Category: Blog

cat play by self

Exercise is more than just running!

When we think of exercising our pets the first thing that comes to mind is probably walking the dog or playtime around the living room with the cat.  Physical exercise is absolutely necessary for our pets but the issue is that we are only exhausting their bodies but doing nothing for their brains.  Let’s talk about why its so important to exercise our pets’ brains and some of my favorite ways to do that.

I have a client with a young German Shepherd that goes on daily runs and the owners wonder why every day the pup just wants to go further and on longer walks and runs.  Well, we are building up his strength so that he can go longer distances and times, but we are not tiring out his whole body and mind with just the physical exercise.

The first thing I asked this client was how they were feeding their dog.  Of course, he looked at me confused and told me “out of a bowl”.  He also let me know that his dog gobbled up his food in a matter of seconds once the bowl was put down.

My immediate recommendation was to add food puzzles and toys for the pup to enjoy his breakfast and dinner out of.  I explained that the dog stays home all day while you are at work and school, working your brain, and he is most likely sleeping not doing much while you are away.

When we get home we have to engage with our pets because they have been waiting for us throughout the day, bored.  By giving our pets food puzzles and using slow feeder type of bowls and toys we are providing mental stimulation as they figure out how to get the food out.  By giving them opportunities to figure out how to work the puzzles we are able to exhaust their minds which will help to make them tired overall.

My client was willing to try adding some food toys and, guess what, the pup loved it and it helped to tire him out at the end of the day without having to add another mile to the walk every night.

There are many types of food puzzles that can be used for our pets.  There are slow feeder bowls that slow down our pets who scarf their food a little bit, but I prefer more interactive toys such as Kong Wobblers, Petsafe Busy Buddy toys, Omega Paw Tricky Treat Ball, Petsafe Egg-Cersizer, and the Catit Senses 2.0 Digger.

These are the types of toys that you can fill up with a pet’s food to give them at mealtime and let them go to work.  Many times pets need a little help figuring them out at first so fill them up so it’s easier or put a tasty treat near the opening and inside so that they want to work a little harder to get to whats inside without getting frustrated from the beginning.

Pets will also start to master the different puzzles we give them, just like we do with crosswords and Sudoku, so I like to alternate the different toys so they are not doing the same thing every day and also find more difficult ones as they start to figure out the easy ones.

You can look in my shop for the toys that I’ve mentioned above, but I have found some great puzzles at Home Goods in their pet department too.  There are also toys that you can make yourself at home if you are on a tight budget!

A workout for your pet’s brain is just as valuable as a workout for their heart and body! Contact me today for some recommendations of food puzzles and toys for your pet! visit my toys store HERE or choose from some below!

Exercise is more than just running

Very High Scorching Temperature Shown On A Big Thermostat

[Infographic] Hot Weather Policy for Your Pets

Hot Weather Policy

Summer is coming and that means it is starting to heat up outside! At Carrie Pawpins, Pet Nanny we want to make sure we are always keeping the best interest and safety of the pets as our first priority. This means that when hot weather comes we have to think about how that can affect your pets.

The pavement heats up very quickly and can hold heat for many hours even after the sun has gone down. The safest time to walk our dogs is going to be first thing in the morning when the pavement has had all night to cool down and the sun is not yet heating it up.

If it is an exercise for your dog that we are providing we are more than happy to adjust the schedule so that we walk them in the morning as opposed to later in the day.

Many of our clients have mid-day visits where the nannies will typically walk the dog at that visit though since the owner is at work and would like their dog let out when no one else is home to care for them so what do we do in those situations?

We adjust our dog walking visits to make them short potty walks with playtime and cuddles inside. The length of the visit will still be the same, it will just be more inside time than during the cooler months.

We know it is often unavoidable for the dogs to not go outside at all during the middle of the day because they do have to go potty and may not like to use or have access to a backyard with shade, but we make their time outside as brief as possible to prevent burning the pads of their feet or them overheating.

We will also walk in shaded areas or on grass if it is available. Another option for our clients is to invest in dog booties and get your dog used to wearing those on their feet so that we are able to go on a bit longer of a walk. Even with dog booties on we will not be doing a full 30-minute walk when it is over 90* because we do not want to risk overheating or dehydration of us or the dog.

We hope our clients all understand that when it heats up over 90* we will begin limiting visits to potty walks and indoor playtime or cuddle time to protect your dogs from burning the pads of their feet and from other heat-related injuries and illness.

cat behavior 101 presentation

Best Cat Behavior Class 101 [Get Closer to Your Cat]


Black cat sitting on a chair

Cat Behavior 101 Class

Last week Bianca, my Cornish Rex, and I made the trip down to Tucson to give a presentation about cat behavior at Building Bonds training center.  To be honest, I was very nervous weeks before the presentation because I was worried that not many people would be interested in the topic, but I was wrong!

There were 20 people in attendance and even more that weren’t able to travel down to Tucson but expressed interest in wanting to hear my presentation. I was very impressed with the fact that there were a great number of animal shelter volunteers that were looking to learn more so that they are able to help the cats at the shelter become more highly adoptable.

For the past year, I have been searching for a place to hold more cat-related courses to bring more awareness to the fact that there are things we can do to prevent behavioral problems in cats and how to deal with any existing issues with positive methods.  I had not had much success in my area of town with finding a facility that I would be able to give a presentation as well as have animals in attendance.

I was so happy when I met Kim Silver, owner and trainer at Building Bonds because she and I have the same training philosophies when working with all animals. She was kind enough to let me host an introductory course at her facility and I plan on working more with her over the summer to teach more cat and kitten-related classes for cat owners and shelter volunteers looking to learn more.

In the course, we touched on some of the most common behavioral problems that cat owners might face and how to deal with and prevent them.  We reviewed cat body language and then also touched on inappropriate elimination, scratching, biting, climbing, dealing with multiple pet households, and cats that are a nighttime nuisance.

The 90-minute presentation covered a lot of topics and the attendees walked away with lots of notes and knowledge!

Bianca was my trusty sidekick who showed the attendees how friendly, easy to handle, and playful cats can be even in a room full of strangers.  I am sure she was the true star of the show!
I am glad that I was able to bring more awareness to cat owners and volunteers who interact with cats on a daily basis and show that there are ways to deal with their cats unwanted behaviors without using punishment and harsh techniques.

I am planning on holding more cat behavior presentations at Building Bonds in Tucson as well as other facilities throughout Arizona.  Please contact me if you are interested in learning more about upcoming events!

cat behavior class

kitten playing in milk

5 More Myths About Our Feline Friends

Myths About Our Feline Friends

A couple of weeks ago we started talking about myths that people have come up with about cats.  Here are 5 more rumors about cats simply not true and we talk about what is true with our feline friends!

1.      Cats are independent, I can leave them alone when I go on vacation

-It is true that many cats will hide when a stranger comes in the home if the owner is away.  This is usually due to the fact that the cat was never properly socialized as many cat owners do not consider socialization a key part of their cat or kitten’s upbringing.  Cats can be very social animals, as anyone who knows my cats knows very well! Even if your cat is not very social it is important to have someone check on them every day to ensure they are eating and drinking normally since cats can be very sensitive to changes and their health can decline quickly if symptoms go unnoticed.

2.      A cat uses its whiskers for balance

-A cats whiskers are important, but they are not for balance.  A cat actually uses their whiskers as feelers in dim lighting and to get into small spaces.

3.      Cats should be given cow’s milk

-I know kittens are adorable when they are sitting drinking milk from a saucer, but despite popular belief cow’s milk is really not good for kitties.  Cats are generally lactose intolerant and the milk can give them upset stomachs which is not comfortable for them and the clean up is not comfortable for you!

4.      Cats are nocturnal

-Cats are crepuscular which means they are most active at dusk and dawn.  This is when there are the most hunting opportunities and there is still enough light to be able to see their prey.  Cats often sleep when the house is quiet during the day and no one is home and will be more active as everyone gets home in the evening throughout the night.  You can help to prevent your cat from keeping you up at night by having evening playtime and setting up a routine. A cat can adapt to your routine fairly easily.

5.      A cat must be happy if its wagging/flicking its tail

-A cat uses its tail to communicate.  They may be telling us they are happy, but often that is not the case.  Many times, when a cat is flicking the tip of its tail it is upset and would like distance from whatever person or other animals are around.  A cat can use its tail to communicate excitement during playtime and hunting as well.  One of my kitties, Fiona, will quiver her tail when I first get home in the evenings and this is her communicating that she is in an excited state (and probably ready for dinner time!)

Cat behavior is starting to become a better-understood topic as more and more pet owners are getting a cat as a pet and want them to fit in their home and be happy and healthy.  If you want to know more about cat behavior or their health and nutrition then contact us today!

kitten playing with ball of paper

Top 5 Common Cat Myths [You didn’t Know]

Cat MythsThere are so many myths that I have heard over the years about cats. Most of these come from people who have never owned a cat or have had a bad experience with them. Let’s talk about 5 common myths and what is really true about cats!

1. Cats don’t need exercise

-Cats do need exercise even though it may not be in the way that you think about exercising a dog. For cats, we use playtime as exercise time and there are many different styles of toys to use and you may have to test a few in order to find the one that fits your cats play style.

Many cat owners end up with obese cats with other medical issues because they do not play with their cat enough and provide that exercise time. And remember that mental exercise is just as important as physical exercise and often times they can go hand in hand.

2. Cats don’t like to be cuddly, you should get a dog if you want a friendly companion

-People are often very surprised when I say that my cats wait for me by the door when I come home, or they sleep with me in bed. Cats can be very affectionate animals and proper socialization can help to make them more friendly with people and other animals.

3. Cats purr only when they are happy

-Cats purr in a number of different situations. Some happy and some stressful. It is not fully understood why a cat purrs but my thought is that it is self-soothing. When they are happy they are expressing their contentment and when they are stressed or not feeling well, say at the vet’s office, they are attempting to calm themselves. Mother cats also purr to soothe their young.

4. Outdoor cats are happier than indoor cats

-There is a big misconception that cats should be allowed outdoors because they will be happier being able to roam. The reality is that outdoor cats have shortened lifespans due to animal predators, unkind people, and disease.

Outdoor cats have to deal with so many risks to their health and life on a daily basis that to me, as a cat owner, I would never want to put my cat in that type of potential harmful situation. What you can do to make your indoor cat happier is enrich their environment. Make being inside just as exciting as being outside.

5. Cats can’t be trained

-People often think only dogs can be trained, but did you see that video going around on Facebook recently of the cats ringing the bells to get treats? Super cute! And it just goes to show everyone that cats can be trained just as easily as dogs.

Often times it can be more difficult to find a cats motivation, but do not give up! My cats know how to sit, come, and Fiona and Bianca will both give kisses too!

These are just a few of the most common myths that I have heard or seen people talking about recently. There are many more myths about cats that we can debunk, so stay tuned for a parts 2 and 3!

Pet Professional Guild Cat Committee Member

Why choose a force free trainer?

What is a force free trainer?

Force free trainers are professionals who are committed to results using science based, force free methods.  A force free trainer will never use a shock or e-collar, choke chains, prong collar, physical punishment, force, fear, or compulsion when working with an animal.

Many of these professionals are also members of an organization called The Pet Professional Guild.  This organization helps to educate pet owners and professionals about humane and science based ways of training.  They offer numerous webinars each year on a variety of topics.

Being a force free trainer and member of PPG myself, I believe that science based, positive reinforcement training methods are the best way to work with an animal no matter their size, breed, behavioral issue, etc.  When I use these types of methods I am able to break through with some very fearful and aggressive pets in order to gain their trust which is essential in the training process.

Building a relationship with a pet will help training be much smoother and help to prevent future problems.  You may be asking why we need to build a relationship with our pets.  Think about this: if you did not have a good relationship with your partner would you respect them and do what they ask of you or do things for them just because you want to?

You may if they use fear tactics, but you will also be unhappy, emotionally damaged by them, as well as stressed when they are around.

That state of mind is not healthy for anyone and especially not for our pets who are not able to walk away and get that break from whatever is causing the stress and fear when needed.  Without a positive, healthy relationship with someone, you do not have any level of respect or trust.

Pets are my friends and family members so I believe it is essential to treat them with the same type of kindness as I would with any of my human friends and family members.  Using positive reinforcement, force free methods, as well as making sure we are meeting the animals’ needs are essentials in my training toolbox.

Being a force free trainer is something I am proud of because I know I do not need to use physical force, fear, or intimidation when asking my pet to perform a cue or when stopping or preventing a nuisance behavior.

Always make sure you are asking questions of a trainer or behaviorist before working with them to make sure you agree with the methods that they are using for training and that any methods or tools used will not damage your relationship with your pet. If you are looking to find a force free trainer in your area visit The Pet Professional Guild website and use their search tool.

force free

blog post, dog laying down

[LIST] Top 5 Reasons to Hire a Professional Pet Sitter

You are all set to go on vacation. Plane tickets are purchased, the hotel is reserved, and bags are packed, but what about the pets? What are the plans for them? Will the neighbor kid down the street be home from college to stay at your house? Or will your brother who works full time have a break in his day to let your dogs out at lunch?

When taking a vacation, you want to be relaxed and have peace of mind that everything at home is running smoothly and not be worried if your friend or neighbor has remembered to run over to give the pets food and water or take the dog on a walk.

That’s where a professional pet sitter comes in. When hiring a professional pet sitter, you can rest easy knowing that the pets will be cared for just as they would if you were home.

reasons to hire a professional pet sitter
I deserve only the best pro care!

Top 5 reasons to hire a professional pet sitter:

1. They are bonded and insured.
2. They have back up in case of emergencies. A professional pet sitter should always have a back- up plan in place in case they get sick or injured or any other unforeseen events.
3. They have experience administering medications.
4. They are trained and experienced in working with all types of pet personalities and will know how to tailor your pet’s care based on their individual likes, dislikes, fears, and habits.
5. A professional knows how to spot and avoid potentially dangerous situations, and can react quickly and effectively when necessary. Including knowing when veterinary care is necessary.

A professional pet sitter also has your pets best interest in mind and is being paid to care for them exactly as you have instructed. For many professional pet sitters, caring for others pets is their full-time job which is taken very seriously.

When you choose a professional pet sitter you are choosing the best care for your pet while you are away. Your pet is able to stay in the comfort of their own home and you are also getting someone to care for your home while you are away.

Some additional services that professional pet sitters may offer include, but are not limited to, watering plants, bringing in mail and newspapers, cleaning up dog messes in the yard, turning lights on and off, and just maintaining your pets normal routine.

Next time you are planning a vacation just remember all the benefits both you and your pet are receiving when you hire a professional pet sitter!

carrie with fiona

Under the Umbrella of a Pro Pet Sitter: Meet Carrie Pawpins!

I’m Carrie Seay, owner of Carrie Pawpins, Pet Nanny, in Scottsdale, AZ.  We service North Scottsdale, Northeast Phoenix, and Paradise Valley with pet sitting, animal behavior, and pet nutrition services.

pet sitter

I have lived in the Scottsdale and Phoenix areas for most of my life after moving here with my family in grade school.

Working with animals has always been a passion of mine. I started volunteering with a local rescue group with fostering kittens and helping at adoption events when I was younger.  I have still not figured out how I managed to convince my parents to let me foster kittens- we had over 150 cats and kittens come through our home during my middle school and high school years!

My first “real” job was at PetSmart and from there I continued to work at other animal related places like a doggy day care and a veterinary office. I gained a lot of experience learning about dogs and cats at each of my jobs.

I attended Northern Arizona University and graduated with my Bachelor’s degree in Biology in 2010.  Throughout college I worked at various veterinary clinics in Flagstaff during the school year and then in Scottsdale during summer and holiday breaks.  After college, I decided to move back to the valley and continue working as a veterinary technician.

I started Carrie Pawpins, Pet Nanny in 2012 while I was working as a veterinary technician because our clients needed someone they could trust and that had animal medical knowledge to care for their pets.  The more I worked with animals in various capacities the more I wanted to learn about their behavior.  I decided to pursue my Master’s in Companion Animal Behavior and Counseling and studied to become a Certified Behavior Consultant- Canine, Knowledge Assessed (CBCC-KA).

I learned a lot about different training techniques through my education and by working with other trainers and behaviorist.  I became a member of the Pet Professional Guild when I realized using force free, science based training methods was the most humane and effective way to train pets.  I then decided to go one step further and become Fear Free certified.

With this certification, I want to be able to share my knowledge of how to reduce stress and fear for pets with veterinary clinics since I still have a connection with the clinics I have worked at.  Most recently I have delved into the world of pet nutrition.  I decided to join a company called pawTree after I learned about their wonderful products and company.  Its amazing how good nutrition can help to change the behavior as well as appearance of our pets!

 The name, Carrie Pawpins, Pet Nanny, was inspired by Mary Poppins, of course! She was the caregiver, but she was so much more than that! She worked with the children to improve their behavior, changed their attitudes, and overall helped the entire household and became a part of the family.

 I want to be able to do that for pets and their people.  By combining pet sitting, behavior services, and nutrition services I am able to help with so many aspects of pet care.  The other nannies and I love spending time with all of the pets we get the pleasure of caring for and also enjoy getting to know the pet parents!

 I will be providing fun stories, educational tips on animal behavior, nutrition tips, and talk about many other pet related topics through this blog.  Feel free to leave comments to let me know what would interest you!

Ready to find out more?

Call me today and I will be happy to answer any questions you may have!

Click Here

chronicles of carrie pawpins, pet nanny header

Happy Pawlidays!


Woofing you and your entire family a purrfect holiday season!

Behavior Tip: Many people get new pets for their families during the holiday time.  Make sure everyone in your home is ready for the new addition! If you already have pets do slow introductions to make sure they are comfortable with each other and there are no scuffles.  Also, give each pet their own safe place to get away from one another during the adjustment period, do not just expect to bring a new pet in the home and everyone get along immediately and don’t be discouraged if there are a few bumps along the way.  Give us a call today if you are needing more in depth tips on proper introductions!


There is still time to get your gifts for the fur-kids! Visit TODAY and get your order in!

Adoptable Pet of the Month!
Meet Chip!

Chip is an 8 year old male miniature poodle that was surrendered to FLPS by his owners.
Chip is a sweet boy who needs some love, attention and socialization. The owners stated that he is good with kids, cats and dogs, but we found out quickly that he was confused [not being at his home] and was not adapting well in his potential new foster home with her larger dogs. We’ve been working with Chip at the sanctuary and have found that he is good with smaller dogs and that we walks so so well on a leash! Chip loves to run and play around the yard and also loves to be held by the vounteers.  Can you find room in your home this holiday season for Chip or any of his friends at the santuary? You can visit FLPS website at or email them at to schedule a time to meet Chip or any of the other wonderful, adoptable dogs and cats waiting for the FUR-EVER homes!

Upcoming Events:

-December 16-18th: Santa’s North Pole Christmas & Gift Show at Downtown Phoenix Convention Center
-Stay tuned for a Yappy Hour in January!