It’s true, sometimes it really seems like our pets have a secret life and do crazy things when we are not home. I always wondered what my dogs do all day while I’m out working. I mean, I leave pretty early in the morning, take the kiddo to school, work for 9 hours and come home. That’s an average of 10 hours a day out of my home.
If you are like me, and you love animals, you probably have a pet. I have 3 beautiful dogs that I adore with all my heart. And - here comes the tricky part – how can you juggle a full time, family time, and time for your pets? Here are some suggestions on how to make our pet’s lives happier and less stressful when you have a full time job outside your home.
1. BUY GOOD QUALITY FOOD
Just like our human food, dog and cat food is filled with preservatives, and lots and lots of fillers that can harm our fur-friends in the long run. Well, let me tell you how I figured this out.
I was very naive when I thought that dog food was just dog food, and that they could eat basically anything. Well, the same way that eating junk food everyday could make you, my human friend, sick; cheap, low quality dog food can make them sick as well. I’m not ashamed to admit that many, many times I've been on a budget and I'd always bought whatever food was on sale for my dogs… the cheapest the bag, the cheapest it is to produce, the more fillers and “junk” it has. When my dog Katy (a beautiful golden retriever-Chinese Sharpei mix) started to get sick, I was very worried.
She wouldn’t play, she would throw up all the time and eat grass and throw up again. She was also having accidents in the house, which was totally not like her. I was worried, and took her to the vet. They ran all kinds of test and everything came back normal. I spent more money trying to figure out what illness she had than what I spent in cheap dog food in a whole year. I was very sad until someone told me to start feeding her raw foods for a few weeks and then switch to a good quality, natural food. So we did. We fed her raw meat and raw eggs, and yogurt, and other things for a couple of weeks, then, after lots of research and self-education, we got her on a more natural, yet affordable over the counter dog food. Slowly, Katy grew healthier and happier. It was her gut.
2. GET A CHEW TOY or TWO
I couldn’t imagine being at home all day without doing anything. We keep our dogs inside just because here in our state it can get really, really hot in the summer, and really, really cold in the winter and there is not a lot of shade for them in our back yard. I’ve purchased a lot of different dog toys over the years and I always come home to millions (yes, millions) of small particles of the toy all over my floor. The voracious chewing of my 12 year old Katy, is like no other. She won’t, however, chew ANYTHING that is not given to her. She’s a good girl. One chew toy that seems to work very well is the Nylabone Durachew chicken flavored bone. I guess it really taste like chicken because my dogs love it and it doesn’t smell and voila! No mess to clean up!
3. BRUSH AND GROOM
All my dogs are pretty hairy, and they shed a lot (but what dog- other than a labradoodle doesn’t?) We have to regularly brush them, and brush them and I can literally take enough hair to stuff a pillow every time I brush Chloe, Skyler, and Katy. Even though this sounds like chore, make it about your dog. Make it a way to spend time with them. I’m sure they will enjoy your brushing and your love and you will too.
4. GO FOR A WALK
When Katy was little, we lived in a home with a large back yard and she would run a lot and get her exercise that way. At that time I had no time to take her for walks, but she would be so exhausted from having fun outside that she didn’t mind. Now, fast-forward more than twelve years, her hips are bad, and her back legs give up many times so she can’t go for long walks without pain. I wish I could go back in time and take her walking. Our daughter does walk the newest addition to our family, Skyler. She is a spunky 3 year old Chiweenie (Chihuahua -dachshund mix) and loves to walk around the neighborhood.
5. ATTEND TO THEIR ILLNESSES
If your child is sick, you take care of him/her. If your child is really sick, you take him/her to the doctor and buy medicine for them to feel better. That’s common sense. It puzzles me beyond believe how people can see their dogs or cats suffering with pain and do nothing about it. I understand that vets are expensive, but many local vets offer affordable payment plans and other charity organizations have vaccination clinics and checkups for free. If you can’t afford it, no problem, just inform yourself of the resources out there and you will find a place that fits your needs. A pet is part of your family, and it should be treated as such. If your pet is healthy, they will be happier.
And finally, spend any free time in your schedule with your pet. You don’t need to do much…if you sit down to watch TV, pet your dog while you are binging on your favorite tv show or movie. All you have to do is move your hand. They will be utterly happy to get some attention from their beloved master. A soft stroke, a kind word, and even a smile will be recognized by your fur-friend as they comfortable curl up on your lap content and fulfilled.
What do you do to keep your pets happy?