1. "Please don’t give me table scraps …. and never chocolate!"
As much as your beloved pet may beg for food, remember that most table scraps tend to disrupt and harm the digestive system! When it comes to chocolate you may be literally killing them with kindness. Chocolate is highly toxic for animals and even a small amount can do grave damage.
2. "Make sure I am rid of fleas and worms!"
If there are two things that can make a pet seriously unhappy and uncomfortable, it's fleas and intestinal worms. Just imagine your skin crusting and weeping from being scratched raw. One flea can spark an allergic reaction, so make sure that you clean all bedding and carpets too! If your pet is given conventional flea medication, MAKE SURE that you never use dog flea products on cats – this could be fatal. A supportive remedy for the liver is also a good idea to counter-act the effects of the harsh chemicals.
3. "Please don’t leave me in the heat!"
Never leave your pet in a hot car. Even leaving the window open may not be enough, as air may not circulate properly and temperatures inside the car may climb to fatal levels. Similarly, remember that when a pet is too hot, their internal body temperature inhibits them from drinking water – this means that only when their body temperature is brought down will they be able to become hydrated and drink properly. If your pet over-heats and you are close to a water source, immerse them in cool water until its temperature drops or cover the animal in wet cloths and towels and get them under a fan as soon as you can. Keep this in mind when you take your pet to the beach or up on the mountain.
4. "Please keep me away from thunder and fireworks!"
Imagine if your ears were so sensitive to sound that a loud noise caused excruciating pain in your ears. Pets have very sensitive ears – and dogs are especially sensitive to fireworks, loud music or thunder. Make sure that your pet is kept indoors during a storm or Guy Fawkes and help them to stay calm by closing windows and curtains.
5. "Please keep our home allergy free"
Some animals can be very sensitive to certain allergens such as carpet cleaning products, detergents and even grass. If you think your animal may have an allergy, use organic cleaning products and minimize contact with the lawn (specified short periods per day). If diet seems to be the cause, try a natural diet for sensitive skin either cooked or raw food. By elimination you should be able to isolate the culprit.
6. "Please go easy on my joints!"
As most pets age, joints may become sore, sensitive and stiff. Even for younger animals, certain breeds may have a predisposition to joint aches and conditions. Furthermore, even just a change in season may trigger muscle and joint niggles. Remember to provide soft bedding and to guard against over exercise. Swimming can be a great form of exercise that is less harsh on the joints!
7. "Please mark me as yours!"
Your pet would literally be lost without you. He relies on you and you alone to make sure he is safe and sound. For this reason, it is vital that you microchip your pets – all vets scan for this chip to reunite pet and owner. Better to be safe than sorry! Also, take recent pictures of your pet so that you have an up to date photo on hand and make note of the animal shelters in your area.
8. "Please take me to the vet for regular checkups"
This is important – your pet relies on you for his health. Be alert – if you notice any changes in your pet or it has stopped eating, have the issue investigated. YOU know your animal and what is normal behaviour or out of the ordinary. Regular check-ups are a good idea so that your vet has up to date information such as weight and heart rate etc. Investing in health is never a bad idea!
9. "Please take precautions when you leave me in a kennel"
If you put your animals in kennels over the holidays, be sure to check the premises first. They should be hygienic and not too over-crowded. Ask the institution if there have been any infectious outbreaks of Parvo Virus in the last 6 months. And enquire about kennel cough. It's a good idea to start your animals on preventative remedies as a precaution, such as an immune booster or general tonic.
10. "Take care of me and I will be yours forever"
Make sure that your house is your pet's house too. This is a safe haven for him. It is his domain to share with you as his owner. Remember to remind guests that they are to treat your animals with respect and love. Young children may also need to be gently reminded to be careful of the pets and to treat them with kindness.