One of the many common misconceptions regarding dog communication is that all tail wagging can be associated with happiness. Most dogs provide a variety of visual cues using their tail that can advise us as to how he or she may be feeling.
We often see a range of movements, only a few of which actually means this family member is happy. Each tail position is intended to convey a specific mood or feeling that we should consider before interacting with the dog. We love to see big, energetic “helicopter” tail wagging, which tells us your friend is excited and happy. Then there is upright, stiff, and rapid tail movement, which may involve only the tip of the tail, which usually indicates anxiety and even aggression. You can also see the tail down really low, possibly even completely tucked up underneath, which says the dog is scared and uncomfortable in the current situation.
I have found a short video I like by Veterinarian Dr. Pete Wedderburn in the UK that gives an overview of what different types of tail wagging usually mean. It also includes a bit of information about how dogs are communicating to each other using tail wagging https://youtu.be/jJyV3Yt7bbQ.
We all wants what’s best for our fur babies and taking the time to read and understand their unique tail wagging communication is a fantastic way to keep them, yourself, your family, your friends, as well as other dogs safe and happy!!
-written by Madeline Smith
We all love our canine companions. Here are 5 fun facts you may not have known about these members of your family:
- Sleeping – Dogs curl up in a ball when sleeping to protect their organs — a hold over from their days in the wild, when they were vulnerable to predator attacks
- Smells – Dogs can smell about 1,000-10,000 times better than humans. While humans have 5 million smell detecting cells, dogs have more than 220 million. As an added bonus, dogs have a wet nose to collect more of the tiny droplets of smelling chemicals in the air.
- Human Communication – On average, dogs are about as smart as a two or three year old child. This means they can understand up to around 150-200 words, including signals and hand movements with the same meaning as words.
- Eyelids – Dogs have a third eyelid that serves as a protective lid, called a “haw”. The responsibility of this extra eyelid is to keep moisture in its eyes.
- Territory – Contrary to common belief, when dogs kick backward after they go to the bathroom it’s not to cover it up, but to mark their territory, using the scent glands in their feet. Dogs are territorial by nature and often use this method to communicate “this is MY spot”.
If you have any fun facts about dogs, please share in the comments, we would love to hear them.
written by Madeline Smith
We know it can be hectic planning for a trip out of town, but it’s important that your home and pet are prepared for your departure. Here are a few things to keep in mind when getting ready for your trip.
- Make sure you have received a confirmation email from your pet sitter.
- Confirm all visit dates and times in the confirmation email.
- Provide your pet sitters with your flight itinerary and lodging information.
- Please make sure your profile data on-line is updated. Especially any medication and emergency phone numbers.
- Make sure that your pet sitter is aware of any changes in your home lock/door access
- Let your pet sitter know where your pet’s crate/carrier is located. Keeping it accessible in case of emergency is always helpful
- If you have an alarm system, please make sure to provide your pet sitter with both the keypad code and the verbal code word. With Lake Minnetonka Pet Sitters that information can be placed in our secure on-line profile data.
- Make sure all unneeded appliances are turned off and/or unplugged.
- Please leave ample food, litter, medications and other supplies (especially paper towels)
- Place medications out for the sitter, but out of reach of your pet
- Enjoy your trip
It’s not always just about the pet care we offer, it’s about the peace of mind that you receive when you are away.
Lake Minnetonka Pet Sitters have been caring for pets for over 16 years and we are fortunate that very rarely does an issue arise with a client pet when they are traveling, actually we have had more issues with clients homes than their pets. We have had furnaces or AC’s going out, had a break-in once, water pipes leaking, alarm systems going off for no reason and our favorite the batteries in the smoke detectors beeping. But what happen this past week shook us all a little bit on how important our service really is.
Randi one of LMPS’s long term team members arrived at her first visit for a cat client. This was her first time caring for the clients 3 cats. When she entered the house she thought she smelled something like smoke. She found no smoke and could not pin point the origin. She continued to care for the cats and finally she found the source. A toaster was left on (no bread on the side of the toaster turned on) and it was under the kitchen cabinets. This toaster had been heating up for hours, so much that the cabinet above was so hot, she could barely touch the door to open it. She unplugged the toaster and aired out the cabinet. She also went back later that day to make sure everything was still OK. Now you can imagine that Randi, the client and all of us were very shaken, had she come a few hours later the house may have been in flames. Thankfully that is not what happened and we are happy that it turned out as it did.
As a reminder next time you leave town, unplug that toaster, coffee maker or anything else that should not be left on and we will all be a little safer.
It’s still not too late to find some great gifts for the pets or pet lovers on your gift list. We love to shop locally, so here are a few items that we recommend for gift giving this season.
Fido’s Pantry – Excelsior. Pet Packs – Boxes of goodies specifically designed for cats or dogs. Starting at $20 each.
Pet Stuff – Glen Lake. Offers a great selection of toys – pictured is some of the new Kong Toys they have. While you are there don’t forget to pick up some feed for the birds. http://www.petstufftonka.com/
Lakewinds in Chanhassen. The local Co-op has some great Cat and Dog themed gifts. https://www.lakewinds.coop/
Here is also a local company Simple Charms that makes great family signs that include your pet.
Happy Holidays !
Each time a client loses a furry friend, I try and write about the grief and I just cannot find the right words. Please bear with me as I try and articulate my feelings in this blog.
As a pet sitting and dog walking service that has been around for 16+ years our team has felt our share of loss. I and my team have grieved the loss of our own pets along with the loss of our client’s pets. I always thought it would get easier as time went on, but it never does. We may not be the owner of the pets, but we are one of the pet’s caregivers and always feel the loss along with the owners. Many times we are there at the beginning to welcome a new puppy or kitty to a family or a new adopted pet. Others we may not meet until later in life. Either way we love them all the same and the time for separation always comes too soon.
Many times I will enter a clients’ house expecting to see one of the pets that has passed, only to realize that I had forgotten they were not there anymore. My heart just sinks at that moment. It takes a few visits and the joy of seeing the existing pets or even a new family member for that pain to disappear. Each time I write the words on a sympathy card for a client, it breaks my heart to feel the loss that my clients and my team feel. Having said that I would never give up the joy and love I receive from our furry friends even knowing it has to involve some pain.
I would like to make a tribute to all the pets that the LMPS team has had the pleasure of caring for (too many to list). We hold fond memories of them all, close to our hearts.
Join Lake Minnetonka Pet Sitters in celebrating Professional Pet Sitters week.
March 6th – 12th 2016 marks the 22nd annual Professional Pet Sitters week. Introduced by PSI (Pet Sitters International) in 1995, to honor professional pet-care providers and dog walkers. The goal is to educate the pet-owning public about the advantages of
professional in-home pet care.
When I started my business back in 1999, this industry was just starting to be recognized as a “professional” business and I could not be happier to celebrate this week. Often when people hear my business name, they are surprised to find it’s not just a hobby of mine, it’s an actual business. I started this business myself, but it didn’t take long before I found the need for help and so my team of pet care specialists began. Lake Minnetonka Pet Sitters would not be where is today without it’s fabulous team members. Visit our About Us page to learn more about the LMPS team.
Next time you are in need of a pet sitter or dog walker for your pets’ needs, please keep in mind that those of us that do this as a profession take it very seriously to ensure that we offer the best possible care for your pets.
National Walk Your Dog Week
Since it is National Walk Your Dog week, I thought I would post a few great reminders for those getting out and walking their dogs.
- Always carry poop bags with you – grab an extra just in case.
- Best not to greet other dogs when you are on your walk. Dogs can react differently when they are on a leash and it can cause tension and aggression between the dogs. Meeting other people is fine, just make sure the people want to meet your dog.
- In crowded areas or close to the street, always use a 6 foot leash. I have often seen people out with the retractable leashes 10-20 feet out in front of them walking 2-3 feet from the street. You can do the math. The retractable leashes seem great until someone gets hurt. We really try to avoid walking dogs on the retractable leashes, unless you have the room.
- If your dog pulls or lunges try one of these helpful tools. Easy Walk Harness http://store.petsafe.net/easy-walk-harness or a Sporn Harness http://sporn.com mesh or halter harness. We have found the Sporn harness to work the best on most dogs. These are tools used to help you as you work to train your dog to walk nicely on leash.
Most importantly remember to enjoy the walk. Walking can be great mental and physical exercise for you and your dog. Remember though it’s not always about how far you go, it’s about the journey you are taking.
It may sound like a silly question, but it’s not. It’s important to know the best ways to store your pet’s food, as it may prevent spoilage which can affect the health of your pet. Here are a few key things to keep in mind when storing your pet’s food.
Never buy bags of dry food that will last for more than 6 weeks. Smaller bags are always better. This may mean buying more bags or freezing some of the dry food. Once you open the bag of dry food oxygen, humidity and light become the spoilers of your pet’s food. Always keep the food in the original bag and either roll the top down and clip the bag shut or you can place the bag in an air tight container.
Canned food should never be kept in the fridge for more than 7 days and best if you have it covered with a lid.
It’s important to store your pet’s food properly to keep it fresh and to maximize the nutrients. Overexposure of oxygen can damage the nutrients in the food and cause any fatty oils in the food to become rancid.
How do you store your pet’s food?
To help you find that perfect gift for those pets in your life, we did a little shopping for you. Here are a few of our favorites:
If you are looking for a unique gift for your pet check out Bone Adventure (4 locations- but Wayzata is our favorite). Bone Adventure has the best selection of pet beds in the Twin Cities area, they have a variety of sizes and designs to fit any decor. The store is stocked with great holiday toys and for those pet lovers in the family, super cute t-shirts. Bone Adventure also has a huge selection of toys, treats and food for the feline in your family.
Browse through their 2014 Holiday Gift Guide.
We found this great item at Fido’s Pantry in Excelsior Minnesota – Glowdoggie collars. It’s an LED collar that allows great visibility of your dog at night. Use this on your walks or just when your dog is out in the yard. Fido’s Pantry carries a variety of colors and sizes. Our other favorite item from this local store is the Dirty Dog Doormat, the title pretty much says it all.
Our last stop was at Pet Stuff in Glen Lake. We found a whole display of holiday toys and treats, that will make any pet happy for the holidays. Want to start your pet on a new healthy diet, Pet Stuff carries over 7 varieties of raw food in their hard to miss display of freezers!
They also have one of the best selections of wild bird food/feeders for those bird lovers in the family.