Puppy Dog Tales - February 2015
by Daisy Mae Delray
This month - Ten ways to help keep our animal companions healthier and happier.
1. Feed us a wholesome diet. It must be hard for you to know what is good for us. Read and understand the ingredients in what you buy and look for products where the meat has a name like, beef, and chicken and lamb. We need vegetables and whole grains n our diet. Please talk to your pet food provider and your vet to find out what is the best diet for each animal family member. We need plenty of fresh water too. Not too many treats (read those ingredient labels too). Pizza is not a preferred food for cats or dogs. I’ll bet you didn’t know that dry cat food is not as good for your cat as wet food. Forget that crunchie treats clean their teeth, they don’t. You humans don’t eat crackers to clean your teeth. What else don’t you know about nutrition???
2. Vitamins can play an important role in your pet’s health. Check the labels or provide supplements to make sure we get plenty of anti-oxidants and all the other breed and species requirements. Check with a holistic vet or your pet food provider for specifics. Age and condition will be influencing factors. My person pays attention to my coat, my hair, my eyes, and my skin condition.
3. Exercise – Keep us moving. We need plenty of exercise to prevent obesity and to keep our
joints, heart and lungs in good working order. Be cautious when it is hot and the pollution levels are high. If it is too hot and dangerous for you or the pavement is too hot for you to run on bare feet, it is bad for us too. One caution, don’t overdue it when your pet is just starting an exercise program. Keep ages, condition and breed recommend levels of exercise in mind.
4. Vaccine caution. There are risks associated with over-vaccination. Some are required by law and the rest depend on the condition of the animal. Discuss vaccinations with your vet. I have a titer test every year. This is a simple blood antibody test that will tell you if your pet is still protected by the last series of vaccines.
5. Veterinarian check-ups are really important. Develop a good relationship with your vet and decide together on when check-ups should be. Between visits pay close attention to changes n behavior and do a body check at least weekly for bumps and sores and cuts, etc. Be a partner with your pet’s health provider. Look into health insurance to help with major expenses and the unexpected.
6. Teeth care – Periodontal disease is a real problem if not dealt with early. It can cause pain, gingivitis, tooth loss and infections that can spread to the kidney’s heart or other organs. I have a tooth brush and my teeth are brushed daily. My favorite toothpaste is chicken flavored. I also get organic carrots and apples to crunch on and the occasional raw knuckle bone. These help clean my teeth and give my jaw a good work out. There are some products you can use as an anti-bacterial spray if you laughed when I said use a toothbrush.
7. Take caution when using chemical pest controls. If you can, use natural products for prevention of fleas and mosquito repellant. What is recommended for dogs may not be safe for cats. Read the labels. Talk to your vet about your specific pet. Use flea combs, frequent brushing and do not use any product counter to the very specific recommendations for that product. Older, very young and sick animals may not be good candidates for some of these medications.
8. Good hygiene, especially in humid climates area is critical. Many of my friends have allergy problems. Daily grooming, bathing when needed ( not too often as you can strip the oils for our skin and we get dry and flaky), and a healthy diet will all help keep your pet’s coat and skin healthy. I like an oatmeal and aloe shampoo because I have that allergy to something in the grass. Because I am a service dog I need a bath every month to stay sweet smelling and shiny.
9. Keep our minds sharp. We need to be around others. People and other animals and new places and situations keep us sharp and interested. I do some agility training and most of my dog friends have been to obedience school. Dablonde, one of our cats, can do some amazing tricks and she has a video on birds that she just loves to watch. Just like most people, we get bored easily and if you don’t provide some appropriate toys we will find out own, like your best shoes or new chair.
10. Lavish us with love and attention. Two of my favorite things are massage and Reiki. Just think how much you love a massage, especially after exercising. Massage soothes stiff joints and improves circulation and it feels so good. Reiki I love because of my aging bones and the allergy I have. Let me tell you a little about Reiki. I know about Reiki because my human is a Reiki practitioner and she has a number of animal clients. Reiki is the practice of using energy to facilitate healing. A Reiki practitioner is attuned to this energy on a level that enables them to channel it through their hands and facilitate healing. Reiki is very soothing and it calms me down and I love the warm touch of hands on the places where I feel sore. One of my neighbors, a greyhound has a seizure disorder that, in spite of medication, was manifesting in at least a seizure a day. Regular Reiki treatments have reduced the number of seizures and Avery is feeling much better. Massage and Reiki are only two of the many alternative, holistic health treatment that are being used to improve the lives of pets and humans. Read more about them.
Keep your tail high and your feet dry, Love Daisy Mae
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