Category Archives: responsible pet ownership

Five Ways Having a Pet Teaches a Child Responsibility

kids and pets kanonnBy Laurie Darroch

Adding a dog or cat to your family is a great way to teach your children how to be responsible for another living creature and learn to appreciate the work and dedication involved in caring for that pet. By including them in the care of the pet, children not only learn how to nurture it but they learn that loving another creature is much more than just playing with it on occasion. A pet depends on its people to provide food, shelter and full care.

When you adopt a dog or cat, kids may not always do the care work consistently, even with guidance or prodding, so be prepared and willing to do it, too. The ultimate responsibility is yours, but having a pet can be a good way to help a child learn how to care for and empathize with another living being and be responsible for something important. They will learn that their care matters to the pet.

Don’t get a pet just to teach your child responsibility. You should get a dog or cat because you want to love it, enjoy its company, care for it, and be a companion and family for each other. The responsibility lesson is just an added bonus.

Food

Feeding a pet is something concrete that all children can understand. They know what it feels like to get hungry and they understand that food is the way hunger goes away. They will understand the pet needing food. Teaching them to be responsible for feeding the family pet is one of the easier lessons in pet care for them to learn.

Dog Animated - no offerWhen a dog or cat really loves its CANIDAE pet food, and gobbles it up the moment the child fills the bowl, the child will see that what they did is important. Learning responsibility and really understanding that helping the pet matters – to the pet as well as the family – will reinforce your child’s desire to want to be involved.

Attention

Children sometimes view a pet as a plaything. They may tire of it the same way they do a toy, but learning the importance of caring for a living being teaches your child the value of that animal as a real creature, not a toy. The commitment is for the life of the pet. Even a very small child can empathize and learn to understand the importance of good pet care.

Actually helping and spending time with the pet helps them understand that responsibility includes taking time each day to pay attention and give love to their dog or cat. Children need that time and attention from their parents. Your child can learn that their pet needs the same thing and they can be a source of fulfilling that need.

Personal Care

Helping to bathe or brush a furry pet can help to reinforce a child’s own personal care skills. If the doggy or kitty needs to have these things done, and they help do it, that helps them understand that it is a need many living creatures have, including themselves.

Medical Care

Although any medical pet home treatment, (wound, injury or illness), needs to be supervised by an adult, having your child with you while that treatment is taking place helps the child understand that pet care also involves attending to the kitty or doggy when it is ill or injured. It also teaches empathy. Most kids understand what feeling sick or getting an injury feels like. Sometimes responsibility involves a not-so-pleasant situation, and kids need to learn that as well.

Around-the-Clock Responsibility

Like children, pets require around-the-clock care at one level or another. A child can learn that having a pet means caring for it even when it is inconvenient or conflicting with something else they want to do. That lesson helps them learn that prioritizing needs and wants is an important part of responsibility. Don’t be hesitant to include them in something as simple as having to let the dog out in the middle of the night in the backyard for a potty break, or have them help change the kitty litter.

Don’t limit the help requests to older children. Even young children can begin to learn responsibility with simple tasks that they can manage or help you with. Praising their positive involvement will encourage your child to want to be more involved with the care of the pet.

Being a responsible pet owner means being a model for your children to follow to learn how to be responsible for your pet. Kids learn by example and will follow your lead. With guidance, a child can learn to be responsible for the care of a loved family dog or cat. Learning that their involvement matters in the care of your dog or cat will teach your child that responsibility is important and that they can contribute and make a difference.

Top photo by kanonn/Flickr
Bottom photo by Mary-Frances Main/Flickr

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Basic Facts Dog Owners Should Always Remember

basic facts paolo 2By Langley Cornwell

Life gets busy and can sometimes be overwhelming. There is so much going on in our world, in our neighborhoods and in our households that it’s easy to get caught up in things. Let’s face it – sometimes it takes all of our focus just to get from one task to the next. Even so, your dog is counting on you to be a responsible pet owner.

It’s important to remember that your dog does not understand all of your time restrictions and commitments. He doesn’t understand that you need to work, grocery shop, exercise, socialize, attend classes, cook meals, fold laundry, clean the house, etc. He just knows that he loves you. He also knows, on some level, that he needs mental and physical stimulation as well as quality play time in order to be a happy, well-adjusted pooch. He needs to socialize with you and bond with you. It’s easy to forget this in our chaotic lives but the fact is, our pets need some of our time.

This article is getting back to basics; it’s a friendly reminder of what sharing your life with a dog should look like.

Time
basic facts greeblie
Most dogs only live 10 to 15 years, and it will go by fast. So no matter how hectic things get, carve out a bit of quality time for your dog every day. Ideally, the time of day would be similar from one day to the next, so your dog could joyfully anticipate this special time. That’s ideal but not necessary. What is necessary is that you have one-on-one time, just the two of you, and that your dog gets your undivided attention during that time.

Another consideration under the heading of “time” is this: try not to leave your dog alone for extended periods of time. These days, many dogs are at home alone during their person’s entire work day. Often they’re lonely and bored. This is a tough issue to solve, but try to make some arrangements so your dog does not languish the day away just waiting for your arrival.

Exposure

Just like people, dogs need to mix things up sometimes; they like to visit new places and have new experiences. Even if they seem shy and frightened, ease your pup into new situations so he will learn to be more trusting and confident.

Additionally, dogs like to learn new tricks, especially if it means spending more time with basic facts skycaptain resizedyou. Your dog will do anything to make you happy, so learning new things and then getting praise and perhaps a tasty CANIDAE grain free treat is your dog’s idea of heaven.

Patience

Dogs do not understand our words unless they are taught. They try to do what we want them to, but it’s up to us to learn how to communicate with them. I once lived with a female German shepherd who was (and probably still is) the smartest dog I’ve ever shared my life with. I used to say I didn’t need to train her because she would do anything I asked her to, if she understood my wishes. This dog was amazing and she taught me that it’s all about communication.  Be patient with your dog, and learn to communicate with him/her.

Likewise, don’t get mad when your dog does something wrong. If you catch him in the act, communicate your wishes and then move on. Otherwise, take a deep breath, clean it up, and let it go.

Care

Make sure your dog always has plenty of clean, fresh water and feed him a nutritious diet of premium dog food like CANIDAE. It’s up to you to keep his toenails clipped, his teeth healthy, his ears clean and his fur brushed (see, I told you this article was back to basics). Don’t leave a dog outside in scorching heat or frigid cold. Pay attention to his behavior and seek veterinary care if he begins to act unusual.

When you bring a new dog into your life, you make a lifetime commitment. Sometimes it’s good to be reminded of how basic, yet important, our responsibilities are.

Top photo by Paulo Brandao/Flickr
Middle photo by greeblie/Flickr
Bottom photo by skycaptaintwo/Flickr

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Can You Leave Your Cat Home Alone for the Weekend?

cat home alone KymberlyBy Linda Cole

Every summer, I “cat sit” for a friend who enjoys dashing off for weekend getaways. Each time she asks me to watch her kitties, she ends by saying, “I know they would be alright, but I feel better knowing someone is checking in on them.” Cats may be solitary creatures, but that doesn’t mean they don’t miss you when you’re gone. Having someone watch your cats when you go away can give you peace of mind – in more ways than one.

As a lifelong cat owner, I’ve learned to never assume a cat can’t find a way to get herself into a situation she sometimes can’t get out of on her own. I had a cat pull the hose off my dryer, climb through it to the vent on the side of the house, and get stuck. I found her hanging upside down when I got home from work. She was fine, but it scared the daylights out of me.

One of my neutered male cats backed up to an electrical socket and sprayed into it which gave him a shock and produced a steady plume of smoke from the socket. I was assured by the firemen who inspected the socket that everything was alright. However, I was right in calling them because my cat could have started a fire. We can’t control or foresee issues that might arise, and leaving your cat home alone for more than a day could turn out to be a bad decision.

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How Do You Keep Your Pet Happy?

Belle happyBy Julia Williams

Every now and then my mother, a true non-pet person if ever there was one, says something along the lines of “Your cats sure are spoiled.” I smile and say “thank you.” I know she doesn’t mean that as a compliment, but to me it definitely is. If I am spoiling my cats, it means I am doing everything I can to make sure they are happy and healthy, and feel loved and appreciated.

Unlike spoiled children who run the risk of becoming brats who feel and act entitled, spoiled pets are just contented creatures who have a wonderful life. Are they thankful for it? I’m sure there are those like my mother who believe animals don’t have the capacity to feel thankful, or happy or sad either, for that matter. But we know better, don’t we?

Who among us can say that we haven’t seen looks of sheer joy on the faces of our pets? The greatest thing about making a pet happy is that it’s actually quite easy. They don’t ask for much other than to be well fed and well loved – now, how hard is that?

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How to Be a Courteous Dog Walker

By Laurie Darroch

Dogs love to go for a walk and explore the world beyond their front door. It is a great way to get some exercise, work on obedience training and burn off excess dog energy. To make the experience pleasant for everyone, follow these basic etiquette guidelines for being a courteous dog walker.

Leash Up!

Even if your dog is very obedient and does not wander off without permission while you are on a walk, your city may have leash laws that do not allow a dog to roam freely. Respect those laws. They are there to protect you, your dog and others.

Dogs who love to go out associate the leash with a positive, fun experience and may get excited when they see you get it out before a walk. The leash will give you full control while on your walk and also keep your dog safe. Think of it as the equivalent of holding a small child’s hand.

If no leash is required, you should still follow the basic rules of dog walking etiquette.

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Snowflake the Siamese Rescue Cat

By Laurie Darroch

Now in her teens, Snowflake is a happy, contented and very loved cat, but that wasn’t always the case. Stephanna B. rescued the flame point Siamese cat when they were both very young.

Stephanna spent much of her time exploring the outdoors and engaging in imaginative play in her big backyard, often getting lost in play for hours at a time. Inevitably the local wildlife made an appearance, including blue bellied lizards and many different types of birds. The family dog was usually included in playtime and exploring. They were often spotted playing in the tall wild grasses and digging in the sandy soil, perfectly happy and content.

Unbeknownst to the young girl, an underweight, very wary half-grown cat was keeping an eye on the activities, deciding if this interesting, free spirited little girl was safe to be around. She had cause to pause, as she was an abused cat and humans had not been her allies in her young life.

Slowly the cat began to come into the yard, and Stephanna would talk to her. She made a little bed for the cat out of a cardboard box and lined it with soft bedding, then placed it up in her wooden fort at the top of her swing set. Safe under the overhead canvas roof of the fort, the cat soon found the little house to be a sanctuary and the young girl to be gentle and affectionate. They bonded, but the cat still wandered. She returned more and more often to the big untamed back yard and the happy little girl.

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