border collie waving [320x200]I hope you are excited about the coming year.  I certainly am.  I thought it would be appropriate to share with you some simple but important resolutions you can do for your pet.

1.  Do a diagnostic massage with your pet or  learn how to keep them calm with massage.  A diagnostic massage will help you to examine your animal’s body to make sure they are ok.  If you do it weekly, you will notice any changes in their body such as areas that are sensitive to touch, warm or growths.  Massage increases the bond with your pet and they really come to love it!  You can also learn a massage technique to help keep your pet calm, too.  You can get all the scoop here.

2.  Spend more time together. Yes, our time is very limited but try to increase the time spent with your pet just a little bit. Spending time with your pet is important, but if you take a walk with them, you both can get some fresh air and exercise.  Even just sitting with them in the evenings for a short period of time warms their heart.  They will love you for it and truly appreciate it.  Remember all they want is your love.

3.  Make sure your animal has ID.

  • I am not a big fan of microchips but some people are.  For some animals, chips act as a foreign body and the body reacts strongly sometimes resulting in serious illness and there are reports of even death.  Some times the chip migrates to another location in the body or may even come out.
  • Some people tattoo.  I am not a fan of that either.  There is a reason when a person gets a tattoo, they can’t be a bone marrow donor for 6 months.
  • I prefer a good collar and tag but by all means, do what you feel is right for your and your pet and have some way a stranger can identify your pet if it gets away from you.  Also, make sure you have current good photos of your pets.  You do not want to be heartbroken.
  • Remember when you leave your home to tell your pet when you are coming back.  That is especially helpful for dogs that get anxious and may try to get out of your yard.

4.  Evaluate what products go into your pet.

  • Take a good look at what you are feeding your animals. Look at the labels. A lot of food is made with fillers. Your animal may be allergic to a certain ingredient, which can cause health problems. Don’t assume health issues are because your animal just got sick. Even behavioral problems can be food related. The best way to know what is right for your animal is to muscle test them.  You can also see the prior blog on nutrition and muscle testing.
  • Take a look at your vaccination program, too.  Many counties allow for a 3 year rabies shot.  For some animals, having annual vaccinations can result in health issues including cancer.  This is especially true for ill and older animals.  Only give shots if it is absolutely necessary.  And keep in mind not all boarding facilities require shots if there is note from your vet stating your animal is in good health.  A better alternative is to have a pet sitter come to your home.
  • Consider natural deworming products, too such as herbal or homeopathic.

5.  Evaluate products you put on your animal.

  • Not only is what goes in your pet important, but what also you put on them. Many animals do not do well with topical applications like flea prevention and can become very sick. Some pets are too sensitive and their bodies can’t handle the chemicals. You can consider natural products like essential oils to help with fleas for dogs or flies for horses.  I’m a big fan of oils and I make my own flea and fly spray with eucalyptus, lemongrass, citronella and water.  Just be aware that some animals react to the oils so do a spot test on their skin.  It is best not to use oils on cats though.  Better yet is diatomaceous earth (DE) and it can be great for both dogs and cats.  Just don’t go breathing it in when you apply it.  We use DE for fleas and our chinchilla takes a dust bath in it to keep his coat clean.
  • Take a look at shampoos and any other topical items, too, and consider products with natural ingredients.  Instead of reaching for antibiotic ointment, you can consider trying Apple cider vinegar.  It is wonderful on sores and wounds, etc.  Many people offer it both orally and topically.  Get a good product like Bragg organic apple cider vinegar.
  • Household cleaners and yard products that contain chemicals can also cause your pet to become ill.  Believe it or not, one lick off a floor or piece of food that fell from a countertop has caused some pets to get sick.  For cleaning products, consider using vinegar (regular vinegar) and water, baking soda and water or green products such as Method or Mrs.  Meyers.  Did you know you can use the DE on your lawn for fleas and other pests and a mixture of vinegar and water for weeds?

6.  Continue to learn about natural methods.

  • You can learn about holistic care from the comfort of your home.  We have a free 28 page ebook on holistic animal care.
  • You can have a consultation for your pet. You can take a workshop.
  • Whatever you do, make it a goal to learn something new that can help your pet live a happier, healthier, and longer life. There are so many wonderful holistic and natural alternatives out there. Explore!

7.  Tell your animal you love them and thank them.

  • It sounds so simple but while many people show their love for their animal by petting or grooming them, they forget to say the words “I love you.” or “Thank you for being there for me.”  You can read more on this in a prior blog.
  • Also, if you have an animal you have adopted and have never told them you are giving them a forever home, please tell them those important words “You have a forever home with me.” Some animals do not realize they have a life long home with you, especially if they have seen multiple homes or came from abusive or neglectful situations, as many have.  Even after many years, an animal still may wonder if they are leaving the next day.  Simple words to say, but it means the world to the pets you love so much.

Seven simple things.  Make it a goal to accomplish all of them in 2010!  Remember if you have a question or you have a health or behavioral issue you’d like to see addressed in the blog, just let me know.

Blessings to you and the animals you love!