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I am the Owner/President of Snaggle Foot Dog Walks & Pet Care in Round Lake Beach, Illinois. I live there with my puppy Bandit. I love reading stories and information about pets which could help both owners and animals.  Please feel free to check out our dog walking and pet sitting services.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Common Pet Illnesses and What To Do

If you own any pet, you very well know how vulnerable they are to various diseases. And because they can't communicate with us, it's our duty to take care of them. When you are a pet parent, it's not just about the fun parts, it's also about taking care of them when they are sick and being a responsible guardian. 

What to do if your pet seem to be sick?
If your pet seem to be a bit off, there is a huge possibility that it might be sick. Pets usually try to mask any sign of disease. This type of behavior in animals is their natural instinct kicking in, as in the wild any animal who showed weakness sign was ostracized by its members or attacked by other stronger animals. Thus, you have to be alert regarding any changes in the behavior of your pets, no matter how subtle it is.
Before giving medications to your pets on your own, you need to take them to a veterinarian and get them tested properly. At the earliest onset of symptoms it's important that you seek professional advice rather than waiting till the end when things go out of control.

Top 5 common pet illnesses.
Parvovirus- Parvovirus is a common disease seen in dogs as well as cats (however it does seem to effect puppies more than adult dogs). The disease is highly contagious though it doesn't spread cross-species. The disease is caused by a virus known as canine Parvovirus. This virus can remain in the environment for a period of at least one year. Large amount of virus is found in the feces of pets, hence if your pets even sniff feeces of an infected animal, they can get this disease. Symptoms of Parvovirus in pets:


Always get your young pet vaccinated for Parvo.  However once your pet gets it, it needs proper care and intensive treatment.  The mortality rate is high with Parvo so vaccination is imperative. 

Skin infection - skin infection in your pets can get really messy. Skin infection can be caused by fungus (eg- ringworm), bacteria ( eg- pyoderma and impetigo) or skin parasites. These infections can either be on the surface of your pet’s skin or they can penetrate deeper. Skin infection is contagious and if you think your pet has it, you need to visit your vet office and ask for a skin test.

Symptoms of skin infection in pets are:
Loss of hair in spots
Redness of skin
Itching of skin.
Oozing sores on your pet’s skin

As bad as these symptoms appear, you need to start treatment for them instantly or things can get worse.

Diabetes- The growth rate of diabetes in pets is much more than in humans. From the year 2006-10, dogs diabetes rate in US increased by 30% whereas in cats the rate was 10%. diabetes happens when your pet’s body isn't producing enough insulin. This can be due to pancreas are working in a defective manner or it's damaged. Although diabetes can't be treated, it can be managed and controlled. 

Symptoms of diabetes in pets are as follows:
Pets get thirsty frequently 
Frequent urination
Loss of weight
In advanced cases, your pets might show symptoms like:

Arthritis- arthritis usually occurs in older pets. However in several cases, even young pets were seen suffering from this disease. This disease causes pain in the joints of pets and your pet shows signs of pain, stiffness and discomfort. Arthritis can be caused by old age, development of abnormal cartilage, ligament damage or fracture.

Some of the common symptoms of arthritis in pets are:
Difficulty in moving
Muscle atrophy

Usually if your vet thinks that your pet got arthritis he will suggest X rays to confirm the bone or bones in which arthritis is prevalent. Weight loss and proper exercise can provide your pet immense relief from arthritis pain. Your vet may also prescribe joint medication.

Heartworm disease- Heartworm disease is a common and fatal disease amongst pets. Usually, the symptoms of Heartworm shows up late and by then the disease can become fatal and deadly. Heartworm is caused by worms known as dirofilaria immitis. The worms are spread in your pets through bites of mosquitoes. 

Symptoms of Heartworm in your pets are:
Dry cough
Loss of weight
Difficulty in breathing
Bulging of chest

If not treated on time, Heartworms can cause heart failure, damage of organs, lung disease and in some cases it might also lead to death. Your vet can test your pet for Heartworm by taking his blood sample and testing it.

You are with your pet every day so if you see something that just doesn't seem right, seek care, it could save their life.

Monday, March 6, 2017

How To Care For Your Cat

If you are a lover of cats, you might think it nice to have one share your lovely home. These cute looking, feline creatures have been widely misunderstood by others; but not you. So you adopted a little cutie for yourself, and you are now wondering just how you might show them care, and love, and warmth. Well, caring for cats is nothing close to rocket science; all you need is a short and simple guide.

Understand your cat
Unlike dogs, cats have been misunderstood; and many have accused them of being mean and cold. This is not true, and you will find it rewarding to try and understand your cat when she is trying to say something or even trying to give you a hug. For instance, John Bradshaw, an anthrozoologist, from the University of Bristol, has said that contrary to popular belief, cats purr when they need some care and want you close by. You may have shared the old belief that cats purr when they are happy and it might just be time for you to drop it— that is if you want to get along with your cat. In the same vein, Gary Weitzman, a renowned veterinarian, has pointed out that slow blinking is a way of your cat saying that she trusts you. I bet you may have assumed that it was probably feeling dizzy. Enough has been said. Learn to communicate with your cat.

Feeding your cat
Believe it or not, cats can be very finicky when it comes to food. I personally have 2 cats and there is only 2 kinds of food they like so you may have to go through different brands before finding the ones they like. Just make sure the food is nutritionally balanced.

Groom your cat
In addition, cats need to be regularly groomed. Grooming involves brushing your cat to remove loose hair. Brushing your cat is beneficial to her health as it will cut down on hairballs that would develop in her digestive tract if she does it herself. A pin brush works great for long fur while a flat brush is better for short fur. Use this time to inspect your cats for fleas on the skin and don’t fail to seek her cooperation before doing all this. There are a few tricks like doing this before meals and Weber say this will make the cat connect grooming with something delicious.

Provide good health care
This is likely the most important point. Kittens need regular health care when they are very young. They will need to receive vaccines for common illnesses like rabies and distemper. During these checks, the veterinary doctor will evaluate your cat for leukemia and roundworm which is highly contagious. Apart from these early checkups, you also need to monitor your cat closely, so you can tell when they are in need of medical attention. There are some signs which should immediately alert you to the fact that your cat is ill and they include Eye redness, discharge or blur; foul smell from the ears or secretions; Reddish urine or excessive urination; skin lumps and bumps, wounds; vomiting and diarrhea, and signs of insanity.

General cleanliness
If you think it’s necessary to take your bath every day, then there is no reason why you should leave your cat out. Bathe your cats with warm water and let them dry. It is also important to brush your cat’s teeth every day using a soft toothbrush and veterinary toothpaste only. Brushing your cat`s teeth regularly helps prevent gum and tooth-related diseases. Every now and then, ensure your cat has her teeth cleaned by a professional and her mouth thoroughly examined. If you are not comfortable bathing your cat, find a professional groomer who specialized in feline grooming.

Housing your cat properly
Your cat needs every bit of comfort that he or she deserves. One way of doing this is to create some space for your cat. Cats need a bit of privacy as there are times when they want to be alone to rest or sleep. The standard rule for litter boxes is 1 for each cat you may have.  Cleaning the litter box every day is a routine you need to implement in your daily life. Believe it not, cats are finicky about how clean their boxes are. If you let them get too dirty they will start eliminating next to the litter box and not in the litter box.  Also, the amount of litter is important. Standard rule is no more than 3 inches of litter in the litter box.

Play play play!

Cats love to play.  Take a run to the pet store and get yourself some cat toys. I personally am not a fan of the laser lights but small cat toys can be fun for both of you!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Alternative Pet Care - Going Natural In Treating You Pets

Making your pets healthy is one priority you should take care of if you have pets at home. Aside from the usual treatments, one can get over the counter; you also have a choice of giving alternative pet care.

As much as people are now looking for natural and alternative healing, your pet too can have alternative and natural means of treatment. It is also looking into pet care as not only treating diseases through its symptoms but promoting total pet care that will build the immune system of your pets.

Among the concerns that are being looked into in alternative pet care is to make sure that your animal has proper nutrition and making sure that he has a safe and healthy diet, helping your pet exercise and managing the stress levels in their lives as well. It also makes use of alternative practices and therapies.

Herbal Remedies
In alternative pet care, it may involve the use of herbal remedies to treat your pet's diseases. Like herbal remedies for humans, herbal medicines and natural treatments for pets are prepared from stems, leaves, barks or roots of plants. These remedies provide health benefits for your pets and address common illnesses. It is, however, important to keep in mind to know what your pet's problem is before attempting to give him any herbal remedies.

Acupuncture and Acupressure
Acupuncture and acupressure are also being used for animals to help with inflammation and can also contribute to relieving pain. Acupuncture is an ancient practice in humans that involves the insertion of very tiny needles in the many acupuncture points in the body. For pets, this is also done similarly and is said to work as an effective treatment for a variety of ailments in animals including respiratory and gastrointestinal disorders.

Chiropractic Treatment
Another practice used in alternative pet care and holistic healing for your pets is through chiropractic treatment. This involves manual therapy, aligning of the spine to improve proper functioning or the pet's body and appropriate exercise. Chiropractic treatment is not usually painful for the animals, but they may develop mild soreness after the treatment which is just normal, to allow for the adjustment to take place. Chiropractic treatment benefits your animals as this practice often address issues involving your pet's spine and joints.

Indeed, alternative pet care has been growing nowadays as people are also looking for the natural and holistic treatments themselves. The best way to make sure your pet remains healthy is making sure you help them build their immune system and prevent them from any types if diseases, parasites, and ailments by giving them the best nutrition they should have. 

As always, before starting any holistic or natural treatments, contact your Vet first so both of you can come up with a plan for ongoing treatment.

Monday, February 6, 2017

All The Small Things: The Best Way To Care For Small Animals

There’s something undeniably cute about having a small pet - they often instill us with a sense of complete wonder as we watch them scurrying around their miniature homes searching for food, bedding, or pretty much anything they can amuse themselves with! 

It doesn’t matter what kind of small creature you choose to have as a pet, they’re all fairly similar in nature in that they’re immensely curious and highly sensitive to the world around them - this makes them fantastic companions and once you form a bond with them, you’ll find that they’re loyal to you as a result and many years worth of happy memories will ensue.

Over the course of this article we’re going to address the needs of your small pet so that you can carefully consider each and every area before purchasing one - you’re going to need to ensure that you cover everything on this list adequately if you want to ensure the optimum safety and happiness of your friendly critter at all times.

What kind of home should my small pet live in?
This is an absolutely crucial first question to ask as your little friend is going to be spending the vast majority of its time in the habitat that you purchase for it - as a result, that habitat needs to be completely suitable for its needs whilst ensuring safety and protection.

If you’re going for a hamster for instance, it’s a good idea to acquire a home that allows it to get plenty of free roaming space whilst including tunnels and small areas for it to create a bed in - the tunnels will tie into its natural curiosity and small spaces are a must in order for it to create a suitable bed.

Should you choose a gerbil on the other hand, your cage should include areas where it can climb and make the most of its natural agility whilst including tunnels and open areas for it to run through - rabbits will need an outdoor hutch that contains plenty of space and adequate insulation to keep it warm during the cold months.

Regardless of your pet choice, make sure you know precisely what kind of habitat it’ll need to keep it satisfied.

The right food
Even though certain small animals may look very similar, they all have very different metabolisms and digestive systems - you’ve got to ensure that the food you purchase for your pet is going to be compatible with its inner workings.

It’s always a good idea to research online and find out which food type is going to serve your new family member the best - you need something that’s going to be nutritionally dense whilst offering every ounce of the energy it needs to function at an optimal level.
Mainstream isn’t always the best route to go down, and you’ll find that a lot of the commercial pet food available is lacking greatly in nutritional value - anything supported by a veterinary or animal welfare group will put you on the right track. 

Daily activities and human engagement
Is your creature a natural recluse or does it prefer company? Is it lazy by nature or does it need constant physical stimulation? These are both questions that you’ll need to ask yourself before deciding which small pet to get.

Some pets will naturally need a great deal of exercise, more than their cages can possibly provide - as such, you’ll need to ensure that they get plenty of time out in the open (ensure the area is secure, letting them run wildly on your front lawn for instance is definitely going to result in an escape attempt) so that they can run off all of their excess energy.
In contrast, some rabbit breeds like a little outdoor exercise in the garden but they’re content with not straying too far away from their cage - this makes them quite easy to manage and ultimately they’re often content sitting in their own space with a handful of treats to gnaw on.

No matter which pet you have, it’s definitely going to have its own unique set of personality traits - whereas too much human interaction and outdoor space can be overwhelming for some creatures, for others it is their lifeblood.

Common issues
All creature varieties have a genetic flaw of some kind as part of their organic make up and you need to know precisely what kind of issues you’re likely to face with them in order to ensure that you can look after them properly.

Research thoroughly what your new pet may be allergic to or what could lead to it falling ill and ensure that you contact your vet immediately should any of the symptoms of these ailments arise.

Small animal care certainly isn’t rocket science, and if you pay close attention to the individual needs of your pet by thoroughly digesting the innate traits and habits of the species - it’s safe to say that you’ll have a really positive time with your furry little friend.

Monday, January 23, 2017

5 Essential Tips for Effective Pet Grooming

Pets are an important part of the family. They offer protection and companionship among other things. So, you need to treat them with care like you do to other members of the family. Do you keep a cat, dog or any other pet in your home? How do you ensure it is clean and hygienic? It is important to groom your pet so you don't have to deal with any animal-human health risks. Furthermore, no one likes a stinky pet. Grooming also keeps your pets healthy and happy.

This is a good grooming practice for furry pets. Dogs and cats naturally shed fur whether it's long or short. This process allows for the development of new and healthier fur on their bodies. Brushing is one effective and easy way to prevent excessive shedding by your pets. This practice softens and cleans their coats (both top and underlying).  It is also important to choose the right brush for your pet. Each brush is designed to handle a specific kind of coat. 

Like human beings, pets also need regular bathing. The frequency of the exercise varies with your pet's breed. Some may also love to get dirty by nature. For instance if your cat or dog loves playing in the mud then you are up for frequent bathing sessions. There are recommended shampoos and soaps for washing pets. As you shop for such, make sure you choose the right ones for your pet. Organic shampoos are some of the best for your pets when it comes to bathing. Please read the ingredients to make sure they are not “abrasive” or “allergenic”. You can also vary the water temperature depending on prevailing weather conditions. Buy pet-grooming gloves to help you in scrubbing your pet. Make bathing an enjoyable experience for both yourself and your pet. 

Nail and Paw Care
Pets get their nails or paws dirty in many instances. These are among the few parts of their body they find it hard to clean on their own. A cat can sometimes try to do this but it is not effective enough. If you have dogs, you need to do it from scratch. This process can sometimes get difficult if your pet is not used to it. They can be speeding off at the sight of clippers. You can do this by playing with their paws as you hang out together. You can also check for wounds on the paws as you groom the nails. Your pets can only jump and play well if they have healthy paws and nails. Be careful not to cut the pink part of your cat's nail (the quick). It contains blood vessels making it sensitive. Very long hails can cause paw deformities and can also be very painful to the animal (imagine walking just on your toenails all day long).  If you are not comfortable cutting your pet’s nails, contact a professional groomer in your area.
Eye Care
Eyes are among the most delicate organs ever created. It is also surprising that they are very durable. Pets may sometimes get involved in fights and hurt their eyes. It is also possible for pets to get eye infections and inflammations. Early discovery of an eye problem can save your pet from an infection. The easiest way of doing this is to be observing their eyes. You can also trim hair around their eyes, and ensure they are free of mucus. You can do this by use of sterile veterinary eyewash. Before you bathe your pet, you can apply protective ophthalmic ointment on their eyes. This will prevent possible eye irritations that might cause infections. Clean any tear-stains from your pets' eyes since these can harbor bacteria.  Please contact your vet immediately if you notice any eye deformities or infections that may be occurring.

Dental Care 
Your pets need to have their teeth clean and healthy. You need to brush your dog's teeth every other day like you do to yourself. Every pet has specific toothbrushes and toothpastes. Damage to gums and the tongue expose your pets to many health risks. You can introduce your pet to this idea by massaging their gums. Once you get them used, you can brush their teeth using the old-fashioned way. Brushing your pet's teeth will also help you identify any oral complications. Be watchful for strong odors from your pet's mouth. Such symptoms may be a sign of a gum condition or digestive problems.  Some professional groomers will also clean your pets teeth as part of the grooming process so if you are comfortable brushing your pets teeth consider a professional.

Proper grooming for your pets will ensure they stay healthy and happy!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Snaggle Foot Round Lake Receives 2016 Best of Round Lake Award

Press Release


Snaggle Foot Round Lake Pet Sitters & Dog Walkers Receives 2016 Best of Round Lake Award 

Round Lake Award Program Honors the Achievement

ROUND LAKE -- Snaggle Foot Round Lake Pet Sitters & Dog Walkers has been selected for the 2016 Best of Round Lake Award in the Pet Sitter category by the Round Lake Award Program.

Each year, the Round Lake Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Round Lake area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2016 Round Lake Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Round Lake Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Round Lake Award Program
The Round Lake Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Round Lake area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Round Lake Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community's contributions to the U.S. economy.

SOURCE: Round Lake Award Program

Monday, November 21, 2016

Thanksgiving Safety Tips For Pets

By:  Laurie Brzostowski, President, Snaggle Foot Dog Walks and Pet Care-Round Lake

Wow, I can't believe I am actually posting this again this year.  Where did the year go right? 

Well, just in case anyone forgets, Thanksgiving is a great holiday but we also need to remember to keep our pets safe during this time !

So, without further ado, here are some Thanksgiving safety tips for your pets.

Gobble Gobble (Turkey)If you decide to feed your pet a little nibble of turkey, make sure it’s boneless and well-cooked. Don't offer her raw or undercooked turkey, which may contain salmonella bacteria.

Sage.. I love Sage.. but not for your pets
Sage can make your Thanksgiving stuffing taste great, but it and many other herbs contain essential oils and resins that can cause gastrointestinal upset and central nervous system depression to pets if eaten in large quantities. Cats are especially sensitive to the effects of certain essential oils.

Raw bread dough... yuckDon't spoil your pet’s holiday by giving him raw bread dough. According to ASPCA experts, when raw bread dough is ingested, an animal's body heat causes the dough to rise in his stomach. As it expands, the pet may experience vomiting, severe abdominal pain and bloating, which could become a life-threatening emergency, requiring surgery.

Yummy cakes and other sweets
If you’re baking up Thanksgiving cakes, be sure your pets keep their noses out of the batter, especially if it includes raw eggs—they could contain salmonella bacteria that may lead to food poisoning.

It's so good... but too much of a good thing
A few small boneless pieces of cooked turkey, a taste of mashed potato or even a lick of pumpkin pie shouldn’t pose a problem. However, don't allow your pets to overindulge, as they could wind up with a case of stomach upset, diarrhea or even worse—an inflammatory condition of the pancreas known as pancreatitis. In fact, it’s best keep pets on their regular diets during the holidays.

But what about my treats (as your dog looks at you with those eyes)
While the humans are chowing down, give your cat and dog their own little feast. Offer them Nylabones or made-for-pet chew bones. Or stuff their usual dinner—perhaps with a few added tidbits of turkey, vegetables (try sweet potato or green beans) and dribbles of gravy—inside a Kong toy. They’ll be happily occupied for awhile, working hard to extract their dinner from the toy.

Let's all enjoy this great Holiday and make sure everyone is happy and safe !  Happy Thanksgiving everyone !