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Mission Valley Pet Sitting Services

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MVP Blog


National Pet Travel Safety Day

Posted on January 2, 2018 at 8:45 AM Comments comments (234)
In the newsletter I received today from Dr. Karen Becker of "Healthy Pets", she addressed the importance of car safety when travelling with pets in your vehicle.
When driving around the city, it is quite common to see dogs sitting in the passenger seat or the back seat with their heads out of the window,. What is even more common and frightening is seeing the dog on the lap of the driver.  An unrestrained animal in the car is a huge distraction to the driver and can create an accident as a result. In the event of an accident, a loose pet becomes a projectile and can injury the driver, other passengers and definitely itself. It can fly through a window or get crushed in a collision. 
The best advise is to restrain your dog in an approved CPS-certified safety car harness or in a crate secured with a seat bell. Cats should always be in a crate or carrier that is secured with the seat belt.
I know dogs love to put their heads out the window and enjoy the fresh air rushing by, but it is your job to protect them and allowing them to do this is just plain dangerous. Bad pet parenting and lack of responsibility on your part can lead to your dog's injury or even death.
Also, always make sure your pet is wearing an up to date identification tag and is micro chipped. In the event of an accident, if your pet is thrown from the vehicle or jumps and you are unconscious or hurt, rescuers will be able to identify your pet if he wanders off or is injured.

For more very important information on pet travel safety refer to Dr Becker's article at "Healthy Pets" presented by Mercola on the Internet.
Safe travels!

Information on the new 2017 Vaccine Protoclol

Posted on November 6, 2017 at 3:54 PM Comments comments (214)
Dr. Nancy Kay  wrote a wonderful Blog on the updated version of the Vaccine protocols for our dogs. I have printed it here with her permission. 


Updated Canine Vaccination Guidelines by Nancy Kay, DVM.

"The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) has released their 2017 Canine Vaccination Guidelines, the first update of this document since the 2011 version. A task force of veterinary experts who prepared the guidelines based their recommendations on vaccine research, immunological principles and clinical experience.The two core vaccinations (those that every dog should receive barring special circumstances) discussed within the guidelines are:·       
DAPP: a combination of Canine Distemper Virus, Adenovirus-2, and Parvovirus +/- Parainfluenza Virus

The roster of noncore vaccinations (those that may be warranted depending on the dog’s lifestyle) now includes:·        
Bordetella bronchiseptica only (kennel cough)·       
Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme disease)·        
Canine Influenza Virus– H3N8·       
 Canine Influenza Virus– H3N2·        
Crotalus atrox (rattlesnake vaccine)

Antibody testing versus revaccinating

The 2017 Vaccination Guidelines provides in-depth information about antibody testing (also referred to as titer testing, vaccine titers, and vaccine serology). Antibody testing involves analyzing a small blood sample to determine the level of protective immunity against a particular disease, for example parvovirus or distemper. We know that a distemper/parvovirus vaccination protects for a minimum of three years, but beyond this time period the duration of immunity varies from dog to dog. For some, protection lasts a lifetime.Distemper, canine adenovirus-2, and parvovirus antibody testing have become readily available. Many veterinarians use a tableside test that provides results within minutes. A negative test result supports revaccinating. Conversely, a positive test result indicates that revaccination is likely not warranted at that time. Antibody testing for rabies is also available but is rarely warranted given that state law dictates the frequency of revaccination.Antibody testing is becoming more popular amongst people who prefer to rely on test results rather than automatically give a distemper, parvovirus, and adenovirus booster every three years. Vaccine serology is also useful for determining if a puppy who has just completed the vaccination series has mounted an adequate immune system response. Additionally, antibody testing can be helpful in situations in which revaccinating might not be a wise choice such as:·       
 A dog with a chronic illness·        
A dog who is very elderly·        
A dog who has experienced a prior adverse reaction to a vaccination·        
A dog with a history of immune-mediated (autoimmune disease)·        A dog who is receiving drugs that could suppress the immune system’s response to a vaccination.

Something new

The 2017 version of the Vaccination Guidelines contains a brand new section devoted to “therapeutic biologics.” While these products are often referred to as vaccines (for example, the melanoma vaccine), they behave quite differently compared to traditional vaccines. Rather than protect against disease, therapeutic biologics are designed to elicit an immune system response that alters the course of a disease such as cancer, or modifies an animal’s response to an immune mediated (autoimmune disease). The Vaccination Guidelines includes discussion of therapeutic biologics as treatments for:·        
Canine oral melanoma·        
Canine B-cell lymphoma·        
Canine T-cell lymphoma·        
Canine atopic dermatitis (atopy)·        
Canine cancers·        
Tumor-derived immunotherapy for canine cancer·        
Mammary cancers in dogs.

How often should vaccinations be given?

The recommended timing and frequency of vaccinations hasn’t changed to any significant degree, particularly for the core vaccinations. Rabies and DAPP vaccinations need not be administered to adult dogs more than once every three years. Recommended schedules for the noncore vaccinations vary based on type of vaccine and route of inoculation.Keep in mind that, just as is true for any other medical procedure, vaccinations carry inherent benefits as well as the potential for adverse side effects. Giving unnecessary vaccinations exposes the dog to all the inherent risks without any possibility of benefit. There’s simply no way this makes any sense whatsoever.Keep in mind, the AAHA Canine Vaccination Guidelines are guidelines only. The recommendations within this document are not mandatory or enforceable in any way. So, if your veterinarian is one of the holdouts who insists on administering unnecessary vaccinations (those that are unnecessary based on your dog’s lifestyle or those given more frequently than recommended), I encourage you to step up to the plate as your dog’s medical advocate and find a new veterinarian.How have your views on vaccinations for your dog changed over the past decade?

If you would like to respond publicly, please visit: wishes,Nancy Kay, DVMDiplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Author of Your Dog's Best Health: A Dozen Reasonable Things to Expect From Your Vet
Recipient, Leo K. Bustad Companion Animal Veterinarian of the Year Award
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Recipient, AKC Club Publication Excellence Award
Become a Fan of Speaking for Spot on FacebookPlease visit to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot and Your Dog's Best Health.   There you will also find "Advocacy Aids"- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet's health. Speaking for Spot and Your Dog's Best Health are available at,, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller.

4th of July tips to keep pets safe

Posted on June 26, 2017 at 8:19 AM Comments comments (816)
Here are some very important tips to keep your pets safe over the 4th of July holiday from Pet Sitters International

  "1. Keep pets inside during celebrations. While many humans love fireworks, they can be terrifying for pets, and a neighborhood that is normally quiet but becomes busy and loud on the Fourth of July can also cause undue stress—even to pets who are normally outside. When fireworks are likely to go off in your neighborhood or nearby, be sure to keep your pet inside in a safe space. Close all doors and windows, and turn on the television or play calming music.

2. Make sure your pet wears an identification tag. Even if you plan to keep your pet inside over the Fourth of July holiday, it’s a good idea to make sure your pet is wearing a tag with your name and contact information—or the contact information for a professional pet sitter who will be watching the pet. If your pet somehow escapes the property in a moment of panic over loud noises from fireworks or other celebrations, an ID could be vital to ensuring your pet gets back to you. You may also want to consider microchipping your pet.

3. Watch out for unsafe foods and decorations. If you are planning a holiday gathering or party, be sure to keep your pet away from the grill, as well as alcohol and any unsafe foods. While you may be aware of substances that are bad for your pets—for example, chocolate, xylitol, macadamia nuts, grapes, raisins, onions, avocado and bread dough—other guests may not be.
You should also take special care to keep your pet away from décor that could cause harm if chewed on or ingested, as well as any used or unused fireworks, which may look tasty to pets due to their shiny or colorful wrappers. Keep festive items like sparklers and glow sticks away from animals.

4. Don’t just hire a pet lover to watch your pet. If your Fourth of July plans will keep you away from home, your pet could benefit from the services of a professional pet sitter. Your pet will be happier at home, away from crowds, fireworks and loud noises. PSI advises pet owners to only use the services of professional pet sitters.
“Just because someone is a pet lover and has a profile on an online directory—or even on a nationally-publicized site—doesn’t ensure he or she is a qualified pet sitter operating a legitimate business,” said PSI Vice-President Beth Stultz. “In today’s sharing economy anyone can offer their services online, so it’s important for pet owners to take a closer look to ensure they are hiring not just a pet lover, but a pet lover who is also a true pet-care professional.”

How Long Should you leave your cat alone?

Posted on June 22, 2017 at 9:37 AM Comments comments (187)
  With the July 4th holiday weekend just a week away, it is important to make arrangements for the care of your kitty if you are going to be away from home. I have had numerous calls over the past week or so for kitty care and many potential clients have requested visits for their cat every 2nd or 3rd day while they are gone. I repeatedly tell them that I will not take on a cat sit unless I get to visit the cat/s every day. Dr. Debra Primovic, DVM agrees. In a recent post on she says the longest a cat should be left alone is 24 hours. Too many things can happen while you are away and someone needs to check on the cats and ensure they are okay. And if you are going for only 3 or 4 days and plan on leaving the cats a big bowl of food and fresh water, without anyone checking on them, think again. You could come home to a dead cat. Ideally, you want a professional pet sitter to look after your fur babies as we have the knowledge, skills and experience to deal with pretty much anything that may occur. If you do not want to spend money on a professional, then at least get a responsible neighbor, friend or relative to check the kitties every day. 
You will have a much better vacation with the peace of mind knowing your fur family is being cared for.

Plastic Liners in Litter Boxes

Posted on June 19, 2017 at 8:22 AM Comments comments (127)
      For the life of me I cannot figure out why people insist on putting plastic liners in their cats litter box. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever for several reasons:
1) Plastic is an unnatural substance for cats to eliminate on.
2) Cats have claws and like to cover up their waste. When they do so, they inevitably rip the plastic liner.
3) When the liner gets ripped, it makes a terrible mess to have to change it.
4) Since the liner does get ripped, the actual bottom of the litter box gets waste and litter on it and has to be cleaned anyway.
5) Cats do not like the feeling of the plastic and often rip it intentionally.
6) The liners never fit properly and become folded trapping excess urine and feces and making it much harder to clean out on a daily basis.
7) It becomes much more costly than just putting the litter directly in the litter box because once the plastic liner is ripped you can't just lift it out and put it in the trash,. You need to use another plastic bag to transfer the liner into so you don't have litter all over the floor as you take it to the trash.

As a professional pet sitter who has cared for hundreds of cats over the years and cleaned hundreds of litter boxes, I can tell you the plastic liners are just a bad idea all the way around.


Posted on May 24, 2017 at 12:53 PM Comments comments (4)
The No Hot Pets Campaign is BACK!

“I left the window down for him” “I wasn’t going to be gone long” We’ve heard it all! The issue of owners leaving their pets in their vehicles during the hot summer months, putting animals’ safety at risk and even causing death, is an ongoing problem across Ontario. There is NO excuse for leaving a pet unattended in a vehicle.
 The Ontario SPCA, in partnership with SPCAs and Humane Societies from across Canada, are launching the 2017 No Hot Pets campaign. The campaign’s goal is to educate the public on the dangers of leaving pets unattended in vehicles during the summer months.

This campaign may be launched in Canada but it is a great reminder for all of us as we hit the hot months.
Please pledge now NEVER to leave your pet in the car when it is hot out.

Cat Wellness Veterinary Visits

Posted on May 16, 2017 at 8:47 AM Comments comments (3)
  One of the things I have noticed in several of the consultations I have done recently with cat parents, is that many feline owners are not taking their cats to the vet unless they are ill.
Just like we humans, cats need to have a check-up once a year and even more often when they become seniors ( 8+). Unlike us, we know when we are not feeling well and can make our appointments to see the doctor to check things out. Cats cannot tell us if they are having a problem with their health. Not only that, but it is instinctual for a cat to hide any health issues or signs of weakness. What this means, is that by the time they display any sort of health issue, they are often in such bad straits that cure or treatment can be extremely difficult and expensive. 
I am not suggesting that you need to go to the vet for vaccinations annually, and this has nothing to do with vaccinations. It has everything to do with making sure they are healthy and not in any discomfort that they may be hiding. A veterinary check-up doesn't have to be expensive and if you take your kitty annually and are able to avoid any major illnesses or problems as a result, you can save thousands of dollars in treatment not to mention, keeping your kitty comfortable, healthy, and happy and giving you peace of mind.
If your cat hasn't seen a vet in over a year, I urge you to make an appointment for a wellness check. And for those of you who are worried about actually getting your cat in the carrier to go to the vet, there are some excellent Youtube videos as to how to get your cat carrier friendly and in a worse case scenario, there are a few mobile vets around who will come to your home to check out the cat. SO there are no excuses.

Handling Open food for Pets

Posted on April 20, 2017 at 8:33 AM Comments comments (3)
I came across some very important information in a newsletter from Care2 Healthy Living this am regarding the handling of pet food. I want to share it with you and advise you to follow their suggestions.

"How long to leave out canned or moist food is a common question from pet owners. Dogs and cats don’t always eat the entire can, and food safety is always questionable when food is left out. Burkholder and Conway weigh in, “The length of time that food can be left out safely depends on a number of variables. Uneaten or open canned/moist food should be covered and refrigerated as soon as possible. As a general rule of thumb, do not leave open canned/moist food sitting unrefrigerated (e.g., in your pet’s bowl or on the counter at room temperature) for more than two hours. This is when bacteria in food can multiply rapidly and lead to foodborne illness.”
Dry food and dishes should be handled similarly to canned food. The FDA recommends storing dry pet food in its original bag inside a clean, dedicated plastic container with a lid, keeping the top of the bag folded closed. Ideal storage conditions are a cool, dry place — under 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s also a good idea to wash your hands after handling dry food and use a scoop that is dedicated just for pet food. The FDA also recommends keeping pets away from food storage and preparation areas, garbage and household trash."

Dirty Pet Bowls

Posted on March 23, 2017 at 8:34 AM Comments comments (423)
One of my biggest pet peeves as a professional pet sitter is caring for pets whose food and drinking bowls are filthy. It amazes me how people, who clearly love their furry kids, can allow them to eat and drink out of bowls that are encrusted with old food, pet hair and infested with bacteria and germs. You wouldn't eat or drink from a bowl that wasn't sparkling clean and neither should your dog, cat, bunny rabbit or any other pet you may have. I recently came across this article in Consumer Affairs written by Sarah D. Young on the subject.

"Pet bowls are one of the germiest items in American homes, according to a study by the National Safety Federation (NSF). Yet, 1 in 5 pet parents who responded to a new survey by Petco admitted to waiting at least a month to clean their pet's eating and drinking bowls.
To get rid of germs and bacteria that may upset your pet’s stomach, wash your pet’s bowls daily with hot water and mild dish soap. If the bowl is dishwasher safe, you can simply toss it in the dishwasher.
During those times when your pet’s bowls are being cleaned, it can be helpful to have one extra set of pet food and water dishes on hand. Additionally, be sure to replace dishes and bowls if they are cracked, chipped, or scratched. "

When I or my staff come across filthy pet bowls when doing a pet sit, we always take the time to scrub them and clean them till they shine. We continue to wash them after each usage every day while the pet parents are away. Hopefully, the pet parent will notice this when they get home and get the idea. I will also leave a note for the parent if the bowls are chipped and need to be replaced.

Please be kind and loving to your pet and clean their bowls so that you could eat out of it if necessary.

Alternative to Castration

Posted on February 20, 2017 at 8:52 AM Comments comments (201)
Dr. Nancy Kay of "Spot Speaks" has enlightened us with another one of her informative blogs. Here it is below.

Canine Vasectomies 
                              by Nancy Kay, DVM

"Do you know that vasectomy surgery can be performed on dogs? Indeed this is true, and, as we learn more and more about the impacts of traditional canine neutering (castration), vasectomy surgery is becoming increasingly popular.What exactly is a vasectomy?Whether performed on a human or a dog, vasectomy surgery involves clamping, cutting, or ligating (tying off) the vas deferens, the duct that transports sperm out of the testicle and into the semen. Local anesthesia is all that is needed to accomplish this surgery in men. (Most men will lie still when told to do so.) Vasectomy surgery is performed in dogs using general anesthesia. Vasectomy versus castration. Castration is referred to as “neutering” because the reproductive organs (testicles) are removed. With vasectomy surgery, the testicles remain in place, so the dog is not considered to be “neutered.”Whether castrated or vasectomized, the end result is a sterile dog. And, there is a period of surgical recovery with both procedures. Castration tends to be a “bigger deal” surgery in that the incisions are larger and there is more overall tissue trauma. Performed by someone with significant experience, a vasectomy tends to be considered a relatively minor procedure.The testicles are where testosterone is produced. So, it makes sense that castration (removal of both testicles) reduces testosterone production to almost nil. A very small amount of testosterone continues to be produced by the adrenal glands. Vasectomized dogs maintain normal testosterone production.Choosing whether or not your dog should live his life with or without testosterone is a big-deal decision these days. There is mounting evidence (pun intended) that removal of testosterone, particularly in dogs under a year of age, might be associated with negative health implications. There are plenty of pros and cons to consider, and they should be discussed at length with a veterinarian you hold in high regard. Be sure to do some investigating yourself. I have compiled a bibliography on canine spay/neuter research, including that which is most current. Please shoot me an email if you would like a copy.Be forewarned. If you opt to sterilize your dog via vasectomy, here are some things to consider:– There is no “Vasectomy 101” course being taught in veterinary schools (yet). Most veterinarians who perform vasectomies are somewhat self-taught. While this surgery is pretty darned simple, be sure that you are working with a surgeon who has several vasectomies under his or her belt (pun intended). If you are having difficulty finding an experienced surgeon, look for a surgical specialist. He or she will be able to handle your request.– If ever you become unhappy with the role testosterone is playing in your vasectomized dog’s life (he’s humping everything in sight, he’s jumping the fence to be with the neighbor’s dog who is in heat), you can always opt for castration at a later date.– Following vasectomy surgery, a male dog can successfully breed for up to two months. Do not let your vasectomized dog interact with a female in heat during this time period.– You might be ostracized and/or interrogated at dog parks and other public venues where only neutered dogs (those without reproductive organs) are allowed.– Proprietors of doggie day care facilities may refuse your vasectomized dog because they hold negative and sometimes inaccurate impressions of testosterone-driven behaviors."

Lots to think about here but it is great to have an alternative..