Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Conscious Living with Pets, part 1




-- Quote of the Day --


"When written in Chinese, the word 'crisis' is composed of two characters - one represents danger, and the other represents opportunity."

~ Saul Alinsky




-- Conscious Living with Pets --


When we have decided to adopt a new family member (a.k.a. “pet”) from a shelter, we often go online and look up the breed so that we will have a better understanding of their subconscious, breed-related behaviors. From this research, we can approach the training and handling of the animal in a more effective way. After the initial introduction phase that we go through (for the house and its contents, each member of the family and for the outdoor area) we can then begin the training. Training is a lot of fun; it stimulates the animal’s mind and makes them more interested in spending time with you. Humans laugh and find peace in an otherwise hectic, stressful life… and the animal is more relaxed overall because they’ve gotten the attention they need.

Initially, we start with touching… getting the animal used to being touched at any position at any time – when they are eating, when they are drinking, at play, and when they are at rest. Eventually even the most sensitive, shy animal will give in and allow you to touch her anywhere, anytime. This is very important to do if you have visiting children and other pets around who may grab or touch the animal in an unsupervised moment. It also comes in handy for grooming activities that we’ll gradually introduce to a new family member such as cleaning ears, brushing teeth and trimming nails.

When purchasing toys, bedding or other pet items what I like to do is look for interesting new technological advances such as biodegradable waste bags in eco-friendly, refillable dispensers, beds that are stuffed with buckwheat hulls, environmentally friendly kitty litter, or pet toothbrushes made from recycled plastics. The food we choose and the packaging it comes in also plays a role in conscious shopping choices. I have learned to avoid foods that have corn and wheat in the top ingredients; while grass might be a part of the pet’s forging habits, grains are not. Grains and corn actually have a lot of empty calories and are not healthy for a cat or dog. Choose low calorie, high nutrition treats that also help clean their teeth. And don’t feed them people food – especially avocado, whole nuts and chocolate, which are very bad for your pet’s system.

I have allergies and have always bathed our cats and dogs to keep the symptoms at bay. Bathing once every 6 – 8 weeks seems to be appropriate with healthy organic, skin healing shampoo. …It is definitely worth the extra few dollars that these special shampoos will cost. Trimming nails – if you hear clicking on the floor then the pet’s nails are going to need some attention soon. Brushing the teeth is something we are new to – having only done this in the last year or so, but have been doing this chore about once every 4-6 weeks. It was no trouble at all getting them used to it, they were already conditioned to us touching them and manipulating their lips to see their teeth. And one of our dogs loves this so much that he is chewing and licking the entire time, while I try to manipulate the brush. If he really wants a brushing he'll come and watch us brush our teeth and lick his teeth. ...kinda like saying 'Me too!'


...watch for part 2 of this discussion (tomorrow's post)



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