Archive for May, 2010
Many people wonder if their pets have emotions and if they can feel happy, sad or lonely. Find out what true about your pets and their emotions with the following 10 guidelines. Once you realize that your pets may be feeling happy or sad or even perhaps, unwell, you can do something about it with extra attention or a trip to your veterinarian. Observation is key to helping your pet. Here’s how to get started tapping into your pets emotions:
1). Pet emotions are very similar to those of human beings including happiness, sadness, disgust, fear, surprise and anger.
2). Animals don’t filter their emotions like we do. They are pure.
3). It takes training, observation and experience to correctly interpret dog emotions.
4). Care, commitment, and common sense help us decipher their feelings.
5). Emotions are most easily read by paying attention to the expression in your pet’s eyes. Are they sad, happy, fearful and dull, sparkling or full of humor or mischief??
6). Pay attention to their posture (are they rolling happily on their backs waiting for a belly rub?) Are they in the playful bow position (crouching on the forepaws and elevating their behind?
7). Observe their gait – are they walking slowly? Rapidly? As if in pain? Running playfully or prancing with joy? Are they jumping up and down in anticipation of playtime or going for a walk?
8). Listen and familiarize yourself with their vocalizations: are they whining or whimpering in fear, pain, sadness, or in anticipation of separation from you? Are they barking menacingly at a stranger? Are they purring or meowing in contentment and comfort? Are they exuberantly welcoming you home with their enthusiastic meowing, barking or yipping or howling?
9). Is the pet’s tail wagging in happiness or anticipation of fun/playtime? Is the tail down in sadness, depression or disappointment?
10). Are your pet’s ears down in submission or fear after he’s been admonished or frightened? Are his ears up and alert –anticipating fun and adventure?
We commiserate with them and offer them love and hugs and kindness as we would to any human friend or loved one who is sad. We may entice them with a treat or walk or special play time…but it is our love, support, soothing and healing verbal language as well as body language (hugs, petting, etc.) that is of greatest help.
It seems as if it were only yesterday we were immersed in the deep, dark cold dreariness of winter. Who can believe now that it’s almost Memorial Day weekend? Many of us are celebrating the warmth and beauty of spring and are anticipating taking some much-needed and well-deserved vacation time. Just the thought of “vacation” brings a smile to our face and relief to our hearts.
Although many of us would love to spend quality vacation time with our pets, we find it impractical or impossible to do so. And so…we seek ways to keep our pets safe, happy and healthy while we are away.
In my opinion, it is least stressful and most beneficial for us as pet guardians and for our animal companions to be cared for in their own familiar, comfortable surroundings by qualified, pet-loving, well-trained pet-sitters who know, love and care our pets and who will do everything in their power to ensure that our pets will be well taken care of during our absence. As literally creatures of habit, our animal companions fare best when adhering to their regular daily routines regarding diet, exercise and sleep. An experienced and reliable pet sitter can keep our pets happy and healthy while we’re away. But just how do we go about finding this magical being to be entrusted with the care of our beloved pet?
Here are some tips in ensuring that you find the “perfect” pet sitter:
1). Before attempting to find him or her, make a list of all the criteria he or she need to meet in order to meet your needs and the needs of your pet. Does he/she simply need to exercise, feed, provide fresh water and play with your pet? Are there medications required by your pet? Are there plants that need to be watered, mail and newspapers to be taken in and other household functions that need to be addressed?
2). Ask your friends, neighbors and colleagues who have used pet sitters for their recommendations and referrals.
3). Consult your veterinarian and vet techs for recommendations- some of them may be pet sitters or they may have clients who use reputable pet sitters.
4). Inquire at your local animal welfare or rescue organization as to whether they know of responsible, caring, professional people who provide pet visits or pet sitting.
5). Ask employees of local pet supply stores such as PetSmart or Petco for recommendations - often they offer dog obedience and socialization classes on-site, and the trainers may themselves be available to pet sit or know of people willing and qualified to do the job.
6. Contact the NAPPS (National Association of Professional Pet Sitters) for referrals as well as their criteria which determine the qualifications of a potential pet sitter. The NAPPS offers a certification program for qualified prospective pet sitters.
7). Speak and meet with a prospective pet sitter and familiarize him with your animal companion as well as your home.
8). Give him ample, detailed information about his anticipated responsibilities in writing so that he can refer to them whenever necessary. Also provide him with contact information, phone numbers and addresses of your vet, friends, and neighbors who can help out if necessary.
9). Make certain he has excellent references and experience and is licensed and bonded.
10). Make certain he is able to handle a veterinary emergency or any other kind of potential emergency and is aware of the phone number and location of the nearest veterinary emergency hospital as well as your vet’s office.
When I am away from home and my canine kids, I feel a great sense of relief knowing that they are in the hands of a competent, compassionate and knowledgeable house sitter.
I am much calmer and happier knowing that I have left my babies in the comfort and familiarity of their own home in the care of someone I trust.
Diane Pomerance, Ph.D.