Archive for October, 2012

Trip to the Pumpkin Patch

Thomas Family Farms

The first year my daughter and her husband were married they started a tradition of going to a Pumpkin Patch each year before Halloween.  Last year they were joined by their son and I was fortunate enough to tag along with all of them this year.

We went to the Thomas Family Farm in Snohomish.  What a fun family day this was.  They provided lots of different entertainment for all age groups.  Since my grandson is just over a year old, we headed to the tot section.

Having fun in the huge room filled with corn

L J finding his way through the straw bale maze

Yay! You made it!

More fun and games

And then of course you can’t go to the Pumpkin Patch without taking a ride on the Cow Train!  L J loved it!  He kept signing “more” at the end of the ride :-).

Finally it was time to pick out the pumpkins.  So off to the field we went!

I like this one Grandma!

What a fun family outing!  Do you have any fun family traditions?  I’d love to hear about them.

October 30, 2012 at 5:35 am Leave a comment

Friday tip of the Day – Halloween Do’s and Do Not’s for your Pup

Celebrate at home –
Going house-to-house in the dark increases the chances that Bingo will get spooked or get hold of potentially dangerous decorations and foods like chocolate.  Better to plan games and movie night for a limited number of friends and family who can appreciate his cool costume and respect his needs.
Or schedule a special outing to show her off – If your dog enjoys being dressed up like a hamburger, a local contest or parade will allow her to strut her stuff with pals in a dog-safe environment – free of candy and in the light of day.

Create a candy-free zone – Your home should always be a safe zone when it comes to toxic foods.  Control the loot the kids bring back by finding a spot to consolidate goodie bags that your dog can’t reach.  Decorative gourds, corn, and raw pumpkins should also be kept out of reach, as chewing them can cause digestive problems for your pet.

Post pet poison-control and vet numbers on the fridge door – This is smart at any time.  The number of the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center:  888-426-4435
Follow Spot’s dress-up cues – Freezing in place and trying to shake off clothing are signs your dog is not interested in dressing up.  It’s a natural reaction, says Alexandra Horowitz, author of the bestselling Inside of a Dog.  “Among wolves, one animal may ‘stand over’ another as a scolding,” she writes.  “To a dog, a costume, fitting tight around the midriff and back, might well reproduce that ancestral feeling.”  Some pups may be fine dressed up.  Just pay close attention to how your pet feels.

Let him greet trick-or-treaters –
Kid-friendly or no, sniffing around trick-or-treaters is another opportunity for your pup to score stray candy, which could hurt her.  Plus, your furry friend can feel suddenly overwhelmed by loud, fast-moving crowds or strangers in masks.  Better to protect her from overstimulation by confining her to a safe area away from the door when the bell rings.

Use real candles – Candles and hot wax can harm a curious nose or a wagging tail.  Battery-operated faux candles give the same ambience without endangering pets (or kids).  They can also replace some string lights, which are a shock risk on tables and window sills where paws and jowls can reach.  You’ll save money, too, by reusing them next year!

Take him out on mischief night – traditionally, October 30, the night before All Hallow’s Eve, is when restless teens pull pranks.  Unfortunately, they can sometimes target defenseless animals, so keep your pets under close watch – meaning at home.
Remove his I.D. – Costumes are no reason to skip routine precautions.  If Pixie slips away from you through an open door or on the way to an event, an identification tag will make it easier to track her down.
Cover his face – A mask will only obstruct your dog’s vision.  He’ll naturally feel more comfortable if he can clearly see the people and happenings around him.

This article was taken from the October 2012 edition of Cesar’s Way magazine.

October 26, 2012 at 2:35 am Leave a comment

Friday tip of the day – Ear Infections

One of the most common and often frustrating problems that we see in dogs and sometimes cats are ear infections.  The medical term is otitis.  Ear infections in people usually occur at or inside the eardrum called otitis media.  In dogs and cats most infections occur in the canal on the outside of the eardrum called otitis externa.

Otitis externa can occur in any pet causing itchy, red, and foul smelling ears with dark brown or yellow discharge.  Ear infections are very itchy and painful and pets will paw or scratch at their ears, shake their head, or even rub the floor or furniture with their ears.  At times the scratching will cause sores inside the ear flap (pinna) or on the side of the face causing a hot spot like infection.

Although any pet is susceptible to ear infection, pets with allergies (either food or environmental), thyroid disease, parasites like ear mites, or growths in the canal are much more likely to have infection.  A complete physical exam and exam of a swab from the material in the ear canal is necessary to identify the organism as well as any underlying illness that can make otitis more likely to occur.  In most cases the infection responds very quickly to the appropriate medication and after 7-10 days may completely resolve.  I always recommend a follow-up exam and swab to make sure the infection is gone.

In cases where the infection does not resolve as expected, the pet may have chronic otitis.  Chronic otitis is very frustrating as regular treatment either does not completely clear the infection, or the infection reoccurs very quickly after treatment.  With chronic or long lasting inflammation in the ear the tissues lining the canal become thickened leading to narrowing or even closure of the canal.  This makes it difficult or even impossible to treat topically with medicines.  In the worst cases of chronic otitis externa medical therapy is not very effective and surgery may be needed to open the ear canal or actually remove the diseased tissue.

October 19, 2012 at 1:02 am Leave a comment

Pet sitting in Issaquah

Last week I was pet sitting in a beautiful, wooded area of Issaquah.  Every day I took the dogs for a walk along the country road, onto a wooded path and into an open park.

Jake and Molly walking along the path

Nice open area for the dogs in the middle of the forest

Jake and Molly enjoying the park

All the luxuries of home in the forest 🙂

Of course all the while the cats are relaxing at home!

Ahh, the life of a cat!

During the time I was in Issaquah the Salmon Days Festival was on so I decided to go into town and check it out.  Issaquah’s Salmon Days celebrates the returning of the salmon every year.  Wow, do they ever put on a great festival!  They actually close down the main streets of town and turn the entire downtown into a huge street fair.

Issaquah Salmon Days Festival

There are four stages with continuous music of all kinds, all free of charge.  I opted to listen to a really good country music band called Latigo Lace.

Latigo Lace

Besides the food fair, arts & crafts, childrens area with camel and pony rides, the fish hatchery exhibit, salmon barbeque, parade, and all the other “thrills & gills”, I was really happy to see a booth with several beautiful Greyhounds.  Greyhound Pets, Inc. was educating people on Greyhounds and promoting the adoption of them as well as handing out brocures explaining all about the breed.  If you’re interested in adopting, volunteering, or donating to GPI, you can contact them at PO Box 891, Woodinville, WA 98072, call them at 877-468-7681 or check out their website at

Greyhound Pets, Inc.

As I was leaving town to head back to my charges, I even got to see several paragliders landing.  What a fun day in Issaquah!

October 16, 2012 at 2:42 am Leave a comment

Friday tip of the day – Grooming Sensitive Areas

Owners can brush their dog’s back and sides with broad, firm strokes, but need to apply a softer touch when grooming the dog’s sensitive areas.  “Sensitive is the right word here, but don’t assume that means only her private parts,” says Jeff Slaughter, a master groomer in Portland, Ore.  “Each dog may have her own definition of private areas, perhaps including her underbelly, armpits, face, paws, or tail.”
Use a softer, smaller slicker brush for the sensitive areas, and try to carefully limit the pulling motion.  And, of course, there’s the risk of clipper burn.  “While new groomers are often taught to use a short blade and get right up to the skin, using a longer blade or even scissors reduces the chances of accidental clipper burning in sensitive areas,” Slaughter adds.

Written by Lynn M. Hayner in the October 2012 edition of the Dog Fancy magazine.

October 12, 2012 at 1:23 am Leave a comment

My Grandson is Walking!

While I’m in the Seattle area and between pet sitting I often go to Lynnwood to stay with my daughter and her family.  My grandson LJ just turned 13 months old and finally decided to start walking and see what the world looks like from a couple of feet up.  On his 13 month birthday he took two steps and two days later he was walking all over the place.  I guess he decided he liked it!

It’s always so much fun spending time with this little tyke.  And now it will be even more fun!  I can’t wait to see what he gets into now   🙂

Oh yes, I almost forgot.  Happy 2nd Anniversary to the parents of this beautiful little boy!  It’s been a wild and crazy two years for all of you!

I love you all so much!!!

October 10, 2012 at 5:42 am Leave a comment

Friday tip of the day – Cleaning after fleas

It happened:  Fleas took up residence on your dog.  Don’t feel bad; without a routine preventive, these bugs invade even the cleanest pup.
Ask your vet how to de-flea your dog, then clean your house.  Why?  Female fleas lay up to 50 eggs per day, which scatter throughout your home, eventually hatching.
WASH:  Use warm, soapy water to launder your dog’s bedding and cloth toys, as well as household items, such as doormats or throw blankets.
VACUUM:  Make several passes through rooms, halls, and upholstery, using attachments to get into crevices.
CHECK THE YARD:  Yards can harbor fleas, too.  The university of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources suggests walking around outdoor areas wearing tall, white socks.  Fleas will jump onto the socks and be readily visible.  Hose down problem areas with hot, soapy water.
TREAT:  An indoor insecticide may be needed with stubborn cases.  According to the University of California, a formula that contains the insect growth regulator methoprene or pyriproxyfen is best.  Apply the problem areas with a sprayer, rather than using a self-release “bomb” or “fogger”, which won’t provide focused coverage.
MOST IMPORTANT:  Get all pets on a veterinarian-prescribed flea preventive, and apply regularly as directed.  You don’t want to go through all this again!

Written by Debbie Swanson in the October 2012 edition of the Dog Fancy magazine

October 5, 2012 at 1:08 am Leave a comment