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Pet Smarts

by:
Kerri Barreca

Did you know that pet owners tend to be happier and more confident than their petless counterparts (according to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology)? It’s true, little Fido or Fluffy offers as much emotional support as family members do (maybe even more so depending on the case!). We love our pets. And why shouldn’t we? They greet us at the door when we arrive home, offer soothing prrrrs when we stroke their tummy and are ever-forgiving even when we are in the worst of moods. Our modern day fondness for domesticated animals has bread a whole industry of veterinary services, insurance operators and breeders looking to profit from the relationships we have with our pets.

Once upon a time, the only usefulness a cat or dog around the farm could offer was to keep the mice away and round up sheep! Today, however, we are willing to spend bundles on our furry friends. According to Business Edge News Magazine, it is estimated that market sales for pet extras are worth as much as $4.5 billion a year in Canada! That’s a lot of flee collars! I am all for giving dog biscuits to reward good behaviour but sometimes I feel that pet owners go overboard. I know a lady who cooks steak for her cocker spaniel; I can imagine her husband looking enviously at the doggy food bowl while he slowly chews his chicken legs. Don’t get me wrong, some pet food is healthier than others but all you need to do is read the ingredients. As long as meat is one of the top ingredients then you are a OK. Other owners spend a fortune on grooming and pampering. Just grab a brush! If you keep at it, it will be much more manageable. I love giving my dog a bath. He looks so funny and it’s a nice bonding time for us.

Heaven forbid, your little guy needs to go to the vet. Murphy’s Law states that Fluffy will fall ill just when all the bills start to pill up. Now, not only do you have to pay for the doctor's time, but also a shot here, medication there…ouch! Too bad OHIP doesn’t cover removal of a hair elastic from kitty’s tummy. Sure, Fluffy is part of the family and it is unfortunate that they have developed Intervertebral Disc Disease but before signing off on that expensive surgery just keep in mind that while it is very sad to see them so ill, pets are not meant to be with us forever. It may be more humane to let them go in peace and save yourself from greater financial stress. Talk with your vet about what the expected outcomes would be and hopefully they can help you make the best decision for both you and your pet.

Finally, if you are looking for a new furry friend, consider contacting your local SPCA to adopt. Giving a homeless pup or cat a welcome into your home is good deed by far. In most cases, you only need to pay for the shots and neutering (if not already taken care of) which beats paying up to $1,000 for a purebred any day. And remember, playing a game of catch and going for a long walk is absolutely free, so go ahead and show Fido you care!

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