14 ways to show your love to pets


As Valentine's Day approaches, ponder these tips to spoil pets rotten--and keep them healthy.

Courtesy of the Pet Poison Helpline, here are 14 ways pet owners can celebrate their love for their pets this Valentine's Day and throughout the year. Consider passing on these ideas to your clients.

1. Grow your own catnip for your cat to devour, or buy wheat grass, which is available at pet stores.

2. For fun, get your canine companion some nonalcoholic "dog beer," which is a beef- or chicken-based drink.

3. Ease up on the food and treats if your furry friend is tending toward the plump side. Start by cutting back around 10 percent to 25 percent.

4. If you're throwing a party, offer acceptable treats for guests to give to your dog so they aren't tempted to offer toxic items such as grapes, raisins, or chocolates.

5. Let your indoor cat outside only on a leash so it doesn't get into poisonous plants such as lilies.

6. Speaking of poisonous plants, make sure you’re familiar with the ones that can harm pets. Click here for a list.

7. Treat your dog to low-calorie treats such as peas, plain popcorn (no butter or salt), and green beans.

8. Give your cat a fun workout to burn off the calories-have it chase a laser pointer, pounce on a catnip-filled toy, or bat about a toy suspended from a rope.

9. If you're sending a bouquet to a friend with cats, make sure lilies or other toxic plants aren't included.

10. Have emergency phone numbers and directions to an emergency pet clinic as well as a poison hotline number at your pet sitter’s fingertips.

11. Brush your pet's teeth to help prevent dental disease, but avoid human toothpaste since fluoride can be toxic to pets.

12. Take your pets to the veterinarian once or, even better, twice a year for a check-up to help prevent disease.

13. Scoop out the litter box once a day to keep it attractive to your cleanly kitty and ward off elimination problems.

14. Can't get your dog out for a walk every day? Check out a doggie day care in your area. It's a great way to keep your dog exercised and a great socialization outlet as well.

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Angela Elia, BS, LVT, CVT, VTS (ECC)
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