Must Love Pets Blog

By Lynn Hugo

We all want the very best for our beloved pets, whether it is the best veterinary care, best pet sitting care, best trainer, best toys, best treats, or the best food. More than a quarter century working with and caring for animals has made me a trusted resource. And, both clients and friends reach out when they have questions about their pets’ care. I am honored to be asked and happy to help. Here on my blog I will be sharing the information to help keep your pet healthy and thriving.

Do you have a question? Do you need advice? Please feel free to message me on the contact page if you have any questions that you would like to see covered here. I’ll thoughtfully share my opinion based on my years of both hands-on experience and research.

Adopt. Don’t. Shop.

Rescue’ is the best breed

November 20, 2018 – by Lynn Hugo So, you want to get a new pet? Many people think their only options are the local Pet Store. Consider adopting a pet from a shelter or a rescue instead. There are hundreds if not thousands of shelters and rescues around the country that are full of wonderful animals that need a loving home. Did you know that each year, approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter shelters around the country every year? (3.4 million are dogs; 3.4 million are cats. Almost half of these animals are euthanized, many for the simple reason that the shelter is overcrowded.)

Did you know that many dogs in pet stores come from puppy mills? The truth about pet stores, puppy mills is well documented but often not known.  Puppy Mill conditions are horrible. (I can’t do it justice. If you want more information, search Puppy Mills on line and educate yourself. I warn you, the photos are horrific.) The parents live in cages their whole life with very little human contact or love. They are forced to breed so their puppies can be sold to pet stores around the country. Once the parents are no longer able to breed, they are killed or abandoned. Many of these puppies are sick and develop serious health issues because of the conditions they lived in during the beginning of their lives. Recently many counties and states are starting pass laws to put Puppy Mills out of business. We can also do our part by adopting from a shelter or rescue and not shopping in a pet store.

But you want a purebred dog or cat? Did you know there are rescues for almost every breed of dog or cat?  There are even rescues for rabbits, reptiles, birds, even horses and pigs or other farm animals. Many of you know that I have two Pugs. Both are rescue Pugs. Just in the state of Florida, there are three rescues dedicated to Pugs. (Pug Rescue of Florida, Compassionate Pug Rescue and Central Florida Pug Rescue are the three pug rescues.) If you are looking for a specific breed, just search for that breed, add the word rescue, and your state. (Example: Pug Rescues Florida) You will find lots of pets that need home.

Here are a few other reasons to Adopt and not Shop: Adopting a pet from a shelter or rescue costs less. Most pets can be adopted for $50-300. The pets are fully vetted. (I.E. Spayed/neutered, vaccinated, checked and treated for intestinal and heartworms, and given a complete physical so you know the health of the pet prior to adopting it.) Several times a year a lot of shelters have specials where their pets can be adopted for a lot less and sometimes FREE. A dog from pet store can cost thousands of dollars. This does not include any veterinary care they may need.

Many dogs in shelters/rescues are already trained. (I.E. Housebroken, crate trained, leash trained, and some are obedience trained.) You will save 2 lives. (This is my favorite.) You save the pet your adopting which opens a spot in the shelter/ rescue for the next pet that needs to be saved. Inspire and educate others by your actions. Hopefully I have given you something to think about before you add your next pet to your home. Below are some of the many local rescues and shelters that I have worked with and supported throughout my life.

Remember, if you are looking for a specific breed, search on line for the rescues in Florida.  

Local Pet Rescues

LINKS: Big Dog Ranch Rescue – Loxahatchee, FL Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League – West Palm Beach, FL Justin Bartlett Animal Rescue – West Palm Beach, FL A Second Chance Puppies and Kittens Rescue – Royal Palm Beach, FL Palm Beach County Animal Control – West Palm Beach, FL Tri-County Animal Rescue – Boca Raton, FL Adopt A Cat Foundation – Lake Park, FL Good Karma Pet Rescue – Ft Lauderdale, FL PetFinder  PetFinder is a non-profit internet company that operates the largest online pet adoption website.  Many rescues/shelters list their pets here as well as their own web site. You can set up a search for the specific pet you are looking for. They will send you emails when a pet matching your selection is posted. It’s a great place to browse to see all of the wonderful animals available for adoption.

“Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever.” ― Karen Davison

Holiday Table Scraps

Holiday food hidden dangers

Nov. 23, 2018, by Lynn Hugo – One of the most asked question is can my dog or cat eat blank? Fill in the blank. Or, what is poisonous to my dog or cat? A lot can be. Now, this is not a discussion about the pros and cons of feeding pets “people food”.  (That is for another article.) With the Holiday Season upon us, I want to share a list of common Holiday Foods that you should NOT feed your pets. This, of course, applies to year-round feeding too!

  • Turkey Skin, Drippings, and Gravy
  • Fat Trimmings or Fatty Foods
  • Turkey Twine
  • Turkey Bones
  • Stuffing
  • Sage
  • Raisins and Grapes
  • Onions and Garlic
  • Nutmeg
  • Nuts
  • Mushrooms

Many of these foods are actually toxic to cats and dogs. Some extremely so. Please keep this list handy so no one “treats” your pet to something unhealthy and potentially dangerous. Make your holidays joyful for you and safe for your cherished pets. Before feeding those big brown eyes your leftovers, remember to consider, “What is poisonous to my dog or cat?” Then give them a hug instead.

Social Media & Lost Pets

Finding lost cats & dogs

January 2019, by Lynn Hugo – Losing your beloved pet is one most terrifying feelings you may ever have as a pet parent. Whether your pet has escaped through an open door or gate or was stolen from your yard, it can be daunting to know where to start. Social Media has become an incredible tool for sharing info and successfully reuniting lost pets and owners. Facebook and the neighborhood app Nextdoor are filled with posts from pet parents crying out for help finding their beloved pet.

Posting on Facebook and the Nextdoor App is a great place to start for posting about lost cats and lost dogs, or a pet you’ve found. The members of these social media sites are enthusiastic about spreading the word and helping lost pets find their way home. (In my opinion, one of the very best things about social media is the support that has been given to rescue groups and pet owners who need help!)

Here are some things all pet owners can do to help:

Photos: Be sure you have a good photo of your pet. Take a clear photo of the pet you have found.

Tags: Get a pet i.d. tag made with your name and contact info. Be sure you pet has this on their collar and is always wearing it. (Most pet stores have a machine in their store that makes them for you for a small fee. Or, order online from amazon.com or like retailer)

Microchip: Microchip your pet. If your pet does not have a microchip, please get this done immediately. According to the National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy, only 2% of all lost cats and 15-20% of lost dogs are returned to their owners. Most of those are identified with tags, tattoos or microchips. There are several places to get this done for a small fee. (Animal Hospitals, Local Rescues, and Pet Stores are a good place to start.) Be sure you update your information with the microchip company every year. It doesn’t cost much at all and can be the difference between you finding your pet or not. There was a story of a Pit Bull named Smoke that was stolen 5 years ago from California. He was found in Cocoa, Florida and returned to the owner because the dog was micro chipped, and the owner kept his info updated in the hopes of getting his dog back.)

Facebook: Facebook is a great resource for reuniting lost pets with their owners. There are local groups Facebook Groups dedicated to helping locate lost pets or help you with a found pet. You should post the photo and description of the pet, include the age if known, breed, size, color, sex, if it is neutered, and distinguishing marks, along with the location it was last seen. Be as specific as possible.

 

Below is a list of Facebook Groups that that I use in the Wellington, Florida area. If you perform a Facebook search for lost and found pets; you will find others that are in your own neighborhood.

  • Wellington/Royal Palm Beach Lost & Found Pets & More
  • Lake Worth Lost & Found Pets
  • Lost & Found Pets of SE Florida – Broward, Dade, & Palm Beach Counties
  • Loxahatchee Lost and Found Pets
  • Boynton Beach Lost and Found for Pets
  • PawBoost – This site allows you to create a flyer that you can then print and post in your neighborhood.

Nextdoor: Another effective social media tool is the App. On Nextdoor you simply input your home address, so you’ll be connected with your “neighbors.”  The pet community is responsive; many people are very willing to help you find your pet. If you can afford to offer a reward, that is also a help.

 

Fortunately, I have not lost a pet, but I have found several over that last couple of years. One was microchipped so I found the owner after my veterinarian scanned him. I also found two dogs in my front yard one cold morning. I took a photo and posted their photo on the two local Animal Shelter sites below. I was on my way to visit my vet to have the dogs scanned for a microchip, when the owner’s son called my cell phone saying their dogs had dug out of their backyard last night. It was a happy day for all when I returned them to their owner.

 Local Web Sites to Post Lost & Found Pets:

These web sites are dedicated to helping find lost pets.  If you find a pet and cannot keep it at your home until the owners are found, you can take it to these shelters.   They will keep it for a few days and if the owner is not found, they may be able to put them up for adoption.  (If you live in another county, search for local shelters in your area for help.)

Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League
3200 North Military Trail, West Palm Beach, FL
561-833-8131

Palm Beach County Animal Care and Control
7100 Belvedere Road, West Palm Beach, FL
561-233-1200

I hope this information helps should you ever lose your cherished dog, cat, bunny or bird. Or maybe you will be the hero who helps reunite a pet with their grateful owner.

Missing Cats

How to find a lost cat

February, 2019, by Lynn Hugo – My last article shared information for finding a lost pet using Social Media. While Social Media is a wonderful tool, here are some additional ideas mostly for finding a lost cat. (Some ideas would be great for helping find a dog too.)

Here are some great tips I have collected. I hope this helps you bring your kitty home.

First of all, it’s VERY important you leave food/water out for kitty. Also, try some tuna fish. Cats usually do not go too far unless chased.

If you can, leave a USED litter box outside in front of the door or area where the cat went missing, a familiar blanket or “bed” might help. Also, a slept in bed sheet of yours, and some of their favorite person’s worn unwashed clothing (for scent) placed outside may attract her/him back home.

Lost cat & lost dog checklist:

  • Ask neighbors and people in the area to check their garages/sheds/basements, under decks, storm drains ANYWHERE a cat might try to HIDE or become TRAPPED – under, inside of, on top of. Search upwards too: trees, roofs, ledges.
  • Flood the area with flyers (if possible, at least a 5-6 block radius.) Go door-to-door in your neighborhood passing out flyers and talking to people. PawBoost is a great site that not only sends out emails and Facebook posts to help you find your lost pet, but I also have a flyer making tool.
  • If you have recently moved, drive back to where you used to live. My sister’s cat was found lying in the parking lot of her old apartment building, waiting for her to come home.
  • Notify local animal control and local vets. Post a lost Craigslist ad and check found cat ads.
  • VISIT THE LOCAL SHELTERS IN PERSON, calling is NOT enough.You need to walk through to see that your cat is not there on stray hold. Go often and leave flyers with the shelters and area vets.
  • Put a flyer in your car window.
  • Also give a flyer to the local mailman, garbage man, joggers, dog walkers, meter readers, neighborhood kids, and UPS driver (they cover a lot of ground.) Put one on your mailbox. Post flyers on telephone poles.
  • At night go out and shake a bag of treats, or a cat food bag/box, or carry an opened favorite cat food can or tuna fish can, as you walk looking for her (most cats are active during the quiet hours of the night between 1am and 5am but that can vary.)
  • Call your cat’s name QUIETLY and LISTEN OFTEN for a response. Kitty could be hiding or trapped somewhere close. Use a flashlight, even in the daylight, see if you can catch the reflection from your kitty’s eyes. You may have to literally search through bushes, etc. especially if it is really very frightened.
  • Remember, you might be right near kitty but he/she may be so terrified it might not respond for a while. So RECHECK places you’ve been before. Check all possible places it may have crawled into to hide or seek shelter or become trapped.
  • Crack a window open at night to be able to hear any meowing outside.
    Consider if there is a garage or enclosed porch door that you can leave ajar with food/water and worn clothing items inside the door.
  • EVENTUALLY you may have to set up a humane trap baited with tuna fish or mackerel or sardines. These can be purchased through Pet Stores, but you might also be able to borrow one from a rescue organization. Ask in the local lost pet Facebook Groups.  Someone may be willing to let you borrow one.
  • Check and re-check other local Facebook group often for postings of found cats.

These are all proven tips that have helped bring many lost cats home. Don’t ever give up looking. Lost cats are counting on us to find them and bring them home.

Complete Cover Cats

These are cats that are indoor-only pets or those who are shy to everyone but you. Once outside they are in completely unfamiliar territory. Instinct tells them to hide in the very closest “safe” place possible. They usually won’t roam but will go totally radio silent to stay invisible to any predators. Often, they will not come when called even if they are a few feet away.

In one case a friend told me she had searched 15 acres over and over; ultimately, she found her cat 60 feet from her house; he was hunkered down in a thick bush. She had searched in that bush four or five times over the course of three days. He’d been there all along. These are cats who will often run from their owners because everyone is a threat once they are outside. So, look deep into the low bushes closest to the house first. I suggest having a cloth or towel in case your cat starts to run or claw you when you grab him/her. They become so disoriented that even if they recognize you, they may be too fearful to simply meander over. You may want to bring smelly canned food or tuna as a lure.

Most importantly in the case of a lost cat that is a complete cover cat, be patient. They are most likely so much closer than you think

We’re glad you found us!

Must Love Pets Sitter offers dog walking, pet sitting and specialty care for your pets. Serving Wellington, Florida and beyond.