The Best Pet Cameras

petcube-interactive-wi-fi-pet-camera-15When you are away, do your pets play? Do they surf the counter, lick the dishes clean, or hide under the bed?
Does your neighbor that’s house sitting snoop around the house? Does your pet sitter duck in and out or really get down on the floor and play with them?
The answer to these question is revealed by watching real-time footage on your computer or smart device that is mounted strategically in your home. When you begin shopping, a few things to consider: 

1. Do you want a hidden camera, ceiling mounted, or free standing unit? Should it be plug in or Wireless?

2. Do you need  high-quality resolution or simply a feed of the activity in your home?

3. Do you want the footage recorded to the cloud or a tape for later playback?

4. Is cost an issue?

A few highly recommended cameras with details about their features are listed below. Just make sure to read the reviews before you buy, so that you know the limitations of each camera.

Nest Dropcam Pro (voted best in 2015)
Ceiling mounted
Easiest set-up: Just plug the camera into a power source, take a photo of the QR code with the iOS or Android app (see, QR codes aren’t completely worthless) and plug in your wireless password.
captures 1080p video (up from 780p), has 8x digital zoom, night vision and two-way communication so you can yell at a burglar or listen to your dog bark at the bathtub.

Motorola Pet Scout66 Wi-Fi HD Pet Monitoring Camera
by Motorola, $93.69

Remote HD quality video streaming (requires internet access via Wi-Fi)
Set up in seconds using the Free Hubble App
Motion triggered recording and image snapshots (requires compatible viewing device with storage capability)
Two-way communication with high sensitivity microphone
In room temperature display and infrared night vision

Sundirect HD 720P Wireless


  • Remote Live Video Streaming Via Smart Phone, Tablet or PC Web Browsers (IE/Firefox/Safari/Google etc)
  • 720P HD Video Capture | 12 Infrared LEDs for Clear Night Time Recording
  • Video Recording to Internal TF Card only ?Support Max 32GB), No Remote Recording
  • Motion Detection Video or Snapshot Alert
  • Clear 2 Way Voice, 4x Digital Zoom, Pan and Tilt Controls

Petcube Camera

$199.00Material: Aluminum
Size: 4″ x 4″ x 4″

Petcube Camera features a wide-angle (138º) camera along with real time HD video so you can see your pet easily.
You can also talk to your pet as the camera has a built-in microphone and speaker.
With the unique laser pointer toy you can play with your pet from your smartphone
Share photos from the camera with friends using the Petcube App

You Stink Good!


My large lab loves to sniff the behind of every dog that walks by us: big or small, friendly or fierce. I embarrasingly call out “He’s overly friendly.” Pet owners will tolerate her first approach with tail wagging, nose twitching, as she heads straight for their pet’s rear end. “Peppi, give them some space, please!” Just what do dogs really learn from sniffing each other’s butt?

“Think of it kind of like speaking with chemicals,” referring to the release of glandular secretions by glands in a dog’s anal sac. “In fact, this butt-sniffing action is just a way of canine greeting. With a few short sniffs a dog can establish location, diet, illness, and readiness to mate. It is their way of deciding whether the backside in question is worth their time.” -Huffington Post.

My Peppi has an extraordinary sniffer, not just for dogs! He can find a peanut butter jar buried at the bottom of the recycing bin. How powerful is his nose? The scientific answer is that dogs noses are one hundred thousand times more sensitive than humans due to their three hundred million olfactory sensors (compared to six million in a human nose – pitiful).

So, how can my Pepe the super-sniffer make sense of the glandular secretions of another dogs anal sac?

“Dogs have a second olfactory system that’s known as the Jacobson’s organ. Its nerves direct the chemical information it detects directly to the brain so there’s no interference from other odors”

When a dog sniffs, two different things are happening:

1 He inhales the scented chemicals into his nasal cavities, where they are trapped in mucus and processed by the sensory cells. Inside the nostrils are cilia that contain many scent receptors. After the cell receptors trap the smells, each cell has several (10 to 100) axons that deliver their messages directly to the olfactory bulb.

2. He inhales into the sensory cells of Jacobson’s Organ that does not communicate with the olfactory bulbs and cortex, but with “the accessory bulbs and the part of the brain that coordinates mating and other basic emotions. In fact, recent evidence suggests that the two separate but parallel systems of odor detection cooperate in surprising ways to produce novel sensibilities not achievable by either of them on their own” -Whole Dog Journal.

When Pepe meets a dog he likes, they move around to sniff the back-end. This provides their emotional state, if they are in heat, info about their diet and health – a “How are you doing today?” greeting. If the dog is more aggressive, they will stay nose to nose and not offer any additional information!

Cat Scratch Fever

Siberian cat (12 weeks) in front of a white background

No, that catchy song by Ted Nugent is not about a cat attack! The real deal recently happend when a friend’s kitten climbed my bare legs like I was a palm tree! The results were traumatic – a series of long gashes that turned angry red and started to puff out. The innocent pet had already leapt onto the sofa, but if you have ever been scratched then you know how much it can hurt!

 Yes, there IS something worse than a paper cut… a cat scratch! Why? The claws of a kitty contain any number of bacteria from digging around in their cat litter box. If you get scratched from playful frolicking or an attack kitty, make sure to use a disinfectant on the wound like alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. There is an actual cat scratch disease caused by the bacteria Bartonella henselae. Symptoms include:Lump at site of injury (usually the first sign)
Fever (occasionally)
Lymph node swelling near the site of the scratch or bite
Overall discomfort
Not as frequently,sore throat, loss of appetite, or weight loss may occur.If you are scratched, first determine how deep the cut is – usually a cat scratch does not need stitches. After a couple days, if your lymph nodes swell up, visit your health care provider and they can test you for cat scratch disease. The physical exam may reveal an enlarged spleen, or an infected lymph node as well. Since it is hard to diagnose, a Bartonella henselae IFA blood test is an option, along with a lymph node biopsy. At the end of the doctor visit, patients with severe cases are given antibiotics. The treatment may include any of the following antibiotics: asazithromycin, clarithromycin, rifampin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, orciprofloxacin. Right now in August all the way through to October is when cat scratch fever is most common in northern temperate zones. There are an estimated 22,000 new cases of CSD per year in the United States (Jackson, Perkins, Wenger).
In my case, the kitten had not had all her shots yet so I opted to have several tests done. The results were negative for CAT SCRATCH FEVER… however, later that evening I had a strong urge to yeowl at the full moon…

The Pros and Cons of a DIY Electronic Dog Fence

digging-dogIf you have a yard that your dogs can play in, how do you keep them inside it? A traditional fence is the most popular solution, and it’s a no-brainer: just put it up, and your dogs stay in. Well, most of the time they do. Some people have trouble containing their dogs with a traditional fence, because dogs who are determined escape artists may find ways to dig under or break through no matter what. And for some people, traditional fences aren’t options. A strict housing association may prohibit fences, for example; or the landscape may be too restrictive.

An electronic dog fence can be a great alternative to a traditional fence, but as with any major decision for your pets, the pros and cons should be weighed. If you’re thinking about using an invisible fence to contain your dogs, here are some of the upsides and downsides to keep in mind before making a purchase.


The most important element of any safety measure is its reliability. If you can’t rely on your fence to keep your dogs in your yard, what is the point? Invisible dog fences are reliable, and they can be even more so than traditional fences. For example, a regular fence won’t notify you if a portion of it breaks due to the weather or other factor. The main unit of an invisible fence system will let you know immediately if there is a break that would put your dogs at risk of escape. Even better, a properly installed underground dog fence will very rarely require maintenance or repair. If you purchase a system that has battery backup, it will work even in the event of a power outage.

Invisible dog fences are also extremely reliable because most employ two layers of protection for your dogs. When your dogs approach the perimeter, their e-collars will emit a warning tone. At this point, most dogs will stop and turn back. If your dogs ignore the beeping, a mild corrective shock will warn them that they’ve reached their boundaries. Because of these mechanisms, invisible dog fences are also more reliable for dogs who enjoy digging or jumping; their e-collars won’t allow them to get close enough to the boundary to find a way through it.

A wired dog fence also gives you a bigger range of options when it comes to placement. Rigid fence sections can’t always be placed in desired areas, and you’re limited in how they can be arranged. Wire is much more malleable, and you’re able to lay it in any shape or formation you desire. It can be placed on rough or uneven terrain, or close to walls or other obstacles in the yard. You can also create exclusion zones within your yard to keep your dogs out of your garden, for example. If you have a small yard, an invisible dog fences allows you to maximize the area your dogs can roam. For very large yards, a DIY electric dog fence allows you to enclose all of it without spending a fortune on a traditional fence, because wire is much less expensive.

Not only is additional wire much less expensive than additional fence sections, the entire cost of a DIY electric dog fence is less. Highly rated units, such as the PetSafe YardMax, cost as little as $300. If you need more than the one e-collar the unit comes with, you’ll only need to spend $60-$100 more on each additional e-collar. Installing your own invisible dog fence will save you at least $1200 on installation fees. In general, DIY invisible dog fences cost at least 80 percent less than traditional fences in the same yard. And if you’re worried about the cost of electricity for running an invisible fence, don’t be – your electric bill will only raise about $1-$2 per month.


While installing your own electric dog fence will save you a significant amount of money, you do have to do the work required to get it up and running. You don’t need any expertise to install a dog fence – just the willingness to read the manual and follow the instructions. However, some people would rather pay to have the work done. Depending on the size of your yard, an invisible dog fence can be installed as a weekend project. Underground dog fences will require digging, for which you can rent a trencher if you prefer. If you’d rather not take the time, a wireless dog fence is another option that is quicker and easier to install.

The most important aspect of installing an invisible dog fence is training your dogs to understand the new system. With proper training, your dogs will learn the perimeter and won’t experience the uncomfortable corrective shock unless they deliberately ignore their boundaries. After you’ve installed your electronic dog fence, you’ll need to spend about 15-30 minutes twice a day for up to two weeks. It’s essential that you follow the dog fence training instructions to the letter. If you don’t have the time or patience for this training, then an invisible dog fence isn’t right for you.

If you’re interested in installing your own invisible fence, there are lots of online invisible fence reviews that are extremely helpful for selecting your system. There are many different brands and models of electronic dog fences, and each have their own pros and cons. For example, not all have battery backup, and some are limited in the size of yard they can contain, especially wireless dog fences. With your due diligence and your devotion to your pets’ safety, you’ll have no problem choosing the right method to ensure your dogs stay safe in your yard.

For more information about dog fences please visit our educational partner We encourage you to share your experiences with a variety of dog containment systems in the comments section. Commenters and those who share the post in social media qualify for a drawing of a $25 Amazon gift card!

MISSING: Companion of 31 Years. Little Green Man.

Beautiful green parrot in the rainforest , Yasuni National Park,MISSING: Companion of 31 years. Little green man. Prone to fits of cursing when stressed. Petey the Parrot. Call: (734) 555-5555.

Believe it or not, I just returned from vacationing in a town where a missing parrot was now commanding a $1500 reward for capture and return! He had been with the family for 20 years!

Throughout the week I would catch glimpses of fliers and posters in the boarded – up shops. A bird with a crazy cowlick of feathers spraying up behind his foreboding image.Petey simply up and left his owner when she opened the door for company. Perhaps it was a desperate attempt to be with like-minded birds singing outside in the Oak tree. Or maybe it was simply the instinctive urge to soar free. Either way, when the opportunity presented itself, the parrot surged forward and seized it by the tail-feathers!

What should you do if your pet goes missing? lost-dog-flyer

Step 1. Make sure to have a microchip put in your pet – they are tiny transponders, about the size of a grain of rice, that can be implanted in your pet’s skin by many veterinarians and animal shelters. They are designed to work for 25 years!

Step 2. Find a photo of your pet looking cute and make fliers to post around the neighborhood and any nearby parks.

Step 3. Offer a reward, even a minimal amount will incentivize neighbors to pursue your pet should they glimpse him

Step 4. Continue to check with local Animal Shelters to see if he has been turned in or captured by Animal Control

Step 5. Contact the National Pet Recovery Hotline (1-800-252-7894)

and/or a service that investigates and tracks missing and sometimes stolen pets:

Dogs and Fireworks Don’t Mix

Independence Day. Liberty Enlightening The World

Independence Day is fast-approaching, and we’ll soon be commemorating the birth of our nation with pool parties, barbecues, and FIREWORKS!

For humans, this can be a great celebration; but, for some pets, these festivities can be the source of immense stress.

Did you know that animal control services across the nation typically see a 30% increase in lost pets around this time of the year?

Make sure your pet gets plenty of exercise or play before the fireworks begin.
A tired pet may lack the energy to even notice the noise.

Speaking of noise, have your TV on fairly loud or some music to help cover up some of the sound of fireworks.

You can help your dog with the anxiety by using a Thundershirt. They really work!

There are some calming products to use such as chamomile, artificial pheromones and nutritional supplements.

As always, make sure your dog has a ID tag.

Kitty Intuition

Woman With Cat And Laptop Look deep into my golden cat-eyes and you will     see… empathy. Yes, Slider kitty knows when you are sad, that is why I come sit in your lap. When you are tense, I massage your legs with my kitty pseudo-claws, a kind of ancient Egyptian pain/pleasure technique.

If I sense you are bored sitting in front of the TV, I will embrace my inner entertainer and spring over the chair, tumble into a box, attack your throw pillow like a sumo wrestler. There, I got a smile!

I recently participated in a study done by the journal Animal Cognition about whether cats use social referencing.

This means, looking at my owners face for cues about whether I should be afraid of something new.

The test was a fan with streamers blowing away from it and an “escape” door behind it to get out of the tiny room.

One group of pet owners was told to respond positively to the fan and smile. My group, the “negative response owners” made scared noises, backed away from the fan and made eye contact with their cats showing fear.

“The screen was the only possible way out,” the authors write, “and thus looking at the screen and then at the fan potentially suggests the cats were worried about the fan and wanted to get away from it.”

In addition, cats in the negative-owner group began moving earlier than their counterparts in the positive group, “potentially showing that they started looking for an escape route sooner.” So we do look to you for guidance!

Another way I can be of help to you dear owners is with my amazing “Purrring” sound. Did you know cats purr at a vibrational frequency of between 25 – 50 Hertz (Hz) – the perfect frequency for healing!

Ask any of your friends who live with cats and they will agree that a cat’s purr is one of the most relaxing sounds, greatly decreasing stress levels after a long day.

Finally dear owner, know that affection and touch are very important to me – and I love ear rubs! Keep an eye out for my upright tail.

When I walk toward you or your guest with a raised tail, and then rub on their legs, this is a display of affection.

I am saying “This person I judge and find worthy”!

Know the Signs for Heat Exhaustion

Dog In Hot DayWarmer weather means humans take precautions when exercising, such as bringing a water bottle, putting on a hat and dressing lighter. Why not extend the same courtesy to your pooch? Yes, your favorite furry baby is panting like crazy because he is a HOT DOG!

Overheated dogs can suffer heat exhaustion, leading up to heat stroke. After your walk, keep an eye out for the following possible signs of heat exhaustion:

Panting, followed by disorientation and fast, noisy breathing could signal overheating; staggering, collapsing or convulsing, bloodshot eyes, bright red or blue gums, vomiting and diarrhea, unconsciousness.

If you have a hunting dog (hound, jack russel, etc), they are unlikely to stop hunting or retrieving even when they become dangerously hot! You should watch him dog closely for overheating signs. Yes, your pooch will literally collapse before he will stop the chase! Make sure to take frequent breaks and submerge him in cool water, such as a river, lake, pond or even splash his underbelly from your water bottle. Ideally, let your dog fully submerge his body in the cold water.

If you live in a neighborhood, don’t leave your dog outside all day once the temperature gets above 85 degrees -even if you have a fenced yard and shade! After a walk or run, observe your dog carefully. If he appears to be in distress, concentrate cool (not cold) water on his head, neck and in the areas underneath the front and back legs. Yes, dogs cool from the bottom up so focus on teh paws first! Put a fan on him if you have one and a bowl of cool water nearby. Short potty breaks are ok, but avoid the outdoors or anymore exercise for the rest of the day

North Carolina is known for sun and heat starting in June. Leaving a dog outside in this heat after exercise can lead to heatstroke and it can escalate in a matter of just minutes! What does this mean? “Cells of the body rapidly start to die. The brain swells, causing seizures. Lack of blood supply to the GI tract causes ulcers. Dehydration leads to irreversible kidney damage.”-AKC. Apply cool cloths to your dog as you call the closest vet. Explain the symptoms so they can be prepared to meet you with an IV of fluids if necessary. They may also apply alcohol to the ears, foot pads and groin to safely lower the temperature. In extreme cases of overheating, your dog may need a breathing tube and artificial ventilation.

Here are some Summer Walk Solutions to decrease the likelihood of heatstroke.:

1. Start your stroll before the sun comes up early in the morning
2. Carry a water bottle and collapsable dish for your dog
3. Take frequent breaks, preferably in the shade
4. With older dogs, shorten the walk and avoid hot pavement

On days when it is in the high 90’s, simply avoid outside runs/walks and provide a kiddie pool or sprinkler play for your dog instead!

Encounter With a Wild Cat

Close Up Stray Cat Eating On The Floor

Looking out my window, I spied a cat tail disappearing under my car! A moment later, the kitty pounced on a lizard sunning itself on the rocks. The lizard escaped, the cat circled back, and I noticed how thin it was.

My apartment complex does not allow outdoor cats. The fact that there was a kitty outside right now meant that either:

A. He had escaped

B. He was a stray that had wandered onto our property

Slowly, I made my way to the sliding glass door and slipped outside. In a high pitched falsetto I called out “kitty kitty kitty” only to have it glance my way and flee for the woods. Definitely stray: no collar, not social, the fur looked matted and dirty.

Next question: What should I do? Leave the cat alone, trusting that it is a natural hunter and will find food during these warm months? Call pet control? (I would feel too guilty that they might put it down). Catch the cat myself and try to find a rescue that would take it in?

Foolishly, I chose the third option. Armed with an old pet carrier, a can of tuna and a blanket I headed over to where the kitty had fled. The brush was thick with prickly blackberry bushes and poison ivy – not at all easy to get through! I left the opened can of stinky fish near a clearing and crouched behind a big pine to wait. Reading my book for about 30 minutes was all it took. The kitty slunk forward, peering warily at my hiding spot. His hunger was stronger than his fear, so he inched up to the can and started eating big gulps of tuna. My plan was to toss the blanket over the cat, wrap it up, and place into the dog carrier.

What actually happened was: the blanket landed on half of the cat, getting tangled in the plants all around. The kitty bolted back into the forest before I could get my arms around him. The only thing I came away with was a bad case of poison ivy on my my ankles!

Occasionally, I will catch a glimmer of fluff on a sunny day down by the rock pile. The cat seems to be putting on weight and has found a place for itself to thrive without human intervention. The lesson from this story: let wildcats roam free.

Why Do We At Four Paws Require 2 Keys?…glad you asked!

Collage of cute pets isolated on white

Many people ask why does the sitter need 2 keys?

By having 2 keys will insure that even in emergencies we will be there to care for your beloved fur babies.

We want to make the pet sitting process easy for you while providing excellent care.

Being in business for 14 years has taught us a lot in being prepared for something that can go wrong.

The last thing we want to do is make unnecessary stress for our clients and their pets by having to call a locksmith or your emergency contacts.

So what kind of emergencies are we prepared for with having 2 keys?

A key can bend, get stuck or break off in the lock.

The sitter may have an illness or emergency.key_cabinet

We are not in the habit of losing a key but it could happen. Our sitters carry your key on a lanyard and the key is securely marked so no one would know what home the key belongs to.

Sometimes we may have 2 sitters doing your visits and each sitter needs a key. We will not hide a key on your property.

A sitter could accidentally lock themselves out.

We keep the 2nd key in a locked file cabinet in the office.

After your visits, the first key will also be returned to the office unless of course you are a daily client or very often and in that case the sitter keeps the key secure.

Having a backup is always important! So, one of the biggest lessons in this many years is that 2 keys is a must!

Makes sense, doesn’t it?