Articles of Interest To Pet Lovers

How to Express a Pet's Bladder

December 5, 2020

First, there is no substitute for good veterinarian care. This information is for informational purposes only and should not be used in place of consultation with your veterinarian.

A cat or dog can lose its ability of bladder control temporarily or permanently due to injuries, illnesses, or aging. A pet owner can learn to express their pet's bladder in the home environment. First, you should get a demonstration at a vet’s clinic. The best way is for the vet or vet tech to put their hands over yours and guide you to the location of the bladder and to show you the appropriate amount of pressure to apply. They will also have experience as to whether or not your pet is a good candidate for the procedure based on the cause of the condition, the breed, the gender, size, and the temperament of your pet. There are different methods to express the bladder based on those traits and conditions. A pet may be expressed while standing up, lying down, held in your arms, or over a toilet. You may use one hand, two hands, or just fingers. You may decide to express your pet's inside or outside. Your vet’s clinic is the place to learn the techniques needed, for your pet, in order to achieve the best results. Trial and error is another aspect of this process.


Location of the Bladder
The bladder is like a balloon that is not quite round and not quite oval-shaped and about the size of a lime. The size and shape depend on how much urine it is holding. It is located in the abdomen directly under a dog’s hind legs. In the male, the bladder is above the middle of a dog’s penis. In a female, it is a little more towards a dog’s rear end. The bladder is not exactly in the same place every time. It depends on how full it is and what is in the GI tract.

Keep these tips in mind:
-Use steady even pressure (not a pulsing type of action).
There may be a delayed reaction until the urine comes out – hold pressure three to six seconds before repositioning hands
Sometimes waiting ten to twenty seconds and pressing again gives the bladder time to reform and more urine will be released

-Use command or same wording every time you do it. This will help with cooperation or learned response-just like puppy potty training. 


-Keep to the routine. Figure out a place to do it and a pattern. Pets are happier with routines.

-It is important to remain calm while you express. Tense and anxiety make for a tense and anxious pet who may tense up its stomach muscles making it harder to express. You may gently massage your pet's stomach. Remember to breathe.
Remember! You can learn to do this with patience and practice.


How to Express

If you are able to support your pet in the standing position, place your hands on each side of your pet's abdomen with your thumbs pointing up towards the spine. Use your fingers to locate the bladder. Search for what feels like a full balloon that is limed shaped. Remember what you actually feel and where depends on how full the bladder is. To express the bladder itself, you can use your fingertips or your fingers curled up. Slowly apply steady pressure until you get a steady stream of urine. Keep applying pressure until the urine slows to a dribble or stops and you can almost feel your fingers from each hand touching each other. Wait up to thirty seconds to let the bladder reform and reshape which it will do, and then try again to express again to get the remaining urine out. Getting the last of the urine out will help reduce the chance of your pet developing a urinary tract infection.

Remember that your vet clinic may instruct you to express your pet in a different position with a different hand position. YOUR pet will determine the specifics.

How Often to Express

Many vets recommend not going more than eight hours without expressing in order not to stretch out the bladder too much or allow the urine to remain in the bladder too long which can lead to urinary tract infection. The usual recommendation is to express at least every six hours.
Each pet is different in its bladder capability to hold urine.

Urinary Tract Infection

Urinary tract infection can be more common in a dog that has lost control of its bladder.

-If your pet is hard to express or dribbling urine often
-Their urine is dark in color or has a strong odor
-There is blood in the urine or blood coming out of the genitals
-Your pet is licking their genital area more than normal
-Your pet cries or seems to be in pain when you express

Then your pet may have a urinary tract infection (UTI) and you either need to take a urine sample in or take your pet to the vet for treatment. UTI can turn serious quickly and you will want to get treatment quickly.


Learning to express your pet's bladder at home can mean that your pet will be able to continue to give you years of joy and time together. Every pet is different. Every owner is different. Every situation is different. Learning this skill can give you options in deciding what is best and possible for you and your pet.




November 4, 2020

It's our mission to undergo continuous education for your pet's safety as we are certified by Pet Sitters International (PSI). As others pass the exam and meet the criteria, this may change.


The PSI Certified Professional Pet Sitter (CPPS) designation is achieved after passing a 125-question, 3-hour proctored exam, which includes such topics as:

  1. Domain: Pet Care

    1. Pet Sitting

    2. Dogs

    3. Cats

    4. Pet Birds

  2. Domain: Health, Sanitation, and Safety

    1. Animal First Aid and Health

    2. Parasites and Sanitation

    3. Pet Loss

    4. Pet Sitter Health and Safety

  3. Domain: Business Operations

    1. Client Interviews and Customer Service

    2. Disaster Planning

    3. Ethics, Legal Issues and Pet Sitter Liability

    4. Marketing, Social Media, and Promotion

    5. Office Procedures

(1) successfully passed the PSI Certification Program final exam with a score of 76 percent or above,

(2) agreed to adhere to PSI’s Recommended Quality Standards, as noted in the PSI member and renewal applications,

(3) agreed to adhere to the Member Code of Conduct and Ethics, as noted in the PSI member and renewal applications, and

(4) committed to obtaining a minimum of thirty (30) continuing education hours (CEUs) every three years to apply for the certification renewal.

Further information can be found here:

Holiday Hazards For Pets

October 29, 2020

As the holiday season quickly approaches it is important to keep in mind some of the holiday hazards.

Christmas Trees

  • Cats love to climb, and climbing an unstable Christmas Tree can lead to broken bones.

  • Tinsel and Ornaments can result in a foreign body, which may result in surgery and should be kept away from curious pets.

  • Electrical cords should be kept secure and in a place that pets can not reach. Pets biting on electrical wires may result in severe burns.

Holiday Foods

  • It may be tempting to give in to your pet's sweet, innocent eyes and slip them some of your holiday feasts. It is important not to feed your pets' food other than what they are used to. Foreign food (especially food high in fat) can result in pancreatitis. Make sure your friends and family members do not feed your pets as well.

  • Chocolate of any sort is harmful to pets and should be avoided altogether. If your pet does get into chocolate, call your vet immediately. This can prove to be life-threatening depending on the type and amount of chocolate consumed.

  • Turkey and ham bones should not be fed to pets. Bones may shatter and splinter that can potentially perforate the intestines or cause an intestinal blockage. Both cases may be life-threatening.


Poisonous Holiday Plants

  • Holly, mistletoe, and poinsettias are all poisonous to pets if consumed. If you find your pet munching on any of these dangerous plants call your vet immediately.


Burning Candles

  • Always remember when lighting those Hanukkah candles to make sure you do not leave them unattended where an inquisitive pet may burn themselves.

We hope some of these holiday tips help to keep your pet safe.  Please never hesitate to reach out to us with any questions. We hope we may have an opportunity this season to care for your beloved pets while you are away enjoying the season! Happy Holidays from your friends at Pet Sitting 4 Comfort (PS4C)!   

Signs Of Stress In Animals

October 27, 2020

Kennel and boarding facilities can be stressful for pets and humans.  It is vital that staff is properly trained in understanding the signs pets exhibit when stressed and take appropriate actions.  "Failure to recognize stress signals can affect the long-term physical and mental well being of both the animals and humans in this environment" (Dr. Pam Schreiner, University of Minnesota).  Below are some of the signs of stress Dr. Schreiner observed in her research of companion animals:

Signs Of Stress In Dogs

  • Panting and salivating

  • Pacing

  • Shedding

  • Diarrhea/ bowel movements

  • Inappropriate urination

  • Licking the lips

  • Coughing

  • Sneezing

  • Dilated pupils

  • Trembling

  • Shaking (as if the animal were shaking off water)

  • Yawning

  • Whining, excessive vocalizing

  • Nipping

  • Growling when approached to be handled

  • Sweaty paws(leaving sweaty paw prints on the floor)

  • Increased or decreased activity

  • Excessive scratching or licking repeatedly

  • ‘Spacing out’ by turning away or avoiding eye contact

  • Loss of appetite

  • Hiding behind the handler

Signs Of Stress In Cats

  • Restlessness, distraction, agitation

  • Listlessness, unusual passivity

  • Defensive vocalizations

  • Excessive shedding

  • Dilated pupils

  • Biting

  • Inappropriate urination/defecation

  • Clinging

  • Hiding and refusing to interact with humans or other animals

Causes Of Stress In Animals

  • Unusual noises

  • Unknown places

  • Confusing or inconsistent training or handling

  • People exhibiting strange or unusual behavior

  • Unpredictable or rough handling

  • Unusual odors

  • Being crowded by people or other animals

  • A resident or staff member being nervous or acting in a strange way from the animals perspective

  • Extreme indoor and outdoor temperatures

  • Housing or resting area in an inappropriate place, not able to get adequate rest as a result

  • Requiring the animal to be up and active 24 hours a day to match the staff shifts of the facility

  • Too many animals (whether the same or a different species) within the same general area causing crowded territory issues (How many is too many? The animals will tell you!)

  • Inadequate exercise or mental stimulation

  • Inadequate diet for species

  • Inappropriate or excessive feeding of animals

  • Visiting animals from outside the facility coming into their territory

Reference: Schreiner, Dr. Pam.  "Signs of Stress in Companion Animals.  Center to Study Human-Animal Relationships and Environments.  The University of Minnesota.  5/16/16.

Why Using A Pet Sitter in Arlington & Fairfax Makes Sense


October 25, 2020

If travel or work keeps you away from your pet friends, you must have considered myriad pet sitting options available in Arlington, VA; from asking for help from your friends or family to using a kennel and everything in between. Nowadays, however, using a professional pet sitter has gained increased traction with pet owners across the country. And they are dead right on the spot; professional pet sitters offer many advantages over a kennel.

We aren’t suggesting that a kennel or dog boarding facility isn’t useful. In fact, some circumstances require a pet parent to put their furry friends in a kennel. But for most pets, hiring a professional pet sitter is one of the best things you can do to keep your pets comfortable. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why using a pet sitter makes a lot of sense.

Uninterrupted Exercise and Diet Routine

A pet thrives well when the diet and exercise routine remains nearly unchanged. This way, your pet can reap full benefits of staying healthy and eating right. We all know that most dogs require as much exercise as humans do, and hiring a pet sitter can help ensure the routine stays the same.

Enjoy the Peace of Mind

Socialization Is Good For Your Pet

Pet sitters understand that pets are happier and healthier if they can squeeze in some play time. Pets, particularly dogs and cats, thrive well on socialization. Some pet sitters and dog walkers receive troves of pets from different owners. With them, your pets can garner a healthy dose of playtime and socialization. Other pet sitters and dog walkers provide one-on-one attention with your pets rather than offering group activities.

Stop Begging Family and Friends

Let’s face it; nothing is more awkward than to have to ask your friend or family to sit your pet when you are away. It simply puts a strain on your relation. With a pet sitter, however, you don’t have to worry about that. Simply sign up for the service, and you are sorted.


Believe it or not, using a pet sitter is more affordable and cost-effective than you think. For one, you don’t have to worry about careless handling of your pet by untrained friend or family. With the care of pet sitter, your pet’s exposure to diseases is minimized. For that reason, you don’t have to shed oodles of cash in case of accident or health complications. In addition, if you have multiple pets, often a pet sitter is the least expensive option available.


With a pet sitter, you can forget about a transportation headache. This way, you can pull double duty for a single pay. Your pet will get home care and pet sitting without your involvement.

Deciding to hire a professional pet sitter is not a decision to be taken lightly. Pets are like family, and most of us want nothing more than the very best for our pets. Pet sitters provide plenty of love and affection while you are away, not to mention more comfort for your pet and peace of mind for you.