Roses are red. Violets are blue. Chocolate is poison, and flowers can be too!
This V-Day, show your four-legged sweetheart that you care. Not only is February for lovers, it's also for pet-lovers, as it's also National Responsible Pet Owners Month.
Nearly 45 percent of U.S. households own at least one dog and half of pet owners consider their pets to be family members. We all know chocolate is a no-no for dogs, and many flowers are poisonous to cats – so how can pet lovers give their animals a special treat on Valentine's Day?
Dr. Gene Giggleman, veterinarian and professor at Parker University and previous president of the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association, shares his top 10 tips to show your pets the love throughout the year.
- Take your pet to get a chiropractic adjustment. With a few quick and painless techniques, animal chiropractic allows veterinarians to adjust the animal's spine as a pain-free treatment for old age and many common ailments.
- Give them a massage. It may sound funny, but massage is growing in the animal care community. It can decrease pain, improve joint function, and help their muscles prepare before exercise.
- Think acupuncture. Many pet owners elect to use acupuncture on their animals for the same reasons humans frequent this traditional Chinese technique, such as improved blood flow and stress relief.
- Mind their (table) manners. Avoid giving pets table scraps, which is a large contributor to animal obesity. Obese animals are at risk for many of the same conditions as obese humans, like heart disease or cancer.
- Give healthy treats. Fido should get rewarded for good behavior, but be sure to not give an excessive amount of treats to dogs, since they're often packed with calories. Instead, try rewarding your pets with kibble and lots of praise.
- Get a microchip. Implantable ID tags have resulted in many happy stories of found pets. The process is relatively inexpensive, too.
- Know the rules. You know you can't feed Fido chocolate, but did you know even raisins are bad? Many human foods are hard to digest for cats and dogs, particularly chocolate, alcohol, grapes, raisins, nuts or candy and gum containing xylitol. The more natural, the better.
- Invest in a harness. Traditional leashes clipped to a dog's collar can pose unnecessary stress to the animal's neck, and puts him at risk for choking. Instead, buy a sturdy harness, which equally distributes resistance across his back and legs.
- Puzzle them. Dogs especially love working for their food “ so buy a doggie puzzle that tests their brain and piques their interest. Treat balls are a great way to feed them in a challenging way “ and they ™ll be occupied for hours on end.
- Avoid certain surfaces. We all know that hot concrete can pose a risk to an animal's paws, but did you know other surfaces can be just as dangerous? Avoid excessive running on tennis courts (which can tear a dog's paw pads) and always watch out for broken glass near busy sidewalks.
She Is Dallas Info: Dr. Giggleman holds an animal clinic every Friday afternoon for pet owners interested in holistic, alternative care and is available to discuss alternative care for animals. Parker University Animal Clinic, Fridays from 1pm to 5pm. The clinic is located directly to the left of Parker University's School of Massage Therapy, 2560 Electronic Lane, Dallas, TX 75220-1214. The animal clinic is between the chiropractic clinic and the massage school.