Beware, Holiday Tips for Pets

Christmas Dog And Kittens.Last year, my best friend had to spend Christmas Eve in a crowded pet hospital while her pet was sliced open and a long ribbon removed from its stomach. The wait for services was long, and her vet warned her that from Thanksgiving through the New Year, the number of  Emergency room visits for pets triples.

With all the chaos of visiting family, friends, ribbons and boxes – holidays hold many wonders and temptations for family pets! Below is a top-ten list of things to watch-out for when going about your festivities:

1. Do not tie anything around your pets neck that can choke and strangle them, try a pet-tested vest or fancy collar instead
2. Ribbons/Tinsel can cause intestinal damage as it twists and bunches inside your pet’s intestines
3. Plastic bags can suffocate a pet quickly, make sure to put them in recycling
4. Pine trees can and will topple over as your house-cat/panther attempts to climb them. Be sure to anchor them well, if possible place in a corner for more support
5. Rich dairy is not good for pets  avoid the old wive’s tales of cats & cream
6. Poultry bones & fat trimmings may cause intestinal issues or pancreatitis
7. Don’t let Fido drink liqueur – their livers are not equipped to process it and a “little” bit to us is a whopping big drink to them
8. Keep glass ornaments and breakable figurines up high, out of sight and reach
9. Keep these plants up high away from pets:
a. Mistletoe berries are highly toxic, can cause stomach upset and has the potential to cause fatal heart problems
b. Holly can cause vomiting, diarrhea, nausea and lethargy
c. Poinsettias are known to cause diarrhea and vomiting
10. Electrical cords should be hidden under rugs or tape, or sprayed with Bitter Apple to deter chewing/playing with them

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

The Price of a Pet

Doctor Veterinarian Listens A Dog
That dog cost us WHAT over the course of 10 years? This is the conversation I participated in with my husband, regarding our older dog and his ever increasing expenses. The man loves numbers, so he researched the average cost of not just initially acquiring a pet, but a breakdown of annual dollars spent on the pet, then common surgeries older pets may need and medication costs. WOW! See below, so you can make an educated decision before your loved one convinces you to add another pet to the household… Total cost during pets life: from $5,000 for a small dog/cat with a 13-15 yr lifespan – up to $22,000 for a large dog with a 7-9 -year lifespan! (Larger breeds are pron to hip dysplasia, blowing out knees, wobblers syndrome, and other costly surgeries).”The minimum annual cost of owning a medium-size dog is $695, while the first year alone will cost at least $1,580, according to animal welfare group ASPCA (initial shots, vaccines, getting it fixed, buying bedding and food). A cat would cost about the same annually, but about $500 less the first year” ASPCA. Of course, specific breeds require more care (Does your pet need monthly grooming for his fur? Doggie Day care because he is high energy or you are away all day?)

Adoption fees:

Public NC Animal shelter (SPCA, WCPSS) dog $95, Cat $45Most Pet Stores: $300 – $2500
Purebred show dogs: $650 – $1,500 ++Sleeping Cat
Purebred cats: $200 and up

Food: $300-500
Leash and Collar: $20
ID Tags: $10
Bowl/water dish/bed: $40
Vet Bills: $400
Vaccines :$120
Cleaning supplies (shampoo for dog and rugs if accidents): $20
Crate: $50 or carrying case for cats: $30
Flea Control: $200
Grooming/supplies: $100-400
Training: $200-450
Fence for yard: $750-1500
Litter Box: $25
Destruction of personal belongings: $200- priceless
Scratching post: $15
Boarding: $400
Dog: $200, Cat: $145

Several sites say that you can’t put a price on unconditional love from your pet, and while I agree with the sentiment, knowing your budget and how many pets you can afford, is important for a happy home!

Knowing Your Client Personally

Desert tropical island with palm tree, chaise lounge, suitcase.Why do customers go back to the same restaurant, salon, mechanic, or pet service? Customer Service. Even when a new one comes along that offers coupons and cheaper prices? The quality of service comes into question, and once you have customer loyalty, you have success!

There will be problems or misunderstandings eventually, yet loyal customers won’t leave and bad-mouth your company to the community. The way to earn this amazing trust from your clients is to go above-and-beyond, whether that is a follow-up email/call or a hand-written note. To stay one-step ahead in anticipating their needs. To document in their file as much information as possible, so that the next time they reach out, you can speak knowledgeably of what has happened in the past.

“No enterprise can exist for itself alone. It ministers to some great need, it performs some great service, not for itself, but for others; or failing therein, it ceases to be profitable and ceases to exist.” – Calvin Coolidge

While consumers like discounts, they are even more interested in incentives for booking with you or living a healthier lifestyle. By pairing our pet sitting with travel agent services, we can now handle the trip and the pets, providing a discount when you book the two together!

Visit we can reward book phenomenal rates for travel and reward your customer loyalty with 15% off your pet sitting services through Four Paws!

Traveling With Your Pet

Summer holiday, Travel - family ready for the travel for summer

“In the Summertime, when the weather is fine…” people travel with pets!

Here is a short list to check-off before you take-off:

  1. Veterinarian Phone number
  2. Any medication’s your pet is on (including Benadryl in case they get stung)
  3. Remember a leash! Many rest stops regulate pets and want them on a leash at all times.
  4. Bring a water Dish and Water Bottle, so they have something to drink out of.
  5. Dog/Cat food and Treats (Some brands are hard to find and you do not want to switch foods on a trip as it can effect the pets digestive system)
  6. Leave room for pet, when packing owners often try to cram the dog underfoot or put the cat facing backwards in hatchback.

A few Do’s and Don’ts:

DO check with the hotel to make sure you have a pet room, and verify if there is an additional charge

DO check with family so that they know your pet is coming with you and are prepared

Do NOT leave your pet in the car while you break to eat, instead get food to go or find a restaurant with outdoor seating

Do NOT feed your pet anything unusual because they could get gassy, stinking up the car

DO consider having Four Paws Pet Sitting watch over your pet, if they don’t travel well, are a puppy, or are older and are used to a routine!

What Will Happen To My Pets If I Die?

dog_wheelchairNo one wants to think about death or disability. Of course, if you die, you are beyond the worry and care of everyday living. But we must consider those who we are leaving behind. Pets are the part of our family that we sometimes fail to make plans for. As I have gotten older, I am becoming more concerned with the well-being of my pets if something happens to me. Maybe I am more concerned than some, because I have many pets. I recently graduated from Paralegal school and am working in a law firm that is primarily focused on wills, estates, and guardianships. We have many elderly clients and it has become abundantly clear to me that few people really understand how to plan for the possibility that they may die unexpectedly or be physically or financially unable to care for their pets. The unfortunate thing is that pets are the ones who suffer when people fail to make the appropriate arrangements for their care.
If you are fortunate enough to have family members who are willing to take in your pets, remember to put something in writing, preferably in a will or trust. Make sure that the family member or friend is agreeable and able to take on the responsibility, not just trying to pacify you. If you are financially able, set up financial arrangements for your pet’s care. Contact your vet and inform them of your wishes. It is a good idea to give them copies of paperwork that involves the pet’s history and medical care. Most attorneys who handle Wills and Estates can help you with details and documents. There is a specialty of law called Animal Law. Someone who specializes should be able to help you, or can refer you. The North Carolina Bar Association has a Lawyer Referral Service to help you get the attorney that best suits your needs. Talk to your pet-loving friends and ask them what their plans are. You can really get some great feedback that way.
If you have the means, consider leaving money or property to a local rescue group or shelter. You can even set up a grant if you have the time and inclination. Many people give money to veterinary hospitals to care for pets in cases where clients run out of funds for their care. The vet in charge can choose who to give funds to based on criteria set by you and can account to your estate for the expenditure of funds. If your pet is a favorite at the vet hospital, put out feelers to the doctors and vet staff. You would be amazed at the networking in the veterinary community. I know of many cases in which veterinary staff ended up adopting client’s pets. I also know several doctors whose clients have left their pets to the doctor in their will.

What happens if you become disabled and have no family or friends to assist you with pet care? You may consider contacting a rescue group. Of course, the shelter is a option, but usually a poor one and your pet’s future will be uncertain. You may be able to find a temporary foster home until a more permanent “forever” home is available. Unfortunately, the options for pet care are almost always dependant on finances. It is still important to plan for the unthinkable. Do whatever you are able to. Even a shaky plan is better than no plan at all. I cannot advise anyone on how they need to plan, but I hope that I have put the seed in your mind and given you something to think seriously about. Whatever you decide to do, communicate it to your family and other loved ones, veterinary staff and doctors. Reach out to others. NETWORK, NETWORK,NETWORK! Don’t let the term “network” intimidate you. All networking means is that you talk to someone who knows someone who knows someone…on and on.
The internet is a vast source of knowledge and will allow you to educate yourself about the options available to you and it will allow you to reach people that you might not communicate with otherwise. Don’t forget to check out the chat rooms and forums. LinkedIn and Facebook are excellent social networking sites and I believe you will find some solution to your needs whatever they may be. Let me leave you with this final comment: There is a person or family for every pet. If you can let people know that you need assistance, someone will help you. I have discovered that people admire those who plan ahead, especially when they are trying to make sure their pets are cared for. If you can share your story, it will tug at someone’s heartstrings and you will be amazed at the results.
Thank you Marie Myatt for writing this article.
Marie is also a Four Paws pet sitter.

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Are Your Pets Ready For Halloween?

Halloween often can be a stressful time for your pets.

The noise and commotion of  ‘Trick or Treaters”, the different costumes and a disruption in your pet’s daily schedule means that pet guardians need to take special care with their animals when preparing for Halloween festivities.

All pet owners who plan to hand out candy need to be sure that their dog or cat is secure as this is an opportunity for them to escape.

It is very important that all their pets are wearing collars with identification tags.

Is your pet micro chipped? If so, do you know the company and the chip #?

Candy should be kept out of a pet’s reach. Many types of candy, especially chocolate can be harmful to pets.

Jack O’lanterns can be fun and festive, but pet owners need to be careful, since a darting cat or dog can accidentally tip the pumpkins over and create a fire hazard or self-injury.

For pet owners who like to place dogs and cats in costumes, make sure the costume is not restrictive or overly annoying to a pet. Pet owners should also be careful of anything on a costume that dangles so a pet will not choke.

Halloween can be fun, but also dangerous for pets. Remember these helpful safety tips to keep your pets safe.

Going away and need a pet sitter? We provide loving, caring and safe pet sitting.

Give us a call at Four Paws Pet Sitting Services.

919-388-PAWS (7297)

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We cover Raleigh, Cary, Apex, Morrisville, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina, Wake Forest, Garner, NC