It's back-to-school season, of course, and as I've been wading through the plethora of ads and articles and advice for parents who want their child to have another successful year, it has made me ask -- what about me as a pet parent? Don't I want to ensure that my lovely cat has a happy, healthy year, too?
Perhaps all of us need to go "back to school" for a refresher course in how best to take care of our pets.
With that in mind, I have prepared a fun but informative A to Z Pet Primer with some quick reminders of what we need to know to be good, responsible pet parents. These are just snippets of information, of course, so follow the links to my earlier articles for more complete information!
Your Very Own Pet Primer
A is for AIR FRESHENER. Love ‘em? So sorry, but it’s best to ditch ‘em. They’re loaded with chemicals that are toxic to your pet (especially birds!) and your family. In fact, anything with “fragrance” on the label is suspect. Look for “fragrance free” ("unscented" won't do) and safe alternatives to eliminating odors!
B is for BARBARIC, which is the only way to describe declawing. You do not want to inflict this procedure on your kitty, even if she’s shredding your sofa cushions (yes, I've been there). There are other options!
C is for CANNED CAT FOOD. Cats need water, but don’t enjoy drinking it. Cats need meat (see the letter “O”). And cats are better off with a low-carb diet. The answer? Canned cat food, not dry.
D is for DOG BREATH. Relieve it temporarily with a few squirts of PurSpray!
E is for "EVERYONE," as in, "Everyone puts a flea collar on their dogs, so I guess I should, too!" or "Everyone declaws their cats, so it must be OK," or "Everyone uses scented candles to cover up odors," or "Everyone feeds their cats kibble, so it must be a healthy choice." Well, "everyone" can be wrong, at least some of the time. Be sure you do your own research (or read my blog!) so you can make informed (and healthy!) choices.
F is for FLEA COMB, that tiny-toothed wonder that is your first line of defense against the dreaded flea. Don’t be without one. And use it daily!
G is for GREENWASHING. Can you trust that “green and natural” label on your pet product (or any product, for that matter)? Probably not. Be sure you don't fall for "greenwashing" hype and know how to identify what is truly green and healthy for your pet and your family.
H is for HONEY, that nectar of the gods that is also an effective, albeit rather sticky, treatment for wounds and infections. Yup. Honey is a sweet part of a HOLISTIC (another H word!) approach to pet care. Learn more about both!
I is for ITCHING, a thing we cat and dog parents hate to watch. Itching is part of the cycle that leads to dreaded hot spots, so act quickly to break the cycle!
J is for JERKY, a pet treat imported from China that has killed over 1,000 dogs within the last couple of years. Be sure you buy smart when you buy treats! Or, better yet, make your own!
K is for KITTY, the name of our lovable black cat. Kitty is an indoor cat, but she sneaked out one evening and was gone for, gulp, five days. She now wears a Pet Hub tag with a web address and QR code that will help me find her. Be sure you have a means of tracking a lost pet!
L is for LITTER. Kitty litter, of course. If you’re looking for an alternative to dusty, gets-tracked-everywhere, unhealthy-to-breathe clay, there are tons of options!
M is for MEAT. Did you know that meat should be the first ingredient in your dog or cat food? Yup. And a named meat at that, e.g. “chicken,” not “poultry” or “salmon,” not fish.” There are other things you should see (and shouldn’t see, as well) on your pet food label. Do you know what they are?
N is for NEMATODES. These tiny (microscopic even!) parasites are a NATURAL (another N word) way to control fleas in your yard, fleas that can end up on your pet, of course. Avoid treatments that contain toxic chemicals!
O is for OBLIGATE CARNIVORE which is exactly what your cat is. That means she should eat primarily meat, which is best found in canned cat food. O is also for OBESE which is what can happen to your cat (or dog) if you overfeed them. By the way, pets are more apt to be overfed than to overeat. Catch the difference??
P is for PET TOYS and POISON. Those two words shouldn’t go together, of course; but, sadly, they often do. Far too many toys contain chemicals that can harm your pet. Be sure you know how to recognize them and how to buy safe toys!
Q is for QUESTIONS. Huh? Well, what questions do you have about pet care? What topics would you like me to research and write about? The Internet can be a great source of information, but not all of it is accurate. I spend a lot of time researching the experts, so I can give you good, reliable information. I hope you keep reading my blog!
R is for REGULAR BATHING, which joins flea combs, vacuuming, and washing your pet’s bedding in hot water once a week as one of the top natural preventives against fleas.
S is for SUNSCREEN. Yes, I will occasionally write about important stuff I think everyone, not just pet parents, need to hear about. Even within articles about pet health, I'll talk about people health, too. If that's of interest to you, stay tuned!
T is for TOXIC CHEMICALS. How many do you have in your home? Probably a lot. Do a "toxic sweep" in your home and get rid of the nasty stuff. You'll have a healthier pet and a healthier family.
Speaking of toxic, T is also for TETRACHLORVINPHOS. That's a chemical you do not want to see on your flea collar label! That goes for propoxur and permethrim, too. All three are toxic chemicals that are harmful to your pets and to the children, who happen to love to snuggle with them. There are better, more natural, ways to discourage fleas.
U is for P-u-rSpray. OK, I admit that’s a bit of a stretch; but perhaps I'm entitled to make a plug for our product. PurSpray is as pure, safe and natural a pet first aid spray as you can find. It contains absolutely no nasty toxic chemicals, will not sting and is safe to lick. And, it will save you money. I hope you'll read my four short articles about the benefits of PurSpray! Pet care doesn't get any better than PurSpray.
V is for VET VISITS. Do you dread the tension and anxiety of these visits? They can be far less stressful if you know how to prepare your pet -- and yourself -- for them.
W is for WHOLE DOG JOURNAL, a publication every dog parent should read. Get a paper subscription, and you will have full access to their excellent online articles. There's also Dogs Naturally magazine and Animal Wellness, which now has a section devoted to cats. (which definitely pleases us cat parents!
X is for XYLITOL. This sugar substitute, found in sugar-free gum and candy, toothpaste, even baked goods and peanut butter, is highly toxic to dogs. Just 3 grams (about 8-10 pieces of gum) can kill a 65-pound dog in just a few hours; a lot fewer pieces can be the end of a small dog. Recent research indicates that xylitol is not toxic for cats, but caution is still recommended.
Y is for "YES, YOU CAN!" as in "Yes, you can make wise decisions about your pet's health. They may not be the same choices everyone else is making; but if you've done your research, and you're convinced you're making the right decision -- whether it's about flea collars or vaccinations or raw food for your dog or getting rid of toxic products in your home -- don't be afraid to step outside the proverbial box and take a different route!
Z is for ZOOEYIA, the perfect ending to our Pet Parent Primer. Just what is zooeyia? It’s defined as “the health benefits that pets provide to their human companion.” We all know what the love, loyalty and affection of a pet has meant in our lives. In return, we should be sure we learn all we can about how to give ours a happy, healthy, long life. Let PurSpray help you do just that.
Have you enjoyed our Primer? What would you add? Get creative and let me know!