Pets Of The Week – Ceol & Orca

ceolorcaCeol and Orca have been friends of Little Bay Pet Services for many years. Their pet parents love to travel so Ceol and Orca’s pet sitters Linda, Kim and Luanne make sure that they are well taken care of while their Mom and Dad enjoy their trips.

Ceol is sure to greet her sitters at the door when they arrive. She is very sociable and looks forward to her playtime after her meal. She is a curious kitty and requires lots of activity. Her Mom says if she doesn’t get the proper amount of exercise she will find mischief. Some of her favorite things to do are hide in boxes, jump in piles of tissue paper and chase anything on a string.

Orca is on the shy side but occasionally she will watch Ceol playing from a distance. When she’s not watching Ceol’s playful antics, she’s stalking the birds on the back deck through the slider. Sometimes a brave squirrel will come face to face with Orca on the other side of the glass. This will cause a lot of excitement and prey mode kicks in!

Little Bay Pet Services enjoy visiting these sweet girls when their parents travel and look forward to continued fun!

 Ceol  Orca

Pet Of The Week – Hans

HansHans has been a friend of Little Bay Pet Services for over 5 years now. He enjoys his walks with all of his sitters. Hans is a very sociable boy and takes pleasure in greeting other dogs along his walking route. He will always let you know where all the other cats and dogs live in the neighborhood by letting out a squeaky noise when he walks by.

Hans is a true New Hampshire canine. He’s always happy to walk in any type of weather and never complains. On rainy days he does look forward to getting towel dried after a wet walk.

One of my favorite stories to tell about Hans is his love for his raw hide chew sticks. One day when I (Kim) arrived for his walk he insisted on carrying a raw hide chew in his mouth. It was a fall day, so he stopped to bury it in the leaves. On our way back, he uncovered it and carried it home. He looked so smooth and regal as he strutted down the street. Passersby couldn’t help but smile. All of Hans’ sitters have truly enjoyed his sweet and calm demeanor, and can’t wait to see what this happy dog does next.

 Hans Hans

5 Cat-Owner CATastrophes to Avoid

cat-owner-mistakesCats have a reputation for being self-sufficient loners who don’t need any special attention or care, but that’s a feline fallacy for sure — in fact, it’s the opposite of the truth. It’s important to recognize that cats have specific needs, some of which may not seem obvious at first glance.  Whether you’re bringing home your first cat or have been a cat person your entire life, you may be falling short on your cat’s care without even knowing it.

Here are five common mistakes we frequently see cat owners making — and how to avoid repeating them with your own cats.

They don’t keep the litterbox clean.

If there’s one word that best describes cats, it’s fastidious. Your great-aunt Betsy has nothing on your cat when it comes to preferring a clean bathroom. And the litterbox is, indeed, your cat’s bathroom. To keep her using it with a smile, I have three top tips: Scoop it every time she uses it; provide one box per cat in the home, plus one extra; and give the box a good scrubbing every couple of weeks, then fill it with fresh litter. Your cat will love you for it.

They don’t provide water in a cat-friendly way.

Water is an essential part of a cat’s diet, but it can be difficult to get your cat to take in enough. In many cases, it’s because water’s flat, still surface is hard for cats to see. They can’t hear it either. You can solve this problem in a couple of ways. The first is to use a pet fountain. The splashing water will attract your cat’s attention and encourage her to drink. An alternative is to leave a faucet dripping slightly into a sink. Another simple way to help get water into your cat is to make sure she has canned food in her diet. It’s high in water and can be a savory option to help keep her hydrated.

They don’t use food puzzles.

Your cat doesn’t need a food dish. She’s a hunter by nature. Her wild cousins spend hours seeking out their meals. Your cat should, too. It’s a good way to exercise her body and her brain. Put her daily ration of food into a treat toy and let her have at it. Pushing it around will help keep her busy and interested.

They don’t train or play with their cats.

Train cats? It’s not an oxymoron. Cats can learn all kinds of behaviors from a simple stay or high five to walking on leash or running an agility course. Training engages your cat’s brain, and play is just plain, well, fun — for you and your cat. Training and play help to strengthen that wonderful human-feline bond by deepening the communication between the two of you.

They don’t take their cats to the veterinarian.

A 2011 study found that nearly 45 percent of cat owners don’t take their cats to the veterinarian during that year, and the primary reason was because they weren’t sick or injured. But even if they don’t need treatment or vaccinations, it’s important for cats to get that annual checkup. Cats age more rapidly than humans, so an annual exam can help ensure that any percolating health problems are caught and treated early.

Pet Of The Week – Mischa

MischaLittle Bay Pet Services has been visiting Mischa for many years now. Mischa is a sweet, loving girl. She spends her days sleeping in a sunny upstairs room but always comes running down to greet her sitter.

Mischa’s favorite moments are spent sitting with her sitter and getting a relaxing brushing. In the warmer months, Mischa relishes in her brushing on the screened in porch. There are also many birds for Mischa to be mesmerized by. Hummingbirds whiz by, teasing her as they go from feeder to feeder drinking the yummy nectar. Squirrels and chipmunks race through the bushes below causing Mischa to become entranced by all the activity.

We have to shake the treat bag to get her back in the house once the visit has ended. Little Bay Pet Services looks forward to many more years of fun visits with our friend.

 mischa1 mischa2

Is Every Dog a Natural Swimmer?

can-all-dog-swimSome people mistakenly believe all dogs have a “swimming gene” and are born with the natural ability to swim.

But the reality is that while most dogs instinctively make a paddling motion if they happen to wind up in water, it’s often the extent of their ability to swim. Not every dog paddle is effective at keeping the animal afloat, and many dogs have no idea how to move toward shore or the side of the pool.

Typically, dogs generally fall into one of three categories when it comes to swimming. There are dogs that naturally take to the water, those who just aren’t built for the water and should stay safely ashore (unless in a hydrotherapy tank with a therapist hovering nearby), and dogs who can be taught to swim.

There are always exceptions to every rule, of course. There are dogs bred for water work who are terrified of the wet stuff. And there are those that by design shouldn’t be able to swim, but manage to anyway.

Breeds Known to Be Good Swimmers

Medium-to-large sized breeds with water-resistant coats and webbing between their toes are typically strong swimmers. These dogs have been bred for water work and include most retrievers, including the lab, the golden, and the Chesapeake Bay retriever.

Dogs with “water” in their breed names are a given. These include the Portuguese Water Dog, the Spanish Water Dog, the Irish Water Spaniel, and the American Water Spaniel.

Newfoundlands, despite their giant size, are also great swimmers. Other breeds comfortable in the water include English and Irish setters, the standard poodle, and the Schipperke.

Breeds Not Built for the Water

Dogs that aren’t designed for swimming include “top heavy” breeds – those with large chests and small hindquarters. Short muzzled dogs, including the brachycephalic breeds, and dogs with very short legs also don’t do well in water.

For example, bulldogs, dachshunds and boxers are generally not able to stay afloat. Brachy breeds like the pug tend to tire easily due to the abnormal structure of their respiratory organs.

Many small dogs can be very good swimmers, but because they get chilled easily and tend to be frightened in the water, they don’t always do so well.

Getting Your Dog Used to the Water

Go slow in the beginning. Always use a PFD (personal flotation device, or life preserver). The goal is to discover whether your dog enjoys the water and whether he has the build and aptitude for swimming. Even if your pet is a recognized swimmer like a retriever, you should never simply drop a dog who has never been in water into the pool or the lake.

Some natural swimmers need no coaxing to go into the water, but other dogs bred for swimming need to get used to the water gradually. The first time you take your dog to the lake, if she’s hesitant at the shoreline, try wading in yourself and encourage her to follow you. If she does, give her plenty of praise.

Get her used to the feel of the water in a shallow spot, then gradually work her into deeper water. If she’s moving around well and seems comfortable, you can throw a floating toy or ball or even a stick out for her to fetch. If she swims out to the object and retrieves it, call her and encourage her to swim back to you. Praise her liberally when she reaches you.

If your dog is a natural in the water, it won’t be long before she’s diving in on her own every chance she gets.

An alternative to going into the water yourself is to try bringing your pet around a group of swimming dogs. Some dogs easily get the hang of being in water in the presence of other dogs swimming around them.

If your dog isn’t a breed recognized for being good in the water, you can try introducing him very gradually, but my recommendation is to stay right with him and start out with your pet in a flotation vest. If he seems comfortable and can move around well, he’ll probably enjoy swimming. If he’s mostly scared, shivering and looking like he’d rather be anywhere else, he may need more time to get used to the water – or he may never enjoy it.

If you have a breed that isn’t physically built for swimming, our recommendation is to keep him on dry land. The water is dangerous for dogs that can’t stay afloat or tire out before they can swim to safety. If you do bring your non-swimmer to the lake or the beach or even out to your backyard pool, I recommend putting a dog flotation vest on him as we did with Rosco, until we knew he was able to swim without risk.

Safety First

Even Michael Phelps tires out, so don’t be overconfident that your pet can handle anything in the water. Even the best canine swimmer can get very tired – especially in deep water. Older dogs and puppies tire more easily than adult dogs, and special care must be taken not to let them overdo it.

If you take your dog boating, no matter how great she is in the water, I recommend you use a dog flotation vest except for those times when the boat is anchored for swimming – and you’re keeping an eye on her. Dogs can fall into the water unnoticed, and if you’re at cruising speed, by the time you realize your pet isn’t onboard, it could be too late to save her. A flotation vest will help her stay on top of the water and will also help you spot her more easily.

If your dog is swimming in unfamiliar water, beware of strong currents, steep drop-offs, and any other potential dangers that could pull your pet under or sweep her away before you can get to her.

For Canine Landlubbers

Even if your dog isn’t built for the water or just doesn’t like it, he can still hang out at the lake or around the pool with you as long as you take some precautions.

Make sure she’s in a flotation vest just in case, has plenty of cool, clean water to drink, access to shade, and can walk around without burning the bottoms of his feet. If he starts to heat up, fill a container with water and gently pour it over him, starting at the back of the neck and working toward the tail. Then have him roll onto his back and drench his belly in cool water as well.

Whether your dog is on land or on the water, be alert for signs of heatstroke.

Pet Of The Week – Olivia

Olivia is a long time friend of Little Bay Pet Services. Her sitter Kim has been walking her since 2010. Olivia, or Ollie as she is often called is a black lab mix. She is a shy, nervous dog so Kim has been her only dog walker to keep things consistent. When Kim first started walking Ollie she would find her hiding under the bed when she arrived for their walk, but after years of building a trusting relationship, Kim and Ollie have an amazing friendship. Now Ollie happily greets Kim at the door and is so excited to head out for her walk.

Ollie doesn’t care much to walk along the street in her neighborhood, so instead she and Kim head to the Urban Forestry Center. It allows Ollie to peacefully sniff along the woods and be at ease with her surroundings without the distraction of cars and other loud noises that frighten her. It’s such a special moment when you realize that you have broken down the barrier and and now you have a pet that trusts you. Our relationships with our pets are much like those of our human relationships. It takes work and time, but it is so worth the effort.

Can Pets Get the West Nile or Zika Virus?

mosquito-smallAs summer begins, news programs are rife with stories about the Zika and West Nile viruses. Infectious disease specialists warn about the potential for disease in people. But what about your pets – are they at risk, too?

West Nile Virus in People and Horses

Once limited to Africa, Europe, India, the Middle East, Asia and Australia, West Nile virus (WNV) crossed the ocean to North America in 1999 and has since advanced across the United States and Canada. Most commonly spread by infected mosquitoes, the virus usually infects people and horses.

Infected people and horses may have a fever or show no signs at all. With severe infections, they may display signs associated with encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) or meningitis (inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord), such as disorientation, seizures or paralysis.

Typically, people and horses infected with WNV have very low levels of the virus circulating in their blood, so the virus usually isn’t transmitted to mosquitoes during feeding. That means an otherwise uninfected mosquito generally can’t spread the virus from one horse to another, from a horse to a human or vice versa. To spread the virus, a mosquito must first feed on birds, or in some cases rodents, which typically carry higher levels of circulating virus.

The Impact on Dogs and Cats

Little information is available regarding the susceptibility of dogs and cats to WNV infection. It appears that dogs and cats may be exposed to the virus through a mosquito bite or through ingestion of infected small mammals or birds. However, the virus does not appear to cause overt disease in our small companion animals.

In a study of dogs experimentally infected with the West Nile virus, none of the dogs showed clinical signs of disease. The dogs did have measurable amounts of virus in their blood, but the quantity was so low, it was unlikely to result in transmission of the virus to feeding mosquitoes.

Cats experimentally infected with WNV showed mild, nonspecific signs of disease, including lethargy, decreased appetite and fever. Compared with dogs in the study, cats had a higher virus concentration in their blood, which may be enough to infect mosquitoes but not as effectively as infected birds could.

These studies indicate that although dogs and cats can become infected by the WNV, they may not show obvious signs, and neither species is likely to be a source of infection for people.

Top 10 Fourth of July Pet Safety Tips

4thJulyLike many Americans, you may be planning to have a festive Fourth of July. Along with barbeques and day at the beach, no July holiday celebration would be complete without enjoying the fireworks that celebrate the birth of our nation.

Perhaps you are considering staying at home and planning a get-together with friends and family. Or, you may want to go check out your local professional fireworks display. While putting the finishing touches on your planned celebration, take a moment to consider your pets.

Unlike people, pets don’t associate the noise, flashes, and burning smell of pyrotechnics with celebrations. Pets are terrified of fireworks, and often panic at the loud whizzes and bangs they produce.

Because of this, the American Humane Association reports that July 5 is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters. Why? Many shelters are inundated with pets that panicked at the noise of firecrackers and fled into the night, winding up lost, injured or killed.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has listed ways you can prevent your holiday celebration from turning into a tragedy. Here are 10 tips on how to keep your pet from panicking this Fourth of July weekend.

10. Keep your Pet Indoors at All Times!

It may seem obvious, but even if your pet is used to being outside, the resulting panic caused by fireworks or other loud noises may make them break their restraint or jump a fence in a terrified attempt to find safety.

9. Don’t Put Insect Repellant on Your Pet that isn’t Specifically for Pet Use

The same tip applies to applying “people” sunscreen on your pet. What isn’t toxic to humans can be toxic to animals. The ASPCA lists the poisonous effects of sunscreen on your pet as, “…drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy.” DEET, a common insecticide, may cause neurological issues.

8. Alcoholic Drinks Poison Pets

If your pet drinks alcohol, they can become dangerously intoxicated, go into a coma, or in severe cases, die from respiratory failure. Yes, even beer is toxic; fermented hops and ethanol are poisonous to dogs and cats.

7. Going to a Fireworks Display? Leave Your Pet at Home

The safest place for your pet is at home, not in a crowded, unfamiliar and noisy place. The combination of too many people and loud fireworks will make your beloved pet freak out and desperately seek shelter. Locking them in the car is also not an option; your pet may suffer brain damage and heat stroke.

6. Have Your Pet Properly Identified

If your pet manages to break loose and become lost, without proper identification it will be that much harder to get them back. Consider fitting your pet with microchip identification, ID tags with their name and your phone number, or both. It is also a good idea to have a recent picture of your pets in case you have to put up signs.

5. Keep Your Pet Away from Glow Jewelry

It might look cute, but your pet could chew up and swallow the plastic adornments. The ASPCA states that while not highly toxic, “excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation could still result from ingestions, and intestinal blockage could occur from swallowing large pieces of the plastic containers.”

4. NEVER Use Fireworks Around Pets

While lit fireworks can pose a danger to curious pets and potentially result in severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws, even unused fireworks can be hazardous. Some fireworks contain potentially toxic substances such as arsenic, potassium nitrate, and other heavy metals.

3. Don’t Give Your Pet “Table Food”

If you are having a backyard barbeque, you may be tempted to slip some snacks to your pet. But like beer and chocolate, there are other festive foods that could harm your pet. Onions, coffee, avocado, grapes & raisins, salt and yeast dough are all possible hazards for dogs and cats.

2. Lighter Fluid and Matches Are Harmful to Pets.

The ASPCA lists chlorates as a harmful chemical substance found in some matches that, if ingested, can cause your pet difficulty in breathing, damage blood cells or even cause kidney disease. If exposed to lighter fluid, your pet may sustain skin irritation on contact, respiratory problems if inhaled, and gastric problems if ingested.

1. Citronella Insect Control Products Harm Pets, Too.

Oils, candles, insect coils and other citronella-based repellants are irritating toxins to pets, according to the ASPCA. The result of inhalation can cause severe respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia, and ingestion can harm your pet’s nervous system.

The safest and best bet for celebrating this Fourth of July with your pets is to exclude them from holiday festivities, at least this time around. Instead, find a safe, secure spot in the home for your pets while you go out and enjoy the loud bangs, bright lights and spectator fun. Your pets will appreciate the quiet a lot more than you’ll enjoy the noise.

This article courtesy of

Why Are Dogs Afraid of Fireworks?

dog-fireworksDo fireworks scare your dog? He’s not alone. While they’re fun for humans, the loud, unexpected sounds of fireworks cause stress and anxiety for a lot of dogs. Before July 4th rolls around, here are eleven things to know about why your dog gets anxious and what you can do to help.

1. It’s normal if your dog gets scared. “While we humans have learned to expect fireworks around the Fourth of July, the sound of fireworks can be quite startling for dogs,” said Purina dog behavior scientist Ragen T.S. McGowan.

2. After all, your dog has keen senses that make fireworks a more intense experience. Your dog’s acute hearing makes him more sensitive to the sounds of fireworks than you are. “Fireworks also produce an odor that dogs may be sensitive to,” McGowan said.

3. During fireworks, your dog experiences the same kind of startled response you do when you’re surprised by a loud noise. This may mean an increase in heart rate, a rush of adrenaline, and an increase in stress hormones circulating through the body.

4. For your dog, fireworks aren’t the same experience as a thunderstorm. Thunderstorms come with a lot of warning signs, like changes in barometric pressure and high winds, so dogs anticipate them. Since fireworks are sudden and occur less frequently than thunderstorms, dogs might be more intimidated by them.

5. There are plenty of dogs who aren’t afraid of fireworks. It might be because they’re naturally easy-going, or it might be because they were exposed to enough noises when they were young that they understand that fireworks aren’t a threat.

6. If you start early, you can help lower your dog’s sensitivity to the sound of fireworks. If you know there are going to be fireworks in your area, you can help prepare your dog by exposing him to recorded firework sounds. Note that this process takes months of effort that includes gradually increasing the volume while you reward your dog for keeping calm. It’s not a short-term fix.

7. If you start really early, you might be able to desensitize your dog to a lot of loud noises. If you expose your dog to noises like fireworks, thunder, car horns and train whistles in a positive manner when he’s between 3 weeks and 3-months-old, he’s more likely to be unfazed by noises later in life.

8. No time? Create a special area in your home where your dog can feel safe and secure during the noise. “If your dog is crate trained then he may feel most secure in his create with a nice chew toy to occupy his time,” said Gerardo Perez-Camargo, Purina Global Pet Welfare and Behavior Manager. If she’s not crate-trained, putting her bed in a calm place during the fireworks might work. Try closing the windows and playing some music.

9. Help your dog feel happy during fireworks. Why not give your dog a special treat or his favorite toy? It might help to create positive associations with fireworks.

10. Calming wraps and thundershirts may help for some dogs, too. These work like swaddling does for infants – they make your dog feel secure during stressful situations.

11. The most important thing you can do is stay calm.  “Making a big fuss around the dog only reassures him that there is a good reason to panic,” McGowan said. “Dogs look at us for reassurance so showing them that we are calm and relaxed is likely to help the dog understand that there is no real danger.”

This article courtesy of

Pets Of The Week – Riley

RileyThe sitters at Little Bay Pet Services have been walking Riley since 2010. Riley is a super friendly lab as most labs are. She loves it when her sitters arrive for her walks! No matter what the weather is she is ready to get out and walk the neighborhood. She is always excited to meet neighbors and other walkers along the way. She especially likes visiting with the neighborhood children when they are out in their yards.

Our sitters have seen Riley through two ACL surgeries, but not much dampens Riley’s spirits. She tends to make speedy recoveries and bounce back with a smile on her face and a wagging tail. Squirrels and cats add to the interest of Riley’s walks. She finds them fascinating and will stop and fixate her attention on them. Our sitters love their time with Riley and look forward to many more years of great walks with our loveable four-legged friend!