How To Pick A Winter Coat Or Sweater For Your Dog

Once you have determined if your dog needs a sweater or coat by reading our recent article, “Does My Dog Need A Coat or Sweater In Winter”, it’s time to figure out how to pick out winter gear for your pup.

What materials should I look for?

Dog coats and sweaters come in a variety of materials, the most common being fleece, wool and cotton. While wool is will keep your dog nice and toasty, keep in mind that it may cause itching and can be a bit difficult to clean.

Whatever material you chose, you’ll want to make sure that it’s easy to clean and comfortable for your pooch.

If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow or rain you’ll want a coat material that is water-resistant, similar to the material used for people coats.

How to do I find clothes that fit my dog?

Just like you would measure yourself before you buy clothes – you need to measure your dog.

You’ll want to measure around your dog’s neck, around the largest part of their chest and the length of their back from neck to the base of the tail.

You want to assure that whatever you buy for you dog fits snuggly but not too tight. You don’t want your dog to be able to take off the garment easily but you also don’t want it to be restricting.

When trying clothes on your dog, pay special attention to the area under their armpit to be sure it’s not too tight and cutting into their skin. You’ll also want to make sure there is enough room under their belly so they can go potty without peeing on any material (especially if you have a boy dog).

Whatever garments you chose, be sure there are no lose hanging parts like zippers, buttons or tags that your dog could potentially chew off. If you’re buying a coat, it’s okay if it has a hook to be attached to a leash because it’s designed to be worn under your constant supervision (while on a walk).

If it’s possible, bring your dog with you to try on different sweaters and coats to see what fits best!

Does My Dog Need A Coat Or Sweater For Winter?

iStock_000007103823XSmallAre you ready for another Michigan winter? How about your dogs? Are you having a hard time figuring out if your dog requires a coat or a sweater to keep them warm? Well hopefully this article should answer all of your questions for you!

Does My Dog Need Extra Warmth?

Dogs that have thick double coats really don’t need any help keeping themselves warm. Breeds with this type of coat include Huskies, Akitas, Alaskan Malamutes, Golden Retrievers and Labrador Retrievers, just to name a few. Their coats are specifically designed to keep them warm by trapping in the heat in the layers of their fur. Putting a heavy coat or sweater on these types of dogs can actually make them uncomfortable or overheat them so if you want to dress them up strictly for fashion purposes, chose something lightweight and breathable.

If your dog naturally has a lot of fur but you chose to keep him shaved like the Poodle, Labradoodle or the Goldendoodle for example, than you’ll also want to give him a sweater or coat to keep warm.

It comes as no surprise I’m sure, that the dogs most in need of additional insulation during the winter months are small breed dogs such as Chihuahuas, Miniature Pinchers and Italian Greyhounds. Larger breed dogs with very thin layers of fur like American Pit Bull Terriers or dogs with both thin layers of fur and very thin body frames such as the Greyhound will need help keeping their body temperature up as well.

You may also want to consider getting your dog a warm coat or sweater during the winter months if your dog is a senior, has a weak immune system or suffers from a disease that causes impaired hair growth.

When should your dog wear a sweater or coat?

Obviously when your dog is outside in the elements they should have on their extra layer of clothing. However, many dogs would benefit from having a sweater on in the house too.

It may be difficult for them to stay warm if you keep your house temperature low. If you need a blanket or sweatshirt to keep warm, than your dog does too!

How To Keep Your Indoor Cat Happy

20120525-IMG_1135-EditIs your indoor kitty getting cabin fever?

Though cats technically can survive outdoors, there are many dangers and risks to allowing your feline friend to wander around outside alone. Not only can they get hit by cars, they can get into fights with other animals, get cut on branches and bushes or be taken in by another family who thinks your cat is a stray.

Though us humans know keeping kitty indoors is the best decision, kitty may not agree. So how can you keep your indoor cat happy and safe?

First and foremost – bring the great outdoors inside. 

  • Hang a bird or squirrel feeder outside near one of your windows. Your cat will enjoy getting to watch the wildlife right outside the window all day long
  • Plant a few pots of cat safe plants and catnip. You can place them near a sunny window or place them around the house. (click here for the ASPCAs list of toxic plants)
  • Provide your cat with perches near the windows in your home so that they can look out at the wildlife throughout the day. You can use shelves or cat trees to create comfortable perches

Secondly, you’ll want to provide your cat with lots of entertainment. You wouldn’t want to be stuck inside all day with nothing to do, so why should you expect your cat to?

  • Offer your cat a variety of scratching mats, posts and trees so they can stretch, climb, claw and play (without using your furniture to do it!).
  • Having a wide variety of toys to play with will help prevent kitty boredom. Your cat’s toys don’t even need to be store bought. Crumple up a wad of paper, use the plastic ring from the milk jug and put down a paper bag and you’ve got a cat version of Chuck-E-Cheese!
  • Try out some “cat videos”. Some cats like watching aquatic, butterfly or bouncing ball computer screen savers, or videos with lots of animal close ups.

Lastly, get connected. 

  • Take time out of your busy schedule each day to play with your cat. Not only will it provide them with daily exercise but it gives you both a chance to bond with each other and reduce your stress. After all, didn’t you become a cat parent to actually enjoy the joys of having a cat?

Have more recommendations on how to keep your indoor cat happy? Post them below, we’d love to hear from you!

What Really Happens When You Give Up Your Pet

181175_275849285878047_2049830942_nI have been operating Menlys Pet Care for over three years now. In that time I have gotten several emails from clients asking me to help them to re-home their pets for one reason or another. Sometimes it’s because of a living situation, sometimes it’s because of bad behavior or something else in a long list of reasons why they no longer want to keep their pets.

First and foremost I would like to say that I acknowledge that there are the rare occasions where a family may have to re-home their pet for legitimate reasons. But these situations are RARE.

If you’re considering re-homing your pet I would like to give you some straight talk on what your pet is actually going to go through.

Reality Check #1

Your senior pet, if taken to a shelter, will likely get euthanized. If your senior is lucky enough to get taken in by a rescue, he will likely live out his days and die in a foster home waiting for a family of his own to adopt him.

Why? The sad reality is that there are thousands upon thousands of dogs, cats and other domestic animals out there waiting to get adopted. There is a very small percentage of people out there looking to adopt a pet that they’re only going to have for a few short years before it passes away.

Puppies and younger adult dogs are the most likely to get adopted while the seniors get overlooked.

Reality Check #2

Just because you think your pet is the cutest in the world and you’re sure she will get adopted right away – doesn’t make it the truth.

Shelters, humane societies and rescues are overcrowded and there are thousands more animals waiting for their chance. The sad reality is that there are many dogs, cats and bunnies that have given their families faithful years of their lives, are well trained and are cute as a button that are euthanized every day due to overcrowding.

Reality Check #3 

If you plan on surrendering your pet, here is what your pet can expect:

-Your pet will be put through a series of behavioral tests to determine if they can be adopted out. Some pets do not make it past this point.

-If your pet makes it past behavioral tests they will be put in a small kennel or cage in a room filled with the sounds of panicked barking and meowing. They will likely not have a blanket or something soft to lay on and will spend 23.5 to 24 hours a day in a kennel just big enough for them to stretch out in.

-People will constantly be walking by your pet’s small kennel peering inside. Often pets react to this stressful environment by cowering in the corner of their kennel, refusing to move and refusing to eat.

-Shelters often have an “expiration date” for the animals that come through their doors. If your pet is not adopted within a certain amount of time or the cage space is needed, they will be euthanized.

-When a pet is euthanized it’s not a calm and peaceful “goodbye” like it would be if you had to take your pet to the vet to have them put down. When they are taken back to be euthanized…they know. They are completely panicked and often times try desperately to get away because they know what is coming. Their last moments are filled with fear and loneliness.

When you enter into the responsibility of owning a pet – you are making a commitment to them. You are telling them that you’re going to protect them, love them and care for them all the days of their life. And in return they give you their everything – undying devotion, loyalty and love. They deserve more than to have any of this be their ending.

There are people to help you and solutions to your problems that can be solved without having to surrender your pet. You just need to ask for help!


8 Things Your Dogs Should Avoid During Thanksgiving

How can you not love Thanksgiving? An entire holiday solely dedicated to sitting aroundHalloween Dog Treats with family and friends to eat delicious home-cooked food until our pant’s buttons pop!

While we are enjoying the feast, if you’re anything like me I am sure you want to give your dogs a special treat as well. There’s nothing wrong with letting your dog indulge a little bit but you have to be careful and use caution with what you give them.

Here are 8 things that can be very harmful to your dog and you should avoid feeding during Thanksgiving:

1. Turkey Skin – The skin of the turkey holds in any marinade you put on the turkey like butter, spices and oils. These things can be very difficult for your dog to digest. If you want to give your dog turkey, make sure it’s skinless and boneless.

2. Cooked Bones – Cooked turkey or ham bones are extremely dangerous to dogs. They can splinter in your dog’s digestive track and cause a serious medical emergency, or worse. Be sure to dispose of bones completely out of your dog’s reach.

3. Onions & Garlic – These both contains sulfides which are toxic to dogs. Onions are the more toxic of the two and contrary to popular belief, cooking them does not reduce their toxicity.

4. Alcohol – As obvious as this should seem, alcohol is toxic to dogs and can cause death. So please don’t attempt to get your canine drunk this Thanksgiving.

5. Nuts – Specifically walnuts and macadamia nuts are very dangerous to dogs. The can cause what is known as “macadamia nut toxicosis”. Within 12 hours of eating them, dogs are unable to stand, have tremors, fever, weakness, elevated heart-rate and vomiting. Usually symptoms go away but they can cause deadly shock.

6. Nutmeg – Nutmeg can cause seizures and central nervous system problems if your dog ingests it. In some cases it can even cause death. If you want to share plain sweet potatoes or pumpkin with your dog, that’s okay. Just make sure it doesn’t contain any nutmeg in them!

7. Sage – Though sage isn’t deadly to dogs, the essential oils in it does cause an upset tummy so it’s best to avoid.

8. Chocolate, Dough & Batter – Chocolate is an obvious one. But dough can actually rise in your dog’s stomach which causes them bloating and severe pain. Bot batter and dough contain raw eggs which could cause Salmonella poisoning so it’s best to keep your pups away from these items as well.

The Best Veterinary Clinics In Novi | Recommendations From Your Local Pet Sitter

Pet Sitter Emergency PlanAre you new to the area and don’t know what Vet’s office to take your pet to? Sick of your current vet for some reason and would like to try something new? Well you’ve come to the right place!

Not only can we personally recommend our favorite vet to you based on our own personal experience, we have a list of the vets in the area that our client’s frequent the most.

Our Favorite Veterinary Office In Novi

Breckenridge/Meadowbrook Veterinary 

Breckenridge Veterinary

21524 Novi Road, Novi, MI 48375

Phone: 248-344-8649, After Hours: 248-348-1758

Meadowbrook Veterinary

41782 Ten Mile Road, Novi, MI 48375

Phone: 248-349-7447

Breckenridge Veterinary Clinic actually has two separate offices that share the same computer database. So you’re able to make an appointment at either office and always have your pet’s records up to date. The veterinarians also rotate between the two offices so you’re still able to keep your favorite veterinarian no matter what office you’re at.

Why we do love them?

Not only is all of their staff extremely friendly and helpful – they keep your wait time to a minimum. They’re very good about getting you into your appointment quickly and not making you wait for 15-30 minutes before you even see the vet.

The veterinarians there (specifically Dr. Joseph Osborn and Dr. Gretchen Kronsbein) are very caring, patient and are very thorough in explaining questions and fully examining your pet to determine what is wrong without unnecessarily up-charging you whenever they can.

Not only do we love them but they rank the highest used among our pet sitting clients.

A friendly word of caution to our dog owner’s out there: when making an appointment with Breckenridge Vet Clinic I strongly urge you to ask for either Dr. Osborn or Dr. Kronsbein and avoid Dr. Mary Collisi. Dr. Collisi is a fantastic cat veterinarian and is actually who I adopted my cat from, but she does lack a certain “bedside manner” when it comes to dogs.

Top 5 Local Vets Our Clients Use

(Note: Menlys Pet Care does not have personal experience with most of the vets that are listed below, however they’re the top 5 most frequently used vets by our pet sitting clients

Dandy Acres

56560 Ten Mile Rd, South Lyon 48178

Phone: 248-347-1765

Hidden Springs Vet Clinic

48525 West 8 Mile Rd, Northville 48168

Phone: 248-349-2598

Novi Veterinary Clinic

43377 Grand River Ave, Novi 48375

Phone: 248-349-7447

Vet Select Novi 

2150 Old Novi Rd, Novi 48377

Phone: 248-624-1100

Animal Emergency Center

24360 Novi Rd, Novi 48375

Phone: 248-346-1788

You should find the best vet for you and your pet’s needs. However, this list should give you a good starting point and point you in the right direction!

Why Your Northville Pet Sitter Requires 2 Sets Of Keys

Pet Sitting Key PolicyWhat is your biggest fear when it comes to using a pet sitter? Is it that they won’t show up to take care of your pets? What about the idea of you being away on vacation and your pet sitter is unable to get into your house?

I believe the two fears just listed are not only a client’s biggest fears but also the pet sitter’s biggest fears! We aren’t going to talk about missed visits today – but what we ARE going to talk about is the risk of your pet sitter not being able to get into your home.

I was scheduled to take care of a wonderful cat client of ours recently. Everything was all set: visits were scheduled, instructions were updated and payment was made. Unfortunately I wasn’t as organized as I had thought I was.

The morning the first visit was scheduled to begin, I was gathering my keys for the day and lo and behold…I had misplaced the client’s key somehow.

All of our keys are secretly coded so I wasn’t concerned about someone finding the key, however I was very concerned about just how I was supposed to take care of the kitty since I had no back up key.

Luckily, this particular client lived in an apartment complex where I was able to get in touch with the manager, show him our service contract stating that I was authorized to be in the client’s apartment and he gave me their backup keys to take care of the kitty for the length of my client’s trip.

I felt awful about it and imagine my client’s initial panic when I had to call her and tell her that the key was missing.

Though this is does not happen often, pet sitters are human beings who lose things and make mistakes. So how do we prevent these mistakes from interfering with our ability to provide you and your pets with outstanding pet sitting services no matter what?

We require 2 sets of keys for your home! One set is in our “active file” and is the main key that will be used any time we need to take care of your pets. The second key is kept locked up securely as an “emergency use only” key so that in the unfortunate event our active key gets misplaced, we are quickly able to grab the back up key and continue with services as normal. No stress, no panic and no interruption of the exceptional pet care your pets are waiting for!



3 Ways To Fight Doggy Boredom | Tips from your Northville Pet Sitter

1309327_27739819Even if you chose to hire a pet sitter to break up your dog’s day while you’re at work or away from home, there is still going to be points during the day where your dog is alone.

If your dog becomes bored, they WILL find a way to keep themselves entertained. Perhaps they will venture into the kitchen to see if they can get into the garbage or open some cupboards to see what kind of goodies are hidden inside. Or maybe they will decide that your daughter’s stuffed animal looks like the perfect chew toy to keep them occupied!

Dogs not only need physical exercise but they also need mental stimulation as well. So how do you keep your dog’s mind occupied and engaged while you’re not there?

Try these 3 pet sitter approved tricks:

Stuffed Kong Toys

Prepare this the night before you’re going to leave your pup alone.

The best way to stuff a kong?

Step 1: add a bit of dried liver, peanut butter or cheese into the little hole on top

Step 2: Fill about 1/3 of the kong cavity with dog treats such as marrow bites or regular (small) biscuits

Step 3: Fill the remaining 2/3 of the kong with canned food or dry dog food nuggets

Step 4: Leave a treat sticking out of the opening to provide immediate pay off and entice your dog to want to continue digging through the Kong for more!

Step 5: Freeze over night. Not only does it feel good on their teeth, it makes tackling the Kong more of a challenge for them!

(Note: be sure to account for all of the extra calories they will be eating by cutting back their food a little bit so they don’t gain weight)

Hide and Seek

This game is fun and easy!

First, you’ll need to put your dog in a room by himself or in the bathroom while you set everything up (other wise it’s no fun!)

Take some of your dog’s dry dog food or favorite treats and hide them around your home. They can be hidden behind chairs, on the stairs, around corners, really you can hide them anywhere!

Don’t make it too challenging for your dog to find the treats, otherwise they’ll give up. You also don’t want to stuff them too far underneath things because your dog could scratch at furniture trying to reach them.

While your gone, your dog will spend his time using his nose and his mind to figure out where the treats are hidden and will keep him plenty busy and satisfied!

Kong Wobbler

(Can you tell I am a big fan of Kong toys??)WOBBLER

The Kong Wobbler is essentially a giant weeble-wobble, it has sand at the bottom of it to prevent it from ever completely tipping over. As your dog nudges it with her nose, it tips on its side a bit and then bounces right back up, dropping little pieces of dog food or treats as it does so.

This keeps your dog happily entertained and rewarded. She has to figure out how to keep getting treats out of the toy so the excitement doesn’t wear off until there’s no treats left.

Here’s what you do:

Fill the bottom container of the Kong Wobbler with kibble or treats small enough to fit through the treat dispensing hole.

Place the Wobbler in the middle of the room and let your dog enjoy the fun!

All of these tips are extremely easy for you, as the pet parent, to set up for your dog. The reward is a happy, well entertained dog who is more focused on his toys and the “task” at hand rather than wandering through the house looking for things to get into on his own!

We’d love to hear from you! Do you have any games/toys that your dog loves to play while you’re away? Comment below and tell us about them!

6 Places To Shop For Pet Lovers In Northville

great pet stores in northville

Is it just me or is it absolutely crazy that the holidays are here again already?

It feels like just yesterday we were enjoying the weather getting warmer and school getting out for the summer, now it’s that time of the year again!

With the holidays right around the corner and many of us owning our own pets and at least one or two pet lovers on our holiday shopping list, wouldn’t it be great to know where to go and shop for them this year?

Well, you’re in luck! We’ve made it easy for you. Below are a list of the best places to shop for those pet/pet lovers on your list in (or around) the Northville area.

Celebrity Pets Co and Pet Land both carry are wide variety of toys for dogs. Some of the toys they carry are unique and you can’t find them at large chain stores.

These stores also specialize in fashionable doggy outfits, designer style leashes and collars as well as purses to carry around your little one in. Not to mention the designer style food bowls, water dishes and treat jars.

If you’re looking for a more boutique style shopping experience, you’ll want to visit these stores:

Celebrity Pets Co: 124 N Center St, Northville

Celebrity Pets Co: 37574 W 6 Mile Rd, Livonia

Pet Land: 27200 Novi Rd, Novi

Looking for pretty much everything under the sun from cats and dogs to bunnies and hamsters? Petsmart, Petco and Pet Supplies Plus are where you’re headed.

Not only do they carry a large stock of…well pretty much everything for most domestic animals, they also have a large amount of merchandise for pet owners themselves.

From blankets to coffee mugs, flags to mouse pads, these stores have a wide variety of “pet lover” gifts to chose from.

Petsmart: 17677 Haggerty Rd, Northville

PetCo: 43465 Ford Rd, Canton

Pet Supplies Plus: 41660 West 10 Mile Road, Novi

Happy shopping and have a Merry Christmas!

Why Your Pet Wants An Overnight Pet Sitter

Pet Sitting NoviWhere does your pet sleep when you’re at home? If you’re anything like our clients than your fur babies either sleep in your bedroom with you on their own special bed or they sleep right in bed with you!

Most of what makes pet sitting so great is the personalized attention and the ability to very minimally change your pet’s routines. Why not extend this to bed time as well?

Overnight pet sitting is a great way to know that your pets are receiving the best care while you’re away. Not only will your pet sitter be coming in 1-2 times during the day to spend quality time with your pet but they will be returning at 9pm to spend the night snuggling in bed or on the couch with your baby watching movies and giving them unlimited belly rubs.

Even cats can enjoy having an overnight pet sitter stay with them!

Some cats enjoy sleeping with someone or at the very least, are comforted by the fact that they have someone at home with them. Some cats even have odd feeding schedules that require them to be fed at times that normal pet sitting visits wouldn’t allow.

Another great candidate for overnight pet sitting are dogs that need to be crated if left alone.

Personally, I have 5 dogs and 3 out of those 5 need to be crated when I am not home. If I was traveling and had to have a pet sitter, I would not be able to bare the idea of them sleeping alone in their cages all night! Having a pet sitter spend the night with them and knowing they’re cuddling on the couch under the blankets, rather than alone in their crates, would do a world of good for my peace of mind!

Next to having a live-in pet sitter, overnight pet sitting is the best in pet sitting luxury. And don’t we all want the very best for our pets?