I wanted to offer 8 tips for pet owners to follow since my family has recently acquired an addition, his name is Jack. I featured a photo of him in my post 10 Little Known Facts about Dogs. He’s a toy poodle and full of energy, that’s putting it lightly. But either way, he’s been great fun and we’ve really enjoyed having him around.
The population as a whole has a great love for their pets and spends several million dollars a year in food and health care for our pets. Although we would never do anything intentional to harm our beloved pets, there are still many things pet owners may not be aware of that may be harmful for them.
1. Never Feed a Dog or Cat Milk
According to veterinarians, neither Dogs nor Cats have the proper enzyme in their bodies to digest cows milk. Actually dogs and cats do not need milk like humans do for building strong bones and to maintain the proper calcium levels. Drinking cows milk can give your dog or cat chronic diarrhea and will make them feel terrible. It should also be noted that ingesting milk by a male cat will cause crystals to form in their urinary tract and may cause an infection. They say it’s good to feed your pet a low-ash pet food, but you must be sure the ash levels are calculated on a dry-weight basis. Where as some manufacturers will dilute their products with water in an attempt to make it appear healthier.
2. Pet-Proofing Your House and Back Yard
When you think of pet-proofing your house or back yard, you pretty much have to look at it the same way you would for children. So all dangerous substances should be kept out of reach at all times. It is so easy for your pet to get into something that you didn’t even realize was there. Prescription drugs and chemicals can be found all over your house and it can be fatal for them to ingest these types of things.
For instance, Antifreeze is a fatal substance for pets, but they say it tastes good to them. So you must keep it far away from them. It can cause kidney failure and there is a very slim chance your dog could be revived after such a poisoning. It’s very common for a dog or cat to take a quick taste of this stuff from either a puddle in your driveway or maybe a toilet in a vacation home.
Believe it or not, a US Penny is also very dangerous to your pet. Now days they contain a large portion of zinc and it is highly poisonous to your pets and small children for that matter. Pets love to chew on and attempt to eat pretty much anything they come across. Most Vets will tell you that having to surgically remove foreign objects from a dogs stomach is a very common procedure.
They say cats aren’t as likely to eat metal objects as dogs, but they love to chew on and eat stringy objects. Things such as string, thread, tinsel from a Christmas tree and rubber bands should be kept secure. As we all know, keeping things from a cat is much harder than a dog. Cats love to climb and crawl into small spaces.
So the point here is, leave no stone unturned when it comes to keeping foreign objects out of your pets reach. Ingesting these things could lead to their death.
3. Always Use a Veterinarian
Never attempt to diagnose your pets condition. That’s what Vets are for and the attempt to treat your own pet could lead to more problems. The things you may think will work for them may not, just because they may work on your children. Humans have a much different chemical make-up in their bodies then pets, and what’s good for humans isn’t necessarily good for pets.
One common mistake people have done is to give their cat acetaminophen. Acetaminophen is what’s found in Tylenol and other pain relieving over the counter medications. Cats do not have the proper enzyme needed to digest this substance. Hear me when I say this…ONE TABLET CAN KILL a full grown animal. On the same side of the coin, aspirin may also make your cat very ill. Vets will tell you that a full grown cat can only tolerate one-quarter of an adult aspirin within a three day period. That’s not very much!
Also home remedies for fleas and ticks can be very harmful. Reports show some people have tried gasoline and patchouli oil as a remedy for fleas and ticks. These are both highly toxic and can be fatal. It is recommended to only use flea and tick powders or liquids prescribed by your vet.
4. Keep Your Pets Clean
One of the strangest myths I’ve ever heard was that dogs do not need baths. This is definitely not true. Dogs should be bathed either monthly or weekly. This all depends on their skin type and how oily it is. Each skin type will build dander at a different rate, so consult your Vet to get the proper procedure. But always use shampoo that is pH balanced especially for pets. This is because your pets pH levels in the skin will differ than that of a Human.
Bathing cats is also a good idea if you are allergic to dander. They even make a special spray-on product that is designed to hold dander in place until you can get around to giving them their bath. I know a lot of you probably think cats hate water. But it’s been found that many cats actually enjoy getting a bath. Although it is recommended to use warm water and start low, like around their feet and work your way up. This gives them time to adjust. Also never splash the water up on your cats face, that could cause problems. 🙂
5. Watching Your Pets Weight
There are many folks out there that love to keep that bowl full at all times. This is not necessarily a good idea, you do not want to over feed your pets. Just because their bowl is empty doesn’t mean you need to put food in it. It’s best to stick to a daily regiment of feeding at certain times of the day. This way their bodies get used to feeding at these times and they won’t feel like their starving in between feedings.
Animals are capable of regulating their own weight, but some pets may tend to feed until they are sick if the bowl is always full. It is also a good idea to implement a good exercise plan for your pet. Pets need exercise and it will help to regulate their weight. Plus if your pets are very young, then they need the exercise to use up some of that energy. Remember a pet that is bored or has unused energy is one that will search for things to get into. So if they’re running wild and tearing up stuff, a little exercise throughout the day could cure this problem.
You wouldn’t want to feed your pet diseased rotting meat would you? Or give them food that contained chemicals linked to cancer right? Well the fact is, you may already be and just didn’t know it.
6. Be Careful with Home Made Treats
Just because your pet may like your cooking when no one else does (..lol sorry, just a joke.), doesn’t mean it’s good for them. But on a serious note, if you’re feeding your pet “people food” you may cause them problems in their diet.
If you are feeding your dog only meat products then this may lead to calcium phosphate levels becoming out of balance. This can cause your dog to develop bone disease. Little small dogs are very good at making you think they won’t eat anything unless it comes off of your plate. So don’t be fooled by their attempt to hold out for the good stuff.
Table scraps may be high in fat and this can cause inflammation of the pancreas and could lead to a death. To show you how serious this is, Vets have reported an increase in this type of condition during the Thanksgiving holidays from pets eating turkey leftovers. The same thing has been reported around Easter when ham is served as well as during the summer from eating ice cream.
7. Real Bones are Dangerous
Real bones such as chicken or beef bones can get lodged in your dog’s throat and digestive tract. These cases normally aren’t fatal but can cause extreme discomfort, which would lead to a Vet visit. If you must give your dog a bone, then give them rawhide. Rawhide bones are very good for your dogs teeth and gums.
There was a study done at Harvard University that concluded giving your dog an unlimited supply of rawhide bones has no gastrointestinal side effects. So rest assured, rawhide is a great substitute for a good old fashioned bone. And many brands taste like the real thing as well, they love them.
8. Don’t Put Pets out in the Cold
Now don’t get me wrong, some dogs are bread to withstand the cold weather and will do fine outside during the winter months. But even if your dog has a thick undercoat, it’s still a good idea to give them a place to get out of the cold wind. A simple dog house or a spot in the garage or under the car port will suffice.
Leaving your dog or cat out in the cold will put a lot of stress on the animal and can lead to health problems. Especially if they have wet feet. Be sure to dry their feet real good and possibly apply some cream or lotion to them.
So there’s the 8 Tips for Pet Owners to Follow that I promised. I hope this has all been somewhat helpful to all you pet lovers out there. Our pets are a wonderful and fun part of the family and we want them to remain healthy and in good spirits. So following these 8 tips can really help in some of the areas you may not of been sure on. If you have any other great tips on caring for your pets, please let us know in the comments below.