When the time comes, and we can clearly see that an animal is not living its best life anymore, do we have the right to help them transition? Is it what they want, and will they forgive us (or is forgiveness not required because it's what they want).
Recently, I received an email asking, "Would you please tell me what the healthiest cat food is that you know of? I have been buying bags of kibble at the pet store which is not organic and also feeding human grade frozen shrimp and human grade canned sardines in spring water with no added salt to my cat. I live in Canada and don't know of any organic kibble sold online. I'm also concerned that pollution in the ocean is contaminating the fish. Aside from answering this email to help me with future purchases, perhaps you could put something on your website to educate the others if you have any information to share about healthy choices".
Here's my reply.
Our rescue dog Cole (almost six now) is sensitive to fireworks, thunderstorms and loud noises. These situations used to cause him great stress. It was upsetting and stressful for us too, seeing him so fearful. With age and support, Cole calms down faster now. His initial response to loud noises remains heightened yet isn't as escalated as it once was. We've learned our newly adopted one year old stray cat Oliver is also very reactive to similar noises.
Today is Canada Day. It's a Wednesday. The fireworks started on Sunday night. I expect to hear fireworks most evenings this week. Though fireworks are a traditional way to celebrate, there's growing awareness that for many fireworks aren't cause for celebration. While beautiful, fireworks are an air pollutant, frighten wildlife and companion animals (more pets are lost during celebratory fireworks than any other time of year), and affect humans (with sensory issues and/ or anxiety, war veterans and others with post traumatic stress). It's time for change. Some countries are opting for silent fireworks.
Whether fireworks, thunderstorms or other loud noises such as cars and motorcycles backfiring, planes flying overhead, construction work in the neighbourhood, or lawnmowers and vacuums around the home, these sounds can terrify dogs and cats alike.
Here are some helpful tips you can try out with your animal family members.
Today, some simple, practical yet useful and healthy tips for your animal(s). Always have fresh water available (that means a clean dish and changing the water). Avoid tap water, just as you may yourself. Infuse the water with intentions of good health and serve the water dish in good spirits. Some animals enjoying running water which speaks to their instincts (check out pet animal fountains). Use glass or stainless steel dishes for water and food, as water is a solvent and will absorb what it is holding (a plastic bowl will leech plastic molecules into your animal's water). Be wary of pottery dishes, which may leech toxins from colourful paints. Animals appreciate having their water and food dishes in separate areas (no joint dishes please). Their wild instincts still guide them (separate food and water sources) Your animal(s) will thank you!
Many people enjoy having animal companions. Some people adopt animals because they like the way an animal looks. An important consideration in adopting any animal is species influence. What is species influence? It means that a breed has distinctive traits which it cannot ignore. Another way of saying this? Breed temperament. For example a Border Collie is a highly energetic working dog. A Bernese Mountain dog may enjoy work but does not require as much exercise. Before adopting an animal companion it is important to research the breed for compatibility with your lifestyle. If you want a quiet cat, you would be best to avoid a Siamese! If you want a relaxed dog, you would be best to avoid a Husky! When people adopt an animal companion based on considerations other than species influence then a lifestyle conflict might be the result. Do your homework and your animals will thank you!
Today, I want to talk about sleeping locations and beds for your cats and dogs. Our animal companions spend more hours sleeping than we do. Mutiple locations and beds are ideal for cats and dogs. Animals, like people, have varied preferences for their sleeping arrangements. Social animals often enjoy having a bed, blanket, or basket in the centre, or main living area, of the home. It is also important for cats and dogs to have access to a quiet location they can retreat to, as so often their movements are influenced by what we do. Cats may enjoy high (shelves in clothing or linen closets) or low (a basket under a table) resting places, or both. If your dog sleeps in a crate, experiment with placing a blanket over the top and sides of the crate. If you live with several animal companions, you may notice they enjoy sleeping in one another's beds, or not! Pay attention to their preferred surfaces (beyond ease of cleaning for you), such as blankets (fleece, wool, cotton). Your animals will thank you!
Today feels like spring - a perfect day to talk about spring cleaning! Whether your animal companion sleeps in their own bed, your bed, a crate, a basket, or other, I'd like to to think about how much time your animal(s) sleep on their bed. Animal companions, both cats & dogs, spend a lot more of their daily 24 hours sleeping than humans. What they sleep on is important (and I'm talking more than comfort), particularly what you use to your wash their (or yours, if they sleep on your bed) blankets/ towels/ bedding.. Consider using gentle, unscented products (as opposed to strong, harsh chemicals and highly synthetic products). Another laundry product to skip is dryer sheets - full of chemicals which are absorbed into the bedding which your animals lie in hours each day. Your animals will thank you!