We've just had Valentines Day and many of us have celebrated our love for one another simply by pondering on all of the things we do for each other all year round. We've gone out for meals, bought our loved ones chocolates and flowers, purchased or even made a special card for our beloved etc..
There are many people who don't yet have that special someone, sometimes involuntarily and sometimes out of choice, but more often than not many of those people share their lives with a pet dog, a cat or even a hamster. So in the spirit of St.Valentine we are going to explore some of the ways that we can show our love for our pets. More specifically, in our case, and the case of most of the readers of this blog, the love for our dogs.
We should all love our pets and want to communicate to them exactly how much we adore them but how do you do it? Do you speak dog? I know I don't!
Is your new puppy or good old-faithful your secret special friend? Someone who comes to you wagging his tail whenever you call, always bringing a smile to your face? Carrying their favourite toy to play catch or chase? Just responding to that in a positive manner may be all the love that dog needs, some dogs are a little more demanding or even needy.
We all know what it's like. Sometimes we feel like we can't be bothered to go for that walk, after all, it's winter, it's probably raining and pretty cold. It's snuggly in the house, something distracting is on the TV, it's that or going out to play with the dog in the miserable cold? Time to snap out of it and wrap up warm (including the dog) show how much we care by making an extra special effort to go outside for that walk and build that bond with our animals.
No? Still too cold? OK then lets work though some more ideas.
First let's look at what not to do:
Many sugar-free gummy type sweets contain a sweetener called xylitol, which is extremely toxic to dogs. Avoid it like the plague.
Worst of all though one of our old favourites, chocolate is especially toxic to pets. Worst of all are the darker, more bitter varieties of chocolate. Your little furry friend may love the stuff but it can cause diarrhoea, vomiting, speed up their heart rate, hyper-ventilation, the shakes, seizures, raised blood pressure and even cardiac arrest or respiratory failure. It's tasty to them but don't be a sucker and give in to their demands. Nothing says: "I Love You" less than some of the symptoms above, even if it feels like you are being kind. Your great uncle Bernard may have given chocolate to his dogs all his life but that doesn't mean it's safe. Slow poisoning is still poisoning. Probably explains all of those vets bills this imaginary uncle (or his familial equivalent) incurred over the years.
So why is chocolate the worst of the worst when it comes to treats? Chocolate contains theobromine as well as some other methylxanthines. These are all stimulants that are potentially dangerous to dogs when eaten. It also contains caffeine.
Let's be serious here. Pets don't appreciate flowers and your dog might see them as somewhere to pee rather than a loving gift. In the case of cats, leaves can often be chewed in order to induce vomiting and bring up pesky fur-balls. As some of you have both dogs and cats we thought it only right to mention how toxic lilies are to cats (any part of the plant ingested through licking or chewing can cause kidney failure and death to a cat) as well as the dangers of thorney roses to both dogs and cats. We tend to anthropomorphise our pets way too much and what delights them is often vastly different to what would make your valentine happy.
If you love having flowers around and have pets then at the very least avoid lilies and take the thorns off roses in case the stems get chewed and one of your pets swallows a sharp thorn.
Do you take your dog to the groomers? Could you occasionally do some of that yourself
Does your dog love toys? Is there an old one that's their favourite that has been chewed half to death?
Is your dog a really docile type? Does he love nothing more than a few treats followed by a cuddle? Then what are you waiting for?
A facultative carnivore may seem similar to an omnivore but it is rather different. A facultative carnivore is an animal that needs meat to thrive and even to survive however they can get some energy and maybe a little nutrition from some plant matter however meat and especially organs will literally make your animal thrive and help keep the very bills down as a result of good gut health. So go to the butchers and get them some tripe, heart, kidneys and other offal, they will really love you for that. And don't over cook it. We have some new natural protein based chews coming very soon that will also make your dog very happy indeed.
So there are some do's and don'ts for you dog to show him how much you love him. But remember. Valentines day is only one day. It should be a reminder of how much you love someone, be they human or furry friend. So don't wait another three hundred and sixty odd days for your next opportunity to show that love. Do it as often as you can.