Why hire a professional pet sitter?


Southern highlands pet sitter

Everyone is aware of their options when it comes to their pets care. The local boarding kennel, your neighbour, a family or friend and those many free house sitter websites that you’ll find in a Google search but what alot of people don’t think about or consider is a professional pet sitter/dog walker.

The benefits that come along with hiring a professional pet sitter are amazing and make them well worth the money. Having only 1 pet, our pricing is usually not much cheaper than a boarding kennel however the benefits of having them stay in their own home is worth it. Now if you have multiple pets this is where the benefits just keep adding up!

In only 1 year of buisness I have heard many times comments like… “oh that’s too much money just for you to feed my dog” or “the kid next door will walk my dog for $10”.

If you want someone to spend 2 minutes at your home and throw some food out and leave, im sorry to say but im not the right person to help you and your better off going with one of the other options mentioned. I believe every animal deserves love and attention, exercise, a clean environment and fresh water daily. Wether these jobs are requested or not they are included in my base pricing and you won’t receive less.

When paying a professional pet carer, yes our prices are higher than the kid next door but you are paying for someone that engages in the buisness as their main or only occupation rather than as a hobby.

Professional pet carer’s like myself come with plenty of reassurance that others, most of the time, do not. Such as police checks, insurances, first aid training, qualifications, experience and knowledge.

Clients of S & N Pet Services also have extra reassurance outside of pet care such as home security, chores and maintenance. You won’t come home to garden beds dying of thirst, your garbage bins full, soggy mail piling up in the letterbox or to find your home has been broken into.

Convinced yet?

Any questions or queries at any time are encouraged and I would love to have a chat with you 🙂

Keeping your pet comfortable during the winter months


Dog during winter

Everyone knows that when its cold we put on more clothes, wear gloves, put the fire on and other measures to keep warm. We care for all our family members and make sure we are all warm if going outside. But not everyone thinks about their pets.

A general thought process is that ‘oh they have fur that keeps them warm’. Well no not necessarily. Inside animals will certainly be more susceptible to the weather, so if going outside should be dressed accordingly. Some outside animals are more acclimatised to the elements and can handle more extreme weather however there is a point when its too much. But what is that point?

Well some studies show that when the outside temperature feel reaches below 7°c than that is when your animals start feeling uncomfortable. Personally this is when i put my dogs coat on if the night temperature is forcast to reach this. If the temperature is due to drop even further, eccspecially below 5°c I bring my dog inside.

Bringing animals inside is not always an option. So if your animals have to be outside than you can do things to make sure they are protected, like the following:

Dog during winter
  • Dressing your animal. Obviously your dog isn’t going to keep a scarf on 🤣 but you can buy your animals a coat or jumper to put on when outside. I personally like the weatherbetta coats that are waterproof. So if your dog is like mine and decides sitting in the rain is a great idea than at least they stay dry.
  • Maintain grooming. A lot of owners think that just because its winter its best to leave their fur to grow to keep warmer. Well this is not the case. Your dog will actually hold onto their body temperature better if their coats are kept healthy and well groomed
  • Provide adequate shelter and bedding to protect your animal from the wind and rain. Just like us, animals appreciate a warm blanket or bed to lay on and an enclosed area like a kennel or stable with a roof to be comfortable and safe.

Walking your dog in the cold weather

Its really important to continue to exercise your dog even during the colder months, but extra precautions need to be taken to protect them. Eccspecially your dogs paws. Here are some tips to help you do just that…

  • Trim the hair between your dogs toes. When its icy or even snowy its important to keep this hair short. If ice or snow builds up it will become uncomfortable or even painful for your dog to walk.
  • Wipe clean and moisturise your dogs paws on your return home. This can help stop your dogs padd from cracking when they become dry and this cam be extremely painful.
  • Walk only on paths not through the snow or icy grass. You want to avoid as much as you can the possibility for your dog to lay down in the snow or icy grass. A dogs stomach has very little fur and they can become very cold very fast. This can lead to hypothermia very quickly and with not much warning.
  • As above keep them warm with coats, jumpers and even little booties made eccspecially for dogs.
  • Monitor your dog for signs that they are too cold…
    1. They are shivering to try and keep themselves warm
    2. Ice is forming in their fur. This means their body is struggling to maintain their body temperature enough to melt anything on them.

Stay safe, stay warm and stay healthy this winter!

Help! My dogs an escape artist…


Escape Behaviour in Dogs

Some dogs have extreme escape behaviours. They jump, dig and chew their way through fences, doors and gates that we put there to keep them safe in our yards.

Escape behaviour in dogs is a common problem but it can be fixed, however it takes time and patience as its not a quick fix.

Obviously building higher fences and reinforce the base and ground with chicken wire is the go to. However, it is essential that the reason behind the dog’s escape behaviour is changed as well.

There are 7 reasons why your dog may feel the need to escape.

  • A  lack of mental stimulation will make the dog want to go explore. Enrichment is a must!
  • Lack of physical exercise. Your dog has too much energy and no way else to use it.
  • Lack of companionship. Dogs are pack animals and a lack of affection and company can encourage your dog to go searching for some.
  • It may be a sign of separation anxiety. Eccspecially if they are trying to escape right after you leave home.
  • Some breeds have a keen sense to hunt. So if you have possums, rabbits or any other wild animals living near your fence line you might find they do anything they can to get to them.
  • A  friendly neighbour who supplies treats over the fence is an attraction for a food orientated dog and encourages them to escape.
  • A male dog can sense a female on heat in the area, his natural instinct will be to find her at all costs despite being desexed at times.

These are some recommendations to stop escape behaviour in dogs

  • It is essential that the dog is well exercised daily if possible.
  • Make the yard the dog’s favourite place to be by feeding, training and playing outside as much as possible.
  • On top of a 1.5m fence build an extension that tilts inwards at the top at a 45-degree angle keeping the fence at 1.8m per nsw legal requirement.
  • Provide interactive toys and games to keep the dog’s mind active and busy.
  • Supervise the dog when he is outside when you can and use distraction tactics when the dog tries to escape to discourage the  behaviour.
  • Secure gates properly with bolts or padlocks, a clever dog can soon learn to lift a latch and this also helps deter theives.
  • Remove any garden furniture and strong low tree branches away from fences that can be used as an aid to climb.
  • Insert strong chicken wire at the base of fences at a 90° angle bolted to the base of the fence and brought down and across the ground, out at least 1m under ground to prevent digging.
  • Don’t use the outside area as punishment when the dog misbehaves or he will associate the yard with the feeling of abandonment.
  • Go to obedience classes to teach the dog basic commands, eccspecially stay and a solid recall.
  • Neutering a male dog should reduce the desire to escape.
  • Keep the dog inside or crated if loud noises like fireworks or thunderstorms are expected
  • Keep the dog indoors when you leave the house if necessary. Only leave for short periods or take him with you if able to.

Personal Experience of Escape Behaviour

My girl rotweiler Xena escaped a fair few times. Even went to the length of getting out than turning to dig the hole bigger to help my larger dog join her.

Our house had the chicken wire around all the fence lines except for one small area beside the garage and of course she found that.

We were unable to use the same technique in that spot so i started to provide my dogs with larger iceblocks full of treats during the summer and winter they got treat ball toys full and kong toys with peanut butter. I also had a box of toys that every day I would switch out which ones they were given to change it up a bit.

This gave her much more mental stimulation and mostly eliminated the issue. Along with a couple of extra walks a week and burying their waste in the holes to deter the digging she never escaped again.

Just in case your dog does escape, make sure that he is chipped and wears a collar with your phone number attached so he can be brought home safely asap if found. Keeping and managing your dogs escape behaviour is not only important for your dogs safety but the safety of others and their owners. If all of this advice fails than seek a great trainer in your area for help.

Thanks for reading!

Basic first aid tips for your animals


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Knowing some basic first aid and having a kit easily accessible could just save your pets life.

Here we will cover some basic first aid tips and some basic essentials you should have in your first aid kit. Be sure to ask your vet on any specific items your pet may need due to allergies and also keep in mind different animals need some specific items. Horses and livestock will need certain items that your dogs and cats won’t. Just for example it would be wise to have on hand for horses a hoof pick and banamine or for cattle you may need scour-ease and nutri-drench with tubing. I have found the best container to use for a kit is a toolbox with a removable tray or fold out shelves for easy access. So on that note I have compiled a list of some essentials.

  • Gauze and vet wrap/bandages
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Scalpel
  • Tweezers
  • Latex gloves
  • Lubricant (petroleum jelly)
  • Veterinary thermometer
  • Wound antiseptic ointment or spray such as blu-kote or neosporin
  • Rubbing alcohol or iodine
  • Syringes of different sizes and both oral and needle
  • Eye wash
  • Towels
  • Small battery operated hair trimmer
  • Epsom salts
  • Cornstarch
  • Timer or stop watch
  • A flashlight
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Treats specific for your pet

All these items can be sourced from your local vet and pet store. If anything is not in stock it can easily be found online. Now you have your kit ready, make sure to store it in an easily accessible place and add on the inside of your lid a sticker with your vets name and contact details for quick access in case of an emergency for anyone that may look after your pet.

So onto some first aid care tips.  As most of my clients pets are dogs I will be referring to the care of them but most of these tips apply to other animals also.

It is very handy to know your individual pets average resting heart rate, respiratory rate and temperature. In case of your pet becoming ill, like heat exhaustion in dogs or colic in horses, monitoring change in their HRT will assist your vet in diagnosing the issue and responding quickly to help your pet.

Always remain calm!

I cannot stress this enough, your pet can pick up on your stress and the calmer you are the more they will be. In most situations it is best to immediately get your vet on the phone and while talking tend to your pet with your first aid kit. Choking is one instance where you won’t have time. If you think your dog is choking gently restrain him and use both hands to open the mouth and look inside and if you can see something lodged carefully using your fingers and remove the problem. If you are unable to remove it or nothing can be seen and you are certain something is lodged inside, the Heimlich maneuver can be used.

Amongst some of the other most common emergencies are poisoning and heat exhaustion. If you suspect your pet is suffering from poisoning immediately call your vet or their after hours contact for advice.

Heat exhaustion and dehydration may be able to be treated at home but call your vet and let them know your pets symptoms and they will advice you on wether to bring your pet in or not. To help your pet offer plenty of water, you can possibly add salt free bone or chicken broth to encourage your dog to drink it and some dogs will take better to it if you offer by hand. Try get your pet to the shade or better cold floors eccspecially tiles work well. As tempting as it is to give your dog iceblocks, put the hose on them or in a bath please be careful, lowering your dog’s skin and surface temperature too abruptly might actually result in further heating of his internal organs, which will exacerbate the issue. Instead, recognizing that you dog’s feet help with the regulation of body temperature, have him enter the water slowly. Let him stand with just his feet in cold water for a while.

Monitor your pets temperature and respiratory rate and make sure they come down to your pets normal level. To check for dehydration pinch the skin between the shoulder blades. If it stays in a tented position and doesn’t bounce straight back your pet may be dehydrated. The longer it stays tented the more severe the dehydration.

Knowing the early signs of an issue with your pet is vital. We will talk about some of the most common symptoms of the issues we have mentioned above.

Heat exhaustion: Collapsing, body temperature of 104° F (40°c) or above, bloody diarrhea or vomiting, wobbliness, excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart rate, bright red gums and increased salivation.

Poisoning: Dilated pupils, drooling or foaming at the mouth, bleeding externally or internally and seizure.

Choking: struggling to breath, pawing at their face, pacing, wheezing and fainting.

Your pet may exhibit one, some or all of the above symptoms.

One more thing I want to talk about before i wrap up is moving an injured pet.  If your pet has injured itself, for example has been hit by a car and cannot move. Do not hug or get in your dogs face. All dogs can lash out when in pain so be careful. Always fully assess the situation before you move him. Try to stabilise the injury with a towel, splint or bandages before you try to pick them up. Support as much of the body as you can while lifting into your car, if you have a larger dog make sure to get help. Keep your pet in a small space to minimise the risk of further injury.

If you have made it this far thankyou for taking the time to read. If you have any questions or comments about things I have covered or not covered please don’t hesitate to contact me. So many health issues can arise but i wanted to cover some of the most common but less spoken about issues. I am not a vet so always reccomend first seeking advice from a vet but I am trained in first aid so can help direct you with certain situations.