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I'm FURIOUS at my neighbors I left Violet with yesterday for 7 hours... they told me that they gave her a can of beef stew CAT food even though I gave them kibble to feed her. "Oh, she only ate like 1/2 of it" (which she often does then goes back to eat the rest an hour or so later). "She should eat real meat, so we gave her a can of premium beef stew cat food". What the F do you know? You have CATS, you don't have a dog, let alone a puppy. A CAN of cat food sounds like they WAY overfed her... she gets less than 1/4 cup of good quality kibble 3 times a day since she's still a puppy (just under 4 months old). Then this morning at 2:30 AM & 10 minutes ago she had NASTY diarrhea & didn't eat her kibble last night at 9:30 and this morning she barely ate when I fed her at 7:30. I was sort of mad yesterday evening when they told me that they fed her cat food, but today after the diarrhea and having to wipe up her butt and legs, I am BEYOND pissed. I need to tell them NOT to feed her ANYTHING but what I give them to feed her. I'd consider boarding her next time I need to leave for more than 2-3 hours, but it's pretty expensive and my neighbors didn't ask for any money, they just adore her and loved having her around.

Any advice on how I should handle this without losing a "free" sitter?
 

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Feeding something as rich as cat food could potentially cause a problem as serious as pancreatitis. If you cannot trust them not to do something like this again, I wouldn't be chancing my dog's health on it. I'd hire a pet sitter to stop by in the middle of the day.
 

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Oh how frustrating!!! I would be extremely angry as well. If your neighbors are otherwise doing well with watching her, I would try having a talk with them. Tell them Violet has a sensitive stomach and your vet gave you strict instructions to give her only her normal puppy food and absolutely NOTHING else. Also make sure to tell them she got sick that night from the cat food, and hopefully they will get it. I use the "sensitive stomach" excuse whenever we're at the petstore, training class or vets office and someone wants to give Bailey a junky treat...I always say "Oh I'm sorry, he has a sensitive stomach so he won't be able to have that treat but thank you." Like Jackie said, if you don't trust that they'll follow your instructions, then you should look in to a petsitter to watch Violet instead. I am extremely particular and strict about Bailey's care, even with my family whenever they are watching him....they think I'm a little crazy, but hey...I'll do whatever I need to do to make sure my dog is safe, happy and healthy!
 

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Cat food is really bad for dogs. It's way too rich. I would rather leave my puppy for 7 hours than to leave her with a neighbor that substitutes their own judgment for yours. I have lots of friends who leave their pups during the day while they goto work for 8 or 9 hours. Half the days they have someone check in on their pet, the other days they don't. As long as the pup has access to food, water, and kibble, I don't think it's caused any pup problems. Puppies love to sleep anyway.
 

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You should definitely tell your "petsitter" they caused Violet to be sick. I'm sure they didn't intend to harm her, but they should know they did. I wouldn't leave her there again, even for free. Hope she feels better soon, if not,I'd call a vet. Do watch for signs of Pancreatitis, pain,vomiting,lethargy,panting,no appetite.
 

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I think they probably just need to be educated - they sound like they really love her. I would print out an article on why cat food is bad for dogs/puppies (I believe it's much higher in protein which cats need and dogs can get very sick from). And then as a backup plan (since they are opinionated [as many of us are when it comes to dog food, right? :p]) I would bring over the brand/kind of wet puppy canned food you would prefer Violet to eat along with her kibble and tell them to please mix them together so she won't get an upset tummy (also educate them about what happens to dogs when you switch up food on them like that cold turkey). I would think it would be a good compromise...you are feeding Violet what you want (the canned could be a treat for only when she stays with them) and they are feeding like she is being properly cared for (lol...talk about killing an animal with kindness).

If, however, after educating and providing them with an appropriate canned for Violet you feel they are still feeding her what they want (cat food, etc), time to start making plans for some other place to stay.

But since the price is right, I vote for trying the diplomatic educational approach first and see how they respond. You will know soon enough if they are feeding her bad stuff as she will get the runs again. (Which, btw, I wonder if they are feeding their cats in an area she can't get to it?)
 

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Thank you for your good advice everyone. This is my first dog ever, and after doing a ton of reading up on how to care for a puppy and Maltese, I thught I'd be a really good dog mom. Unfortunately, you can't control other people's actions.

Along with her kibble, I gave the neighbors 2 baby carrots, 2 pea pods, and 3 tiny bone shaped biscuits that I baked to give her as treats... and I didn't get them back, so I assume that she ate that too. Since she didn't eat last night and barely ate this morning, I fed her 1/4 cup of plain white rice with a tiny bit of plain chicken and a few little pieces of sweet potato. She gobbled it up, so I hope it settles her stomach.

I printed the first page of the pdf I downloaded for this article of what NOT to feed dogs... it says the cat food is too high in protein and too fatty... I highlighted that part and I'm going to give it to them this evening when Karen comes home from work. Foods You Should Not Feed Your Dog

I think I have to say something like, "I know you meant well, but PLEASE don't feed my puppy cat food. Not only did you over feed her, but she had diarrhea too. The cat food is too rich for dogs let alone puppies." I think they may defend it with, "oh, but she LOVED it", and I may have to end it it with, "I don't care if she loved it, it's not healthy for her. I know how much you love her and I'm sure she'd love to stay with you again, but I need to trust that you'll ONLY feed her what I give you."

Does that sounds tactful enough?
 

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As they say, "you get what you pay for." I wouldn't trust anyone who didn't follow my instructions. These people seem too clueless to me. I'd hire a professional. Who knows what they might do next. They obviously do not respect your wishes as they have already shown.
 

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Yes, I think what you have planned to say sounds fine. Like Eileen said, they probably just need to be educated on what dogs can and can't eat. Other than that, they sound like they are loving and sweet with your dog. Give them the benefit of the doubt this time around...trying speaking with them and see what happens. If they still don't get it, you should let them know Violet will not be coming over anymore.

Bailey is also my first puppy...I don't know very many dog people in my "real life" but I have educated myself as much as possible through reading, research and this forum. I also have to deal with people in my life being completely clueless about dog care and constantly have to explain what is or isnt good for dogs. So I can completely relate and I think you're going by it in a good way...polite but firm. Let us know how it goes when you speak with them!
 

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I'm FURIOUS at my neighbors I left Violet with yesterday for 7 hours... they told me that they gave her a can of beef stew CAT food even though I gave them kibble to feed her. "Oh, she only ate like 1/2 of it" (which she often does then goes back to eat the rest an hour or so later). "She should eat real meat, so we gave her a can of premium beef stew cat food". What the F do you know? You have CATS, you don't have a dog, let alone a puppy. A CAN of cat food sounds like they WAY overfed her... she gets less than 1/4 cup of good quality kibble 3 times a day since she's still a puppy (just under 4 months old). Then this morning at 2:30 AM & 10 minutes ago she had NASTY diarrhea & didn't eat her kibble last night at 9:30 and this morning she barely ate when I fed her at 7:30. I was sort of mad yesterday evening when they told me that they fed her cat food, but today after the diarrhea and having to wipe up her butt and legs, I am BEYOND pissed. I need to tell them NOT to feed her ANYTHING but what I give them to feed her. I'd consider boarding her next time I need to leave for more than 2-3 hours, but it's pretty expensive and my neighbors didn't ask for any money, they just adore her and loved having her around.

Any advice on how I should handle this without losing a "free" sitter?
I would politely inform them cat food is harder to digest that dog food and an cause health problems,the least of which is nasty diarrhea. Just let them know in a nice way how serious it is and the mess it makes too. That way you can still stay friends. They meant well just didn't know any better. Many times new dog owners or even experienced dog owners may give a treat to their dogs,with the best of intentions and find out it was bad for them.
I think they meant well,thinking,well the cat loves it,I'm sure your fluff did too. Just tell them she has a sensative stomache and I'm sure they won't do it again. That way if you decide not to use them again,as neighbours,you're still friends...
 

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Vera -- very tactful. I would gauge her reaction to what you say to see if I'd leave Violet with them again.And if it's not just her but someone in the house I would talk to everyone, not just her so that no one dismisses it. If they still don't seem to "get it" then I definitely would look for a pet sitter. If they're really sorry (as I would be if I did anything like that unknowingly) then you might be able to trust them. Or you could bring over a wee wee pad with the diarrhea on it and faced with the stinky, messy truth, see what response that gets. :blink: Just kidding about that last suggestion but boy does that make an impact!:yucky::eek2_gelb2::faint:
 

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Lots of great suggestions and advice !
I agree with Adore Maltese and just tell them "She has a sensitive tummy".
Do mention she had diahrreah and hopefully they won't feed her any cat food again.
 

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. Or you could bring over a wee wee pad with the diarrhea on it and faced with the stinky, messy truth, see what response that gets. :blink: Just kidding about that last suggestion but boy does that make an impact!:yucky::eek2_gelb2::faint:
That would definitely make a point - and I've had some terrible colitis experiences with Tessa - to the point where I think I would do just this!!:w00t:
 

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Or you could bring over a wee wee pad with the diarrhea on it and faced with the stinky, messy truth, see what response that gets. :blink: Just kidding about that last suggestion but boy does that make an impact!:yucky::eek2_gelb2::faint:
Snowbody- that is HILARIOUS! Unfortunately (or FORTUNATELY) it wasn't on a wee-wee pad, it was in the corner of the lawn... I tried to scoop it up with a poop bag (at like 2:40 in the morning) but couldn't really see it all. Yesterday morning I took some yard clippings and put it over what was left of the mess (and steer Violet away from that spot)... I could still bring the neighbors over and uncover the terrible truth... but I think *I* might get sick... LOL!

So this is what happened: I went over to the neighbor's before I took Violet for her long walk yesterday evening... and I was very nice (almost too nice) to them & first thanked them for watching her, then mentioned that she got sick. I told them that the cat food was too rich and high in fat for her, and especially since she's a puppy, her food should not be switched unexpectedly. I also mentioned that a whole can was way too much for her little 4.5 lb body. They thought that what I left for her wasn't enough food, but I explained that as a puppy, she gets ONLY 2/3 cup of food the ENTIRE day plus any little veggie treats or tiny doggie biscuits. They felt really bad, and apologised. Karen mentioned that she was telling some of her friends how much fun they had with Violet, and mentioned the cat food. She said that "they" told her that was a really bad thing to do, and the worst that would happen is that she would get diarrhea (and she did). I did mention (with a joking voice) that it was "fun" cleaning up her butt and back leg at 3:00 in the morning after she had just had a bath 2 days before. Like I mentioned, they felt really bad about it and said they didn't know. So now they know. When I was there, Violet didn't look or act sick at all (yesterday morning and Sunday night she was all lethargic)... in fact, she was running around like crazy, all excited to see them. I took her for a long walk after which she really enjoyed, and once we got home, she konked out. Then she got a sudden burst of puppy energy and ran around in circles like a banshee barking (a squeaky puppy bark)... Yup, she's feeling better!

Thanks again everyone for your input. FORTUNATELY no real harm was done.
 

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Thank goodness she's okay now and that your neighbors understand that what they did wasn't okay. and Good job to you for approaching your neighbors so well. I don't think I could've been that nice! lol
 

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Glad you got that taken care of without ruining a friendship! And I'm glad they realized what they did was very wrong and that it created a problem for you because of their feeding your pup something she shouldn't have had.

Does it work better for you having Violet on a set amount of food a day? Does she finish it all? I've always free fed my puppies, which has seemed to work well at my house, especially when they are under 6 months old. Even if they are plump puppies, they slim down as they get closer to adulthood.
 

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Thank goodness she's okay now and that your neighbors understand that what they did wasn't okay. and Good job to you for approaching your neighbors so well. I don't think I could've been that nice! lol

BELIEVE me, Miss Annie, I took ALL my energy to be nice since:

A. I live next door to them
and
B. I may need their help again watching Violet

My friend Shannon was mad at me for not asking her to watch Violet (she has a male Maltese a little over a year old)... I told her next time I'm asking her first.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Does it work better for you having Violet on a set amount of food a day? Does she finish it all? I've always free fed my puppies, which has seemed to work well at my house, especially when they are under 6 months old. Even if they are plump puppies, they slim down as they get closer to adulthood.
Stacy, I feed Violet 3 times a day- usually at 7/7:30 AM, 2/2:30 PM, and 9/9:30 PM. Most of the time she eats 2/3 to 3/4 of it, then like an hour later she'll go back and finish it. At dinner time though, she's sniffing so heavily at the food I cook, that she devours her food because she realizes that we're not giving her any of our food. And I feed her AFTER we finish our dinner, when I'm putting dishes in the dishwasher. It works well for her, because about 1/2 hour after she eats I bring her outside out for her potty break, then we play with her as much as we can to tire her out (usually 10-20 minutes) and then she sleeps through the night (I put her in her crate from 10/10:30 to 6/7:00). If I feed her too early, she wakes up in the middle of the night for a potty break and then wants to play. NO WAY am I playing in the middle of the night, I need my beauty sleep!
 
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