Employers Add Pet Stipends to Return to Office Perks

The COVID-19 pandemic dynamically changed how people work. For more than a year many were forced to switch to remote working from their homes while social distancing rules were in effect. Now with many employers trying to get their workers back to in person working, many have noticed the apprehension to return to an office where they’ll lose their work-life flexibility and comforts of working from home.

While some businesses have moved to fully remote work now or have added some flexibility to the work-from-home offering, many others are requiring that staff come back to the office and their pre-pandemic setup.

To make the return a little more appealing many are also adding new perks to sweeten the pot. One of the best we’ve seen is new pet stipends being offered to employees. These are meant to provide employees with additional resources to fund important pet sitting, walking or other activities they and their pets have gotten accustomed to during the time they worked from home.

In addition to being a particularly sweet perk, it also comes at a time when the number of pet owners has skyrocketed. In fact, pet adoptions increased drastically during the pandemic as people sought the companionship and affection of a furry friend.

Other big brand offices are even listing their jobs with “pet-friendly environments” to attract workers who would be compelled to take a job if they could also take their pup along with them.

Outside of pet perks, many companies are trying things like 4-day work weeks, free lunches, and relaxed dress codes to try and attract workers back to in person working.  

The Root Causes of Excessive Scratching in Dogs

Spring brings showers, flowers, and nicer weather. For dogs, it can also bring parasites that cause itchy skin conditions. While all dogs need a good scratch now and then, if your dog is showing excessive scratching, it may be due to an underlying cause that requires treatment. 

If your dog is showing signs of frequent scratching, biting, licking, or shaking, it may be time to investigate for parasites – particularly fleas or ticks – as a cause. Fleas, ticks, and other parasites bite your pet’s sensitive skin, and the resulting itching (known to the medical world as pruritis) will lead to telltale behavior in your pet, particularly if the dog is hypersensitive to flea saliva. Regardless of the reason, if your dog is showing signs of excessive itching, it’s important to identify the source of the problem as quickly as possible to keep your pooch healthy. 

Fleas

Fleas are small flightless insects that survive as external parasites of mammals and birds. Essentially, they live on animals and bite to consume their blood. (And yes, humans can get fleas, too). Untreated fleas can cause health problems for your dog, so it’s important to consult with a vet and find the right flea treatment and prevention regimen. 

Ticks

Ticks are common throughout North America and often return with a vengeance in the spring. While your dog may love to snuffle about in the undergrowth or in piles of old leaves, these are the primary places dogs pick up ticks. Ticks are parasitic arachnids that are part of the mite family, and like fleas, they thrive on blood. Ticks can also carry dangerous pathogens – Lyme disease, just for starters – that can lead to illness in animals and humans. The good news is that many of the treatments for fleas in animals are also highly effective against ticks. 

Infections

Your dog’s itching problem may not always be caused by parasites. Bacterial and fungal infections of the skin can lead to itching, as well. When the dog scratches, it may open up small skin wounds, leading to scabs and discharge that can further irritate the skin. These small infection “hot spots” can make your beloved pet miserable. 

Allergies

Like humans, pets can have allergies, and these allergies often manifest as skin conditions. Dogs can be allergic to certain foods, or they can show sensitivity to pollens, molds, dust, and grass. You’ll need a vet to help you identify the cause of your dog’s allergy so you can limit its exposure to the allergen. You may also need medication, oral or topical, to reduce the itchiness. 

A vet can help root out the cause of your dog’s itchiness and guide you to the appropriate treatment to relieve the symptoms. Solving your dog’s itch means he or she is able to enjoy the outdoors without the resulting scratching. 

DogWatch of Western Mass is committed to providing the safest, most effective electronic pet fences on the market. DogWatch has proudly served the Pioneer Valley and surrounding areas since 1990 and belongs to the international DogWatch Dealer Network. We are committed, trained professionals offering years of experience in installation, training, and customer service. Being locally owned, we have a vested interest to keep our customers – and their pets — happy!

Solving the Dog & Skunk Problem

Having a dog you love and who enjoys the backyard and time with your family is a truly rewarding experience. There are things that can happen out in nature, that aren’t as pleasant though – like when you’re beloved furry friend has an encounter with a skunk.

The noxious smell alone is so unpleasant you may even contemplate not letting him back in the house – at least not until the odor is gone. But we all know how impossible it is to leave our babies abandoned. So here is what you can do to solve the dog and skunk problem you’re encountering.

Clean Them Up Immediately

Because the smell can spread to surfaces, it is critical to keep your dog outdoors until you can hose him down and wash him up. The last thing you want is for the dog to come inside and rub against furniture where the odors will stick and reside. You want to do this as quickly as possible before it has time to set into your pet’s fur. Start by spraying them down with an –oil-based, soapy cleaner made to de-skunk or that you create at home missing baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and dishwashing soap. Scrub the soap in and rinse it thoroughly to remove residue. After the rinse, you should follow up with your pup’s usually shampoo and conditioner treatment to ensure the hair is clean and fluffy again once it’s dried.

Get a Hidden Fence

There’s no better way to protect your dog from mischief and wandering out into other areas outdoors that he shouldn’t be, than with a hidden fence. While skunks can make their way into the yard regardless, this will still be a great resource to give you peace of mind that your dog won’t wander into the skunk’s territory and risk being sprayed.

Our new SmartFence™ Containment System is the world’s first connected outdoor hidden pet fence to keep your dog safe while they enjoy the backyard. With SmartFence you can check remotely and get texts and emails for total peace of mind.

Pet Care Apps Bring Joy & Help to Owners and Their Companions

As any good pet owner knows, having tools to help care for them is critical. From the proper diet to toys and training – everything we do for our pets helps make the time spent enjoying their company that much better. Companies are capitalizing on this need as more pet owners incorporate their furry friends into their daily lives with the introduction of gadgets, gear, and even mobile apps designed specifically with pets in mind.

A few of the hottest mobile apps out there right now aimed at pets include training apps so you can teach your pet tricks, get the potty trained and even teach them to stop nipping and other bad behaviors.  With one app, you pay to have access to virtual sessions with professional trainers who will guide you through training tips via live chat and with 24/7 messaging access.

The American Red Cross has also put out a free app for pet owners to help them understand and administer emergency care for their pets if needed. The app features step-by-step tutorials for things like CPR on your pet and what to do as soon as you notice something could be wrong with your pet.

Need access to their medical records in one easy to locate the place or to see a vet immediately, no matter where you are? There’s an app for those things too! Virtual telemedicine calls with vets are now possible thanks to apps that connect pet owners with veterinarians for a monthly fee.

And there’s fun to be had too. Many apps are being offered that allow you to interact with your pet when you’re not home. Connected treat dispensers and cameras make it easy to talk to your pet and interact with them from anywhere.

If you haven’t already seen some of the viral videos on social media, pull out your tablet, because new mobile app games – like catfishing are as you guessed it – interactive, fun play for your pet to sit on your lap and enjoy with you.

Tips for Keeping Your Pets Healthy

We love our animals. They’re family members, and they bring us great joy and comfort. For this reason, we have an obligation to keep them happy and healthy. Following are tips for keeping your pet – dogs and cats in this case – in top health. 

Watch your pets’ weight. While many of us are frequently trying to lose a few extra pounds, we’re far less likely to notice problems with our pets’ weight. According to the Association of Pet Obesity Prevention, about 59.5 percent of cats and 55.8 percent of dogs in the U.S. are overweight or obese. While a fluffy pet may seem “cute,” excess weight can cut animals’ lives short and lead to a host of health problems such as diabetes and cancer. Listen to your vet at your pet’s annual appointment. If the vet believes your dog or cat needs to slim down, follow her advice, and change the amount of food and the manner in which you’re feeding your pet. (And skip the high-calorie treats, or at least reduce the frequency.) It’s an important step for keeping your pet healthy for as long as possible. 

Be careful with human food. Many human foods are good for pets. For example, kale, carrots, and salmon are excellent nutritional boosts for dogs. The problem is that many human foods can be toxic to pets. Chocolate, milk, or avocado are dangerous for dogs. Onions and garlic, liver, and bread dough containing yeast are all toxic to cats. Before you give your pets any human food treats, make sure the foods are appropriate for them. (And remember…not too many!) If you plan to pursue a whole food diet for your pets, consult with a veterinarian first to make sure your pets are getting all the nutrients they need and not eating anything harmful to their health. 

Feed your pet high-quality pet food. Not all pet foods are the same. While the brand you buy may be saving you money, it may be harming your pet’s health. The food grade that is best for your pet will be determined by the animal’s age, type, and activity levels. While it’s always desirable to feed veterinary-quality food to pets, it may be cost-prohibitive for you. When you choose your pet’s food, read the ingredients label on the bag or can. The first ingredient should be something like “chicken” or “beef” instead of fillers and byproducts like corn, wheat gluten, soybean meal, etc. Ask your vet for a recommendation on good pet food that will fit your budget. 

Don’t skip the veterinary appointments. It may be tempting to put off vet appointments. They can be expensive and time-consuming, and chances are, your pet doesn’t enjoy them. But just as with humans, many health problems, if caught early, are fixable. For this reason, it’s critical that you get your pet checked out by a qualified veterinary practitioner once a year, or more often if you notice any unusual or troubling symptoms in the animal. 

Ensure exercise in your pets. Walking with your dog is one of the best ways for both dogs and humans to get the daily exercise they need. While it may not be possible every day, ensure you’re getting out for a good walk at least most days. Indoor cats also need exercise. If your cat has outgrown the “active kitten” stage, consider setting aside times to play with your cat using a laser pointer or other cat toy. Buy or build a “cat tree” that will encourage the cat to climb several times each day. 

For dogs, consider allowing the animal to roam and play in your yard freely with the help of an electronic fence. DogWatch of Western Mass is committed to providing the safest, most effective electronic pet fences on the market. DogWatch has proudly served the Pioneer Valley and surrounding areas since 1990 and belongs to the international DogWatch Dealer Network. We are committed, trained professionals offering years of experience in installation, training, and customer service. Being locally owned, we have a vested interest to keep our customers – and their pets — happy!

Dogs & Dental Disease

Did you know your pet can suffer from tooth loss pain and other common dental issues we face as humans? It’s true. Dogs rely heavily on their teeth for the things they do when eating, playing, and more. It’s important that we take care of their pearly whites, not just for oral health but also to ensure they don’t suffer from any unnecessary ailments too.

Dental disease is a pretty big issue in the dog community as it affects approximately 80 percent of dogs.

The problem is that once gingivitis sets in and is not taken care of, it becomes an infection that spreads deeper into the tooth socket. Over time the bone wears down and the tooth becomes loose and may even fall out. It’s also very painful for dogs. Just like humans, you should help remove plaque from around the teeth and gums before it becomes mineralized. Brushing with pet-friendly toothpaste, encouraging chew toys that help scrape some of the debris away can all help.

Here are some key signs to look for that could point to a dental issue occurring in your pet.

As always be sure to contact a trusted veterinarian and take the right steps to protect their teeth ahead of time.

1.                Bad Breath

Once bacteria have built up around the tooth it can lead to bad breath in your dog. If you notice a foul odor coming from your dog’s teeth, be sure you’re taking the time to examine if they have any issues like cavities, inflamed gums that should be noted to the vet. Also, take the time to have their teeth cleaned to remove the plaque.

2.                Excessive Drool

Some breeds of dogs are known to slobber more than others, but it’s important to pay attention to the drool that’s coming from your dog’s mouth. If you notice there is more happening, it could be pointing to an issue – especially a dental one that needs attention. Once there is a problem happening with their gums, dogs will start to drool as a natural response to try to help alleviate the problem.

3.                Trouble Eating

One of the best ways to tell if your dog is having issues with its teeth is to pay attention to its eating habits. Are they eating less than usual? Refusing food altogether or showing signs that they are in pain when they chew? All of this can point to a dental issue you’ll want to pay attention to.

At DogWatch, we care about your dog as much as you do! Our hidden dog fence systems and training equipment keep your pup away from dangerous areas, and safe in your yard or in the perimeters you define indoors. Get freedom and flexibility while keeping your dog safe!

Sales for Pet Treats Are Booming

If there’s one thing we pet lovers love to do – it’s to spoil our furry friends. Now, more than ever, our pets are becoming members of our households. Sharing mealtimes, vacations, and even holiday gift exchanges! In fact, one report from market research firm Packaged Facts uncovered that by the end of 2022 we could see this market hit $9.87 billion and continue soaring over the next two years to come. 

Treats for both cats and dogs have been on the rise ever since the COVID-19 pandemic when many were staying home, social distancing, and bringing new furry friends into their homes. 

It’s about more than just rewarding and spoiling our pets, but consumers are turning to treats to help add more nourishment and health to their diets too. Their study into these increasing consumer purchases of pet treats also found that many are looking at things like plant-based formulas, environmental impacts, and even alternative proteins for their pets. 

Whether you are a new pet owner or have been an animal lover for years, it’s important to ensure that you are keeping your pet healthy and safe all the time. Not just in the foods, they are given to eat but also in their environment. Our wireless pet containment systems provide freedom and peace of mind for pet owners and their furry friends. 

The DogWatch Hidden Fence is the most technologically advanced and the easiest to use, and it is backed up by a no-hassle Lifetime Warranty from a company with more than 25 years of keeping pets happy and safe.

Our number one concern is the safety and well-being of your pet. We provide the support you need to ensure successful training and happy containment.

Should You Invest in a GPS Dog Fence?

There are few things more joyful to watch than a dog exploring and playing outdoors. Dogs love a romp, and they love to have the freedom to play and give their world a good sniff. But while we like to provide dogs with space to play, we also have a duty to keep them safe.

Traditional wired (underground) electronic dog fences are a great way to keep dogs contained while allowing them to maintain some freedom without the need for above-ground physical fences. There is also the option of a GPS Electronic Pet Fence.

Unlike a buried, wired fence, a GPS wireless electric dog fence makes use of satellites to map a specific boundary, such as your yard, creating what’s known as a “geo-fence.” Essentially, the area the pet is allowed access to, or the fence boundary is mapped in advance using satellite technology. This safe area will take the form of a circular region. (There is no other configuration possible.)

The dog then wears a collar into which the center of the area (the radius) is programmed. The wireless shock collar then calculates using software built into the collar the dog’s current position and sends an alert to the receiver collar if the dog approaches the boundary and corrects the dog if it does not retreat from the pre-mapped boundary.

What Are the Drawbacks of a GPS Electronic Pet Fence?

Many dog owners are attracted to GPS-based fences because they’re perceived as easier: there are no wires to lay, the system can be up and running in minutes, which also means you can move the system to another residence or a vacation home.

There are, however, several drawbacks to a GPS-based invisible fence compared to a buried, wired system. These include:

A mismatch with the shape of your yard. The GPS option works based on a circular safe zone: it cannot be custom configured to the shape of your yard, unlike a wired fence. This circular safe zone may not cover every corner of your property.

Confusion for the dog. For a dog that is accustomed to being able to roam the whole yard, a GPS system that relies on a more limited, circular shape, may confuse the dog and require additional training.

Interruptions in satellite signals. GPS satellite signals can also be subject to interference from a variety of sources, including nearby tall buildings and poor weather conditions. So, GPS wireless dog containment fences are often not recommended for properties with potential obstructions.

Cost. GPS pet fences are often pricey to purchase and maintain, and they often have shorter battery life than wired systems. This might put your dog at risk if you skip or delay battery maintenance.

Are the Drawbacks of GPS Solutions Too Numerous?

We think so. At DogWatch, we are committed to providing the safest, most effective electronic pet fences on the market. At this time, we believe wireless GPS fences do not provide the same level of safety and reliability as traditional wired systems.

DogWatch of Western Mass has proudly served the Pioneer Valley and surrounding areas since 1990 and belongs to the international DogWatch Dealer Network. We are committed, trained professionals offering years of experience in installation, training, and customer service. Being locally owned, we have a vested interest to keep our customers – and their dogs — happy!

What We Feed our Pets Matters

Today, our four-legged friends are becoming even more important members of our households. It’s far more than just a pet-parent relationship for many. In fact, ever since the pandemic, families across the country have introduced new companions into their homes, and the “humanization” trends as experts refer to the phenomenon are skyrocketing.

What this means is we’re now allowing our pets to sleep in the bed, share TV time with us and even eat in the kitchen with us at mealtime. For many buying holiday gifts and adding pets to the holiday festivities along with the rest of the family are all becoming commonplace.

One area that’s seen recent growing interest is the food our dogs are eating. Just like humans are striving to feel better and eat better, they’re also looking to find natural and healthy meal options for their pets so they too can live a long, quality life.

Projected to reach up to $81B by 2031, the pet food market is certainly on the upswing.

As this shift happens, we’re seeing more people move away from mass-produced kibble and foods with tons of fillers and ingredients that no one can pronounce. Instead, they are being replaced with fresh options that are organic, natural, and have sustainable ingredients.

So what are some great options to feed dogs? Things like fruits and vegetables (that are prepared properly and are not toxic to your pet) are key. For some breeds, heavy meat-based meals may be okay, for others grain-free.

Natural food diets can have so many benefits. It’s all about understanding your dog’s unique needs and ensuring they get the properly balanced diet to support them.

Just as with humans, eating better translates to feeling better. Not just inward but also our appearance. Better skin, less inflammation and allergy issues, and more.  As such, many pet parents are also looking for holistic and nutritional ways to help their pets improve their skin and coat health as well as strengthen their joint and digestive systems.

It’s important to talk to a board-certified vet if you plan on making drastic feeding changes for your dog to ensure the changes are not just healthy but also what they need.

How to Create a Stress-Free Space for Your Dog

Stress-free environments are good for everyone. Both humans and our pets crave areas where they can feel safe, protected, and unwind. It can be difficult to achieve this if you’re co-living with pets and haven’t set appropriate boundaries. Things like keeping out of the kitchen or the shoe closet. Or staying within your own backyard’s property line has to be taught and guided.

Plus, having a dog that’s happy and comfortable means getting in the right kinds of foods, enough bathroom breaks, and physical activity that’s vital to their functioning. This balance can make you both feel great when it comes time to snuggle at the end of a long day.

Here are a few ways you can create a stress free space for your dog.

Establish an Actual Safe Haven

Dogs find great comfort in having an area where they can tuck away and lay unbothered. Yours may have already chosen a spot, perhaps under a table or in a hallway where you’ll typically find them relaxing away from everyone. If they haven’t chosen a spot yet you can dedicate one for them by using a bed, crate or blankets tucked in a corner. Make it away from foot traffic and comfortable enough for them to retreat to when they want to relax.

Create Consistent Routines

There’s nothing more relaxing and safe feeling for a dog than staying on routine. Establishing consistent practices helps them to feel they are meeting their goals daily and gives them a pattern to follow each day. This level of comfort can also decrease stress and help them to feel more at ease.

Invest in a Hidden Fence

Our hidden fences create a safe space for either indoor or outdoor time for your dog. You’ll both gain peace of mind knowing there’s the freedom to roam without getting to unrestricted or dangerous situations. Contact DogWatch of Western Mass today!