Hiring someone to watch over your pets? Here is what you need to know!

To begin the search, you might ask for recommendations from your vet, dog trainer or local Humane Society office or check the databases for the National Assn. of Professional Pet Sitters or Pet Sitters International .

Those are, by no means, the only ones. You can find other options by searching online or asking friends and family.

To begin, start with a telephone interview and ask lots of questions.

Here are a few to start with:

1. Does the pet sitter have the proper business license for your city or state, if required? Rules and regulations vary regarding what is required to legally operate a business. If your city or state requires a business license, any professional pet sitter you use should have a valid business license. While pet sitters care for your pet at your home, some do offer limited in-their-home boarding. If so, ensure that they also have the proper authorization and license to offer this service as well.

2. Is the pet sitter insured and bonded? Ask for proof of coverage. PSI members have access to group rates on policies specifically for petsitters and are provided insurance cards.

3. Can the pet sitter provide proof of clear criminal history? Remember, the person you choose to hire will have access to your property and your beloved animal companion(s). Ask for third-party credentials that verify the sitter has a history of honesty and integrity. Official verification documents will contain a current date (within one year), a Social Security number trace, county-level court search results and the contact information of a reputable investigator. This documentation can provide the peace of mind you seek when admitting a new pet-care provider to your home.

4. Does the pet sitter provide client references? PSI recommends that all of its members have a list of references for potential clients to contact. Some pet sitters also include testimonials on their company websites or on their PSI Locator profiles.

5. Will the pet sitter use a pet-sitting services agreement or contract? A well-written contract outlines the details associated with each service the sitter will provide. The contract includes all fees along with the expected amount of time that will be spent with your pet(s). This ensures that both you and your sitter have agreed on and understand the level of service being provided in your absence.

6. Has the pet sitter completed PSI’s Certificate in Professional Pet Sitting Program and/or has he or she participated in pet-care training, such as pet first aid? Experience in caring for special needs pets or various types of pets is helpful if that is what you need. Pet sitters who have completed PSI’s Certificate in Professional Pet Sitting Program have the resources on hand to care for a wide variety of companion animal species.

7. Is the pet sitter a member of a professional and educational association, such as Pet Sitters International? Membership in a professional association such as PSI demonstrates a pet sitter’s commitment to their profession and the industry at large. PSI members have access to the most up-to-date educational resources and business tools to help them provide the best possible service to clients and their pets.

19th Annual Krewe of Barkus & Meoux Mardi Gras Parade Galveston 2/26

The Galveston Island Humane Society’s (GIHS) 19th Annual Krewe of Barkus & Meoux Mardi Gras Parade will have its Annual “A Cat’s Eye View” Parade Viewing Party on the balcony of the Trolley Building which will allow people to view three family fun parades: The Shriners Hospitals for Children & Sunshine Kids Parade, our Krewe of Barkus & Meoux Parade, and the beloved Children’s Parade following us.  

The theme for this year’s Parade is, “A Paw-Jama Party,” with our Paws Gala Elite Pet Owner winner Shelby Scott and her winning Pet of the Year, Travis. 
The “A Cat’s Eye View” Balcony Party is set for Sunday, February 26, 2017, is from Noon to 4:00 p.m. 

Our Barkus & Meoux Parade will begin at Pier 20, travel the strand to Mechanic, and return to Pier 20. Pre-registration for the parade is $20 per pet. On-site registration will be $30 per pet.

The Parade and Viewing Party are not only fun, but raise money for our community support programs.The success of these projects depends on the support of individuals and businesses who generously contribute.

Contact the shelter for details on sponsorship opportunities, 409-740-1919. The GIHS is a 501c3 organization andyour contributions are tax deductible.

?“A Cat’s Eye View”  Balcony Party Highlights:

  • FREE entrance into the entertainment district included in your Ticket
  • 1 free drink ticket with light appetizers and cash bar
  •  In the center of all the Mardi Gras action
  • View of 3 Parades
  • Perfect view of the Krewe of Barkus & Meoux parade featuring area pets, many in their Mardi Gras finest attire.

Cost: $20 per person

Purchase tickets here:  tix.extremetix.com…

All proceeds go to The Galveston Island Humane Society.

Valentine’s Day Pet Do’s and Don’ts from the Pet Poison Help Line

Do find safe gifts to show your pet Valentine’s Day love! 

A new collar, treats, or toys can all be great gifts for your pet on Valentine’s day.  Valentine’s Day can also be a great time to try a new dog or cat treat recipe or make a new toy.  If your pet is already swimming in toys and treats, consider giving toys, bedding, food, or a donation to an animal shelter or rescue group in your pet’s name.

Don’t forget that many pets appreciate the gift of time and love more than anything!

An extra walk and some extra time cuddling or playing cost nothing and will be greatly appreciated by your cat or dog.  The extra exercise and snuggle time is a healthy, happy choice for you as well.

Do be careful to keep Valentine’s gifts, foods, flowers, and drinks away from your pet’s reach!

Chocolate, flowers, candy, rich foods, and alcoholic drinks are common in our homes as we celebrate Valentine’s Day.  Dogs will readily ingest toxic amounts of chocolate, and keep us busy here at Pet Poison Helpline at this time of year.  If you have cats, please watch out for flower bouquets that include lilies, as lilies are very toxic to cats.  Rich foods can cause stomach upset and possibly pancreatitis when ingested by pets.  Pets can be sensitive to alcohol, so be certain to keep alcoholic drinks out of reach.  Also be careful with sugar-free foods that might contain xylitol, which can cause a dangerous drop in blood sugar when ingested by pets.

Don’t forget to share the love!

Valentine’s Day can be a lonely holiday for many people.  This could be a great time to visit an animal shelter and donate your time and attention to rescued pets.  While I do not recommend giving pets as gifts, if you are thinking about adding a furry friend to your household, Valentine’s Day could be a great time to adopt.  Maybe a visit with your pet could help brighten the day of someone you know who is unable to have their own dog or cat.  This could also be a great time to look into getting your dog certified as a Canine Good Citizen or therapy dog to help others.

Happy Valentine’s Day from Pet Poison Helpline!

 

Valentine’s Day Safety Tips from the ASPCA

Each year our poison control experts see a rise in cases around February 14, many involving chocolate or lilies, a flower that’s potentially fatal to cats. Valentine’s Day can be as much fun for pets as it is for humans—as long as dangerous items are kept out of paws’ reach!

Pet-Safe Bouquets
When sending a floral arrangement to someone with a cat, specify that it contain no lilies—and when receiving an arrangement, sift through and remove all dangerous flora. If your pet is suffering from symptoms such as lethargy, vomiting or diarrhea, he may have ingested an offending flower or plant. Use our online toxic and nontoxic plant libraries as visual guides of what shouldn’t be in your bouquets.

Forbidden Chocolate
Seasoned pet lovers know that all types of chocolate are potentially life-threatening when ingested by pets. Methylxanthines are caffeine-like stimulants that affect gastrointestinal, neurologic and cardiac function—they can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, seizures and an abnormally elevated heart rate. The high-fat content in lighter chocolates can potentially lead to a life-threatening inflammation of the pancreas. Go ahead and indulge, but don’t leave chocolate out for chowhounds to find.

Careful with Cocktails
Spilled wine, a half a glass of champagne or some leftover liquor are nothing to cry over until a curious pet laps them up. Because animals are smaller than humans, a little bit of alcohol can do a lot of harm, causing vomiting, diarrhea, lack of coordination, central nervous system depression, tremors, difficulty breathing, metabolic disturbances and even coma. Potentially fatal respiratory failure can also occur if a large amount is ingested.

Life Is Sweet
So don’t let pets near treats sweetened with xylitol. If ingested, gum, candy and other treats that include this sweetener can result in hypoglycemia (a sudden drop in blood sugar). This can cause your pet to suffer depression, loss of coordination and seizures.

Every Rose Has Its Thorn
Don’t let pets near roses or other thorny-stemmed flowers. Biting, stepping on or swallowing their sharp, woody spines can cause serious infection if a puncture occurs. De-thorn your roses far away from pets.

Playing with Fire
It’s nice to set your evening a-glow with candlelight, but put out the fire when you leave the room. Pawing kittens and nosy pooches can burn themselves or cause a fire by knocking over unattended candles.

Wrap It Up
Gather up tape, ribbons, bows, wrapping paper, cellophane and balloons after presents have been opened—if swallowed, these long, stringy and “fun-to-chew” items can get lodged in your pet’s throat or digestive tract, causing her to choke or vomit.

The Furry Gift of Life?
Giving a cuddly puppy or kitten may seem a fitting Valentine’s Day gift—however, returning a pet you hadn’t planned on is anything but romantic. Companion animals bring with them a lifelong commitment, and choosing a pet for someone else doesn’t always turn out right. Those living in the New York City area can let their loved one choose their own cat with a gift certificate to adopt from the ASPCA. If you’re not in New York, check your local animal care shelter or take a romantic trip to the shelter together.

Feline Leukemia and What You Need to Know!

Feline Leukemia Virus Infection (FeLV) in Cats

Feline leukemia virus (FeLV) is a disease that impairs the cat’s immune system and causes certain types of cancer. This virus infection is responsible for a majority of deaths in household cats, affecting all breeds. Males are more likely to contract the infection than females, and it is usually seen between the ages of one to six years old.

Some of the more common symptoms of cat leukemia include:

  • Anemia
  • Lethargy
  • Progressive weight loss 
  • Abscesses
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Persistent diarrhea
  • Infections of the external ear and skin and poor coat condition
  • Fever (seen in about 50 percent of cases)
  • Wobbly, uncoordinated or drunken-appearing gait or movement
  • Inflammation of the nose, the cornea, or the moist tissues of the eye
  • Inflammation of the gums and/or mouth tissues
  • Lymphoma (the most common FeLV-associated cancer)
  • Fibrosarcomas (cancer that develops from fibrous tissue)

Causes

Cat leukemia is usually contracted from cat-to-cat transmission (e.g., bites, close contact, grooming, and sharing dishes or litter pans). It can also be transmitted to a kitten at birth or through the mother’s milk. Kittens are much more susceptible to the virus, as are males and cats that have outdoor access.

Diagnosis

Your veterinarian will first rule out other infections such as bacterial, parasitic, viral, or fungal. In addition, nonviral cancers need to be ruled out.

A complete blood count is done to determine if the cat has anemia or other blood disorders. Diagnosis may also be determined by conducting a urinalysis, or through a bone marrow biopsy or bone marrow aspiration (removing a small amount of marrow fluid for study).