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Meeting a new cat for the first time? 5 Easy Steps: An experienced cat sitter talks about how to introduce yourself to a new cat without scaring it.

The post How to Approach a New Cat in 5 Easy Steps appeared first on Pet Sitting Algarve.

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In this article we discuss and compare how cats and dogs drink water. For better understanding we also include two slow motion videos to show the difference.

A German shepherd lapping up water to drink.

We have all seen a dog drinking but few of us really know how dogs actually drink. For starters, dogs seem to make a mess every time they drink! On the other hand, cats seem to be very petite and clean drinkers. Let us see why this is so.

How Dogs Drink Water

Dogs cannot suck up fluids like we can. This is partly due to the way their cheeks are and partly due to the shape of their mouth. As a result, dogs had to come up with another way to drink water.

Some people think that dogs lick the water and curl their tongue forward when they drink. However, dogs do the exact opposite! Dogs curl their tongue backwards while dipping it in the water and then quickly pull it up. This whole movement is called lapping. You can clearly observe this motion in the video below.

Time Warp - Dog Drinking - YouTube

Video credit: Discovery YouTube Channel
Why Dogs spill Water when Drinking

It is a well known fact that dogs tend to make a mess when they drink water. The inexperienced person may think that dogs are clumsy, sloppy and uncoordinated. However as we saw in the clip above, you cannot really blame dogs for splashing some water around when they drink.

When dogs lap water up, they are bound to spill some!

How Cats Drink Water

Cats, like dogs, cannot suck up fluids. You may think that cats drink in the same way as dogs do. However cats drink is totally different way.

Cats have fine hairs on their tongue that make the surface coarser than the tongues of dogs. When cats drink they merely touch the liquid with the top of their tongue and literally lick it up gently. It is as if they scrape the surface of the liquid with their tongue. The coarser tongue surface pulls the liquid up by capillary action. This is what makes cats neater drinkers.

Cats vs Dogs in slow motion | Slo Mo #5 | Earth Unplugged - YouTube

Video credit: BBC Earth Unplugged YouTube Channel
Important: Change your Cat’s water everyday!!

It is very important to change your cat’s water on a daily basis. Cats are pickier than dogs and will not drink if the water is not fresh. If you intend to be away for a few days, you could leave your cat a big food bowl and a water tap dripping in a water bowl in the kitchen sink or outside in the garden so that you car has fresh water all the time.

However, if you plan to be away for a longer period you may need someone to check on your cat and make sure that everything is fine. If that is the case you may be interested to read about the Cat Home Visiting service that we offer.

The post How Dogs Drink Water Compared to Cats appeared first on Pet Sitting Algarve.

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In this article we discuss Crate Training for dogs with a particular focus on Puppy Crate Training!

A happy crate trained puppy.

We answer the 6 most frequent questions about puppy crate training and include a step-by-step guide to successfully crate train your puppy.

What is Crate Training?

Crate training means, gradually teaching your dog that a crate is his safe haven and a place where he can retreat to. A crate must be a dog’s happy place and never a place of punishment. A properly crate trained dog will relate the crate to a positive experience, enjoy his time in it and stay calmly inside it.

A puppy calmly sleeping in his crate.

Crate training exploits every dog’s deeply buried natural instinct to have a den. Dogs have evolved from wolves and wolves tend to live in dens. Wolves generally dig their dens in soft ground such as soft soil. Wolves consider their den as a safe place where cubs are born, kept safe and raised.

Although through domestication dogs have lost quite some of the instinct that their ancestors had, they still retain their “denning instinct”. Through crate training you would be effectively giving your dog one of the fundamental things that he needs i.e. a den.

Why is Crate Training Beneficial for Puppies?

Crate training your puppy has several benefits ranging from safety concerns and independence. Crate training can act as a tool to more effective training such as house training your puppy. Some dog owners may consider crate training as cruel. However, as long as the crating process is done properly, you would be in reality helping your puppy feel safer by giving him his space of retreat.

A crate should never be a means of “parking your dog” somewhere! Improperly crating a puppy can traumatise it for life!

When done properly, crating benefits every puppy and adult dog alike. However when not, it can be traumatic for any dog. Dogs that have been traumatised due to improper crating techniques will suffer when placed in enclosed spaces. This is unhealthy for your dog and will also cause logistic issues when you need to transport your pet. This is especially so if you need to fly with your pet!

A crate can keep your puppy and whole family safe.

If you travel by car it is much safer for the whole family to have the dog in a crate as opposed to free in the car. There have been many cases of accidents caused by loose dogs in cars.

A safe way to transport your dog in your car. When should you Start Crate Training your Puppy?

You should start crate training your puppy as early as you can. This make it easier for your puppy to get used to the crate. At the same time it will help you with house training your puppy. Housebreaking a puppy can be quite a task for inexperienced dog owners.

Start crate training your puppy as early as possible.

In our related article Potty Training A Puppy – 5 House Training Tips we discuss five essential tips that will help you house train your puppy quicker. You may want to have a read trough that article as well!!

Never use the crate as a means of punishment. That goes against the whole crate training concept!

How to Choose the Right Crate for your Puppy.

There are a number of factors that you must consider when choosing a crate for your puppy. Crates come in all shapes, models, assembly & disassembly methods, materials and sizes. The selection can be overwhelming to the point of confusion!

In this section we look at each factor one by one. After reading this you will understand better what to look for in dog crate..

  • Crate Shape: Dog crates come in all shapes and sizes. The most common and less expensive ones are box like and slightly elongated. When buying a crate you should make sure that you can actually fit it in your car or vehicle where you intend to use it most. These things take up a lot of space, more than you may imagine! Before you buy any dog crate, try it in the car and see what space you have left. Some companies design dog crates to specifically fit certain vehicle models.
  • Crate Model: Although crates have the same basic model i.e. a box with a door, some may have optional extras. This depends mainly on the brand and model. Some dog crates have more than one door, others may have a carry handle while others may also have the option to attach wheels to them. It is very important to know what extras can fit your dog crate in case you need to use it in different situations. Dog crates are not that cheap so it makes sense to buy one that has multiple purposes.
  • Assembly & Disassembly: This is something that people greatly overlook. Many who buy a dog crate think that they will assemble it once and that is it. In reality you will need to disassemble it occasionally. Some crates have convenient system of latches and locks that do not require any tools to quickly assemble and disassemble. On the other side of the spectrum you find crates that have the top and bottom held together by bolts and nuts. Subsequently this would require you to have extra tools and a lot of parts that can go missing.
  • Material: The most commercially available dog crates are made of plastic. This makes them lighter and easier to clean. Plastic dog crates offer more safety to the dog. Such crates are ideal for crate training as they give the dog the privacy required and are easy to clean. Dog crates can also be made of wood, especially custom made crates for very big dogs. Other crates for smaller dogs can be made of a strong fabric on a metal frame. You can also find collapsible metal dog cages which are convenient to store but not so comfortable for the dog.
  • Size: Last but not least is the size. Many puppy owners make the same mistake when buying a crate. They do not think ahead for when the puppy grows. A crate should be big enough for a dog to comfortably stand up and turn around. In fact, airlines have strict rules about crate dimensions which have to meet the IATA pet container requirements.
A dog crate must be of the right size for your dog.

If you are confused which crate is suited for your dog, reach out to us and we will help you decide and even source one.

Puppy Crate Training – A Step-by-Step Guide!

Crate training a puppy can take days, weeks and in some cases months. There is no quick magic solution to successfully crate train your puppy. It is a process where you have to gauge your dog’s progress and move at his pace. The below step-by-step approach works in most cases. You may need to alter these steps to your specific case. Again, we are always here to help and you can contact us via email, Facebook or by leaving a comment below.

The one rue that you MUST FOLLOW is to give your dog time. Some dogs may pick up crate training quicker than others. 

  1. Introducing the crate: Your puppy will not know what the crate is and will need to get used to it. Remove the crate door and place it where you are most, usually the living room. Put your dog’s bed inside it and leave it there. Ignore it completely as if it was part of the furniture. In most cases your dog will show interest and start sniffing the crate.
  2. Encourage the dog to explore more: Put some treats or your dog’s favourite toy in the crate and allow him to venture inside. You should always praise the dog when he interacts with the crate. Hide a few treats in the innermost point of the crate and leave them there for the dog to discover by himself when he ventures inside. This may take a few days.
  3. Feed your dog in the crate: Once your dog is comfortable going in and out of the crate by himself, start feeding him in it. In that way he will relate the crate to a positive experience. Start by putting the bowl just inside the crate. The more comfortable the dog gets, the further in you should put the bowl. Give your dog time.

Any dog training should always be a good experience to the dog. You should always take a step wise approach where each step builds on the previous.

  1. Gradually start closing the door: The ideal way to do this is to only slightly close the door while the dog is eating inside the crate. Make sure to open it immediately when the dog finishes the meal. This is crucial because if the dog is to panic you would be back to square one! Repeat this over and over again and gauge how comfortable your dog is with each successive meal he has inside the crate.
  2. Gradually increase the time the door is kept closed: As the dog gets more and more comfortable eating in the crate, increase the time the door is kept closed after he has finished eating. Monitor your dog and make sure that he never gets anxious. You could slide in a couple of his favourite treats during this time. This redirects the attention from the door to the pleasant treat.
  3. Continue to increase the time with the door closed: The more comfortable the dog is in the crate the longer you ekeep the door closed. Reward with treats to reinforce this behaviour. At this stage you should stay close to the crate to reassure your dog.
  4. Go into another room: By now most dogs would be happy to go in the crate even if it is not to eat. Once your dog is comfortable in the crate and you see that he is totally calm, close the crate door and go into another room for a few seconds. Let him out as soon as you get back. Gradually increase the time you stay in the other room. Once your dog is able to stay calm in the crate for longer periods you should move to the next step.

Be ready to back track a bit if you see your dog getting confused, anxious or restless. In some cases, a couple of days off can help.

  1. Crate for the night with you in the bedroom: Bring the crate in your bedroom right next to you at night. Instruct the dog to go inside, praise, give a treat and close the crate door. Position the crate in a way that the dog can see you at all times. Once your dog manages to sleep comfortably all through the night move to the next step.
  2. Crate for the night but in a separate room: This is essentially the same as the step above but you place the dog in a different room. As you can see every step builds on the previous one.
  3. Leave the house: Tell the dog to go inside the crate, praise, give a treat and close the crate door. Without being anxious just casually move around the house and go out for a few minutes. Chances are that the dog will be all excited on your return. Ignore that because you should never reward anxious and excited dogs. If not you would be reinforcing unwanted behaviour. Ignore the dog and let him out only when he clams down. This will give him a message that anxiety and excitement will get him nowhere.

The above steps are not written in stone but are just a guideline to explain the process of gradually crate training your puppy. Different puppies will respond differently. Some may be quicker while others may take longer. The common denominator is that crate training is a gradual process.

If you are struggling to crate train your puppy, let us know and we can propose suggestions to your particular case.

Crate Training & Potty Training a Puppy?

In a nutshell, dogs will not dirty their den! Properly crate trained dogs will consider the crate as their den and will do their utmost to keep it clean.

As we have established in this text, the aim of crating your puppy is to give him his safe haven, i.e. a place where he enjoys to be and calls home. Dogs learn cleanliness skills from their mother. That is another reason why you should never separate puppies from the mother before the age of 8 weeks, preferably 12. We shall dedicate an article to that topic later on.

Consequently, since puppies see the crate as their home, they will do their utmost to keep it clean. This works to our advantage because crating your puppy will allow you to control your puppy’s bladder up to an extent. Crating your puppy allows you to catch the moment when the he needs to do his business. This will enable you to guide him to the place where he should do his needs.

Never leave your puppy in a crate for a very long time.

Puppies need to move around and vent their energy. Too much time closed in a crate is not beneficial. Moreover, puppies still do not have total control on their bladder. Although they will try their best not to soil their den, there is a limit to what they can resist. Imagine you trying to hold a wee for too long!!

Last but not least, make sure to praise and reward your puppy when he does his needs in the designated place. And remember, patience and persistence will help you achieve your puppy training goals.

At the end of the day it is all about giving the message to your dog. Dogs understand a lot and in many cases it is us who fail to speak their language.

The post Puppy Crate Training – A Step-by-Step guide to Successful Crating appeared first on Pet Sitting Algarve.

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In this article we discuss Pet Law in Portugal. We also provide you with links to download the Portuguese Pet Law in PDF form.

Every serious pet owner who lives (or plans to live) in Portugal should get to know what local Portuguese pet law says about pet animals. Pet law in Portugal provides a framework for the welfare of cats, dogs and small domestic pets.

It is always a good idea to know the basic law requirements, such as; identification, registration, accommodation and vaccination.

We have compiled this article packed with essential information that will safeguard you and your pet especially if you ever lose your pet in Portugal!

Pet Law in Portugal – All you Need to Know!

For added convenience, we have divided this article into short and easy to follow sections. Just follow the links below to the appropriate section of interest.

As a pet owner living in Portugal you should really know what pet law in Portugal is all about. In addition, this list is also very important if you are considering to relocate with your cat or dog to Portugal.

Keep in mind that, pet law can differ greatly between continents and even European countries. So, make sure to check the Portuguese pet law before you relocate to Portugal.

This article will help you avoid any surprises, disappointment or involuntary fines later on!

Related: Chained dogs in Portugal – Chained dogs are a very common sight in Portugal. We discuss laws, regulations, what to do & how to report such cases. Read More>>
Registration and Identification

Every pet owner is responsible to clearly identify with a microchip and register his pets in the Portuguese national pet database. The owner has to do this when his pet is between three and six months old.

Portuguese pet law clearly states that all dogs born after the 1st of July 2008 must have an identification chip (microchip) regardless of breed or purpose. In the case of cats this obligation will take place from a date which is yet to be defined and declared by the Ministry of Agriculture. (Download – Decreto nº 313/2003 of the 17th of December artº 3º & 6º)

Note: Of course, there is no doubt that micro-chipping and registering your cat will ultimately benefit both you and your cat should he get lost.

According to Portuguese pet law, only veterinarians can implant the electronic identification i.e. microchip. This microchip is a very small capsule that is applied under the skin in the left lateral side of your pet’s neck. (Download – Decreto nº 313/2003 of the 17th of December artº 3º)

After the microchip is implanted, you have 30 days to register and license the pet in your residence area, at the local office of the “Junta de Freguesia”.

You will need to present your pet’s sanitary bulletin and registration form, both obtained and duly filled by a veterinarian. (Download – Portaria nº 421/2004 of the 24th April art nº 2º and 3º)

The license of the animal must be renewed annually at the office of the “Junta de Freguesia” where the animal was first registered. (Download – Portaria nº 421/2004 of the 24th of April art nº 4º)

Walking your Dog or Cat

Every cat or dog that is walked in public places must be in line with pet law in Portugal. The law states that pets must wear a collar or harness with inscription of the name and address or telephone number of the owner. (Download – Decreto nº 314/2003 of the 17th December art 7º)

Vaccines

Owners of all dogs are obliged by law to ensure that any dog over the age of three months is vaccinated against rabies. (Download – Portaria nº 81/2002 of the 24th January art nº 2)

Pets Living in Apartments

Those residing in an apartment may only have up to 3 dogs or 4 adult cats per apartment.

However, the total number of pets in any apartment can never exceed 4 in total.

In addition, please bear in mind that condominium agreements of apartment buildings may allow further restrictions on the quantity of pets you can keep per apartment. (Download – Decreto nº 314/2003 of the 17th December art nº 3º)

Pet Abandonment

Under Portuguese pet law, the following scenarios are considered as pet abandonment:

  1. Taking no effort to provide the necessary care and accommodation.
  2. Freeing the animal from its usual accommodation without holding anyone responsible for its care and accommodation, such as another person, the local authority, or animal shelter.

These acts are considered an offence that is punishable by fines ranging from 25€ to 3740€. (Download – Decreto nº 315/2003 of the 17th of December art nº 6ºA and 68º)

Reporting: Death, Change of Ownership, Loss or Theft

Portuguese pet law states that you are responsible to report: death, transfer of ownership or loss of your pet to the local “Junta de Freguesia”. If you fail to do so and your pet is found by the authorities, you can be accused of abandonment. (Download – Portaria nº 421/2004 of the 24th of April art nº 3º)

Similarly, you must report: death, theft or loss of the pet within 5 days. You must report any change to, or loss of your pet’s sanitary card within 30 days. (Download – Decreto nº 313/2003 of the 17th December art nº 12º)

Responsibility for Dog Actions

Under Portuguese pet law, you (or any other person in control of your pet at the time of incident) are responsible for any injuries or damages that the pet may cause to third parties or their property.

You are also liable for any medical expenses incurred by third parties. In addition you can also be charged with a crime or civil responsibilities based on your pet’s actions. (Download – Portaria nº 81/2002 of the 24th January art nº 29º)

Dangerous and Potentially Dangerous Pets

Pet law in Portugal defines dangerous pets as pets that in any way have revealed aggressive behaviours in the past.

Under Portuguese pet law, potentially dangerous pets are those that according to species and breed may cause injury or death to people or other animals. (Download – Decreto Lei nº 312/2003, de 17 de Dezembro)

List of Potentially Dangerous Dog Breeds

The Portuguese Ministry of Agriculture considers the following dog breeds as potentially dangerous.

  • Fila Brasileiro
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Pit Bull Terrier
  • Rottweiler
  • American Staffordshire Terrier
  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier
  • Tosa Inu

(Download – Portaria Lei nº 422/2004 of 24th April)

Portuguese pet law does not prohibit you from owning a dog of the above breeds. However, there are stringent rules you must consider before deciding to own (or relocate with) any such dogs in Portugal.

Always check with the local Junta de Freguesia before getting or relocating with a potentially dangerous dog breed to Portugal. Make sure you and your dog meet the requirements and register accordingly.

All dangerous and potentially dangerous dog breeds referred above must have electronic identification (microchip). In addition, these breeds also need a special licence issued by the “Junta de Freguesia” and the owner must purchase liability insurance.

The law requires that the owner is over 18 and undergoes a psychological aptitude evaluation. In addition, the owner must sign a responsibility term, and must not have a criminal record. (Download – Decreto Lei nº 312/2003, de 17 de Dezembro atr nº 3º)

Disclaimer: This article about pet laws in Portugal should not substitute the reading of the law itself. In case of doubt, you can talk to your local veterinary or Junta de Freguesia.

Related: Relocating with your pet to the Algarve – What to consider when relocating with your pet to the Algarve; Portuguese animal laws, vets, vaccination, climate difference, pet sitters & dog walkers. Read More>>

The post Pet Law in Portugal Explained – Download Portuguese Pet Law appeared first on Pet Sitting Algarve.

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Today we discuss 5 potty training (house training) tips for puppies, how crate training can help you make this process a breeze, and how we can potty train your puppy for you!

Puppies bring a lot of joy, and a lot of hard work. Potty Training aka House Training, means teaching your puppy where to do his business. This is very important and inexperienced dog owners may struggle. With some thought and consistency, house training a puppy can be easily achieved.

Potty Training – House Training – Housebreaking

Before we delve into the five tips to properly house train your puppy, let us go over some terms to avoid confusion and misconceptions. You can find a variety of terms describing the same thing. In this case the terms: Potty Training, House Training and Housebreaking mean practically the same thing.

The following tips and suggestions are generic ones and will help the majority of puppy owners. However there will certainly be house training cases where a different approach is required. If you are still stuck after you try these tips, let us know and we will look at your particular situation individually.

5 Tips to Properly House Training your Puppy
  1. Take your puppy out first thing in the morning. This is basic! As soon as your puppy wakes up, he will need to go to the toilet. Make sure that you take him out first thing in the morning.
  2. Stick to a feeding schedule. What goes in must come out! By sticking to a specific feeding schedule you will be able to know roughly when your puppy needs to go to the toilet. Never leave food lying around in between meals. Remember that puppies should be fed three times a day as opposed to twice a day for adults.
  3. Take your puppy to the same spot. Although this is not a must, it does help if you take your puppy to the same spot to do his needs. By doing so, your puppy will relate both the smell and place to doing his business. Once he gets used to this, it will save you a lot of waiting for him to do his job. Although this point is really subjective to the dog, in some cases it does really help.
  4. Be patient with your puppy. Patience is a must, especially when it comes to training dogs and puppies. The puppy will need time and the more impatient you get, the less likely that the job gets done. Take it easy and give your puppy time!
  5. Reward the puppy. Last but very importantly, praise the puppy when he does the deed! You need to give the puppy a positive message so that he relates the action to a good experience. This can be through praise or a treat. You can use a clicker to signal your pup that he did a good thing. We shall discuss the concept of clicker training in a future article. Stay tuned!
Crate Training aka Crating, Helps a Lot!

Crate Training is a whole topic for discussion in itself. In fact we shall be publishing a detailed article about crate training very soon. Subscribe to our weekly article newsletter to get it delivered directly to your inbox so you do not miss out. We will not spam you and you can unsubscribe anytime!

However in the meantime let us see how crate training can help you potty train your puppy.

In a nutshell, crate training is teaching your dog to stay happy and comfortably in a dog crate. Crate training can be a very useful tool when raising a puppy. A dog crate is NOT a punishment. Rather, it is a safe place for your dog to rest. It helps keep them stay out of mischief and prevent unwanted behaviours or potty training accidents.

Just as you would put your baby in a cot to keep him safe and let him sleep, a dog crate provides the same opportunity for your puppy.

Crating and Potty Training

How do you use a dog crate to potty train a puppy?

You resort to a dog crate in periods where you need to be away from your puppy i.e. unsupervised periods. Dogs will not soil their immediate surroundings unless they have no other choice. Therefore a puppy will not do his needs in a dog crate and will generally put an effort to hold it!

However as soon as you get back you must take the puppy out of the crate and head out so he does his needs outside. Reward and reinforce this behaviour and repeat. Potty training is all about catching the puppy in the right time and guiding him accordingly!

Having said all this you must keep in mind that puppies have limited control over their bowels and you should NEVER leave a puppy in a crate for a long period of time. Moreover, before actually using the crate you must make sure that the puppy perceives it as his safe haven and not a place of punishment!

There is a whole process how to introduce a puppy to a dog crate which we shall write about in a future article. Crating is not a way of “parking your dog” but only a tool that must be used sensibly and responsibly!

We can Potty Train your Puppy for you!

Potty training a puppy requires a lot of time and commitment. If you are struggling to potty train your puppy then let us know! We will be more than happy to help out. If you lead a busy life and your time is precious you will definitely benefit from our help. We also make sure that your puppy gets the required socialisation with other dogs.

Our Puppy Socialisation Plan is specifically designed for puppies to be around other role model dogs to learn from. We can help your puppy grow into a better adult dog. Both you and your dog will benefit in the long run.

The post Potty Training A Puppy – 5 House Training Tips appeared first on Pet Sitting Algarve.

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In this article we will discuss how to organise the perfect dog walk for your dog. There is no doubt that dogs need a good daily walk to be happy and healthy. However, we are not talking about that 5 minute quick walk round the block to let your dog relieve himself. Here, we are talking about the perfect dog walk for a happy & healthy dog.

The perfect dog walk is a structured dog walk that will give your dog enough physical and mental stimulation depending on his age and breed. A well structured dog walk is also a perfect time for the dog owner to train his dog and create that special bond between dog and owner.

The perfect dog walk. Tips on how to design the best dog walk. How to design the Perfect Dog Walk

As full time dog walkers we can see the great benefits that a structured dog walk has on all aspects of a dog’s life. We always emphasise the need of mental stimulation in conjunction with sufficient physical activity. In this way, you will be on the right track to a perfectly behaved, satisfied and healthy dog. Here is what you need to keep in mind when creating the perfect dog walk for your dog.

Physical Exercise

Physical exercise has two main benefits for your dog; good health & good behaviour. Sufficient physical exercise will promote flexible joints, reduce possible weight gain and keep your dog’s muscles in good condition. In addition, sufficient daily physical exercise will also make sure to drain your dog’s daily energy. A tired dog, is also a happy and well behaved dog! This makes your dog much easier to train and also more well behaved at home. We all know that a dog with a lot of pent up energy can develop destructive behaviour or other behavioural issues!

As people who work daily with dogs, we emphasise the need for the perfect dog walk that is designed for your dog’s breed, age and health. If you need help with an over energetic dog, get in touch so you can see how we can help you through our Dog Walking Service.

Mental Stimulation

Do not underestimate the additional power of mental stimulation in a dog walk. Both you and your dog will benefit! The perfect dog walk should be a time for your dog to exercise and release their energy, but it should also be a time where the dog receives attention and mental stimulation.

Basic Obedience and Games

Mental stimulation can be achieved by including some basic obedience training during the walk. By incorporating some basic obedience you will also be using the dog walk to show leadership to your dog while creating a better bond. Do not overdo it however. Always gauge your dog’s attention so that you can stop the training before your dog gets bored or starts acting out. Always remember to keep things light and fun so that your dog associates the dog walk with a positive experience. During a dog walk you can assign some time to polish your dog’s walking on the leash or recall. Play fetch or other small challenges such as asking your dog to sit when you need to cross the road. For the perfect dog walk, make sure to keep things fun and always remember to reinforce positive behaviour with treats or praise.

Socialisation

Another form of mental stimulation can be achieved through socialisation. A dog learns to be more social through positive human interaction and socialisation opportunities with other dogs. You can take your dog for a run at the beach in winter or in the forest in summer. There will surely be other people with their dogs around! If you rarely meet other people with dogs during your dog walk you can join local dog trekking groups in the Algarve. Another safe option is to take your dog to a fully fenced dog park or dog daycare facility for some dog socialisation time!

Keep things interesting

The perfect dog walk needs variety! When taking your dog out for a walk make sure to vary the location and ground type regularly. Take your dog to the beach to experience sand, rocks and sea. Take your dog to the forest to experience soil, grass, sticks, trees and hills. And lastly, also make sure to take your dog for short walks to the village centre or promenade to get used to cobble stones, gravel and tarmac. The more variation you create, the more likely your dog will be calm and at ease in all situations!

Dedicate enough time and attention

The perfect dog walk needs you to be present and focused. For your dog to have the most benefit from a dog walk, make sure to dedicate enough time and attention. Disengage from life’s demands and focus on enjoying time with your dog! Our dogs can sense our state of mind, so they will also be stressed if we are stressed or in a rush to get back home. Try your best to create time in your busy schedule and switch off your phone completely if possible. Of course, if you are struggling to find enough time, we are here to help with our Dog Walking Service.

The post The Perfect Dog Walk – More than just a pee and a poo! appeared first on Pet Sitting Algarve.

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A handpicked selection of Dog Walks in Loule. Tried and tested dog walking trails in Loule. Definitely recommended. Explore the real Algarve with your dog!

A selection of Dog Walks and Dog Friendly Hiking trails in Loule

Loule is a beautiful city in the centre of the Algarve. It is a very popular destination for locals and tourists alike. In this article we have organised a selection of Countryside Dog Walks & Trails in Loule for you to enjoy with your dog. We hope that you like these featured trails when hiking with your dog in Loule

Fonte da Benémola Difficulty 4/10

The Fonte da Benémola trail is located north of the city of Loule in the Freguesia of Querença and is one of our favourite dog walks in Loule area. We would describe this trail as moderately difficult with moderate elevation gains, very peaceful and definitely worth every effort! It is ideal for anyone who is looking for places to walk his / her dog in the region of Loule. View Fonte da Benémola Topological profile!

The starting point is reachable by car. This hiking trail starts at dirt road at the Parque de Estacionamento Fonte Benémola and goes all the way to a small settlement Fica Bem. This circular trail is slightly less than 4.5km long and clearly marked throughout. It takes around 2 hours to complete the circular path. Enough time to drain the energy of most dogs! If you are too busy and do not have the time to walk your dog for that long you may want us to walk your dog for you.

This hiking trail passes mainly through woodland areas and hugs the banks of the river Mendola. The water in this river is not seasonal but present all year round even during the hottest months of the Algarvian summer. This makes the Fonte da Benémola trail one of our preferred dog walks in Loule as it offers shade as well as water.

However despite of this we do not recommend organising any dog walks here during the hottest months of summer. Ideally you visit this area during spring time. There are other better dog walking trails around Loule that are better suited for the summer season. Similarly, be careful if you visit this area during the winter season as at times the river can be a bit too rough and may be dangerous for dogs.

A hiking trail where you can see Turtles, Otters and a variety of birds!

The Mendola river is also home to turtles and otters which you may come across if you are lucky and quiet. You may want to keep an eye on your dog especially if he has a strong prey drive. You don’t want to disturb these animals or get you dog injured! Last but not least, the significant presence of birds that are drawn to this river makes this dog walk even more pleasant. Those who are into bird watching will definitely be in for a treat.

Rocha da Pena Difficulty 7/10

The Rocha da Pena hiking trail is located Between the north Algarvian villages of Salir & Benafim. It still lies within the municipality of Loule. This trail is of medium difficulty with some parts being more difficult than others. In our opinion this is one of the rather difficult dog walks that you could do in Loule. View Rocha da Pena Topological profile!

It is a circular loop almost 7 km long so definitely not a walk in the park. Those who opt for this trail should allocate from 3 to 4 hours to complete it comfortably. Rocha da Pena is a great walk to do during the cooler months of the year.

This walk is suited best for those with highly energetic dogs that can withstand long walks and hikes.  Rocha da Pena is one of the longer dog walks in Loule. For those who wish to embark on easier dog walking trails in Loule area we suggest going to Fonte da Benemola.

On of the trickiest dog walks in Loule!

The starting point to this trail is not the easiest to get to. You will need to drive through a few secondary roads that may not be in the best of shapes. This is especially so during winter where rain may erode some parts of these roads. You may also want to check the way that your GPS pots before trying to get there. It is not the first time that GPS navigators play tricks, so check signs and markers as you drive in!! Once you manage to get to the Bar das Grutas then you can say that you have reached the start as this trail starts just beside it.

As you start you will immediately notice that this is not going to be easy! The steep start up the hill is followed by a rocky area through which you will need to be careful not to trip. Past this rocky part the trail gets narrower and the soil starts gradually changing to the typical Algarvian reddish clay soil. Consequently this makes it quite slippery especially if it had rained the day before. You should definitely be prepared with hiking gear and proper hiking boots.

North vs South faces & the top plateau!

The north face of the walk is shadier, coder and usually wetter than the south facing side of the mountain. The south face is dry & arid. You should start this hiking trail early in the morning to avoid the hot sun while on the south face. Your  dog will thank you if you avoid some sun! The walk reaches a plateau at the top which is rather arid, without much tress for shade and with no water puddles. This makes it even more important to plan early to avoid the hottest parts of the day.

Definitely take your leash!

Be careful with your dog at all times and make sure you have your leash with you. There will be quite a few times where you would want to keep your dog on the leash for safety purposes.

Take plenty of water & maybe a light snack!

Take plenty of water with you, maybe a bit more that you would take on any other dog walk. You may also want to take a light snack or some fruits with you for the journey. Once you reach the top (479m AMSL) you may want to stop a bit, enjoy the view and have a snack.

Have your say, tell us what you think!

Have you been to any of these Dog Walks in Loule? What is your opinion? Let us know in the comments below and feel free to suggest other similar trails in the area.

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The post Countryside Dog Walks & Trails in Loule appeared first on Pet Sitting Algarve.

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Heat Stroke in dogs is a very important subject to know about as a pet owner living in Southern Europe. Never underestimate the risks of heat stroke in dogs especially in the hot summers of the Algarve region! In this article we will learn how to recognise the symptoms of Heat Stroke in dogs, how to avoid it and what to do in case it happens. This article is also extremely important for those relocating with their dog to the Algarve.

What is Heat Stroke?

Heat Stroke happens when the dog’s body temperature rises above its maximum tolerated level. Heat stroke is so dangerous, because it will make your dog’s vital body processes and chemistry unable to function. If not corrected quickly, a heat stroke can be fatal to your dog.

Symptoms of heat stroke in dogs

The symptoms of heat stroke include:

  • Heavy panting
  • Excessive drooling
  • Drowsiness
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Uncoordinated movement
  • Collapsing
How to Prevent Heat Stroke?

Of course, to prevent heat stroke in dogs you should keep your pet cool. Just common sense, right?! But read on carefully, because not all the advice below may sound so obvious!

Avoid the heat

Obviously, the best prevention for heat stroke in dogs is to try to avoid the heat altogether. Consider walking your dog early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid the hottest part of the day.

Carry plenty of water

Always carry more water than you think your dog will need. In any case, it is better to have more rather than ending without! Don’t risk it. We always play safe and always carry five litres of water on our dog walks.

Control the drinking

Always regulate your dogs’s drinking especially when very hot and thirsty. When very thirsty dogs have a tendency to drink a lot of water in one go. But this is just wasteful and also dangerous! Small sips are safer than big gulps.

In reality, drinking too much water too quickly will not allow the dog’s body to absorb the water efficiently. In addition, dogs that gulp down a lot of water can end up vomiting. This not only wastes water reserves on the walk but also stresses the dog. Moreover, it can be very dangerous if dogs run and exercise on a full stomach! Doing so increases the chance of suffering a bloat. A very serious condition hat can kill your dog in a matter of hours!

Swimming

On hot days, consider changing your walking route to include some swimming or splashing in the sea or a lake. In this way your dog can stay cool throughout the walk and avoid the chances of heat stroke.

Get a cooling vest

A cooling vest can do wonders in keeping dogs cool and prevent heat stroke. All you need to do is soak it in water and put it on your dog during the walk. The water in the specifically designed fabric will absorb the heat of your dog’s body and evaporate. This evaporation process is what keeps your dog cool.

Heat Stroke First Aid?

Should your dog overheat and show symptoms of heat stroke, here is what you should to help increase the odds of survival and fast recovery.

Rush your dog to the vet immediately!

Heat stroke in dogs is very serious. It is fatal in the majority of cases. Rush your dog to the vet and seek medical advice immediately! Try to remember as much information as possible to help the vet treat the dog. Keep track of the time your dog went into heat stroke and how the symptoms progressed over time.

Cool down the dog on your way to the vet.

Your first aid response should be to lower your dog’s temperature as much as possible.

DO NOT not throw cold water on the dog!

You should not just hose your dog down with cold water, or even throw a bucket of water. This will only panic him more and risk putting the dog in shock.

Just apply cool water to the dog with a cloth or wet towel. You should focus on your dog’s tongue, ears, neck, legs and paws since a dog radiates heat from these parts of the body more efficiently. If possible, turn on the AC of the car and point the air vent on your dog whilst you are driving to the vet.

The whole idea is to cool your dog as quickly as possible to reduce the effects of heat stroke and help him recover quickly.

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The post Heat Stroke in Dogs – Prevention and First Aid appeared first on Pet Sitting Algarve.

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So you have decided to relocate with your pet to the Algarve in Portugal. Welcome! The Algarve is a great place for you and your pet to live surrounded by nature, beaches and good weather. Your cat or dog will enjoy it for sure! But there are many things you need to plan and research when relocating with your pet to the Algarve. Here is a list of things you need to consider when relocating to the Algarve with your pet. We hope that this will save you time, frustration and heartache.

Documents and registration

In our previous article about Portuguese Animal Laws, we delved into various laws applicable to pets in Portugal. For those relocating with their pet to the Algarve, Portuguese law requires all dogs to be micro-chipped and registered with your local Junta de Freguesia (parish council). Upon registration, you will receive a certificate which you should “technically” always carry when out with your dog. This registration needs to be renewed each year, and if your pet goes missing or dies it is important to notify the authorities to avoid abandonment fines. At the moment, this law is not enforced for cats, however for their benefit you should register your cats as well. If your pet goes missing, the microchip registration is invaluable to help find your lost pet. So, when you relocate to the Algarve with your pet, make sure to register your pets as soon as possible. Your vet can also help you with this.

Vets and vaccinations

When relocating with your pet, immediately take note of a local veterinary clinic in your area of the Algarve. Make sure you are always prepared! A quick online search should come up with many results, which also include 24hr Animal hospitals. Some vets also offer emergency home visits. Vet and vaccination fees can vary considerably in the Algarve. Make sure to ask about general prices before you register at any veterinary clinic. You will also find that many expats have pets, so ask around for recommendations.

In some areas, the council will arrange for a municipal vet to hold an open clinic periodically, for free inoculations and advice. However you will need to wait in line. These open clinics are usually well advertised locally in shops and at the Junta de Freguesia.

A different environment

When relocating to the Algarve, you should also consider the effect that a new climate can have on your pet. A different environment may expose your pet to additional or new risks unknown to you.

A hot climate

The Algarve is very popular for its warm weather all year round. Summers can be so hot, that you may need to think about life style adjustments when relocating with your pet to the Algarve. When you take your dog walking, avoid the hottest part of the day and include swimming on hot days. In addition, make sure to provide any pets (including cats and caged animals) with an ample supply of fresh water and a cool, well ventilated shelter in a shady spot. When living in the Algarve, never underestimate the power of direct sunlight. Never leave your pet unattended in a car, even in mild winter sun!

Environmental dangers in the Algarve

Relocating your pet to the Algarve will expose it to different diseases than those fount at home. Tick fever is common in Portugal so it is worth giving your dogs some extra protection. You can buy spot-on drops or collars at the vet to protect them from fleas, lice and ticks. Leishmaniasis is another serious and non curable disease that you might not have encountered in colder climates such as Northern Europe. This disease can be contracted from the bite of an infected insect known as the Sandfly. Sandflies are similar to small mosquitoes and are prevalent at dusk and dawn in areas with slow moving water. You can vaccinate your dog against Leishmaniasis with a series of three injections, followed by an annual booster (newer vaccines require just one initial shot and a yearly booster.). You should ask your vet in Portugal for advice as soon as you relocate in the Algarve with your dog.

Pet Services in the Algarve

One of your main priorities is to shop around and find a reputable pet sitter and pet related services. Whilst you are settling in the Algarve, you might need to fly back home on short notice. Consequently,  it is extremely important to sort out alternative lodging and care for your pets asap! Be proactive. Do not leave this till it becomes an emergency! Pet sitters in the Algarve also tend to be fully booked in the summer season, so make sure to think ahead.

Choosing a good Pet Sitter

Never entrust your pet in the care of a complete stranger. No matter how many good reviews a person has you need to see for yourself. When choosing a pet sitter, visit the pet boarding premises in the company of your dog. Observe your dog and how he feels about it, after all he will be staying there and not you! And, if you have a cat or exotic and caged animal you might want to find someone that does home visits to care for your pet in the comfort of their home. A professional pet sitting service will offer a calm and structured environment. A good service will revolve around the well being of your pet. A reliable pet sitting service should not be an activity that the pet sitter does on the side, just for some extra cash!

Dog Walkers

Whilst relocating and living with your pet in the Algarve, you might also be too busy to walk your dog regularly. We all know that lack of exercise, stimulation and human interaction can cause a dog to develop destructive behaviours. This is especially so for dogs who suffer from separation anxiety. So think about finding a professional dog walking service to help you cope with any busy times. If you are relocating with your puppy make sure to sort out proper puppy socialisation opportunities. At Pet Sitting Algarve we offer free sociaisation for puppies under one year to help puppies grow into better adult dogs.

In all cases, whether you are looking for pet boarding, dog walking or pet home visits, make sure to organise an introductory meeting with the person who offers the service as early as possible. In this way you can evaluate the trustworthiness of the person and see how your pet interacts with him / her. Always try out the service for a couple of days before ever entrusting your pets for longer periods of time.

A variety of pet services for puppies, adult dogs, cats and caged & exotic pets. Picture & video updates through our secure online portal powered by Dropbox!

Last but not least

Relocating with your pet to the Algarve can be quite challenging. We know this because we have been through it! If you plan to relocate with your pet to the Algarve and need a helping hand, then please reach out to us. Simply knowing that there is someone on the ground available to help can make the whole process much easier for both you and your pet! And if you have found this article to be helpful, we would really appreciate your support by sharing it with others.

The post Relocating with your pet to the Algarve appeared first on Pet Sitting Algarve.

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Pet Sitting Algarve by Pet Sitting Algarve - 4M ago

There is no doubt, followers of Pet Sitting Algarve love their pets and all animals greatly. In fact, our article on Pet Laws in Portugal has created a great debate about Animal Welfare in the Algarve! One of the main concerns of animal lovers is about the problem of chained dogs in Portugal. A great number of our followers have asked;

Is it legal to chain dogs permanently in Portugal?

The short and simple answer is, No!

Related: A comprehensive list of Portuguese Animal Laws – A must read for every pet owner, resident or expat with their cat or dog in Portugal!. Read More>>
It is illegal to keep chained dogs in Portugal!

This violates Portuguese laws in force for the protection of companion animals. Relevant decree laws are; Decreto Lei no. 276/2001 art. no. 8, 13 & 27 and its amendment Decreto Lei no. 315/2003. These laws describe the required conditions for care, housing and transportation of companion animals, including cats and dogs. These decree laws are written in Portuguese, but you can easily translate them online.

Accommodation conditions in relation to restraining of pets

The law specifically states that:

1 – Animals must have adequate space for their physiological and ethological needs, and it should allow:

a) The practice of adequate physical exercise;

b) The escape and refuge of the animals subject to aggression by others.

Decreto Lei no. 276/2001 art. no. 8

Definition of external enclosures for companion animals

The law defines ‘external enclosure’ as:

A surface enclosed by a fence, walls, gratings or metal nets, often situated outside a fixed building, to which animals kept in cages or a cage or enclosure are allowed to move freely during certain periods of time, according to their ethological and physiological needs, such as exercising.

Decreto Lei no. 315/2003 art. no. 2

The harsh reality

Unfortunately, you can still see many chained dogs in Portugal. Some dogs are kept restrained by ropes or chains to trees or fences . This is especially so in the rural areas of Portugal. Restraining dogs with chains can never be justified. However, we should refrain from taking action ourselves especially if you feel that trying to help the dog may lead to any confrontation with the owner.

What should you do?

If you encounter any permanently chained dogs in Portugal, try to talk to the owner (if you feel safe). Never put yourself in any danger! If the issue persist you can seek help and report the case to the respective authorities in your area. You should report cases of animal cruelty to the GNR’s environmental unit, SEPNA.

Be an activist, Speak up & Help!

Try to create awareness and lead by example. Talk about the reality of chained dogs in Portugal. Do not turn a blind eye and support organisations that help animal welfare in Portugal. One such organisation that specifically fights the cruelty of  chained dogs in Portugal is Quebr ‘a Corrente (Break the Chain).

This organisation takes a novel approach to the situation. It assumes that the lack of the dog owner’s financial means stops them from sorting out proper shelter and fencing for their dogs. Consequently dogs end up restrained as a means of confinement. Although some people may not fully agree with this approach, it has definitely helped dogs out there. We invite you to have a look at their website to see how you can help free these dogs from their chains!

Do it through us & Spread the word!

If you know of any cases of chained dogs in Portugal especially in the Algarve but are afraid to speak up, then fear none and do it through us. Let us know of any such cases and we will be more than happy to bring it to the attention of Quebr ‘a Corrente. Spread the word and share this around to create awareness. Every little helps.

The post Chained Dogs in Portugal appeared first on Pet Sitting Algarve.

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