Thursday, 20 December 2018

How to get a no stress transition to your dog’s new PET SITTER or DOG MINDER

When I walk my Hound Dog Hotel guests I meet lots of dog owners who know about my boutique Dog Hotel  and we always talk ‘dog’ - our favourite subject. However,  I should add, I always walk and talk rather than stand still as it is important to keep dogs occupied during their exercise sessions. Bored dogs standing around waiting on their leader to do something invariably either run off or get into trouble. Keeping moving avoids that.

Not just the owners but their doggies know me too as they associate me with tasty Treats I always carry.  One such local is a gorgeous blue roan Cocker Spaniel, Charlie.

Now Charlie’s owner has had real difficulty leaving Charlie with anyone as he apparently gets stressed and when she comes home she will find Charlie with an upset tummy which can take days to get right. 

Recently Charlie’s usual minder was unable to look after her beloved boy so she asked me if I thought Charlie would be OK with me.  

Charlie would fly up to me whenever he saw me out, (he’s very food focussed and I give him treats) so he already had good personal associations with me. The next stage was to get Veronique to bring Charlie to the Hound Dog Hotel to let him have a sniff around to become familiar with the place. 

They brought him over, and in he came with his nose to the ground and he went flying around the premises and garden having a great experience.

Reassured – although still a little worried about how he would be – Veronique booked Charlie in with me for 4 days.

I found Charlie to be a happy little boy with a constantly wagging tail. He settled in like one of my regulars. It really was as if he’d been here many times before.

I did notice when it came to random noises that Charlie was a little nervy, he was ready to bark at the slightest noise. Whilst he was with me I worked on that.

When Veronique collected him she was thrilled to know his tummy had been fine with no upsets. I also took the time to have a chat about his barking and how she might deal with that – as I had found he responded exceptionally well to the feedback I gave him and he learned to stop barking very quickly.

So here is an email I received a few days later from Veronique. 

“Hi Maralyn,

The proof is in the poo and Charlie's has been perfect the past 2 days! We followed your instructions about his barking and I cannot believe it but he has stopped. At the moment there are three work guys in the house and Charlie is remaining calm. He is hanging around me for treats but he's not bothered at all by the 3 guys running up and down the stairs continuously. He came home very relaxed and has stayed that way. Thank you, you're a gem! Veronique”  

What this shows is it is always worth spending time getting your dog to know their minder and be familiar with the surroundings they are going to stay in before their first time at a new venue. Your dog will settle and be happy and as we all know,  a happy dog = a happy (and in Veronique's case relieved) owner!! 

 For fun and games of Hound Dog Hotel guests, head on over to our Facebook page:

or take a tour of our website

Friday, 14 September 2018

Is Kibble Killing your dog?

I've been recommending a raw and fresh feeding regime to my clients for a long time.

I knew kibble could not be ideal, but hey, we all feed it and vets recommend it so it must be good, right? Wrong. I've just discovered proof of how bad kibble is and it has shocked me to the core. 

Having had dogs for 25 years and looked after 100s professionally for over 6 years  I really want to spread this knowledge. Please click below to read this important blog so as a dog lover you can make an informed choice about what you feed the furpal you love.

I no longer live in looking after your dogs, instead I take just 4 VIPs at my exclusive boutique accommodation for dogs - my Hound Dog Hotel in Green Point on the Central Coast. For more info head over and have a look for the best dog care you didn't know existed!

New Years Day 2018 at Shelly Beach with 4 Guests

Monday, 2 July 2018

The real reason vets won't tell you your dog is overweight

This blog is for all devoted dog owners who want to do the right thing for their fur pal. 

To find out why you don't get told the truth and how to easily monitor your dog's weight just click on the link and you'll go right to it:-)

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Who is the most dangerous - dogs or their owners?

Not written a blog for a long time as been so busy! However, felt compelled to write on this subject which is so important to dog owners. Some readers may already know that I run the Hound Dog Hotel near Gosford, Central Coast, and one particularly long stay guest of mine is a dear Cavoodle, Coconut. 

How pretty is this little girl?!
Coconut has been staying for three months. She is a real character, feisty, confident, fun and very active. She's not scared or nervous around other dogs. In fact in my hotel it is the other dogs, often four times her size, who are wary of her!!
When out on our Adventure Walks she loves to play and run and chase dogs of all sizes, she's happy to be chased too.
But recently something happened which every small dog owner dreads. We were in East Gosford at a place called the Friendship Walk where there is a small leash free Oval. There are some nice areas either side of the Oval although dogs have to be on a lead in them.
I’d been out about an hour, at this point Coconut was on leash, and we were returning to the Oval. Since I’d left the Green earlier, two women had arrived with 2 dogs and one was a brown cattle dog.  I looked at it and did wonder about it so actually asked the owner if it was Ok. She replied yes, so I let Coconut free, off for her final stint of play in an leash run about. 
In the blink of an eye one of the dogs started to chase Coconut but then the cattle dog joined in and I could see straight away this dog was aggressive and meant to get her. 
Coconut was scared, crying in distress and running fast trying to escape. Then she yelped out in pain as the dog, all teeth and viscous intent, got her.
I was trying to get to the dog and managed to distract it by bellowing and then got in between it and Coconut - but it still was trying to get her.
This all happened so fast I couldn’t get my stick - which I always carry - off my shoulder quick enough to hit it, but I did had managed to clump it with my handbag at some point.
I was shaken but furious and had a confrontation with the woman. However, did not find out until I was leaving that her dog has ‘form’ in this behaviour. (As I was leaving at man with a couple of dogs I’d spoken to earlier passed me and said he did not blame me for having a go at the woman as people had “had words with her before”. )
Why do these morons know their dog is unsafe yet continue to let them free in a public place with no muzzle - and I’d even asked her if it was ok?
After getting back I checked Coconut and the dog’s top two canine teeth had made contact with her back. To my huge relief the wounds are superficial.
Fortunately because Coconut was so fast she had been able to avoid a full bite, plus as I was right there to intervene the damage was limited - but this could have been so much worse.
Coconut as usual in thick of it playing with Leo & Toby

Yes these sort of incidents are rare - Coconut must have been on 100 walks with me during her long three month stay and nothing like this has occurred anywhere else.
So who was to blame for this? 
There is only one answer - it is ALWAYS THE OWNER.
Do you believe it when owners say 'Oh they've never done that before'. In the case above the woman knew her dog was a menace yet (1) she even confirmed it was OK and (2) she brings it to an off leash area and (3) she does not have a muzzle on it.
I run a local Facebook page called 'Davistown Dogs' and one of our members posted this event which happened after the Coconut one :
"Was out at Terrigal dog park today and someone let a pit bull run around with it's muzzle removed and guess what? It attacked a female labrador twice before anyone could get to it - the attacks were for no reason".
It's time these owners who have no regard for anyone else face huge fines AND the risk of having their dog taken away and banned from keeping dogs. How else can the rest of us keep the dogs we love safe?

Some more pics of cutie Coconut and pals below. Head on over to my Hound Dog Hotel for some great videos of which feature some of my guests, including Coconut (Cavoodle), Leo (Labradoodle) and Toby (black Labrador).

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

How to put weight on a sick, skinny or underweight dog with no appetite

If you're looking for a superior alternative to kennels, and you've been Googling 'pet sitting' 'pet minding' 'dog sitting' or 'dog minding' and you've found your way here - you're come to the right place! You're a short step away from the most exceptional 24/7 care for your dog! Just head on over to my 'Hound Dog Hotel'. On the Central Coast just 75 mins from Sydney you'll find my unique and exclusive Boutique Hotel. Set up for only 4 VIPs (Very Important Pooches) at a time, it could be perfect for your perfect pet! The link:-

This Blog has valuable and practical advise for those with an ill or sick dog (or even those with a dog that is fit but skinny and cannot put on weight). 

I've written many blogs and a number related to dogs’ health and also about obesity in dogs. Overweight dogs are far more prevalent than those that are too thin (my blog: When a Pooch has a Paunch Problem) But what can you do to help underweight dogs? Read on to find out.

From a health perspective a skinny, fit dog would be far less of a concern to a Vet than a Pooch like a Porker! But a dog can be too thin, and if this condition is related to ill health, it can be very challenging to turn it around and you end up with a negative spiral. Your dogs health goes rapidly down hill when they can no longer tolerate or get benefit from normal food.

Past a certain point, with their become so system compromised and they may be so ill that they have no appetite and can’t be tempted to eat at all.

We had exactly this situation with my daughter’s wonderful boxer, Elly who was about 4 when she started to get unwell. We were constantly taking her for tests yet our vet could not find what was causing her to be so ill. As days turned to weeks Elly’s deterioration was distressing to see.

Not eating and barely drinking, Elly had to be carried outside to go to the toilet. She was becoming weaker and weaker,  could barely move, and all her sparkle had gone. She wasn’t even able to raise a tail wag.

Elly went from her normal healthy weight of around 25 kgs to barely 19kgs – skin & bone . She was wasting away before our eyes and still we did not have a diagnosis.

Looking at her one night it hit me she was so ill, thin and frail she was actually going to die of starvation if we did not get find out what the problem was, and turn it round – fast.

So I said to my daughter she should get a referral to SASH (Australia’s world famous Small Animal Specialist Hospital)

Arriving at SASH we were fortunate to see Vet Dr Justin Wimpole. Justin has a wonderful approach to both dogs and their owners. He scooped up Elly’s by now tiny body into his arms and as he held her there she didn’t move. She was all legs and angles with bones jutting out of her head. He said very simply “this is a very sick little girl”.

At last Justin had put into words what we seen over the weeks and my daughter and I were crying with relief and worry all in one.

After that Justin’s investigations found the problem very quickly. (It was found to be a digestive problem, rare for dogs in general, but found in certain breeds, including boxers).

With a definitive diagnosis finally Elly was prescribed the right drug to treat her condition. But her recovery was far from certain because by now our darling girl could barely stand. Even on the medicine she still had no interest in eating anything. A  drip might have kept her alive, but was not realistic as it wouldn’t have built her up.

Elly desperately needed energy  - yet how could we get energy into her? We'd tried every food recommended. In fact every conceivable variation of protein based dog foods and human foods, yet she had no interest, would sniff and walk away – nothing could tempt her.

Then I suddenly had my stroke of genius – tempting her was the answer because she was sniffing food – but with what? I realised she needed something tasty, easy to eat and in a way that was almost predigested calories - and that was what I came up with.

When I first made my concoction and Elly lapped it all up  – we all cheered and cried at once. It had been so long she would touch anything – and she kept it down and wanted more.

The food that worked the magic was a home made Carb & Protein Mash. It had the effect of stimulating her appetite and within a few days bit by bit we were able to introduce normal food and we gained time which allowed the medicine time to do its work.

Now I fully admit this will not win prizes for nutrition! But it does answer as a short term method of getting calories - and thus energy -  into a dog when normal foods aren’t working.

Clearly my Carb & Protein Mash it is not a substitute for normal protein dog foods – just keep  in mind what the intention is. It is for an acute period to give your dog concentrated calories to build them up and help them recover.


  • 7-8  plain biscuits, I usually used Rich Tea but 6 Digestives would be OK
  • 2 Wheatabix or Oat Brits
  • Cup of hot milky tea with 2 teaspoons sugar
  • An egg

Optional extra: 1 tsp powdered Brewer’s Yeast*
Optional extra: small amount cooked basmati rice (I didn’t add this to my mix but you could)

  1. Crunch up the biscuits & Wheatabix (or Oat Brits) into a bowl
  2. Make the tea put a couple of sugars in then add an amount of milk to make it milky
  3. Pour the tea over the biscuits & Wheatabix
  4. Mash it until no obvious biscuit is seen into a smooth, warm mash
  5. Break a raw egg into this and stir in
  6. Mix in a teaspoon of powdered Brewers Yeast (not essential)
  7. Offer a portion* of this to your dog whilst it's still warm

The above mix is around 900 calories consisting mainly of carbs and sugar. There is some easily digested protein in the form of the milk and egg. Fat content is low deliberately.

If you don’t have fresh milk pour on black tea but then sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of skimmed milk into the mixture.
*Some dogs are allergic to yeast, and the symptoms seen can be itchy skin and upset, bloated, gaseous stomachs. Overall, for most dogs, brewer's yeast is safe and beneficial. With a dog that is thin through illness then give this Mash without this and you could add it in later and then you would know if it has any negative effects

*This is a large amount of food and may overload your sick dog’s system if given all at once.

In which case if this is for a dog that is ill with little appetite make the full amount but give little and often through the day-  some every hour or even 45 mins – you need to assess and see how it goes.

For maximum temptation offer this to your dog when it’s warm.  If giving it throughout the day gently reheat a portion in the microwave (be careful not to let it get too hot). A sick dog might get runny poo if this is all they are eating. Though because so much of this is easily digested there is not too much waste.


Keep in mind my CARB & PROTEIN MASH is very useful for a fit skinny dog. Case in point GSP Pepper. She is exceptionally fit but underweight – ribs protruding and sharp bones in her shoulders/chest. The owners struggled to get her to gain weight as whenever they increased her normal food by giving her  an extra third meal she always ended up with diarrhea.

When Pepper came and stayed with me and I gave her the mash mix in the middle of the day – the result was a noticeable improvement and weight gain in just 10 days.

If you make the amount above for a fit dog which happens to be skinny you might be able to feed it all at once. I would give it all to Pepper in the middle of the day between her two normal meals and she didn’t get diarrhea. But you would monitor your dog as tolerations to large amounts varies.

Foot note re Vet Dr Justin Wimpole of SASH

After Justin’s help in finding the root problem of  Elly’s illness she recovered and my daughter, her sister and I were blessed with some more wonderful years with her.

However in 2016 when she was coming up to her 10th birthday again she was ill. This time symptoms were different but despite lots of tests the local vets could not diagnose the problem. So we asked for a referral and again took her to Justin at SASH. Astonishingly Justin remembered Elly, but not only that, he took one look at her and believed  -  and was subsequently proved correct by blood tests and investigations – that she had a malignant tumour of the brain.

We made her last days as comfortable as we could as sadly no magic mixture was able to save our darling girl this time.

Our adored Elly in happier times....

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Beware budget dog care! update posted re Court Outcome

Before this worrying Blog, if you have come to Perfect Pet Sitter and are looking for the very finest 24/7 dog care anywhere - be sure to head on over to my new website - Hound Dog Hotel



Recently Facebook was buzzing with a horror story of a dog ‘Carer’ a Mr John Walsh, who not only didn’t care – but has been reported to the RSPCA and will be prosecuted for cruelty if there is any justice.

What happened to a Pug he was supposed to be looking after in the owner’s absence was so shocking it was published in the national press & You Tube  (lots of links at the end of this blog), but here is the story:

Poor Otis looks really unhappy. No surprise when he was ill with
a large wound -  at this point already so bad it was life threatening.

Going away to Brazil for 6 weeks, Jackson Millan, of Sydney, Australia, left his Pug & Boxer with a man he found  on Mad Paws - an on-line company that puts owners in touch with those willing to look after their dogs. Yet within a few weeks the mans monstrous treatment of Jackson's Pug, Otis, means the dog was left with a life threatening six-inch wound.

Mad Paws has a varied mix of people offering their services. There are a few professionals such as my Hound Dog Hotel – However, the majority of those offering to take dogs do so in their spare time so fees vary as you would expect. 

My Hound Dog Hotel is professional, my service unique, and my clients come back again and again because although my fees are not the cheapest, they know they can totally rely on the very best holiday for their dog - and peace of mind for themselves.

Caring for a dog properly and meeting all its needs takes effort and devotion and is much more than just a walk in the park! If someone is asking just a few dollars you have to ask what time they intend to devote to your dog. Is your dog going to be one of many staying? Will s/he get taken for proper exercise? Will there be any ‘care’ at all?

In this case the owner had thought the guy was well recommended but became worried as after a few days he no longer received any updates or pictures - just excuses. Eventually he received ONE photo of his Pug from a side view (with harness on) yet even from so far away Jackson Millan could see something was seriously wrong (the first photograph shows this as a bulge under Otis harness).

It turns out the ‘Carer’ had left the harness on the Pug continuously for three weeks. During that time it had sawed into the Pug’s skin causing a truly horrific 6” gaping wound right across the chest from left to right. The wound was so hideous it looked as if the poor dog had been slashed open with a carving knife.

The ‘Carer’ was forced to take the Pug to the vet who remarked that the dog’s wound was so infected he could smell it from across the room.

This case does not mean every non-professional (which I have to assume the ‘Carer’ was) is cruel and unfeeling.

But before you consider leaving your dog with anyone it is vital to find out all about them. What are their standards of care – do they even have any?!

When prospective clients visit my Hound Dog Hotel I am proud to show off everything - inside and out - relating to the stay of their VIP (Very Important Pooch!)

We do a tour of the outside area and the inside. The client sees everything -  the air conditioned TV room where the dogs live with me, the garden and outside doggie shower. We agree where their dog will sleep, they get debriefed on how security works, learn where we go walking (and we can go on a walk together if they wish). They are given a very detailed Checklist in which everything I need to know about their dog is recorded. 

But first and foremost – at the Hound Dog Hotel I don’t take dogs then leave them! My motto is 'Your Dog is My Job' and my care is 24/7.  

I believe round the clock company is so important when I need to go out for anything more than an hour or two I bring in one of my sitters to ‘Pup Sit’ my doggie guests so they are not left alone.

Make sure you visit the the place where you propose to leave your dog. Ask questions! Don’t be embarrassed to quiz people! Anyone not forthcoming with answers to all of your questions (or willing to show you everything) should be given a wide birth. 

Here are the essential questions you should ask anyone offering to take care of your VIP: 

Experience what experience do they have? Have they been a dog owner or worked with dogs (fyi the man called John Walsh who was caring for the Otis advertised by saying he had bred dogs - sounded OK didn't it?)

Company:  Are they going to be with your dog day and night? - or do they leave them alone as they go out all day to employed work elsewhere?

Other dogs:  How many guest dogs do they take? Do they have dogs of their own? 

Who else is in the house:  Do they have young children around? (Not all dogs like children and their play can be too intense for your dog to relax).

Exercise:  Will your dog be exercised every day without fail? Where will they take your dog to be walked? How long will they we out? E.g. will it be a 10 minute stroll around block or will your dog be taken to a leash free beach or grass walk and able to run unrestricted? (My clients get daily reports plus GPS data showing a Map which recorded the exercise session).

References:  What references do they have? Ask to see evidence of them having looked after other peoples dogs. Ask to see references - which should match with texts or emails they have sent to clients whilst looking after their dogs.

Living arrangements:  Where will your dog live and exactly what sort of area is for your dog? e.g. are they allowed in the house, if so where?

Sleeping:  Where will your dog sleep? 

Air con:  Do they have aircon to cope with our hot weather?

Outside Access:  Does your dog have access to the outside

Safety & security:  How secure are their premises? Are their any dangers in the outside area?

Their own dog tags:  Do they have dog tags to identify them as the carer whilst you are away.

Inoculations:  Do they ask you about proof of innoculations and flea treatments? You don’t want your dog coming back with fleas as they have not been selective about dogs they have previously taken on. Proof of innoculations from each dog is imperative so as not to spread diseases.


I am rightly proud of my My Hound Dog Hotel service - but it is an Elite Option – not a cheap option. My fees are not within everyone’s budget,  but taken in its totality my service is extraordinarily good value.

You must be sure the person you choose will have expertise. This means skill and experience, having a genuine interest in dogs, and above all willing to devote time and give care and affection to meet your dog’s individual needs.

I subsequently got in touch with the owner of Otis (Jackson Millan) and discovered he had paid $30 per night for both his dogs. My charge is double that for one dog let alone two! The fact is whilst I love what I do, caring for a dog's welfare and safety 24 hours a day and ensuring they are happy is a huge responsibility and you need to be completely dedicated to your doggie guests needs. 

SO BEWARE BOOKING YOUR DOG ACCOMMODATION BASED ON WHAT SEEMS A CHEAP COST. Cheap dog care is going to be cheap for a reason - and you are almost certainly going to get what you pay for. 

Ultimately it could cost you - and your dog - so much more if they end up like poor Otis.

Poor Otis. He must have been neglected and deprived not just of basic care but of any kindness. A terrible trauma for him. 



Just a few pics of some of my recent happy guests.....
Below, Asha (Pointer x) regular guest Leo (Labradoodle) and staying for six weeks Miss Coconut (Cavoodle)

Leo loves trying out all the beds (go see a video of Leo by clicking here

Soli 2 year old Border Collie, amazing reference by his owner click here


65-year-old Sydney North Shore resident Mr John Walsh appeared in Manly Local Court on Tuesday 14 November 2017, and pleaded guilty to failing to provide veterinary treatment for a large open wound in Otis the pug’s neck for a period of two weeks. 

Taken into account on a Form One schedule on sentence was a charge of committing an act of cruelty in relation to failing to take off Otis’ synthetic travel harness for a period of three weeks. 

Otis, the six year old pug, was left in the care of Mr Walsh through the pet minding service ‘Madpaws’ for three weeks while his owner was overseas. During this time Mr Walsh failed to remove the harness, inflicting a large, deep and malodourous wound across Otis’ neck and ulcerated lesions on his tongue from attempting to chew the harness off. 

Magistrate Longley convicted Mr Walsh of Sequence One, with a fingerprinting order, and an $800 fine with moiety to RSPCA NSW. RSPCA NSW Prosecution requested a prohibition order to stop Mr Walsh from being able to work with animals, but it was denied. At the time of sentence, Mr Walsh was still working under Madpaws pet minding service.  
Magistrate Longley commented that “the dog can’t talk to tell whoever is in care of that animal that something is wrong. When you put yourself in the public arena to look after dogs, there is an expectation that care will be exercised by that person.” 

“The RSPCA reiterates that those persons profiting from the care of animals need to be held accountable and to a higher standard,” comments RSPCA NSW Deputy Chief Inspector Scott Meyers.

“It’s disappointing that someone has abused the trust placed in them to look after a vulnerable animal.”

The agreed facts tendered outline that Otis’ owner contracted Mr Walsh through the pet sitting website Madpaws to look after his two dogs Otis and Dobby a 7 year old Boxer while on an overseas holiday from 3 July 2017 and 15 August 2017 for $36 per night per dog. 

On Saturday 1 July 2017 Otis was taken to a veterinary hospital by his owner to have vaccinations and a health check and was found to be healthy. On Monday 3 July 2017 Otis and Dobby were dropped to Mr Walsh’s Elanora Heights residence on Sydney’s North Shore. Otis was wearing a travel harness and dog coat at the time.
On 14 July 2017 the owner first requested photos of the dogs be sent via email. He requested again on 20 July 2017 and on 23 July 2017. 

On 24 July 2017 Mr Walsh sent a photo of Otis to the owner, immediately the owner noticed the discolouration around the pug’s chest area and requested the harness be removed. Mr Walsh removed the harness at request and asked the owner if he would like him to take him to the veterinarian. 
On 25 July 2017 Otis was presented to a veterinarian who found that he had an open wound 15cm x 3 cm and 20-30mm deep, a strong malodorous smell, had lost weight, there was a pressure sore on his chest, matted exudate around the wound, and ulcerated lesions on his tongue. 

The veterinary report outlines that the wound was deep and relatively large given the dog’s small stature, extending the full width of his chest and curving around his shoulders. The report concluded that the pain inflicted to Otis was unreasonable and caused by the failure to remove the harness. 

The owner’s mother picked up Otis and transported him to her local veterinary clinic where he underwent surgery on the wound inflicted by the embedded harness and has since made a full recovery. 

RSPCA NSW inspectors were alerted to the matter and attended Mr Walsh’s residence and conducted a recorded interview, during which time he admitted that Otis was healthy when he was dropped off and he hadn’t taken off the harness the whole time. He said he hadn’t noticed the injury because the dog was not at a high enough level for him to look at the chest. Mr Walsh claimed that he had fulfilled his duty of care looking after both dogs. 

How to get a no stress transition to your dog’s new PET SITTER or DOG MINDER

When I walk my Hound Dog Hotel guests I meet lots of dog owners who know about my boutique Dog Hotel  and we always talk ‘dog’ - our favou...