around you.

5 Ways to Help Your Local Animal Rescue in Palm Beach County

Animal rescues provide valuable services to their communities by taking in homeless and abandoned animals. What most people don’t realize is that rescuing animals is not an easy task. There is a lot of time and resources that go into running a local animal rescue. If you love animals and you’re looking for a way to help save furry friends in your area, then consider getting involved with a local rescue organization in one of the following ways.

Foster a Rescue

You might not be ready to adopt a pet just yet, but fostering an animal is a great way to gain experience. As a foster pet parent, you host an animal at your home for several weeks or months. During this time, you help the cat or dog you’re fostering will acclimate to living with humans and become less skittish. Animals that are more friendly and used to humans are more likely to get adopted.

If you’re looking for an organization to foster through, join my program through Jill’s Next Door Feline Alliance Program who helps socialize, care for, and increase adoption odds for feral cats and kittens found in Palm Beach County. Through this alliance organization, I’ve been able to build a cat sanctuary as well as raise money and awareness for felines in the area. I’m always looking for more volunteers to foster local cats, so please reach out if you’ve ever considered taking in a stray in need.

Share Your Experience

Let other people know about your experience with animal rescues and shelters. Perhaps your own beloved pet was adopted from a rescue or maybe you donate supplies to an organization every year. Share this meaningful experience with your friends on social media so they can learn why you support local animal rescues. I’m very vocal about my work with stray felines. I love posting pictures of my foster kittens on social media and updating friends and family about their progress. Sharing these stories is a great way to engage other people in the work I’m doing and help them understand why it’s so important to me.

Donate to Florida’s Forgotten Felines

Donations are always appreciated by animal rescue organizations. Your donations don’t have to be monetary, either. Contribute by donating food, blankets, treats, or any other supplies listed on a rescue’s wishlist. Florida’s Forgotten Felines is a wonderful local Palm Beach County organization that could use your help. I’ve personally contributed to this organization over the years by donating my time and skills to design their website, launch social media accounts, and volunteer when needed. FFF is a non-profit organization dedicated to making life easier for over 850 cats in Southern Palm Beach County. A big part of FFF is spaying and neutering stray cats in the community. By taking on this challenging task, FFF helps control the feral cat population in the area by trapping neutering and releasing (TNR).

Be An Advocate

A lot of people don’t have the resources to foster or adopt an animal, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help your local rescues. Instead of adopting yourself, share information about local rescue organizations with your community. Raising awareness for animal rescues and shelters is a really valuable action you can take. A lot of people don’t know about our organizations or what we do for the community. By advocating for organizations like Jill’s Next Door Feline Alliance Program, Florida’s Forgotten Felines, iHeart Animals, and Kitty Karma of Delray, you’ll be raising awareness for animals in need. You should also keep our nonprofits in mind the next time you do a social media fundraiser!

Help At Home

Do your pets have tags? Are they spayed and neutered? Help make the job of animal rescue volunteers and workers easier by ensuring your pets are protected. Families lose their pets every year because a door was left open. Tags help us return your pets faster, and neutering or spaying your pet will keep them from producing offspring that end up on the streets.

Every effort helps in our endeavor to reduce the number of homeless animals and care for strays. Learn more about working with Florida’s Forgotten Felines and Jill’s Next Door Feline Alliance Program and find a way to get involved today!

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How to Select The Best Dog Walker and Avoid The Wrong Person

There are plenty of fantastic reasons to hire a dog walker. You may have adopted a puppy or an older dog, and you need to ensure they get the potty breaks and pet care they need. Perhaps your schedule has changed--you may have just had a child or a busy season at work. You may have noticed some behavioral issues, and believe your dog will reap the benefits of additional physical exercise and stimulation. Whatever your reason, connecting with the right dog walker will make a wonderful and beneficial difference in your pet’s and your lives! Here are some tips on finding the right dog walker for you and your pup, as well as on the questions you need to ask to ensure you're choosing the best dog walker for you and your lifestyle.

Where to Look for a Dog Walker in Delray Beach

  • Ask your dog-owning family members, pals, colleagues, and neighbors for a referral to a pet sitter they love!
  • Check with neighborhood shelters, veterinarian offices, or groomers for any referrals.
  • Ask your dog trainer. If your dog is having difficulties with leash walking, some "training walks" will help make all your walks safer and a lot more enjoyable, too.
  • Of course, the web is a great resource. Check reviews, look for affiliations, certifications, and make sure they are insured and bonded so that you can find the best dog walker Delray has to offer.

Questions to Ask Your Dog Walker Before You Hire Them

When you've found a couple of potential candidates, there are a few crucial questions you should ask. Following all, you have to trust your puppy walker not merely with your dog's health insurance and activity, but in addition to the dog and home’s security. safety. Please note that the dog walker will be given access to your residence and community. Face to face meet and greets are imperative when starting a relationship with a dog walking company.

Dog Walking Business Questions

  • What is the length of time have you been running a pet care business?
  • Are you currently licensed, bonded and insured?
  • Can you give me a number of references?
  • What are your rates and payment schedules?
  • What is your cancellation policy?
  • If you're out sick or on vacation, will there be an additional dog walker who can cover for you?
  • Do you walk more than one dog at any given time? If so, what is the maximum number of dogs walked simultaneously? (Group on-leash walks with more than three dogs could be stressful for many dogs and challenging for novice dog walkers.)
  • If you walk dogs in groups, what's your policy on walking dogs together that haven't been spayed or neutered? (This most likely wouldn't be described as a problem for young "intact" dogs. A sexually-mature intact dog may cause fights, unintended matings, as well as other problems.)
  • What are the timeframes the dog walker arrives? Where will you go and what is needed on the walk?
  • Are you going to send pictures and updates from your walk? Will you give a report card that notes my dog's energy level, mood, and eliminations by the end of each and every walk?

Wellness & SAFETY:

What is your way of training and correction? (Its critical that you and your dog walker are on the same page, and ideally that your dog walker uses only positive, rewards-based methods of training.)

Does the dog walker know first aid, including CPR? Have you been knowledgeable about the signs of heat exhaustion and also heat stroke? Can you learn how to separate a dogfight, need to there be considered a problem?

Can you know where my veterinarians office is? What concerning the neighborhood Animal ER? (In case your dog walker is going to be walking your puppy regularly, or if there are likely to be times your dog is within their care and you also won't be effortlessly reachable by phone or email, it's best if you leave your puppy walker with a medical treatment authorization form... just in case.)

Is it possible to accommodate all my dogs needs? (This could mean anything from accommodating the special challenges of a particular breed, a medical condition, behavioral issues, or simply having the ability to adapt to your dogs changing moods.)

Making certain you're acquiring what you're investing in.

It's a good idea to continue to keep a watchful eye and check on your dog walker each and every once in a while.

Hiring The WRONG Dog Walker

Watch for that development of concerning behavioral or physical changes in your dog, and continue to monitor the interactions and comfort degree of your puppy around your dog walker.

Ask your neighbors keep an eye out and not hesitate to let you understand when they see anything suspicious.

Set up web-connected nanny cams by your front door or throughout your property. These are really easy to setup and there are several alternatives on the market, just like the Nest Cam.

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How to Help Your New Pet Adapt to Their Surroundings

Adopting a pet is a truly rewarding activity, but the initial adjustment period can be difficult if you don’t prepare. Your new cat or dog is going to be a little nervous when they first arrive at their new home. It usually takes a couple of months for your new furbaby to adjust to a new house, but you can take some preemptive measures to ensure the transition goes smoothly. Below are five ideas for making your new pet comfortable and welcome.

Give Your New Pet Its Own Space

We all need our own space from time to time and pets are no different. Make sure your new cat or dog has a specific space in your house when they move in. For instance, a cozy dog bed in the corner of the living room offers a comforting place for your new pup to curl up when feeling overwhelmed.

If you’re adopting a cat, then instead of a dog bed add a scratching post with an enclosed cat box. Felines like to have a place where they can hide because it makes them feel safe and secure, so make sure you have a sanctuary available for your furry friend when it moves in.

Establish A Routine

From day one, you should be working to establish a routine with your new pet. Routines give animals a sense of security and can be particularly helpful for rescues that come from unstable homes. At the very least, set specific times for walks and feedings. As your pet adjusts to the new schedule, it will start to relax more and feel at home in your space.

Use Positive Reward-Based Training

A lot of rescue pets have experienced abuse or neglect in their previous homes. Keep this in mind when you’re training your adopted pet by focusing on positive, reward-based training tactics. Every time your new dog potties during a walk, offer a treat as a reward to encourage this good habit. You should also be using a positive and encouraging tone when talking to your pets to make them feel loved.

At the same time, however, you need to make sure you’re establishing your dominance. This doesn’t mean you have to yell at your pet, but you should use a commanding voice to deter negative behavior like jumping and barking.

Gather Supplies

Make sure you already have everything you’ll need for your new cat or dog at the house before they get home. Staying at a new place will be a big enough transition. They don’t need you introducing new toys, beds, food, and other items throughout the next couple of weeks. Have their bed and a few toys already in place when they first come home so they know which items are theirs.

Be Patient

Finally, one of the best things you can do to help your rescue pet adapt to their new home is to be patient. It can take a while to train your adopted pet to their new routine and surroundings, so you need to give them plenty of time to adjust. Impatience is a big reason new pet owners return animals to the shelter. They expect the transition to be flawless, but that’s not how animal rescues work. Your new dog or cat has feelings, and it’s going to take a little while for them to feel safe and accepted in your home. Be patient during this time and do what you can to let them know you care.

 

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BEST DOG TRAINERS IN DELRAY AND BOCA RATON

Dog training is important for a number of reasons, a big one being safety. With proper training, you can keep your dog safe when you’re out in public and you can avoid harmful encounters with others. It’s also a lot easier to manage a well-trained dog at home than it is to handle one who continues to chew up your shoes and pull at the leash during walks. If you want a well-behaved pup at home and in public, then you need to make sure you sign up for training classes. Below is a list of the best dog trainers in the Delray and Boca Raton area.

Pawsitive Dog Training

Lori Hill is the owner of Pawsitive Dog Training, and she serves the Delray and Boca Raton areas. Lori has an extensive background in dog training as a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) and an AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator. She is also a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers and Therapy Dogs International.

Lori offers a variety of in-home training programs for your pup that teach a variety of commands and behaviors. The Well-Mannered Dog Program is her basic training session and includes six commands, four behaviors, and five private lessons. A few of the commands and behaviors include sit, come, and stay as well as chewing, jumping and barking, to name a few. If you’re interested in more commands and behaviors her other programs have more to offer. As an added bonus, by hiring Lori to train your dog, a portion of the proceeds will go to a local rescue organization called Get A Life Pet Rescue.

Off Leash K9 Dog Training

Off Leash K9 Training was founded by Nick White, a former U.S. Marine and a former member of the U.S. Secret Service. Nick White is currently ranked as the number three top dog trainer on bestdogtrainers.org.

The great thing about Off Leash K9 Training is that it offers a variety of programs depending on what your pup needs. Whether you need in-home basic training, advanced training, or aggression training, Off Leash has a program for you. They even offer a Therapy Dog Preparation program. The therapy course is eight weeks long and it’ll get your dog ready for testing and certification.

WooF Dogs

WooF Dogs is a team of dog trainers and behavior consultants that will help you turn your ornery pup into a well-behaved gentleman. This group focuses on using clear communication to strengthen your bond with your dog. You can find short bios on each member of the team on the WooF Dogs website if you want to get to know the trainers and staff a little more.

With WooF Dogs, you can easily find a variety of training sessions and options catered to what your pup needs. For instance, if you want to take an active role in the training, WooF Dogs has in-home training available where you can observe your dog and learn how to communicate. If you don’t have time for this option, however, they also offer a board and train program. You can send your pup off to camp and when it returns the basic dog behaviors will already be learned. WooF Dogs also offer more specialized training such as aggression management, therapy dog, and service animal.

Training your pup can be a wonderful experience with the right guidance. You get to see your pup learn and pick up new behaviors that make communication easier. The right trainer can speed up the learning process and enhance your communication, and the three trainer options above are a great place to start when looking for a dog trainer in the Boca Raton and Delray areas.

 

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HOW TO CALM THE FEAR IN YOUR PET

It’s wonderful that you’ve rescued an animal from the shelter and given them a new forever home. You might notice, however, that your new furbaby has a few anxiety problems and hates to leave your side. Separation anxiety and timid behavior are common in rescues. Prior to your loving home, a lot of rescue pets come from abusive backgrounds and un-ideal living conditions. You know that your new pup is in a safe place, but it’s going to take your furbaby some time to figure that out for itself. To help this process along, below are a few tips you can use to calm the fear in your rescue pet and make your new friend feel right at home.

Provide a Safe Space

Create a specific space for your rescue to feel safe and comforted whenever they’re feeling overwhelmed or scared. This could be a dog bed in the corner next to the couch, a comfortable crate left open to the room, or a supper plush pillow your pup can burrow into. Give your new pup plenty of time in its safe spot while adjusting to the new surroundings.

Let Your Pet Come To You

Trying to approach your new pet while they’re feeling frightened or skittish can often make the situation worse. Give your pup a safe space and then wait for your new furry friend to come to you. You can try luring your rescue to you with food to start. Then once your rescue gets comfortable with taking treats from your hand you can work on petting. Either way, don’t put too much affection on your rescue too fast or you risk overwhelming your dog’s senses.

Notice Sensitive Spots

As your rescue starts to warm up to you and becomes more comfortable with petting, pay close attention to any sensitive areas on your dog’s body. If a rescue came from an abusive home, chances are there are certain spots on the body that can trigger fear and aggression from your new furbaby. Pay attention to these sensitive areas and then do your best to avoid them. It is also a good idea to point them out to the veterinarian to keep the vet safe and to also draw attention to problem areas where an injury could be hiding.

Be Patient With Your Rescue

Patience is of the utmost importance when handling a rescue. It will take time for your pup to adjust to a new home and overcome old fears. In the meantime, you have to understand how difficult this is for the dog and refrain from shouting in anger or lashing out at your pup. You should always be using positive reinforcement during training and through this transition period. Any sort of threatening tone could worsen the timid or aggressive behavior your dog is displaying out of fear.

A rescue pet is seriously one of the best companions you could ask for once they adjust to their new home and recognize you as a family. Until then, however, do what you can to keep your rescue calm and feel more at home. It can take several months to fully bond with your dog, but by that time hopefully a lot of the initial anxiety and fear will have been replaced with joy and excitement.

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HOUSE TRAINING YOUR ADULT PET




A major concern people have when adopting adult pets is housetraining. Some people take the phrase, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” a little too seriously. Realistically, housetraining an older pet is only a little harder than training a puppy. A puppy is a blank slate and you can train the behavior you want right from the start. Older pets have an established personality and may have been taught poor habits from a previous owner. That being said, an older pet can still be trained to behave properly in the house. 

Create a Routine

One of the first steps to retraining an older pet is to create a solid routine. Dogs do really well with routines and will adjust quickly to the schedule you set. Establish specific times throughout the day for feedings, potty breaks, walks, and any other daily activities. A regular routine also has the added benefit of making your older pet feel safe and secure. If you’ve adopted an older dog, a routine will help it adjust faster to its new home. 

Schedule Plenty of Breaks

When you make your dog’s schedule make sure you add in plenty of potty breaks. One of the biggest barriers to proper house training is not giving your pet enough opportunities to go outside. If you leave your dog locked up all day, it’s going to need to go potty at some point. If you can’t be home to take it out, then hire a dog walker to come by in the afternoon to give your dog a bathroom break. 

Avoid Punishment

Dogs want to please you, especially older dogs. They love praise so use positive reinforcement to encourage the behavior you’re trying to teach. Punishment often backfires because animals can’t understand exactly what you want. They don’t understand why they’re being punished, so their behavior won’t change. Instead of sticking your dog’s nose in a mess or yelling, keep your cool and praise the positive moments instead. For example, when your dog successfully goes to the bathroom outside reward with praise and a favorite treat. This will show your pet the behavior you like.  

Use the Right Cleaning Products

Accidents are inevitable during the training process so make sure you clean spots properly. If an area still smells like pee, then your dog is more likely to eliminate in the same area again. Select a cleaning product that contains enzymes that will break down the urine and remove the smell. 

Be Patient

House training a pet of any age takes time and patience. It will take several months of consistent training to start seeing results from your pet. Your dog is trying to learn a new habit and may also be breaking some bad habits. For example, many rescues have a hard time peeing on grass because they’ve only ever been on concrete. In this instance, your dog is trying to adjust to the grass, a new routine, and going outside when told. All of this information is new and confusing for your pet, so remember to stay calm and remain patient. 

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HOW TO KEEP YOUR PETS SAFE WHILE FOSTERING


People who foster do so because they love animals and want to see them find loving homes. As an animal lover, you may already have several pets in your home and want to continue helping by fostering a local cat or dog. Safety concerns can hold people back when it comes to fostering animals in the same space as their pets. If you want to foster but you’re worried about your dog or cat, below are three helpful tips for keeping all of your animals safe while fostering. 

Put Your Foster Pets in Temporary Quarantine

One of the biggest problems that can occur when fostering is the spread of disease and illnesses among your animals. When dogs and cats are held in shelters, they’re often in very close proximity to other animals and confined to small spaces. A lot of these animals are also being nursed back to health after being on the streets or in abusive homes. All this to say, a foster animal’s health might not be in tiptop shape. 

You can reduce the risk of spreading any illnesses to your pets by placing your foster pets in quarantine for two weeks after bringing them home. A mudroom is an excellent space for temporarily confining foster animals while you determine if any infectious diseases are present. Two weeks is recommended because infectious diseases have an incubation period of up to 14 days. After this time period, you should know if your foster animal is sick. 

Schedule Vet Visits

Before bringing in a foster pet, take your permanent pets for a veterinary check-up. Discuss fostering with your vet and make sure your pet’s vaccinations are all up to date. This is also an opportunity to talk about any health risks hosting a foster pet could pose to your regular pets. If your cat or dog is already immune-compromised then fostering a pet might not be the best option right now. 

Introduce the Animals

Bringing in a strange new animal without warning is not a good idea. Following a few tips for introducing animals can make the first meeting between your permanent pets and foster animals run much more smoothly. 

If you’re introducing dogs to each, it’s best to bring them both to a neutral meeting ground. This way you can avoid either of them feeling territorial. Keep both dogs on a leash when they see each other but allow the lead to be loose so they don’t sense any tension. Let the dogs sniff each other for a little while and watch their body language. It’s okay if they make a little noise or posture a bit. You just want to make sure they’re not going to get aggressive and violent. If they seem to be friendly while on a lead, the next step is introducing them to an enclosed space and letting them off-leash to play and interact. If that goes well, you can bring them both back to your house. 

Cats are a different matter. Felines can be territorial, as well, so an important step is setting up separate spaces for each cat to call its own. When separating your cats for the first couple of weeks, you can help your foster establish its own territory by providing a scratching post, cozy hiding box, and natural light in its temporary quarantine space. Later, introduce the new cat’s scent to your pet and vice versa through bedding blankets. You can also put your pet in a carrier while you allow your foster to explore the rest of the house in a non-threatening way.

Fostering animals is a noble endeavor, but it’s important to think of the safety of your permanent pets, as well. Being prepared to introduce the animals and ensuring they’re all up to date on their vaccinations will make you feel more confident about the fostering experience.




PET DISASTER PLANNING FOR HURRICANE SEASON IN PALM BEACH COUNTY




Hurricane season in Palm Beach should not be taken lightly. Hurricanes such as Katrina, Harvey, and Maria have proven just how important it is to be prepared for a disaster. Disaster preparedness is even more important for your pets. When a hurricane is coming, your pets don’t have any way of protecting themselves. They rely on you to take care of them and keep them safe. Plan ahead using the below tips to prepare for hurricane season and to keep you and your furry friends safe. 

Update Tags

Evacuating can be chaotic, and pets often get loose during these hectic moments. Make sure your pet’s ID tags are up to date so you’ll be contacted if your pet gets lost. Of course, if your pet doesn’t have an ID tag, this is also the time to invest in one. 

Choose a Safe Location

Before a hurricane hits you should have a few locations selected where you can take your pet in case of a disaster. Ideally, you will bring your pet with you when you evacuate, but even that needs consideration. Not all hotels or shelters accept pets, so make sure your evacuation plan includes pet-friendly accommodations. You also need to check the emergency management site to see if the evacuation shelters in your area accept pets. Have a list of locations in your area ready to go where you know you and your pets will be accepted during an emergency. 

Get Pets Vaccinated

If you need to board your pet at the vet or shelter during an evacuation, your fur baby will need to have all of its vaccinations up to date. If all vaccinations aren’t current, then your pet will not be admitted into the shelter area. Ensure all of your pet’s vaccinations are complete before hurricane season so you don’t have to worry about them during an emergency. 

Create a Pet Disaster Kit

Emergency kits are essential during a disaster, which is why you should have one created for your pet. Have a kit ready to go with all of your pet’s necessary supplies. A few items you may want to have in your pet disaster supply kit include:



    • Medical record copies







    • First aid kit







    • Leash







    • Current photo (in case you’re separated from your pet)







    • 1-week supply of food







    • Gallon of water







    • Medications







    • A small toy







    • Towel 




Evaluate the needs of your pet to determine what else should go inside your pet disaster kit, then select a duffle bag or a sturdy tote bag to store all of the items in one convenient location. Place the bag next to your other hurricane emergency supplies so you can grab everything when you need to leave. 

Plan for Different Situations

You may have a plan in place for a hurricane when you’re home, but what if you’re out of town for the weekend? Don’t forget to plan for unexpected situations. If you’re not home and can’t make it to your pet, make sure you have someone you can contact in the event of an evacuation order. Give a trusted neighbor a key to your place and let them know where your disaster kit is stored so they can help during an emergency.

Hurricanes are stressful for you and your pet but having a plan in place will make an emergency evacuation more manageable. 

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PETS AND PARASITES: WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW


Your dog and cat are members of the family. As such, you want to keep them happy and healthy. A big part of keeping your animals healthy is ensuring they don’t have any parasites. Parasites are a common issue among cats and dogs, and while they’re never fun to deal with, it’s important to know how to handle them. Left untreated, parasites can cause serious health issues in your pets. 

How Pets Become Infected with Parasites

Parasites are sneaky creatures that can infect your pets a variety of ways. The most common way pets contract a parasite is through ingesting a parasite egg. The egg is typically concealed in soil, water, or feces. Fleas are also a type of parasite that live on your pets, but they also contain other parasites such as tapeworms. When a dog or cat eats a flea, the tapeworm is passed onto the animal. 

Signs your Pet is Infected with a Parasite

Fleas and ticks are two parasites that are easy to find on your pet. You can usually spot these pests by running a comb through your pet’s fur. Intestinal parasites, on the other hand, are a bit harder to detect. These parasites live in your pet’s intestinal tract and lay eggs or spores within your pet’s body. These eggs are eventually dispelled through poop. Other signs of intestinal parasites include vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and coughing, among other symptoms. Even with these signs, however, it can be difficult to determine your pup has intestinal parasites.

In many cases, pets are even asymptomatic. Your beloved pup or feline friend may be harboring a parasite without your knowledge. Since it’s so difficult to tell if your animal has an intestinal parasite, annual vet check-ups are even more important. During the annual exam, your vet can check your pet’s health and do a fecal test to ensure there are no parasites hiding inside your furbaby. 

Why it’s Important to Treat Parasites Right Away

Even if your pet is asymptomatic to a parasite, speedy treatment is still important. Parasites live off your pets and cause malnutrition. They can also make your pet very sick and result in vomiting and diarrhea. Some parasites can even be passed on to people. This is just one more reason why you should treat any parasites you see as soon as possible. 

How to Prevent Parasites

Parasites are easier to prevent than people realize. To start, make sure your pet’s environment is clean and healthy. Change drinking water regularly and keep bedding clean. It’s also important to remove feces from your pet’s environment on a weekly basis. Parasites are attracted to feces and if your pet steps in the fecal matter, a parasite can cling to your pet and become attached. 

Another effective way to prevent parasites is to invest in medication. Most heartworm medications also prevent a variety of other parasites from infecting your pet. Some people think heartworm medication and flea and tick prevention are unnecessary, but this medicine actually protects your pet from a lot of different parasites. If your pet doesn’t take heartworm medication, talk to your vet about the various parasite prevention medications you can start.




BEST DOG PARKS AND DOG-FRIENDLY BEACHES IN DELRAY AND BOCA RATON


Delray Beach and Boca Raton are both known for being pet-friendly communities. You can even find a number of dog parks in the area where your pup can socialize and get plenty of exercise. If you live in one of these areas and are searching for a fun place to take your pup, check out one of the parks suggested below.

The Best Dog Parks in Delray Beach

Delray Beach has an excellent dog park for your pup called Lake Ida Dog Park. The Lake Ida Park is perfect for pups of all sizes. The park has two sections for large dogs, which are kept open on a rotation. The rotation allows for optimal maintenance of the dog park, so the space stays clean and well-kept. Lake Ida also has a separate section available for small dogs, so if you have a little pup you don’t have to worry about it getting run over by a bigger dog. All fenced dog play areas are also set up with double gated entryways so your pup can’t escape while others are entering the park.

If you live in Delray Beach, Lake Ida Dog Park is a must-visit for you and your pup.

The Best Dog Parks in Boca Raton

Boca Raton offers two exceptional dog parks for your pup to play: Canine Cove and Mizner Bark. Both locations have attractive amenities and your pup is sure to have a good day at each.

Canine Cove at South County Regional Park

Canine Cove isn’t just a great spot to bring your pup. It’s a fun place for the whole family. The park is approximately 848 acres and includes a playground, community center, waterpark, and more, in addition to the off-leash dog park. The fenced-in dog park is a well-maintained 3-acre space that is divided into three sections for large, medium, and small dogs. The size separation helps keep the number of dogs in each area to a more manageable number.

In addition, the dog park has a gazebo and shaded benches for pup parents who enjoy resting in the shade while the dogs run around. Canine Cove even has a handy dog washing station, so if your pup gets dirty while playing you can rinse it off as you head out.

Mizner Bark - Boca Raton Dog Park

Mizner Bark Dog Park is another great location to take your pup during the day. Like Canine Cove, the park is split into three sections so your pup will be matched with other dogs its size. The big difference between Mizner Bark Park and Canine Cove is that Mizner requires a parking permit. Residents can acquire a pass free of charge by providing proof of residency, and non-residents can buy a pass for about $26 per month.

The Boca Raton Bark Beach

If your pup loves the water and sand, don’t worry! Boca Raton has a great dog beach where you can let your pup run around off leash. However, a permit is required to bring your dog into the area. The annual fees are currently $31 per dog for residents and $167 per dog for non-residents. You can also buy a simple weekend pass for $11 per dog if you’re not planning to go there often.

Exercise is extremely important for your pup’s health, and luckily Delray Beach and Boca Raton have a number of places for your dog to run around. Next time you take your pup out, be sure to stop by one of these locations so your dog can have a good time.




The Secret of Successfully House Training A Puppy


Puppies are absolutely adorable and all you want to do is squeeze them. They’re less cute, however, when they start peeing all over the house. When your new puppy keeps having an accident on the rug or peeing immediately after you get back in the house, it’s easy to become frustrated. You don’t want your house to smell or be messy, but your pup just doesn’t get the concept of eliminating outside on the grass. If you’re struggling with your puppy or getting ready to adopt a new pet, below is the secret to success, as well as a few other helpful house training tips, you need to know.

The Secret to Training Success: Patience

Training a puppy takes a whole lot of patience. Realistically, a well-established potty routine will take you six months to a full year to ingrain in your pet. You can’t expect your puppy to have it all figured out in the first few weeks. This may seem like common knowledge, but it’s shocking the number of pets returned to shelters because people don’t anticipate the time that goes into fully training a puppy. Develop patience with your puppy and have a realistic timeline in place for progress. Below are three other house training tips that will help when working with your pup.

Consider Bladder Size

Puppies, like human babies, have small bladders. In their first few months, they have to pee about every two hours. A big mistake most first-time pet owners make is keeping their pets indoors for too long. Schedule regular potty breaks for your puppy so they get used to going outside to eliminate. Regularly scheduled outside time will also help your pet recognize when it is time to go potty. As your pet gets older, you can start stretching breaks to three and four-hour increments. If your pup has an accident, however, reduce the time between breaks again.

Limit Space

Another mistake people make when trying to train their puppies is giving them too much freedom. You don’t want your pup to have free reign of the house for two reasons. First, it’s harder to supervise your pup and spot warning signs that it needs to pee, such as sniffing and circling. Second, if your pup isn’t well-supervised, you’ll likely miss an accident and have a secret pee stain. When spots on your carpet or floor smell like pee, your puppy is more likely to eliminate in those spots again in the future. Limiting access to rooms and closely monitoring your puppy will help you catch any accidents and keep your space clean.

Get Down to Business

When you take your puppy outside, you should be getting down to the business of going pee or poop from the start. Don’t start tossing a toy or let your pup play with a stick until after they’ve gone potty. Toys are fun distractions that can keep your pup from going potty while outside. Instead, bring your pup outside and straight to the place you’d like it to eliminate. Give the command, “Go potty,” or another phrase to let your pup know it’s time to pee. Then reward heavily with treats afterward. Your pup will soon start to understand its potty first, play later.

House training is a long process, but the effort is well worth the reward when you end up with a well-behaved pet. Throughout house training, just remember to stay patient and reward your pet for good behavior.




THE 5 BASICS OF CANINE AND FELINE NUTRITION


Pet nutrition is important to the overall health and wellness of your beloved dog or cat. An estimated 60 percent of cats and 56 percent of dogs in the U.S. are obese, according to Pet Obesity Prevention. Don’t let your pet add to this statistic and instead keep them healthy by learning the basics of feline and dog nutrition laid out below.

Water

Dehydration is particularly harmful to your pet because they can’t tell you when they’re thirsty. Make sure your cat or dog has fresh, clean water available at all times. You should really rinse out your pet’s water bowl at least once a day, too. Bits of food, dirt, and other debris fall into your pet’s bowl when they drink. Keep the water bowl clean and fresh so your pet has access to safe drinking water.

Protein

Dogs and cats are natural hunters and tend to prefer protein in their diets. Plus, this nutrient is essential for a strong body and helps your pet’s muscles repair on a daily basis while also encouraging cell growth.

Healthy Fats

Fats are a source of energy for your pet and are particularly important for keeping your pet’s fur and skin healthy. Dog and cat food both typically contain animal fats as well as some plant fats. Quality pet foods should contain all of the necessary Omega-3 fatty acids essential for your pet’s health.

Carbohydrates

Fiber is one carb that your pet needs for a healthy gut. Remember, though, that young pets don’t need as much fiber. Puppies and kittens that are still growing need more protein and fats in their diet to help them grow.

Vitamins

Vitamin supplements typically aren’t necessary unless prescribed by a vet. In most cases, a balanced diet of proteins, fats, and carbs should give your pet the appropriate number of vitamins and minerals necessary for a healthy body.

Bonus Tip: Eliminate Food Scraps

Sharing the last bite of food with your pet or letting them regularly lick the plate clean may seem harmless, but it actually has a bigger impact than you realize. Pet food is specifically formulated to provide your pet with all of the necessary nutrients and calories they need in a day. When you give your pet extra food, you’re adding to their calorie count which is why they may be overweight. Not to mention pets can’t digest certain foods the same way a human does, and in some cases, the foods are actually toxic to your pet. For example, onions, grapes, and added sugars may be OK for your body but they can really harm your pet.

The next time you eat a piece of chocolate cake and want to share the decadence with your pet, remember to give them a treat that’s made for them instead. This will keep your pet’s gut happy and you won’t have a mess to clean up later.

Also, remember that pet food packaging has a chart on the back with recommended food servings. Your pet may act like it’s starving after mealtime, but don’t be fooled by this act. You overeat sometimes when you’re full too, so make sure you limit your pet’s meals to the correct serving size.




THE TOP PET-FRIENDLY APARTMENT COMPLEXES IN DELRAY BEACH 


Finding a pet-friendly apartment isn’t always easy. According to a survey by Rent.com, 83 percent of respondents found it difficult to find an apartment that would accommodate their pets. Many landlords either don’t allow animals or they restrict the breed and size of a pet. These restrictions can make it hard to find affordable accommodations.

Finding a pet-friendly apartment in Delray Beach might take a little digging, but you definitely have plenty of options in this area. Below are the top pet-friendly apartments to check out in the Delray Beach area.



    1. Blu Atlantic Apartments




Blu Atlantic is a pet-friendly apartment in Delray Beach that welcomes pets of all sizes. Currently, the apartment has no weight limit set for pets, however, a pet interview is required. In addition to allowing pets of all sizes, the apartment complex also has a pet play area. Your pup will have easy access to a great open space where it can stretch its legs and get some exercise every day.



    1. Alta Congress




Alta Congress also welcomes a variety of pets, however, there is a 50-pound weight limit. If you have a cat or small dog, the place offers a low monthly pet rent of $20. A unique aspect of this apartment complex is that one of the amenities offered is a dog park with agility training equipment.



    1. SofA Downtown Luxury Apartments 




SofA Downtown Luxury Apartments has a pet weight limit that goes up to 75 pounds, but there are no interview or spay/neuter requirements. This location doesn’t have an associated dog park, however, you’re less than 1 mile from the beach. You can easily walk the distance in under 20 minutes for a nice stroll with your pup. If you and your pet love spending time on the beach, it’s hard to beat this location.



    1. Atlantic at East Delray




The Atlantic at East Delray is pet-friendly, but please be aware of some of their pet restrictions. This location has a 35-pound weight limit and excludes certain breeds such as Akita, American Bull Dog, Pit Bulls, and a few more. If you have a smaller pup, however, this could be a great option, especially since they have an enclosed dog park.



    1. Oasis Delray Beach Apartments




The Oasis Delray doesn’t have a pet weight limit, however, this is another location with breed restrictions. The apartment has a beautiful dog park, though, with an easy walking path nearby.



    1. 10X Living at Delray




10X Living is a pet-friendly apartment that doesn’t list any breed restrictions in its pet policy. There is a one-time $500 per pet fee plus a $20 monthly pet rent, but the no breed restriction makes this extra cost worth it.



    1. AXIS Delray Beach




The AXIS is another location with no weight limit set for pets, and the location has an on-site bark park. There are also greenways nearby for walking, so you and your furry friend can get plenty of exercises.



    1. Caspian




The Caspian is a great pet-friendly location with a unique feature: a pet spa. The pet spa is equipped with a grooming station so your cat or dog can get regular cleanings. Of course, this location doesn’t just cater to animals. The Caspian is also equipped with other attractive amenities like an outdoor game area, fire pit, terrace, and spinning/yoga room, just to name a few.



    1. Worthing Place




Worthing Place Apartments is situated right off E. Atlantic Avenue and offers a lot of fantastic dining opportunities. The pet-loving foodie will love this location and the ability to walk to at least 18 different eateries within a two-block radius.



    1. The Franklin




The Franklin is a luxury pet-friendly apartment with a number of attractive amenities you and your pet are sure to love. Plus, if you love spending time outdoors, The Franklin offers a beautiful outdoor gazebo with gas grills and a fire pit.



    1. Citation Club




While located about 5 miles from the beach, the Citation Club has a lot to offer pet-owners at an affordable price. There’s a dog park for your pup at this location as well as tennis courts, sand volleyball, and fully equipped gym, just to name a few.




THE TOP PET-FRIENDLY APARTMENT COMPLEXES IN BOCA RATON 




Boca Raton is a Florida community near the beach that boasts unique shopping centers, tantalizing eateries, and a variety of family-friendly activities. Not only do residents have plenty to keep them entertained, but the community is also extremely pet-friendly.

There are plenty of pet-friendly apartments in Boca Raton, many of which offer novel pet perks like on-site dog spas, pet events, and more. If you’re in search of a place to live in or near Boca Raton, below are the top 10 pet-friendly apartments in Boca Raton you should add to your tour list.



    1. Gables Town Place




Gables Town Place is truly a pet-centric location owned by Gables Residential. The apartment complex loves animals and has treats available as soon as you walk into the lobby. Gables Town Place also has a Paws to Care program that organizes community pet events and gives to the charity Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, Inc.



    1. Gables Town Colony




Gables Town Colony is another apartment community run by Gables Residential. If you like the Town Place Paws to Care program be sure to check out this location, which offers the same program but with a few different apartment perks and amenities.



    1. Mizner Park Apartments




Mizner Park Apartments is another Gables Residential property that offers the Paws to Care program. Of the three locations, this one is a bit more expensive than the others because it’s located closest to the beach.



    1. Boca Colony




Boca Colony is a pet-friendly location that welcomes pets of all sizes. Check out this affordable location for a family-friendly atmosphere and easy access to I-95 and the Florida Turnpike.



    1. Palms of Boca Del Mar




The Palms of Boca Del Mar has one and two-bedroom pet-friendly apartment units where even large pets are welcome. The Children’s Science Explorium is also about half a mile away from the apartment if you have regular children in addition to your fur babies.



    1. Somerset Place Apartment Homes




Somerset Place Apartments accept cats and small dogs. If you enjoy vaulted ceilings for a more spacious layout, be sure to check out this apartment home.



    1. The Heritage at Boca Raton




The Heritage at Boca Raton is a pet-friendly apartment located within half a mile of three different shopping centers. The apartment building is also close to several parks and recreation areas such as the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center and the Deerfield Island Park.



    1. Camden Boca Raton Apartments




The Camden offers two main pet perks: a paw spa and an off-leash dog park. The location is also hard to beat with sand beaches less than 2 miles away and plenty of shopping options within walking distance. If you don’t like to drive, this could be the location for you.



    1. 101 Via Mizner Luxury Apartments




101 Via Mizner is a pet-friendly location about 5 miles from the Mizner Bark Dog Park and the Bark Park Dog Beach. Plus, the location comes with unique features such as an on-site car wash, a cyber cafe, and a dedicated on-site lifestyle director.



    1. The Crossroads at Downtown Boca




Crossroads is a pet-friendly location situated near several shopping centers. The best part about Crossroads is that while it may require a $400 one-time pet fee, the apartment doesn’t require a deposit when applying.

Conclusion

Pet-friendly apartments in Boca Raton offer a variety of unique pet perks and amenities. As you look for a place to live in this lively area, be sure to put our top 10 pet-friendly apartments in Boca Raton on your list.

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