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The Real Way To Pick The Right Pet Sitter

Finding a Professional Pet Sitter can be a little bit challenging sometimes. First of all, Pet Sitter Hiring Checklistnot only are you trusting this individual (and company) with unmonitored access to your home, you’re also entrusting them with the care and well being of a family member (ie: your pet).

I’m sure you’ve seen articles that say the criteria for finding a pet sitter should be based on whether or not they’re insured, how long they’ve been in business, are the experienced? etc.

However, these things on their own don’t really make the search any easier because on the surface, most (if not all) professional pet sitting companies match this basic criteria.

So how do you really  find a pet sitter? We’ve given you a list of things to watch for that will lead you right to your perfect pet sitter!

Bottom line: Pay Close Attention!

Look for the following:

  • Does there website tell you anything about how they can help your and your needs? or is it just a website telling you all about what pet sitting is and about their company? Right off the bat you want a company’s website to say to you “We Get It!” and then truly show you that they understand you and your pets needs.
  • How are they on the phone with you or via email? Do they ask you questions about your pets and their likes, dislikes and routines or do they just run through a list off their services? Pet sitting is a very personalized service and in order to provide you with the highest quality service, your pet sitter should be asking you all about your pet and what their needs are to best serve you.
  • Do they interact well with your pets during the initial consultation? This might seem like an obvious one here but pay attention to how they are with your pets. A pet sitter should never completely ignore your pets during the meet and greet, nor should they be overwhelming and forceful with your pets either. They should give your pet time to warm up and then react to whatever your pet is comfortable with.

Being a great pet sitter is about more than just being insured and having experience. Being a great pet sitter requires personalized services, attention to detail and an overall experience that makes you feel like you and your pet are the only client that they have!

If you experience anything less than the things listed above, keep searching. You’ll be glad you did when the perfect pet sitter comes along!

Tasty Halloween Dog Treat Recipe

Peanut Butter and Pumpkin Dog Treats

Halloween Dog TreatsThere are so many different treats that us humans get to enjoy during Halloween season. Of course there’s all the candy but there’s also pumpkin donuts, pumpkin bagels, pumpkin coffee…essentially it seems they’ve made just about everything you can think of into pumpkin flavor this year.

Most of the things that we are able to enjoy are bad for our dogs so why not make them their own special doggy treat to enjoy?

Below is a quick and easy recipe to make pumpkin treats that your dog (and his tummy) will appreciate!

Ingredients

  •  2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (organic if you have it)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  •  1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup water as needed

Directions

  • You’ll want to pick up canned pumpkin for this recipe, but not pumpkin pie filling. You need just plain canned pumpkin because pumpkin pie filling has too much sugar and too many spices.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix all your ingredients except the water then add it sparingly. Depending on the amount of oil in your peanut butter, you may need the entire 1/2 cup of water (it’s okay if you don’t use it all). Note: The dough should turn out sticky but not dry; if it feels dry, you need a little more water. If it is sticking to your fingers than you need a little more flour.
  • Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface; to be festive, use pumpkin shaped cookie cutters. Cut the treats out and placed them on a greased cookie sheet.
  • Bake for 20 minutes. Cool, and then serve!
  • For an extra treat, make little treat bags to pass out to the doggies that will be trick or treating with their families on Halloween night!
We would love to see how your treats come out! Head on over to our Facebook page and post some photos of them!
Recipe Courtesy of: DogTipper 

What Makes A Pet Sitter A Professional?

search for professional pet sitterWhile you have been searching the web for the perfect pet sitter I am sure you have typed in something like “pet sitters in Northville” or “dog walking in Novi” in Google and have come up with many different results.

Some of these listings have been direct links to companies stating that they are “professional” pet sitters while others where links to sites like Care.com which list “hobby” pet sitters.

At a basic level a “hobby” pet sitter and a “professional” pet sitter appear provide the same thing. The basic, essential care of your pets.

So what makes a pet sitter a “professional”? 

A professional pet sitter is insured.

  • Why it matters: it shows that they are serious about being a pet sitter and it will help to recover damages if something were to happen to your dog or home

A professional pet sitting company should have policies and procedures in place when it comes to things like scheduling, payment and inclement weather.

  • Why it matters: if a “professional” pet sitting company is always flying be the seat of its pants and doesn’t have any real system in place, eventually it will turn into a nightmare for you in the form of missed visits, delayed responses when scheduling and billing headaches

You should be asked to sign a service contract.

  • Why it matters: professional pet sitters know the importance of not only protecting themselves but also protecting their clients through having a signed service agreement

This is just a basic list on how to find a professional pet sitter. There are many more elements to finding the perfect pet sitter for you and your pet; your decision should not be based on this criteria alone. This is just a starting point but now you’re headed in the right direction!

21 Reasons Your Cat Sitter Requires Visits Every Day

We frequently get calls from cat parents requesting that we visit their cat every other day. While we do accommodate such requests, we strongly encourage all of our cat clients to have us visit their cats every single day.British kitten on white background

Though cats may seem “self sufficient”, there are many things that can go wrong while a cat is home alone and visits longer than 24 hours apart can make a situation go from bad to tragic.

Rather than just tell you hypothetical situations that could possibly happen, I decided to turn to my fellow pet sitters and ask them to fill me in on some situations that they have actually encountered while taking care of their kitty clients.

Here are 21 reasons why your cat should have visits at least every 24 hours:

  1.  I was sitting two kittens 2 times per day and once when I went back for the afternoon visit, I could hear meowing but no kitties. They had shut themselves in a tiny bathroom, no water, food, or litter box. Luckily I was there to visit again that day.
  2. Cat liked to sleep on top of the warm water heater. Ended up falling behind it overnight in an upside down position. Such a tight space she couldn’t move at all to right herself. Had to drain the entire water heater to be able to move it just a few inches without breaking the connections pipes, the cat was likely stuck in that position at least 8+ hours
  3. Several cats have gone into renal failure and the pet sitters were able to spot it
  4. Realtor accidentally shut the cat in a room
  5. Cat was locked in the master bedroom closet by owners when they left
  6. Cat that always comes and always has, did not but visited the box over and over. Was blocked would have died if I had not gotten him to the Vet that day.
  7. Cat was walking on the stove and stepped right on the gas knob and the burner was full blast with blaze
  8. The cats had knocked over a lamp and the heat from the lightbulb had started to burn the lamp shade
  9. Cat jumped up on top of kitchen cabinets and unbeknownst to anyone (including owners) there was an unfinished area of the wall up there with no drywall. Cat dropped down inside the wall and couldn’t get out. I used a small saw to cut through wall to get her out.
  10. Cat gave birth earlier than expected. One day before her mom was coming home but a week before she thought she was due.
  11. Owner closed bedroom door and kitty was locked in with no food, water or litter box.
  12. A client of mine who never wanted to pay for daily visits for her 2 kitties decided to leave the cats home for the weekend while she left on Friday and planned to return on Sunday, leaving out plenty of food and water. She returned on Sunday, one of the cats was very ill and unfortunately the cat died of UTI in route to the vet. 
  13. Sitter was at the house for the evening visit and, while there, noticed that the kitty was a bit on the quiet side (normally, he was very vocal and pushy for attention).  She noted it, check his color and temp and gave him some cuddles which he responded to as usual, but still felt uneasy about it. Her gut told her to check on him again and she came back for an extra visit that night. He was sitting in the middle of the floor, didn’t want to move, wasn’t interested in attention at all. She rushed him to the vet where he was diagnosed with a urinary blockage. Had she not taken immediate action, he wouldn’t have been there the next morning.
  14. Found a client’s 20 year old cat had somehow gotten shut up in the bathroom. Had she not been coming over every day, the poor cat would have gone 48 hours without food or water.
  15. Cat removed a vent and got stuck in the heating system. Sitter had to hit the pipes to scare him back out.
  16. A painter closed the closet door and the cat was stuck in a very hot closet (the roof of the closet was the roof of the house….it was 100 degrees outside!)
  17. Sitter arrived to find frail old cat had broken leg.
  18. Cat sitter agreed to every other day visits and came in to find the cat had gotten a paralysis tick, and was close to death. If she had visited the day before and found him, the vet bills would have been much cheaper.
  19. Cats knocked over the automatic water bowl and were without water for a long length of time
  20. Pet sitter arrived to find that the cat had accidentally knocked a potted plant into the sink and turned on the faucet (yes, the cat knew how to turn on the faucet!) and the entire kitchen and part of the living room had been flooded
  21. Cat climbed up through the heater vent and the heating/cooling man had to come out to find the cat’s location and get her out

All of these examples are proof that it doesn’t matter if a cat is young or old; energetic or lazy, accidents and health concerns can happen to any cat and the more often you have your cat sitter visit, the less likely it is that an accident will turn into an emergency.

The Latest Jerky Recall News

I’m sure you seen the latest article from NBC News circulating in the social media outlets that is reporting: “Nearly 600 pets have died and more than 3,600 have been sickened in an ongoing, mysterious outbreak of illnesses tied to jerky treats made in China”

Well we wanted to put your mind at “ease” and let you know that this is NOT new news. The news about these recalls, sicknesses and and deaths had actually broken in January 2013. This article was simply reporting that the deaths and sicknesses are caused by jerky but they’re not sure of the source still.

It has taken 10 months for the main stream media to report on such a serious issue that is happening in our pet food industry. That is 10 months of recalls that have gone unreported by local news.

With recalls happening almost every month and an estimated 57% of American households owning pets, this news should be making headlines each time a new recall occurs!

How Can You Keep Your Pets Safe?

  • Throw away or return to the store all jerky that is currently in your home (whether it is made in the US or China).
  • Do not buy jerky of any kind. If you must feed jerky, make it at home
  • Follow us on Facebook for the latest recall news and up to date health information at www.facebook.com/MenlysPetCare

7 Halloween Safety Tips For Your Pets

Halloween is right around the corner! While it is fun time of year for most us, it is a good534601_359444607480516_401924633_n idea to exercise caution with your pets too keep them safe and healthy during the festivities.

Here are 10 tips to keep this Halloween from haunting your pets:

1) No treats please! Chocolate and other candies containing the artificial sweetener xylitol can be toxic to pets if ingested. If you suspect your pet may have gotten into some of the Halloween candy please call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435

2) Watch out for candy wrappers. Cats love to play with wrappers and dogs love to eat them since they smell like food to them. Ingesting wrappers can cause intestinal blockage and induce vomiting in both dogs and cats

3) Don’t force the costume. There are few things cuter in this world than seeing our pets dressed up in little costumes. However, for some pets it’s an extremely stressful experience to be in clothes. If your pet doesn’t dig wearing his costume, don’t force it

4) If your pet does enjoy wearing a costume, be sure that it doesn’t inhibit their movement, hearing, site or ability to breathe. Also check for small pieces on costumes that pets may be able to ingest or accidentally choke on

5) With constant visitors at the door, it can be very stressful and overwhelming for most pets. All but the most social pets should be kept somewhere in the house away from all of the noise and activity

6) Be sure that you keep close watch at the door to be sure that your pet does not sneak through the open door while you’re passing out candy to trick-or-treaters

7) Collars and ID tags. All of your pets should have on a collar with proper identification tags. Accidents sometimes happen and if your pet were to accidentally slip through the door in all of the Halloween excitement, you’ll need to be sure that they can be returned home to you

10 Questions Your Cat Would Ask Their Pet Sitter

As you have been searching for a cat sitter to take care of your precious feline companionBritish kitten on white background I am sure that you have a list of questions that are important for you to ask prospective pet sitters to determine if they are a right match for you. Some of these questions may include things related to price, insurance/bonding and experience.

However, have you considered what your cat might ask his pet sitter if he could talk? Here are 10 questions from your cats perspective!

  1. Will you be picking up the little pieces of dry food that I leave strewn about near my food bowl? I know I left them there but I prefer my eating area to be clean and tidy…which is where you come in.
  2. Do you clean the litter box at each visit?
  3. Do you like to cuddle? I may want to cuddle occasionally but only when I feel like it.
  4. Are you good at hide and seek? I’m a great at the hiding part.
  5. What is your treat policy? I know how many my mom and dad give me each day and I expect not one treat less.
  6. If you do an overnight with me are you content to not get much sleep because I enjoy running through the house at 3 in the morning to get in my daily exercise.
  7. How do you feel about cat butts? Because I will likely be sticking mine in your face while you pet me.
  8. Do you come equipped with a laser pointer?
  9. How are your “cooking” skills. I expect both breakfast and dinner to be perfect otherwise I refuse to eat.
  10. Will you open the blinds for me during the day so I can watch the birds and squirrels?

Finding a trustworthy cat sitter is more than just finding someone to put food down and scoop the litter. Your cat has a lot of personality and needs and your pet sitter should understand them and ask you questions about your cat to really get to know them. Once you find the sitter that meets both you and your cat’s needs, they are irreplaceable!

Do Pet Sitters Work On Holidays?

Everyone loves the holidays! Even if you don’t enjoy the holiday itself I am sure that, at Kitten With Bowthe very least, you enjoy getting to have the day off. You get to sleep in, watch a parade or two, eat some delicious food and enjoy time with family or watching football.

The picture is a bit different for us pet sitters. Holidays for us are our busiest time of year! We have a lot of clients that travel to see family and friends which means that someone needs to celebrate the holiday with the fur babies of the family!

While everyone is sleeping in, our pet sitters are out at 5 or 6am getting ready to start their first round of visits for the day. Our morning is filled with dog walks and visits with kitties.

After the first round of morning sits are completed, we get to spend some time with our families and then head back out for round two of visits in the afternoon which usually last from 2pm-4pm.

We head home, enjoy some delicious turkey with the fixings, relax for a bit and then we are right back out to end our day with evening visits with our 4-legged companions. Our day usually comes to an end around 9-10pm.

It may come as a surprise to you however to know that we actually don’t mind doing this! Sure it would be nice to have the day off, but we just look at our holidays a bit different. We still get to enjoy time with our families while taking care of our client’s pets that we’ve come to love so much which in a way, makes our holidays complete.

Why Does My Pet Sitter Need A Key?

All too often during meet and greets we get asked by our clients if we can use a garage Pet Sitting Key Policy door opener or garage code as our single mode of entry into the house while we take care of their pets.

While most of us do prefer the easy access of our garages now a days – Menlys Pet Care does require that you provide us with at least one copy of your house key for us to keep on file. We can use the garage as our main form of entry if you prefer, but we do need to have a key as back up.

Why the reason for this policy?

Bottom line – technology doesn’t always work. What if there were a power outage? What if for some reason your garage door just stopped working and needed to be repaired?

There have many times that we have arrived at a clients house to take care of their pets, gone to open the garage door and it would not open.

If we would not have had our back up keys to the clients’ home we would have had to do the following:

  • Call an emergency contact that has a key – which would mean hoping that they were around, waiting from them to drive to the home to let us in and inconveniencing them while making the pet wait to be taken care of
  • Call a locksmith – which again means waiting for them to arrive, delaying the pets’ care and an extra, unexpected invoice for you to arrive home to

These situations are easily avoided by requiring at least one copy of each of our client’s keys. Not only does it keep our entire business running smoothly, it’s just another way that we provide peace of mind to the pet owners that intrust us with the care of their babies.

Why Do We Have You Schedule Pet Sitting Online?

We do not take the fact that you trust us with your pets lightly. We understand that every time you leave your babies in our care, you are trusting us totally and completely to care for them and treat them like you would.

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So in order for us to ensure that we can provide you with reliable care and consist

ency, we have developed very specific policies and systems to ensure that you get the same experience with Menlys Pet Care each time.

By having an online scheduling system we accomplish 3 things:

1) It ensures that a visit is never accidentally missed. Every time you submit a scheduling request into our system, not only will your pet’s visit automatically be added to your sitters schedule but you will also receive a scheduling confirmation ensuring that the visit days and times are correct and that we have put your pet in our books.

2) We always have your pet’s care instructions up to date and in one, easily accessible place. Our pet’s needs change frequently and sometimes your pet starts eating a different food, has a different feeding schedule, is on new medication or has other new, specific requirements. Having an online profile, allows you to log in and update that information right away. No more calling your sitter every time something changes and hope they remember to write it down somewhere.

3) You can schedule any time, day or night. No more phone calls and emails requesting visits and waiting for a response. You can schedule your visits right away, whenever you want and as far in advance as you’d like.

The less time we spend writing out schedules and keeping track of client’s requests using archaic methods, the more time we are able to focus on the thing that matters the most; taking care of you pets