Thanksgiving is a time of reflection. For many of us, it is a time to appreciate the cats and dogs that enrich our lives. Here are some suggestions to actively give thanks:
Find a New Walking Route
Offering a new place to explore can be mentally and emotionally stimulating for your dog. It can also help you stay more present on the walk. Perhaps try a new neighborhood or park. For more walking tips, click here.
Arrange a Play Date
Is your dog social? Do they have a favorite pooch (or maybe a kitty) they like to pal around with? What a great opportunity to create a special day of play. Contact the pet’s human and together make a list of activities your pets can do together – like tug of war, turns on an agility course, or a game of chase! If your pets are feeling mellow, maybe just a fancy snack time, picnic blanket, and all. The goal is, of course, for them to have fun and companionship.
Offer Some Silvervine to Your Cat
It is estimated that only 50% of cats respond to catnip. What to do if you wish to provide that euphoric feeling for your cat? The answer – try silver vine! This climbing plant, found in the mountainous regions of China and Japan, is also known as Matatabi. Silvervine, which contains an extra attractant for cats, gets its name from the beautiful silver-white leaves and flowers that blossom off of the fast-growing vine. The best part – nearly 80% of cats react to it. Cats that respond to catnip also tend to love it! My favorite silvervine is carried by Dezi and Roo.
A Homemade Thanksgiving Dinner!
Cooking for your pet can be joyful, satisfying, and easier than you think. Saying thank you with a nutritious and delicious meal, cooked with an extra dash of love, can feel like a warm embrace. Here are Thanksgiving Dinner recipes for both dogs and cats.
Extra-Long Play Session
Imagine being home all day with no stimulation. For many pets, this is reality. That’s why it’s so important to play with our cats and dogs upon returning from work or school. Not only does playtime provide a whole lot of fun and exercise, but it’s also a way to strengthen the bond between us and them. Do your best to schedule fun time daily. Perhaps start the new routine with an extra-long, extra-active play session!! Play until your pet wants to stop. You will both feel great!!
Go For a Ride In The Car
If your dog gets excited every time you ask, who wants to go for a ride in the car, then the reason why we included this suggestion is evident. With that said, take your pup on a new adventure! Something with a view – an active city, a nature-filled rural area, or even by a beach. Fresh air feels good!
Read to Your Pet
The sound of your voice can be so reassuring, especially to an anxious, ill, or injured pet. Reading is also a soothing way to help a new pet get used to being near you, without all of the attention being on them. Many rescued cats immediately retreat under the bed of their new forever home. By reading to them each day, they begin to feel comfortable – and a bit curious. Once they do emerge from their ‘hiding’ spot, keep reading to them. It can help them continue to feel safe in their new space. You also benefit. Reading aloud can be calming and reduce stress. Kids can benefit from reading to pets, as well. Because the experience is mutually beneficial for kids and pets, many shelters across the country have instituted programs encouraging this interaction. Contact shelters in your area to learn more.
Give Your Fur Baby a Massage
One of the best ways to help prevent sore muscles and achy joints is by offering your pet a daily massage. This is true for dogs and cats of all ages. This quiet, tranquil time also helps you become more in tune with how your pet’s body feels and more sensitive to changes that can arise. Massage also helps strengthen the bond between you.
Click here for dog massage techniques
Click here for cat massage techniques
Schedule a Wellness Exam
While this may not be your pet’s idea of a gift, a yearly physical is important. Unfortunately, more than half of cats and nearly a quarter of dogs only visit a veterinarian when suffering from a health issue. A great benefit to an annual exam is health conditions can be caught early and managed more easily. This can save pets from unnecessary discomfort and money for you!
What to expect: The veterinarian will check your pet’s eyes, ears, mouth, nose, and vital signs, as well as feel for any abnormalities in various organs. Some exams include a urinalysis. For senior pets, blood work is also important. In addition, vaccines may be given. Work with your vet to establish a personalized schedule based on your pet’s specific needs. Many vaccines provide extended immunity and are not needed annually.
Wishing you and your pets a very healthy and happy Thanksgiving!