Thursday, June 18, 2009
By Julia Williams
My mother once informed me that my three cats were spoiled rotten. At first her comment irked me, but then I realized it was true. I also realized that there was absolutely nothing wrong with spoiling them! People who love their pets want to treat them in a way that makes the animal happy and enriches its life. Otherwise, what’s the point of having a pet? Besides, no amount of pampering could ever equal the amount of love and joy they add to my life.
Then too, what one person sees as pampering might seem like a necessity to another. In my frugal mother’s eyes, feeding my cats a premium food like FELIDAE® is a waste of money. However, I know that this high-quality, all natural food is worth every penny because it improves my cats’ health and extends their lives. So while she may think I “spoil” them with cat food that costs more than the cheap supermarket fare, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Besides feeding your dog or cat good food, there are countless other ways to pamper your pet. Here are just a few:
1. Give them your undivided attention by petting and grooming them, talking to them and hugging them. While some people insist that cats are too independent to want or need attention, I have to disagree. I’ve had many different feline companions over the years, and not one of them was aloof or indifferent to my doting ways. It’s true that every cat has a distinct personality, and some enjoy the attention more than others, but they all enjoy it nonetheless.
The best thing about pampering your pet with attention is that it’s free. Dogs and cats that are petted and loved on a daily basis will be happier and better behaved. A gentle brushing of their fur is something almost every pet loves. Once a week, you could give your pet a soothing body massage, too. Don’t laugh – massaging your pet increases circulation and makes their coat shine – and most dogs and cats really seem to love it!
2. Pamper your dog or cat with a nice cozy pet bed. Since they spend the better part of their day sleeping (or at the very least, relaxing in a half-awake state), providing them with a comfy bed is really not so much pampering as it is a necessity. An added bonus for you is that a bed of their own keeps the pet hair contained to one primary spot. A heated pet bed is great if you have an older, arthritic dog or cat. They're safe to use, and the gentle heat will soothe their joints.
3. Dog sweaters and coats may seem silly and superfluous to some people, but many short-haired breeds do get chilly going outdoors in winter. For these dogs, a sweater or coat is not a fashion statement – it’s a practical way to keep them warm and dry.
4. Treats can be a great way to pamper your pet, provided you don’t overdo it. A fat pet is not a healthy pet, so give them treats only once in awhile, and make sure to factor the treat into their daily food allotment. Bits of plain cooked chicken or turkey, or freeze-dried liver, chicken and fish treats that have no additives or preservatives are the healthiest treats you can give your pet.
Homemade dog biscuits and cat treats are also healthy ways to pamper your pets, and they’re easy to make. I have two “pet recipe” books that I use, and there are some good recipes on the internet as well. If you'd rather buy your dog treats, try the SNAP-BISCUITS® made by CANIDAE®.
5. Toys are an inexpensive way to pamper your pet, and they can help them get some exercise, too. The nice thing about both dogs and cats is that they’re pretty easy to please when it comes to toys. In general, anything that keeps them safely amused instead of looking around for trouble, is a good toy to get.
The main thing to keep in mind is that pampering your pet should be all about what your pet likes, rather than what you want. And you don’t need to be able to speak "dog" or “cat” to tell the difference! Pamper your pooch or spoil your kitty with the things that make them happy, and you'll be rewarded with a lifetime of unconditional love and joy. In my eyes, that’s a pretty darn good trade.
Read more articles by Julia Williams