Halloween Pet Safety Tips

Halloween Pet Safety Tips

Halloween is fun for humans, but it can be terrifying for our four-legged friends! 
Halloween Pet Safety




Keep Your Pet Inside

Taking Fido along to trick or treat may not be the best idea. Dark streets, houses with strange dogs inside, and kids in costumes may cause too much stress and anxiety for your dog. Leaving him ar home where he is safe and comfortable may be the best decision. 

Leave the Candy to the Humans

Halloween candy is not good for your pet. Chocolate is toxic to dogs and xylitol can be deadly. Be sure to keep all Halloween candy of reach of your pets. 

Proper Identification

When trick or treaters are at the door, you may be too distracted to notice Fido or Fluffy slip outside. Make sure your pets are wearing ID tags or have a microchip in the off chance they get outside. If you are able, keep your pet in a crate or closed room to eliminate the chance that they run out the door while you hand out candy. 

Keep Decorations Out of Reach

Halloween decorations can cause severe illness and death if ingested by your pet. If you have a dog that likes to chew on various items be sure to keep decorations out of their reach. If you have a curious cat that may knock over candles inside your jack o lantern, switch to a battery operated candle to prevent a fire or injury to your pet. 

Stranger Danger

If your pet is not too fond of strangers or tends to lunge at people, it doesn’t know be sure to give your pet a safe place to hide away from the area in which you will be handing out candy. It is better to be safe than sorry. 

Pet Costumes

If you plan on having your pet wear a costume for Halloween be sure your pet is comfortable while in costume. Never leave them unattended while wearing the costume and be sure there are no loose or easily accessible pieces that the pet could chew and ingest. Be sure your pet can breathe, hear, and see properly in the costume as well. 

Having your pet be apart of Halloween can be fun, just be sure to use proper judgment and most importantly be sure your pet is comfortable participating!  Follow these Halloween Pet Safety Tips to ensure the entire family has a safe and fun holiday. 


Written by Julie Gajewski, CPPS. Julie has been pet sitting and working in the veterinary industry as both a technician and hospital administrator since 1997. She is a pet business consultant and a guest blog writer for pet sitters across the world. She lives in Florida with her husband and furry children, 2 Pugs and 4 cats. You can find out more about Julie by visiting her website.

Complimentary Pet Sitting Extras

pet sitter water plants

A professional pet sitter has both the care of your home and your pets as their top priority. It is a given that your pet sitter will provide your pet care, but did you know that they will also water your plants, collect your mail, and along with other extras? Here is a list of the complimentary pet sitting Extras extras Top Dog Pet Sitters offers along with a pet sitting reservation. 



Watering Plants

We may not have a green thumb, but we would be happy to water your plants while you are away. We can water your indoor & outdoor plants as long as you provide us with the exact instructions for care. There may be an additional fee added if your garden or plant collection takes away from the care of your pets, but in most cases the service is complimentary!


Trash & Recycle 

Not placing your trash and recycle out for pick up like you do every week can be a tell tale sign you are not home. Leaving trash bins full until your return could result in yucky smells, bugs, and rodents. Placing your trash and recycling out for pick up is just one of the complimentary pet sitting extras we offer!  Just let us know your pick up days and we would be happy to follow through!


Home Security

Giving your house an “at home” appearance is one of the perks of hiring a professional pet sitter. As one of our complimentary pet sitting extras, we offer light & curtain rotation service, as well and TV & radio for sound. Making your home appear to have someone there may be a deterrent to potential burglars. We even offer this service those homes without pets! Ask about our house sitting services by visiting our contact us page. 


Feeders for Backyard Birds

Are you one of the many people who enjoy a backyard bird hobby? No need to be worried that your little-feathered friends will find a new feeder while you are away! We will happily refill bird feeder and bird baths while you are gone. 


Mail, Newspaper, & Packages 

Most clients do not realize we will check the mail, collect the newspapers, and bring packages at our visits. We don’t want your home to be a sitting target while you mail & newspapers pile up and we know how crafty some thieves can be about stealing delivered packages. That is why we offer these services. Please keep the deliveries with in reason, your pet sitter may not be able to carry in a large or heavy package. 


Pools & Other Home Features

We may not be a pool service but we do know that the filter requires a clean basket in order to run effectively. We may not be an A/C company, but we know when your unit is not working properly. If you want us to be sure that things are running smoothly with some of your home’s features, just ask  and we will let you know if that is a task we would be happy to add on! 


Keep in mind our main concern is your pet. Therefore any complimentary pet sitting extras that will take away from the time your pet receives and the attention they deserve may have a nominal fee may be added to your invoice.  

Written by Julie Gajewski, CPPS. Julie has been pet sitting and working in the veterinary industry as both a technician and hospital administrator since 1997. She is a pet business consultant and a guest blog writer for pet sitters across the world. She lives in Florida with her husband and furry children, 2 Pugs and 4 cats. You can find out more about Julie by visiting her website.

Heat Stroke in Dogs

What are the signs of heat stroke in dogs?  

Heat Stroke in Dogs

According to Ohio State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, “If left untreated, heat stroke can cause serious damage to organs and may lead to seizures, shock, collapse, coma, and death.” Dogs do not have the same cooling mechanisms humans do. They do not sweat, they pant and use a temperature exchange called convection to cool the body by exchanging the warm body temperatures for the cooler air outside. If the outside air is just as hot as the dog’s body temperature, the dog will be unable to cool itself. 

What are the signs of heat stroke in dogs?

  • Excessive panting
  • Increased heart rate
  • Drooling
  • Bright red tongue/gums
  • Pale gums
  • Thick saliva
  • LethargyWeakness
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting (sometimes with blood)
  • Diarrhea

If left untreated, seizures, coma, cardiac arrest, and death can occur.

What should I do if my dog is suffering from heat stroke?

First, move your dog immediately from the heat. Transport your dog to your veterinarian immediately. While transporting, it is important to lower your dog’s temperature by placing cool, wet towels under the front legs in the armpit area, on the back of the neck, and in the groin area. Placing your dog in front of a fan to help move the air around him. Never submerge your pet is ice water, cooling your pet too quickly can cause life-threatening medical conditions. Monitoring your dog’s temperature rectally is very important! Once the body temperature is 103ºF, your can stop the efforts to cool your dog down. Remove wet towels, turn off fans, and dry your dog off so your dog’s body temperature does not get too low. Even if your dog is no longer panting and its temperature is normal, a trip to the veterinarian is still needed to ensure your dog is not dehydrated or is suffering from other complications. Have cool water available for your pet to drink at their leisure during the cooling process and after their body temperature is regulated.

How can heat stroke in dogs be prevented?

Provide your dog access to fresh cool water.  Never leave your pet in a hot parked car, the temperature inside a parked car can escalate to 140 degrees quickly. Make sure when outside your dog has access to shade and avoid places like the beach, areas in direct sunlight, or areas covered in concrete where heat is reflected. On hot days limit outdoor exercise. Keep your dog inside in the air conditioning. Provide frozen bottles of water under bedding and towels for your pet to lay on.

If you suspect your dog is suffering from heat stroke, do not hesitate. Take your pet immediately to the veterinarian. 


Staying Cool in the Summer Heat: Tips for Humans & Their Canine Companions

Staying Cool in the Summer Heat: Tips for Humans & Their Canine Companions

staying cool

As dog walkers, we know all too well how hot it gets here in Georgia during the Summer! We take every precaution to keep ourselves and the dogs we care for on our walking excursions cool and to prevent heat exhaustion or worse heat stroke. Here are a few tips on staying cool in the Summer heat when outside with your dog. 

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is important for both you and Fido when enjoying the great outdoors. Always carry a water bottle for the both of you whether at the park or on a walk. Check out this easy to use travel water bottle for your dog on Amazon. It comes with a small bowl for Fido to drink from. CamelBak has great options for wearable water bottles the keep your hands free while enjoying the great outdoors. 

Doggie Pools

The fastest way to cool down Fido during a hot day is to let him play in a doggie pool. Doggie pools come is all shapes and sizes. There are collapsible pools for easy storage, chew resistant pools, and pools with built-in drains. Check out these doggie pools on Pinterest or go to your local Walmart to buy a good old fashioned kiddie pool. 

Cooling Towels/Cooling Vests

Cooling towels and vests are a great way cool you and your dog during a hot day. For us humans, the Chilly Pad by froggtoggs, keeps you cool all day. It retains water while staying dry to the touch.  For Fido, the Swamp Cooler by RuffWear provides protection from the sun and cooling through evaporation.

Staying cool is key during the summer months for both humans and pets alike. Always make sure you and your pet have ample shade when outdoors and never leave your pet in a hot car!  


Common Digestive Problems in Dogs

common digestive problems in dogs

We’ve all been there. One day Fido is feeling 100 % and the next, he has an upset tummy. Understanding common digestive problems in dogs will help you know if Fido’s upset tummy is an emergency.


What is pancreatitis? 

It is a digestive disease that occurs when the pancreas, located right side of the abdomen adjacent to the stomach, becomes inflamed. The enzymes that the pancreas creates to aid in the digestion of food start to overflow into the abdomen. Once in the enzymes reach the abdomen, the body begins to digest itself leading to kidney, liver, and damage to other organs. Pancreatitis is a medical emergency and can result in death if not treated properly! 

What are the symptoms?

Commonly, most dogs will present symptoms that include nausea, vomiting, fever, lethargy, abdominal pain, diarrhea, increased heart rate, difficulty breathing, and a decreased appetite. You may see your dog place their hind end in the air while their front legs and head are low to the ground. Some dogs with severe cases may have bouts of severe depression, go into acute shock, or even die. 

How is it caused? 

Although the exact cause of pancreatitis is not known, a meal high in fat is often thought to be the culprit. Since a dog’s digestive tract is not used to high-fat meals, it is best to not give Fido table scraps of human food like beef, bacon, or chicken skin. Often times, Pancreatitis can present spontaneously without any reason or be the result of high doses or corticosteroids. 

How is it diagnosed?

After an exam, your vet will draw blood to check your pet’s white blood cell count, organ function, and to see if their enzyme levels are normal. Since a dog with pancreatitis may have normal enzyme levels, your vet will also run a Snap cPL test that detects elevated lipase levels in your dog’s blood. X-rays may also be taken to see if there has been any damage to the pancreas. In some cases, an ultrasound may be needed to chek for inflammation and infection. 

How is it treated? 

Your dog will be hospitalized in most cases for 2-4 days for treatment. IV fluids will be given to keep your pet hydrated and to keep your pet’s electrolytes balanced. Pain medications will be administered to help wth the intense pain the disease causes. Antibiotics will be given if an infection is suspected. Anti-inflammatory medications along with anti-nausea & vomiting medications will be administered. Food will be slowly reintroduced as your pet begins to feel better. Once discharged, your pet will be sent home a low fat easy to digest prescription diet to help prevent recurring bouts of the disease. 


What is colitis? 

Colitis is inflammation of the colon or large intestine. Colitis happens when the final part of the digestive process in disrupted because the lining of the colon is irritated and inflamed. 

What are the symptoms? 

Most dogs will have small frequent bowel movements often described as soft. Many dogs will strain to defecate or have loose watery stools sometimes accompanied by mucous or blood. a frequent urge to defecate is common along with passing gas. Vomiting and weight loss may also occur but are rare. Often times the area surrounding the anus is inflamed or red from straining. 

How is it caused? 

Colitis has symptoms that suddenly appear such as diarrhea and may resolve on its own after a few days. Your pet may appear normal other than having diarrhea. Colitis is caused by a change in diet, stress, parasites, ingesting toxins or foreign objects, or bacterial overgrowth in the colon.

How is it diagnosed? 

Your veterinarian will perform a complete exam and obtain your pet’s medical history. A fecal test will be done to examine the feces for parasites and bacteria. Blood will be drawn to check your pet’s red & white blood cells and organ function. X-rays may be taken to locate any abnormalities within the intestines.

How is it treated? 

Treatment of colitis often depends on the underlying condition that is causing the symptoms. If a specific cause of the colitis cannot be found, your vet will recommend withholding food for 24-48 hours and placing your pet on a low residue, high fiber diet.  Your pet may be placed on an antimicrobial medication such as Flagyl for any overgrowth of bacteria.  

These common digestive problems in dogs require medical treatment. If your dog is having diarrhea or exhibiting any of the symptoms mentioned above call your veterinarian for an appointment. 


Written by Julie Gajewski. Julie has been pet sitting and working in the veterinary industry as both a Veterinary Technician and veterinary hospital administrator since 1997. She founded her pet sitting company, Fuzzy Friends Pet Care, at the young age of 16. She was nominated as one of Pet Sitters International’s Top 5 Pet Sitters in 2016 and is a Certified Professional Pet Sitter through Pet Sitters International. She is a pet business consultant and a guest blog writer for pet sitters across the world. She lives in Florida with her husband and furry children, 2 Pugs and 4 cats.

Top 3 Weekend Getaways within 300 miles of Douglas County, Georgia

pet sitter

We all love to get away. Relax. Refresh. Recharge. Taking the time to unplug and spending quality time with the ones we love. Taking time to focus on yourself and what is most important in life. Did you know that there are three amazing weekend getaways within 300 miles of Douglas County? Read along to find your next weekend road trip!


Savannah, GA

Savannah is known for its haunted history and southern charm. Located 240 miles and just over a 4-hour drive away, Savannah is just the weekend getaway you have been dreaming about. There is a little bit of something for everyone. History buffs will love the Telfair Museum, the oldest museum in the south, or the Bonaventure Cemetery, one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world. Beach lovers can take a drive over to Tybee Island to enjoy a day in the sun or feast on low country seafood at The Crab Shack. Golf lovers can cross the Savannah River and head to Hilton Head, SC for the day. Ghost enthusiast can take a ghost tour around the city in a hurst or enjoy a haunted pub crawl. Literary fans can visit the many places in the book “Midnight in the Garden of Good & Evil” such as Clary’s Cafe & The Mercer Willams House. Foodies can enjoy countless culinary creations at the many restaurants the city has to offer such as Vinnie Van Go Go’s or the Ole Pink House.  When the sun goes down the fun doesn’t stop! Savanah has an eclectic and vibrant nightlife. Take a walk down River Street after dark and the city comes to life. Make sure you visit Savannah Smiles Dueling Piano Bar while you are out, trust us, you won’t regret it! After all that fun, there is no shortage of awesome places to rest your head. Savannah is full of historic bed & breakfasts, haunted hotels, and budget friendly lodging. You’ll love Savannah! There is so much to do you will be planning your next several weekend getaways to Savannah before your first weekend is over!

Blue Ridge, GA

See where the Appalachian Trail begins and get to know Mother Nature a little better. Blue Ridge, GA is about 100 miles and a short 2-hour drive away. If you are more of an outdoorsy type, then this is the place to go! Downtown is filled with quaint shops, a variety of restaurants, and there is always a festival going on. Take a ride on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway and depart from the 100-year-old station and take a trip back in time through the mountains. Take a scenic hike on the Benton MacKaye Trail and cross the Toccoa River via a swinging bridge. Float along the Toccoa River for a relaxing Summer afternoon. Go horseback riding through the Mountains. Visit one of the many local wineries or breweries the area has to offer. When the sun goes down, hang your hat at a local lodge, bed & breakfast, or a cabin in the mountains. Blue Ridge, GA is full of things to do, but be sure to slow down, relax, and enjoy the scenery, after all, this is a weekend getaway and you will be on Blue Ridge time. 

Asheville, NC

Asheville is an electric city nestled in the Fench Broad River Valley of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  In just under a 4-hour drive, you can tour the Biltmore or eat at one of the many hip restaurants this artsy city has to offer. Take a trip South to Hendersonville to eat at Never Blue and walk the mountain trails. Take the Blue Ridge Parkway for a scenic drive you will never forget. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy zip-lining through the treetops, bird watching, hunting for waterfalls, mountain biking, fly fishing, and more. City dwellers can sample the many eclectic dining locations throughout the city. We suggest not missing out on the chance to eat at Tupelo Honey Cafe or Sweet Creek Brewing Company. If you appreciate the arts, the River Arts District is an absolute must. There you can view live exhibits, tour galleries, and see real artists at work. After a fun day, you can get your rest at one of the many luxury hotels, cabins, or bed & breakfasts. Asheville is one of those weekend getaways that you will be happy to do again! 

What are you waiting for? Starting planning your weekend getaway to one (or all three) of these exciting destinations! Need pet sitting while you enjoy your trip? Give us at call at 678-665-2213 or visit our website to learn more about our services. 

Written by Julie Gajewski. Julie has been pet sitting and working in the veterinary industry as both a technician and hospital administrator since 1997. She is a pet business consultant and a guest blog writer for pet sitters across the world. She lives in Florida with her husband and furry children, 2 Pugs and 4 cats.

Why you need to hire a dog walker

dog walker

Your dog is a loyal creature. He patiently waits for you to come home from work to give you kisses and cuddles when you walk in the door. However, most evenings the kisses and the cuddles are put on hold for Fido’s much-needed bathroom break. In a perfect world, you could work from home and have time to take Fido on a nice leisurely walk 2 or 3 times a day. But let’s get real for a minute here…ain’t nobody got time for that! The boss needs you to stay late, the kids have soccer practice, somebody’s got to make dinner. That is where a dog walker can make a positive impact on the relationship you have with your canine companion. 


A dog walker provides a midday bathroom break

Healthy dogs can often hold their bladder for up to 8 hours. Some can even go longer. Just because Fido has an “iron bladder” doesn’t mean you have to make him hold it all day. Hiring a dog walker to come and give Fido walk midday (and evenings too), break up the time he has to hold his bladder, which makes Fido a happy pooch and you a happy pet parent. Dog walkers are hitting the pavement walking dogs all across the country at all times of the day. Here at Top Dog Pet Sitter, we walk dogs starting at 11:00 am all the way to 2:00 pm and as needed in the evenings to accommodate everyone’s work schedule. 

A dog walker helps keep Fido from getting bored

We all hate being bored. Fido is no exception. While you work the daily grind Fido is at home switching from snoozing on the couch to snoozing on his dog bed. He tosses around a toy or two and enjoys his daily routine of barking at the mailman. It is in the in-between naps and routine that your dog craves attention to break up his day. A dog walker can be your dog’s midday hero showing up just in the nick of time to get Fido outside to sniff all the new and old neighborhood dogs that have cruised by the house since his last walk. After his walk, he can settle into his doggy bed with a smile knowing his favorite person will be home soon to take him for an evening stroll. 

A dog walker provides exercise

Exercise is just as important for your dog as it is for you! Fido needs to get in some cardio each day to keep his waistline trim and his heart healthy. But if you are anything like most working adults, getting your own cardio workout in everyday hard enough. Let your dog walker come to the rescue! Dog Walkers are superheroes with leashes. Their job is to exercise your dog. So go ahead and give your friendly neighborhood dog walker a call and hit will be hitting the pavement in no time! 

A dog walker allows crated dogs to stretch their legs

Crate training has saved many dog owners from costly veterinary bills and many a headache. Your dog’s crate maybe his safe haven or the scary place he goes when you leave him home. Either way, he sees it, a good stretch of the legs midday makes his crate time more enjoyable. A midday walk will improve his circulation and keep his joints from getting stiff. Your dog is already getting excited about his potential dog walker as he reads this while longer over your shoulder. 

A dog walker helps prevent accidents from puppies & seniors

Puppies are cute. They make you laugh when they do adorable things, they make you cry when they have accidents. Seniors dogs are so regal. Their loyalty brings a smile to your face, but their lack of bladder control will make you frown. What if there was some magical way for you to go to work and come home to an accident-free home? There is! Dog walkers are like your fairy godmother when it comes to puppies and senior’s pets. They are available to let your dog outside for a potty break or walk while you make that money. They can wave their magic wand and customize a schedule that works best for your schedule, their schedule, your dog’s bladder’s schedule. 

A dog walker provides you with peace of mind

Happy hour with colleagues. A ball game after work. Your daughter has a recital. Boss making you stay late again. There is a pile-up on the interstate. Sometimes life just gets in the way and you have to roll with punches. Fido doesn’t know how to roll like that. He’s on a schedule. A dog walker can give you peace of mind that you do not have to rush home to get him out the door to potty. No need to brush off your colleagues for that evening drink. Catch that ball game with a client. Sit in the front row at the recital. Make the boss happy and stay to finish up that project. Rock out to your favorite songs while sitting in traffic. Just keep calm and call your dog walker! 

When hiring a professional dog walker, be sure to check their credentials! Professional dog walkers are bonded & insured,  CPR First Aid Trained, have a clear background check, and hold other professional certifications and training certificates. 

Let Christina of Top Dog give Fido the midday walk he needs and deserves.  Click here to check out our services page to find out more about our Midday Dog Walks.

Written by Julie Gajewski. Julie has been pet sitting and working in the veterinary industry as both a technician and hospital administrator since 1997. She is a pet business consultant and a guest blog writer for pet sitters across the world. She lives in Florida with her husband and furry children, 2 Pugs and 4 cats.


5 Ways to Keep Fido & Fluffy’s Breath Fresh


February is National Pet Dental Health Month. What better way to celebrate than to learn about 5 ways to keep Fido & Fluffy’s breath fresh. Kisses from Fido are sweet until you get a whiff of stinky dog breath in your face. Fluffy sleeping on your head is sweet, but her fish breath is not! Keep cuddle time and kisses sweet by following these steps to keep your pet’s teeth & gums healthy and their breath fresh. 



1) Brush their pearly whites!

Number one on our list of 5 ways to keep Fido & Fluffy’s breath fresh is, brush their pearly whites! Bacteria is present in everyone’s mouth. After eating it mixes with saliva, turns into plaque, and settles under the gumline. Over time if not removed by daily brushing, plaque turns into tartar. Daily brushing removes the plaque a helps keep bacteria from building up under the gum line. You can find a variety of pet toothbrushes & pet toothpaste at your local veterinarian. Here is a friendly reminder, make sure you use a toothpaste that is made for pets. Human toothpaste includes fluoride, which is extremely poisonous to dogs.


2) Place water additives in your pet’s water to kill bacteria

Number two on our list of 5 ways to keep Fido & Fluffy’s breath fresh is place water additives in your pet’s water to kill bacteria. Additives are easy to use and they kill bacteria and freshen breath when daily brushing is inconvenient. All you have to do is measure out the additive according to the directions and add it to the water in your pet’s water bowl. There are many additives on the market. Check with your veterinarian to see which product they recommend. 


3) Give dental chews treats & food to your pet

Number three on our list of 5 ways to keep Fido & Fluffy’s breath fresh is, give dental chews treats & food to your pet. Dental chews come in a variety of shapes and flavors. Be sure to only give dental chews that are accepted by the Veterinary Oral Health Council they include Greenies®, Del Monte Tartar Check® Dog Biscuits, Bright Bites, OraVet® Dental Hygiene Chews, and Vetradent Dog Chews.  Hills Pet Nutrition, Royal Canin, and Purina Veterinary Diets also have prescription foods that assist removing tartar while your pet eats. You can find a list of accepted products from the Veterinary Oral Health Council by clicking here.


4) Dental chew toys for Fido

Number four on our list of 5 ways to keep Fido & Fluffy’s breath fresh is dental chew toys for Fido. Dental chew toys can help keep your pet’s teeth clean and keep Fido busy at the same time. There are many differents chew on the market. Kong & Nylabone are some of the more popular options. Just be sure to get a chew that can stand up to Fido’s chewing style. 


5) Veterinary dental cleanings and exams

Number five on our list of 5 ways to keep Fido & Fluffy’s breath fresh is veterinary dental cleanings and exams. Tips 1-4 are a great way to keep your pet’s breath fresh and help tartar form forming on their teeth, but only a cleaning under anesthesia at your veterinarian will truly remove all tartar from and bacteria from the teeth and under the gum line. Don’t be fooled by ads for “anesthesia-free dental”. They only cosmetically clean your pet’s teeth and leave the bad stuff under gums which can lead to heart disease & kidney disease. Your veterinarian will do a routine dental exam at your pet’s yearly vaccination appointment and will recommend when a teeth cleaning needs to be done. Some pets will need a dental once a year while others may not. Make it habit to schedule your pet’s dental cleaning every February during National Pet Dental Health month. Your pet will thank you!


This blog post was written by Julie Gajewski. Julie has been pet sitting and working in the veterinary industry as both a technician and hospital administrator since 1997. She is a pet business consultant and a guest blog writer for pet sitters across the world. She lives in Florida with her husband and furry children, 2 Pugs and 4 cats.