The Pet’s Perspective
I’m always amazed, though not surprised, at how much we truly love our pets and how most of us are willing to do just about anything to keep them healthy and happy. While working in the pet food and supply industry, I heard first-hand accounts from many pet owners regarding their dedication to their beloved pets. I know I’m not alone in my adoration for my furry family. To take that one step further, we “crazy” pet owners may be the new Normal!
Incredibly the pet industry has experienced continual growth year after year even with a very sluggish economy. According to the American Pet Products Association, in 2011, over $50 Billion was spent on pet food, supplies, medicine, veterinarian care, live animal purchase, pet grooming and boarding. WOW! No other industry has remained as healthy and viable as the pet industry. This speaks volumes about the people who are behind all of that growth… the devoted pet owners.
As any pet owner can attest, these simple yet sometimes very complicated creatures provide much entertainment, frustration, heartache, and absolute joy in our lives. Some people actually prefer to be around animals rather than people…you know who you are! And our relationships are often symbiotic.
Animals have incredible power, not just in the physical sense, but in their ability to break down barriers. One of my dearest friends became a quadriplegic after diving into a pool at a young age. Amy experienced, firsthand, how an assistance dog could allow her independence with daily activities, as well as made her wheelchair “disappear” when meeting new people. Fortunately, Amy was incredibly outgoing, intelligent and beautiful inside and out. But having her canine partner, Yanz (a black Labrador Retriever), to break the ice with people was certainly a plus. There are also therapy dogs who provide much needed stress relief with hugs and kisses under extremely devastating circumstances and cats who reside in elder care facilities to give the residents companionship. And, there are horses who give disabled individuals the chance to experience riding a horse for the first time. The list goes on and the benefits are numerous, but in all cases a special bond develops.
Many studies show that owning a pet can have a very positive impact on our health including reducing or controlling high blood pressure and stress, improving overall state of mind, encouraging more physical activity, and even staving off loneliness and isolation. I can certainly attest to all of these!
In the world of animal lovers, our love and devotion to our pets is the Universal Equalizer. It does not matter what your annual income is, what neighborhood you live in, what religion you practice, the color of your skin, or political affiliation…when it comes to loving our pets we are all equal.
PET TIPS: Avoid the typical weight gain with your pets this winter… Less activity = less calories required. Cut back a bit on your pet’s food. Add healthy fiber in place of the reduced food like unsweetened canned pumpkin, cooked vegetables or plain rice cakes. Give your dog some frozen pumpkin ice cubes…yum!
Less activity will also contribute to stiffness in joints, particularly in older pets. Try incorporating a daily joint supplement that includes glucosamine and chondroitin (additional MSM, HA, Vitamin C, and Turmeric, even better). Tasty “functional” joint treats are available for finicky pets. Adding a high quality fish oil (Omega 3 Fatty Acid) to the diet will also help with joint inflammation, among other things.
Kelly is a lifelong resident of Hamburg. After selling her pet food & supply business, The Animal Kingdom, in 2012, Kelly has been blogging, teaching community education classes and volunteers with several animal rescue/advocacy groups. Go to: www.blogger.thepetsperspective.com.