Category Archives: safety

Finding the right pet for you

Pets are wonderful additions to any family. Humans have long held a strong connection with dogs and cats. They make us feel good, give us purpose, provide unconditional love and companionship. If you are considering getting a pet for the first time, congratulations! You are headed for years of joy with your new addition.

Pet ownership is a responsibility, though, so before you make that commitment, take a good inventory of your life. Make sure you are up to the task and prepare your house, family and life for your pet.

Understanding the obligation

When you own a pet, you are responsible for a life. It is similar, but also very different, of course, from the responsibilities of parenting. An animal’s happiness and health are solely in your hands. As a pet owner, you will have to feed and shelter your dog or cat, but that’s not all. In addition to food, you will have unexpected expenses such as veterinarian bills, grooming costs and obedience training.

If you plan to vacation without your pets, like most people, then you’ll need to make arrangements or pay for boarding. Although airlines and hotels have become more accommodating of certain pets, many trips are impossible with a canine or feline companion. If you are adopting your pet, you will likely be made aware of the many responsibilities of ownership at the time of adoption, as shelters and humane societies have a vested interest in making sure that their populations are low. They would prefer than you not adopt if it means you would consider returning the animal if the responsibility became overwhelming.

Determining the right breed for you

When adopting pets from a shelter, your choices are usually limited. Kittens are all essentially the same as far as requirements – although specialty cat breeds have difference grooming and care requirements. Dogs vary more in both size and temperament. If you have a small apartment, make sure you have access to a big field, dog park or jogging area before adopting a large, athletic dog breed such as a Labrador Retriever or Weimaraner that need a lot of exercise. Smaller dogs have less exercise requirements, but have different limitations and concerns.

Preparing your home

Once you know the breed or type of pet you are going to adopt, it’s time to make sure your home is safe and secure. Many household chemicals and some plants are extremely dangerous to pets. Cats often like to swat at plants, so if you have any that are potentially poisonous, make sure to remove them before you set your kittens free in your home.

Both dogs and cats need their own spaces in a home.  A dog bed or crate in a quiet space is preferable for Fido, and cats need a clean and quiet area for their litter box. You’ll want it to be out of the way, but not so much so as to be a chore to clean.

Bonding with your pet

Once your home is made safe and your new pet has its own area, you can focus on bonding. By fostering a close relationship with your pet, you can ensure that their behavior is well-regulated. Both cats and dogs can act destructive if they are not content. Dogs can benefit from obedience training, which can also act as a form of bonding.

Bonding is a two-way street with your new pets. Companion animals provide many benefits to humans, including improving mental and emotional health. Pets also can play a role in supporting those in addiction recovery. Addiction survivors develop healthy routines and focus on caring for another living creature.

As a first-time pet owner, you may feel overwhelmed by responsibility. If you just remember to spend time with your pet and embrace the responsibility as an opportunity to enrich your life and the lives of your pets.

Photo Credit: Pexels

Jessica Brody

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A Fall To Remember

Here is a warning story for anyone with tiny dogs. We have four…Grandma (Skipper), Grandpa (Pirate), Momma (Maui) and baby (Saylor). They all sleep with us in our king size bed that is a bit higher than a typical bed. Because of this we have a carpeted dog ramp on my side of the bed. The dogs learned to use it and come and go with ease.

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Not my dog or bedroom, but likeness of my dog ramp.

Maui is our biggest…almost eight pounds and although she uses the ramp to get on the bed, she has a habit of jumping off Dad’s side onto the hard wood floor. We tried to keep a fluffy rug there as a cushion but sometimes it gets moved and I cringe if I hear her knees hit the floor before I can grab her. Because of this I purchased two Wellness Pet Mats that I discovered at the Global Pet Expo. Since I am starting a site with solutions for older dogs and this helps with arthritis and other ailments I thought we’d get one to try it out and also cushion Maui’s daring jumps.

We got the biggest one for Dad’s side to cover a bigger area to cushion her jumps. We also got one a bit smaller for my side of the bed next to the ramp in case our little ones miss the ramp since Grandpa and Grandma are nearly blind. I never got around to placing the smaller one on my side…until today.

Late last night I came to bed later than usual because we are fostering a 3 week old kitten and I had to bottle feed him once more before bed. The room was pitch dark and as I came in the dogs awoke. Faithful tiny 4 pound Pirate (Grandpa) got up to greet me as I fumbled plugging in my phone in the dark…then I heard the terrible hard thud…He got too close to the edge near the ramp and fell on the very thin throw rug…then he made a terrible long agonizing scream. I got the light on and there he was laying on his side twitching with his little front legs stretched out in front of him.

By now my husband was waking and I grabbed up Pirate, placed him on my bed and his front legs were like straight steel rods, I couldn’t move or bend them…he was breathing heavy…I thought for sure he broke his neck or spine. I dialed the E R vet who said the vet just left (it was 12:03am). I started praying out loud for Pirate as I got the number for another ER. I called them and they said we could come right away.

We flew out the door within less than 4 minutes of the accident. I held Pirate against my chest vowing that if he was paralyzed, I’d carry him around, strap him to my chest for the rest of his life, hand feed him and do whatever it took to bring comfort to my precious little pal.

Then I started to pray…I prayed for full and complete healing in Jesus name over and over again, then I sang a little hymn into his ear as we were exiting the expressway.

My husband dropped me at the door while he parked and they were there to greet me at the door. The nurse asked me to put him down on the big scale….I told her I was worried about his spine and his legs were stiff…she reminded me they would need his weight in case of a RX Prescription. I gently placed him on the scale and he was remarkably quiet. (He is a very vocal dog usually). 4.2 Pounds…I scooped him up and we waited for the vet. By the time the vet came into the room and I put him down on the table, his tiny legs had loosened and were bendable! She took his vitals and left for a few minutes.

By the time the vet entered, Pirate was able to stand by himself on the table…he was a bit wobbly and his right front leg seemed bent in a bit. The vet wasn’t concerned and released him without any meds or treatment. By the next day he was back to his old self! We got our miracle and dodged a bullet!

 

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Sweet tiny Pirate…very fragile but big attitude and bigger heart!

In the meantime, I hurried my launch of Gramppaws.com and Gramp Paws on Facebook to bring solutions to older senior or disabled pets. I will detail my solution to keep the Yorkies safe in my next blog. Please stay tuned and be sure to visit and like our new Gramp Paws Facebook page!