Make A New Years’ Resolution – For Your Pet

The new year (2008) is just over a month old but according to Denise Flaim, author of the Animal House column in Newsday it’s not too late to make a few resolutions for the improvement of our pet’s lives. Flaim, a Newsday staffer since 1994, covers companion animals, but she herself claims to be owned by two Rhodesian Ridgebacks. Involved in breeding, lure-coursing, obedience, agility and therapy-dog work, Denise is also the historian of the Rhodesian Ridgeback Club of the United States.

I would be among the first to agree with Denise that anything we can do to provide a longer and healthier life for our pet – we should do, and happily. You can’t measure the joy a pet can give you every day but sometimes we get so caught up in our routines that we forget that we are responsible for the life of an animal that depends on us for it’s very survival. Sometimes I just look at my dog and say a prayer for his well being. I almost lost him once to neglect by his former owners and I plan to spend the rest of his life making up for it. I think Denise is right on the money. Here are some “pet resolutions” you should think about:

Is That All the Cookies?Resolve to feed your pet a better diet. Forget about the mass-marketing from commercial pet-food companies that have the bucks to get that pretty bag of questionable ingredients and fattening fillers to eye level in the supermarket. Do like I do and shop for your pet at a local feed store. Not only will you find that your pet is welcome there but you will find their staff to be a heck of a lot more knowledgeable about pet nutrition than that kid in the grocery isle. The nutritious food you buy there may end up costing you a bit more but won’t you feel better knowing that your pet eats as well as you do? Doesn’t it stand to reason that all living creatures benefit from fresh, hydrated, whole foods.

McCaws courtesy of RobertIf you have exotic birds for pets consult with experts like: Robin Deutsch, bird trainer and author of The Healthy Bird Cookbook: A unique lifesaving nutritional guide and recipe collection and general introduction to the nutritional needs of pet birds. It includes notes on how to feed them from weaning onward, offering an assortment of healthy recipes to supplement a bird’s diet along with standard seeds (the equivalent of junk food for birds) and pellets (which may not provide all the vitamins and minerals a bird needs by themselves, especially since the pellet-making process itself can destroy nutrients). Instead, see if you can replace some seeded and pelleted foods with more nutritional fruits and vegetables, your bird(s) will love you for it!

buddiesFor dog and cat owners Denise says you must have the definitive book on nutrition for them, Kymythy Schultze’s, Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats, (Hay House, $8.95). but what she doesn’t say in the article (and may have been prevented by doing so by the Newsday folks) is that she has her own book out there that has garnished some high praise as well. While she may be an expert on companion animals her book translates well to nutrition for our pets. Reviews of her book include comments like, “Brilliantly done! Not since Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats has there been a more concise and comprehensive book on holistic health care for our companion animals.” “Ms. Flaim’s book is very well researched and packed with valuable information from the nation’s leading experts.” The Holistic Dog Book: Canine Care for the 21st Century is a “must have” for your reference library.

Resolve To Rescue A Pet! I found my dog at a shelter, malnourished and sick with “kennel cough”, a term shelters use that can cover a variety of ills. My Vet said it was no small miracle that he survived the anesthesia when they neutered him per their protocol. As it was, I had to spend a small fortune in Vet fees to feed him intravenously until he could keep food down on his own.

It turned out that my new dog had canine flu which I understand on it’s own is rarely fatal but once he was brought to the shelter (he was taken away from his former owners due to neglect) he was subjected to other ailments that together could very well have ended his life. As it was he almost died anyway. Look at that poor pathetic face!

A healthy and happy DukeThankfully my best friend Duke is a happy and healthy dog now. What I had to spend to make it happen was worth every penny. My vet said that not many people would have gone to the effort and expense that I did, especially after having him only one day. Does anyone really know what they would do in a situation like that? There is no way of knowing how long it takes to bond with a certain animal, in my case it was almost instantaneous.

Funny how things turn out sometimes. My sister who lives in a different part of town than I do was out in her neighborhood walking Duke one afternoon (she was dog-sitting while I was at the human doctor) and as she walked by the neighbors house they had a little chocolate lab puppy who was frolicking in their front yard. Turns out they had seen Duke at the shelter and decided he was too sick to adopt! Had he felt better I might never have known about him.

The point here is that you should consider the next addition to your family a rescue or shelter dog. There is a rescue group for just about any variety of dog out there and organizations that will save and care for animals no matter what their pedigree. Fostering a dog is another option if you want to help but be prepared to lose your heart in the process. When you give a dog a safe haven so that they can recover, if even for a few short weeks, the dog’s chances of survival increase dramatically.

Doesnt hurt a bitResolve to get vaccine savvy  -One of the things that was frustrating to me when I first got my dog from the shelter is that there was no history of vaccines or any indication the dog had ever received veterinarian care. Since my vet had no clue as to his history he had to be tested for Parvo Virus, Tick Fever, Valley Fever, Distemper and a whole bunch of other canine diseases. Each test that came back negative was a relief but the meter was definitely running!

Do yourself and your dog a favor, make sure he or she is up to date on their vacicnations. The veterinarian profession has changed it’s attitude toward over-vaccinating and for many of today’s vaccines, every three years is becoming a minimum interval between inoculations.


Our love for Animals should be selfless as our dog has towards us and this can be accomplished with better pet care, healthy animal food and hygiene. At Birdcagesgalore, we provide pet care tips so that they can live to their fullest.

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