Canine Body Language

DogDid you know that a dog’s posture, facial expression and tail movements can communicate a number of different messages to other dogs and to humans .

As a pet owner, it is very important that you be able to correctly read your canine companion’s signals.

Here are some  common behaviors in dogs:

PLAYFUL: chest to ground, rear and tail high in the air, may bounce on rear legs.

FRIENDLY DOGS:  relaxed ears in down position, flat tails with lots of wagging and the dog makes eye contact without staring.

SUBMISSIVE AND FEARFUL DOGS: ears down, eyes averted and tail is tucked securely between their legs. They may roll over on their backs or urinate while lying down.

ASSERTIVE DOGS: erect ears and tail, staring eyes and tend to put their paws on other dog’s backs and may be pushy with humans.

TRULY AGGRESSIVE DOGS: stare and hold their tails motionless, growl and put their ears forward. Hair on neck and back may stand up. Eyes  are wide and staring,  and dog may curl lips to show teeth.

It is important to understand how your dog reacts to other pets, people and situations.

If you are planning to leave your pet’s care to a pet sitter while you are away, make sure that your pet sitter has an opportunity to meet your pet prior to the pet sitting visits so that the sitter has a chance to see your pet in his/her home environment with you present.

Make sure that you give the pet sitter as much information as you can about your pet.

The pet sitter should  be aware if your pet is fearful, aggressive, or an escape artist,


If you have a new dog, or if you are dealing with someone else’s dog; it is wise to allow the dog to make the first move.

Never rush up to a dog you don’t know. Avoid loud noise or quick movements until you are comfortable that the dog is comfortable.

Ask the dog’s owner about the best way to approach him/her.

Never assume that all dogs like children.

Teach your kids to ask before they approach unknown dogs, and never leave young children alone with dogs, however nice the dog may be.

Health Insurance For Your Pet

If you have taken your pet to the veterinarian lately, you have probably thought about pet insurance. Unfortunately, the costs of medical treatment may be prohibitive which can lead to foregoing needed treatments or, worse, euthanasia. Pet insurance helps defray the cost of routine or unexpected expenses for pet health care. Most pet insurance plans require monthly premiums. Basic insurance will usually cover emergencies, lab work, medications and more. You may also purchase policies that cover routine health care and preventive medications, such as heartworm prevention. Many owners are now buying policies that have cancer coverage.

There are many different pet insurance companies and it is wise to shop around. Decide what coverage makes sense for your pet. Also consider what you can afford. Insurance cost is based on the age and health of the pet. Before you commit to a policy, make sure that you know exactly what is covered and what is not. Do your research. Call potential insurers and ask questions if you have them. Talk to your veterinary staff or pet sitter to see if they have recommendations.

Things to consider about pet insurance.

Will insurance premiums cost more than you usually spend on your pet annually?

Would it be smarter to deposit money in a pet savings account in case of illness?

Older animals, or those that have any history of illness, cost more to insure.

Most insurance plans require you to pay the vet when services are rendered, and later submit a form for reimbursement. You may not be reimbursed for all of your expenses.

Find out if you have to use a particular veterinarian or if your plan allows you to go to any facility.

Many insurance companies will give you a multi-pet discount.

Find out if plans cover pre-existing conditions, specialists, and behavior problems.

Inquire about how the insurance company treats common specific diseases such as diabetes and cancer.

If you choose to insure your pet, remember to leave the policy information with your pet sitting service.  In the event that the pet sitter needs to transport your pet to a veterinary hospital, it will be helpful for him/her to know what the insurance policy covers. In addition, the pet sitter may need to have certain documents signed by the doctor who sees your pet. Some vets may offer discounts for pets insured by certain companies. Based on the coverage that your insurance company offers, you may instruct the pet sitting service to have the vet include or exclude certain treatments.

If you are a pet owner who wants to be prepared in case of illness or injury, pet insurance could be a way to gain peace of mind. Many pet owners have found pet insurance to be valuable when the unexpected happens.

Guide To Joint Supplements

running-dogGood quality joint supplements are an important way to help maintain your pet’s flexibility and mobility, especially as aging occurs.

There are many supplements available.

How can you choose the right one for your pet’s particular needs?

You can start by reading below about the key ingredients to look for.

Next, talk to your veterinarian or pet care professional.

Consider your pet’s age and any particular health concerns such as hip dysplasia.

Remember that you don’t have to wait until bone and joint problems occur.

You can use supplements to prevent or alleviate bone and joint problems.

Weight is another important consideration with any bone and joint issues.

Weight loss will alleviate many joint problems.

Supplements support joint health as well as allowing some repair and lubrication of the joint to occur.

Here are the most common ingredients found in quality joint supplements:

* Glucosamine is the most widely known and most important supplements for joint health. It is composed of small molecules that are well absorbed by the body. It allows the body to make thick viscous joint fluid. This joint fluid cushions the ends of bones and allows them to glide smoothly over each other. The minimum recommended dosage for a 50 pound dog is 1,000 milligrams per day.

* Chondroitin is another important ingredient which is a component of cartilage. The molecules in        chondroitin are larger than glucosamine, so it is not absorbed by the body as readily as glucosamine.

* MSM has an anti-inflammatory effect. Inflammation causes the release of enzymes that break down the joint fluid that cushions joints. MSM prevents the destruction of joint fluid by these enzymes.

* Hylauronic acid is found in many joint supplements and is chemically similar to joint fluid. It is a large molecule like chondroitin and is not as easily absorbed as glucosamine.

* Herbs can be helpful for joint support. Some particularly helpful ones are: boswelia which stops the breakdown of joint fluid, cinnamon has a warming quality that can be helpful in cold weather. Others to consider are yucca, curcumin and corydalis.

* Omega 3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory as well. They have the additional benefit of helping skin and coat health.

Make sure that you buy high quality supplements from a reputable USA supplier.

Most supplements must be given for at least one month before positive results can be noted.

If you are going away and are using a pet sitter such as Four Paws Pet Sitting Services, we will be glad to give your pets their joint supplements.

Ideally, you should plan on a six month course to get the best effect from most supplements.

Remember that cats and dogs can benefit from joint supplements.

We at Four Paws Pet Sitting Services know how important your pets are to your family and we will take care of your pets as if they are our own.

Check out our services and give us a call today.  919-388-PAWS (7297)

Winterizing For Your Pet

dog_winterWinter can be a difficult time for pets and their owner.                                                                                                                                                           Ice, snow, and low temperatures present some special challenges for the pet owner.

It is important to ensure that the environment is safe for pets and their people. Here are some ideas to make the colder months safe and comfortable for you and your furry friends.

  • Avoid the salt that is used on sidewalks and roads as a de-icer. Protect your dog’s feet with boots or pad wax which protects paw pads from chemicals, salt and freezing pavement. As soon as you come inside, clean and dry your pet’s feet.
  • Watch for icy areas that you or your pet(s) can fall and injure yourselves on. Wear sturdy, non-slip shoes to maintain the best footing possible.
  • Never allow your pet to drink from puddles. The water may contain traces of antifreeze or other fatal or toxic chemicals. Puddles found in wooded areas may be contaminated by urine or feces from wild animals which may transmit disease or parasites such as giardia. It is a good idea to carry a water source for you and your pet on long walks.
  • Guard against hypothermia by limiting the time spent outdoors. If your dog or cat is shivering, bring it inside. If the pet is weak, dazed, or if its muscles are stiff, wrap the animal in a warm blanket or towel and seek veterinary attention immediately. Remember that smaller frame, old, or juvenile animals are more susceptible to hyperthermia.
  • After spending time outside, check exposed areas on your pet’s body, such as ears, for frostbite. Affected tissue looks less pink than usual and feels cold to the touch. Call your vet if you suspect a problem.
  • Adjust your pet’s diet accordingly. Animals that spend more time outdoors may need more calories to maintain body heat. Indoor animals that are sedentary will require less food in the winter.
  • If your dog, cat or livestock spends significant time outdoors, ensure that a dry shelter is available that is out of the wind. Also provide plenty of clean, thawed water at all times.
  • If you must be away from home during a period of intense cold, make sure that your pet-sitter has an ample supply of all food, medications, and supplies in the event that stores or veterinary hospitals are closed during your absence.  Leave instructions for emergency situations such as burst pipes.

The above suggestions should ensure that you and your pet are prepared for most winter situations. Stay warm!

Do you need a pet sitter while you are away at work for the day or on a trip? Call Four Paws Pet Sitting Services 919-388-PAWS (7297)

Check our Website out for Services we offer and visit our Sitters page!

Puppy Proof Your Home

Puppies are like toddlers; they are lively, curious, teething and they are mobile!                                  20130217-111413

This combination can lead the puppy into serious trouble unless you use preventive measures.

It is impossible to anticipate everything that may peak your puppy’s interest, but here are some suggestions to help you get started.
• Confine your puppy to a safe area inside and keep doors and windows closed and screened for safety.
• Never leave your puppy unsupervised unless confined. Puppies will investigate, wander, chew, and soil when left to their own devices.
• Never let your puppy on balconies, upper porches, high decks, and stairs.
• Make sure that cleaning supplies, paint, fertilizer, poisons and other chemicals are inaccessible, preferably on high, locked shelves.
• Remove toxic houseplants or place out of puppy’s reach. Make sure that you pick up any dead leaves that may fall from hanging plants.
• Keep toilet lids down to prevent the puppy from drinking the water and/or having the toilet lid fall on their head or neck.
• Unplug, remove or cover any electrical cords . Chewing cords can cause severe mouth burns, electrocution, or fires. Do not line the puppy’s bed with electric blankets or heating pads.
•Cover electrical outlets with covers when not in use.
• Never give your puppy medications, flea/ heartworm prevention, or dewormers without first consulting your veterinarian.
• Always know where your puppy is. Assume that the puppy will be underfoot, and be extra careful to avoid stepping on puppy and/or injuring yourself by falling.       •Check to be sure that puppy gates and crate doors are absolutely secure before leaving your home. Walk your fence line to look for holes in or under the fence which may provide an escape route for a curious pup.
• Never leave the puppy unattended with children or other pets.
• Keep everything off of the floor. Assume that the puppy will chew and/or swallow every item that he/she can.
Enjoy your puppy!

We at Four Paws Pet Sitting Services will customize a schedule for you and your puppy while your puppy is going through the house breaking stage.

We recommend  a couple of potty breaks while you are at work while your puppy is still very young and then gradually increasing the time in between visits.

When they are older we recommend a 30 minute mid day walk as exercise is very important for your dog.

Check our Services out and then Register and we will meet you for your FREE consultation.

For more information, you may Email us at

Home Alone: Separation Anxiety In Your Dog

thundershirtWhat is separation anxiety and why does it occur?

Dogs are sociable pack animals and are most content when someone is at home all the time. Unfortunately, this is not
possible for most families. Unless we can teach our pets to be comfortable with the daily routine and absences of their
human family, separation anxiety can result.

Dogs with separation anxiety exhibit the following patterns of behavior, including:

* Incessant barking
* Destructive behavior
* Refusal to eat
* Depression
* Pouting or misdirected anger
* Inappropriate urination and defecation even when previously house-trained

There are some commonly recognized techniques that you can try at home. These may be effective. However, if they are
not, contact your veterinarian, trainer or animal behaviorist for assistance.

1. Alter your behavior when leaving the home. Don’t coddle your pet or make a big fuss. Don’t comfort the dog,
but instead disengage for approximately 15 minutes before you leave.
2. Use the technique above when coming home. Don’t participate in the dog’s excitement when you arrive. Make
your entrance low key. Wait until the dog is calm before you engage him/her. Once the dog is settled, offer a
greeting and affection.
3. Supply your dog with things to do while you are out. Make sure that you leave plenty of interactive toys that
will require him to think and work a little bit to get at a favored treat such as peanut butter. This gives him
something to focus on besides your absence.
4. If you will be away for more than six hours, have a pet sitter, trusted friend or family member to stop by to take
the dog on a bathroom break, some exercise and quality time.
5. Sometimes having another pet in the house will help. If you get a second dog, just be sure that one of the dogs is
well adjusted and calm. Sometimes a calm, self -assured friend will decrease the anxiety for a high strung pet.

We at Four Paws Pet Sitting Services provide in home pet sitting and dog walking whether you are away for just a few hours or a few weeks.

We will customize a schedule just for you. We even do overnights and will stay in you house. Check our services outand give us a call! (919) 388-7297