decatur pet sitter

Beat The Heat: How to help your dog enjoy the hot summer safely in Atlanta & Decatur

Cassius loves to run and play, but we need to make sure he doesn't overdo it when it's hot out!

Cassius loves to run and play, but we need to make sure he doesn't overdo it when it's hot out!

Woof! It's hot out there, and your dog feels it, too! But there are things you can to do make Atlanta's summer heat more manageable for your dog, while still having lots of fun.

Atlanta runners use a phrase that perfectly describes Atlanta:  “Heat, Hills and Humidity”. Pet Sitters and Dog Walkers in Atlanta & Decatur can relate. We’ve gotten used to the hills which give our neighborhoods wonderful character. As for the heat and humidity, let's just say we are grateful for air conditioning, and leave it at that.

But since we care for pets in Atlanta and Decatur year-round, we often spend time outside in less than ideal conditions. Summer can be one of those times. Everyone knows how hot it can get here...whew!

It’s really important to know how hot is too hot for your pets, and what you, as a loving pet owner, can do to keep your pets cool and safe during our hottest months.

Avoid Hot Surfaces

Asphalt and concrete can get very hot. Ever fried an egg on your driveway? Me neither. But you can! You wouldn't let your pet stand in a hot frying pan, but asphalt and concrete that has been in the direct sun can be just as hot, so you should be mindful of that. A good rule of thumb is to place your hand or bare foot on the hot surface. If you can't keep it there for 10 seconds or more before it gets too hot for you, then it's too hot for your dog to walk on. 

Try to limit your walks to grassy areas, or shaded areas. If you don't have much grass or shade to walk on, you can always get your dog some stylish booties to protect those paw pads from burns.

Alternatively, you can walk your dogs longer in the early mornings and evenings when it's not as hot. Another thing to consider is that since dogs are closer to the ground, the heat from those hot surfaces radiates up to their bodies and can raise their body temperature, too.

Never Leave Your Pet In A Parked Car

Even with the windows open, the temperature inside a parked car can can raise very quickly, and can lead to heat stroke. In extreme temperatures, things can get bad in a matter of minutes. For that reason, leaving your pet in an unattended car is illegal in many states.

Shade and Water aplenty

It's significantly cooler in the shade, so make sure your dog has plenty of it! When walking your dog, try to walk on the shady side of the street, or go to parks that have lots of tree cover. Make sure your pet has plenty of fresh, clean water at all times, as pets can get dehydrated quickly. And lastly, if it's extremely hot, keep your playtime indoors as much as you can.

Cooling Vests for Everyone!

There are a few additional ways we beat the heat here at Whoa Doggy!. Have you heard of a cooling vest? This stylish vest is designed to keep your dog’s core temperature cool, even as the outside temps reach triple digits. 

More Tips for Beating the Heat

Here are a few additional helpful tips from the ASPCA website

  • Make a Safe Splash - Do not leave pets unsupervised around a pool. Not all dogs are good swimmers. Introduce your pets to water gradually and make sure they wear flotation devices when on boats. Rinse your dog off after swimming to remove chlorine or salt from his fur, and try to keep your dog from drinking pool water, which contains chlorine and other chemicals that could cause stomach upset.
  • Screen Test - "During warmer months, the ASPCA sees an increase in injured animals as a result of High-Rise Syndrome, which occurs when pets - mostly cats - fall out of windows or doors and are seriously or fatally injured," says Dr. Murray. "Pet owners need to know that this is completely preventable if they take simple precautions." Keep all unscreened windows or doors in your home closed and make sure adjustable screens are tightly secured.
  • Summer Style - Feel free to trim longer hair on your dog, but never shave your dog: The layers of dogs' coats protect them from overheating and sunburn. Brushing cats more often than usual can prevent problems caused by excessive heat. And be sure that any sunscreen or insect repellent product you use on your pets is labeled specifically for use on animals.

Safe fun with your Pet Sitter or Dog Walker

Lola loves to go for long walks and hang out outside all day, but when it's really hot outside, we like to supplement our dog walks with some fun indoor playtime!

Lola loves to go for long walks and hang out outside all day, but when it's really hot outside, we like to supplement our dog walks with some fun indoor playtime!

When your Whoa Doggy! dog walker or pet sitter is with your pet, we are careful to minimize the time spent outside in the hot hot heat.

We’ll always make sure they get a proper potty break and a nice walk, and if it’s really hot, we’ll spend the rest of our scheduled visit having fun, stimulating playtime inside where it is safe and cool.

We’ll always refresh water bowls with cool, clean water and will make sure your pet is comfortable before we leave.

Summer is one of our favorite times of year because of all of the outdoor festivals, BBQs and dog-friendly events that Atlanta and Decatur have to offer.

A little awareness, preparation, and care go a long way in making sure your pets can enjoy it, too!

We’d love to hear from you! How do you and your pets keep cool while still enjoying summer in Atlanta and Decatur? Please share in the comments below!

So, You Need A Pet Sitter (Part 3) What To Expect

As I jotted down some bullet points for this post, I had a good bit of difficulty narrowing it down. This topic is so very important that I could really talk about it all day, but I also really want you to be able to read it in less than a day, so…

I decided that the best way to approach it was to take a good hard look at what I want for my dogs, my buddies, my furbabies, Cody and Lukey, when I’m not around. This is exactly what I did when my husband and I had the crazy idea to give up our corporate jobs to start Whoa Doggy! and do work that we are passionate about.

So here I am again, with Cody snoring loudly at my feet, and Lukey “running” in his sleep in his big cozy bed. Neither of them have a care in the world, and it’s up to me to keep it that way. That is the best part about being a pet, isn’t it? That’s what it all boils down to. When I’m not home, I want the peace of mind in knowing that their lives are still stress-free and fun, and that the people caring for them truly love them, and love what they do. In fact, I feel I deserve that peace of mind, and you do too.

If you are just joining us on the blog, you might want to check out the last two posts in this series. In part one of the series, we talked about how important it is to find the best professional pet sitter for you and your furbabies, and in part two we talked about what to consider when you are searching for “The One”. Today, I’m going to talk about what to expect from your professional pet sitter, so you can rest easy when you aren’t home.

Connection, with your furbabies, and you!
It doesn’t take long to know whether you and your furry family have a real connection with your professional pet sitter. This one kind of goes without saying, but it’s definitely important.

How your professional pet sitter interacts with you is just as important as how they interact with your pet, and you can certainly tell a lot from this interaction. You should expect them to truly love your pet, and you should expect nothing less than a real professional.

Don’t forget, they are going to be inside your home while you aren’t. They are the people your neighbors will say hello to when they pass by. They will be the ones handling emergencies, should they arise (more on that later). Their professionalism will set the tone for everything they do. 

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Communication.
No news is good news, right? Not always. And who only wants to be updated when something bad has happened? Not me! I don’t know about you, but I can’t get enough pics of my furbabies. Even if they are just sleeping in a cute position, or just came back from a fun walk. I love hearing about how fun and cute they are, and it will never get old. It should never get old for your pet sitter either.

Your pet sitter should fill you in on how things are going at least once every day they are with your pet. You should be able to request more (or less) communication if you want, but they should certainly adhere to the communication plan you agree on. And if you want to check in, you shouldn’t be made to feel like you are nagging or bothering your pet sitter.

Ease and Reliability of Scheduling.
Are you taking your pet sitter’s word that your visits are on their schedule? Are you confident that they’re scheduled the way you want them (times of visits, feedings, medications)? Do you have to look back at texts and emails to see visit requests or changes to the schedule? What about sticky notes? Surely they’ll see the sticky note you leave on the counter, right?

That’s scary. Especially if you consider how many other clients your pet sitter has leaving sticky notes, texts, emails, adding visits, cancelling visits, adding feedings...that’s a lot to manage for one person. All it takes is one missed text or sticky note and your puppy goes the whole evening without his dinner visit. Yikes.

Your professional pet sitter should have a smooth, reliable, secure system for important notes on your pet and home, and for scheduling purposes. You should be able to see your schedule at any time, without having to wonder if your visits are written down correctly in a notebook, or their [unsecure] Google calendar. You should be able to know that your visit requests have been received, even if it’s midnight.

You should also be able to update important information for your pet (oh yeah, Cody now insists on eating ½ can of wet food mixed in with his usual dry), and be confident that your professional sitter will see the updates when they are with your pet.

Scheduling is the most basic part of a pet sitter's job, and yet the majority of horror stories we hear when we meet new clients for the first time stem from their previous pet sitter not showing up on time, or sometimes, not showing up at all. Wondering and worrying about your pet sitting schedule is the last thing you need. Be sure you are comfortable with the system your prospective professional pet sitter uses.

Experience and Preparedness.
Professional Pet Sitters run into all types of situations and emergencies on a regular basis. They should have an understanding of pet safety, equipment, and proper fit (leashes, harnesses, pet gates, crates), but being prepared goes way beyond basic pet safety. Their experience as a professional pet sitter allows them to create policies and procedures to protect you, your pet, and your home in the event of an emergency, or if there is a special, unusual circumstance that requires attention. They should be prepared with a system for knowing who to call and what to do, especially if they are unable to reach you. You should be able to ask them about their emergency plan in advance, and have a good understanding of how an emergency would be handled, should one arise. Because they do. Remember “Snowpacalypse 2014”? We do too. 


What happens if your pet sitter has an emergency (we are all human, right?), or if there is an emergency with a pet at one of your sitter's previous appointments? Be sure that they have a suitable backup plan that you can count on, so that Barkley doesn’t have to hold it in for an extra few hours (or longer!) as a result. Will they send a professional in their place? A friend? A relative? How will this new person know exactly what to do when they arrive? What kind of experience do they have, and can you really trust them with your alarm code and house key? Trust me, you want to know detailed answers to these questions and be very comfortable with them.

Reliability and Consistency.
What good is a Professional Pet Sitter that you can’t rely on? What about consistency? Will Bailey really know if the routine is a little different? You bet! Have you ever tried not giving Bailey a treat after her night time walk, when you usually do? You should be able to count on your Professional Pet Sitter to be there within the timeframe they are scheduled to arrive. Bailey should be able to count on her sitter to know exactly what to do when they are with her. She should still expect that night time treat, or morning belly rub that she is accustomed to.

 

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You should expect all of this. Every time.

Whew! That’s a lot to take in! Finding the best professional pet sitter for you sounds like a lot of work, but it’s so very important and totally worth it. In our next post, we are going to give you some ideas on how to find “The One”, so you can rest easy. Ahhh.

Wags & Hugs,
Whoa Doggy!