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Love, love, love your Pets

April 1, 2011

Pets make our lives complete. No matter how bad a mood we are in, our dogs will shower us with unconditional love. Cats do so as well, albeit in more subtle ways. Pets sense our moods and often act accordingly to comfort and protect us. In this month of “love,” why not return the favor? Best of all, you don’t need Paris Hilton’s bank account to do it.

Discipline is an important part of loving your dog or cat. Basic obedience training will present your dog in its best light to other people and bring it even more love and praise. Train your cat not to claw the furniture or climb all over visitors. In turn, Fluffy is likely to receive praise and petting from those visitors.

The most important way to show love to your pet is to stay current with its health care. Regular veterinary checkups, dental care and vaccinations will keep your dog or cat healthy and vibrant. Groom your pet on a regular schedule, including nail clipping in your routine.

Play and exercise with your pet are necessary components for optimum health.  A long walk with your dog each day benefits both of you. Dogs love to play fetch with a ball or other toy, and some cats can be trained to do so. My cats love to chase a laser pen light around the room, and one will return a jingle ball to me, if I throw it for her. This combination of play and exercise serves two purposes and creates happy pets.

Feed your pet the best commercial dog or cat food you can afford. “You are what you eat” goes for animals as well as humans, and it is up to us to provide our pets with healthy, well-balanced meals. Watch your pet’s weight and take proper steps to control it, should he begin to put on pounds.

Dogs are social animals and want to be with you all the time.  Take your dog with you whenever possible. One of our dogs rides with me frequently, because he behaves when left alone in the car when I stop for errands. Both dogs are well-known at a local Starbuck’s drive-through window.

Three of our cats love a massage. Beginning at the ears, gently work your way down the cat’s body and back up again. If you follow this with a gentle brushing, your cat will be your slave (at least for a few minutes). Our dogs prefer belly rubs.

Last but not least, indulge your pet with healthy treats and toys. Bejeweled collars and expensive toys are not necessary to show your love for your dog or cat. My dogs enjoy raw baby carrots, an inexpensive and healthy treat. You can purchase toys for your dog or you can create them by tying knots in old socks and playing tug with your dog. Just be sure they don’t eat them. Cats love toys made with catnip. Make your own out of scraps of fabric and fill with a mixture of catnip and polyester stuffing.

Our furry friends give us love every day, and only ask us for the same in return. Give back to your furry best friend and improve his or her quality of life. You will both be happier for your efforts.

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