Thursday, May 15, 2008

Petiquette for the Modern Pet Owner

ARA – For anyone that owns a pet, you know that they are part of the family. But even though they bring lots of joy, they can also cause a bit of strife. They make messes, shed an astounding amount of fur, can be expensive and simply make life a bit more hectic.

“Like with any relationship, there are pros and cons. And because they are amazing creatures that give an incredible amount of love, they are worth the time, energy and expense that it takes to care for them,” comments Charlotte Reed, pet expert and author of “The Miss Fido Manners Complete Book of Dog Etiquette.” As an owner of three dogs, three cats and one parrot, she knows both the joys and stress that pets can cause.

“The modern pet owner considers pets one of their children, but they need to be socially responsible as well. There are some things that should to be considered in order for your pet to be a positive part of your life without taking it over. Pet etiquette or rather petiquette, is about understanding that good behavior has to be practiced at both ends of the leash.”

* It is good manners to have a clean pet?

One of the first issues that many pet owners have with their pets is that they can be very messy. They spill food, ravage furniture, and leave fur everywhere and can be smelly. But just because you have a pet doesn’t mean you should let your house go.
“My cats love to curl up by my printer and computer because they give off heat. The hair sticks to the static and collects fast. For fast cleanups, seek out vacuums that are known to be tough on pet hair.”

The vacuum Reed recommends for pet owners is the Dyson DC16 Animal handheld vacuum. Specially designed for pet hair pickup with a motorized brush bar and twice the suction power of other handhelds, Reed says “it’s great for quick cleanups for an upcoming date, family dinner or any unexpected visitors. I even use it in my car.”

To eliminate odors, Reed advises to wash or groom your dogs monthly. If you find it difficult to give your cat a bath, brush your pet at least once a week to remove loose hair and debris from the feline coat. Additionally, scoop feline litter boxes daily. And for dogs, she says to train them to use one area outdoors so that waste is confined -- that area should be cleaned regularly. For senior, ill or toy dogs that use indoor potty areas, she recommends changing their papers daily. Also, cleaning pet beds and toys regularly -- at least once a month -- also contribute to a healthier pet and tidier home.

* Traveling with furry friends can be fun.

More people travel with their pets than ever before, whether it’s in the car to run errands or on a plane for a vacation. All pets can be excellent travel companions with the right expectations and planning.

“Always call ahead to where you are staying to verify their pet policy. Bring plenty of food, supplies and toys so that your pet feels comfortable. Try to keep your pet on his regular food and exercise schedule to eliminate stress for both of you. And make sure that your pet practices its best obedience,” says Reed.

Keep cleanup items like an odor eliminator and stain remover on hand in case there is an accident in the car or at your hotel. Be prepared to replace or repair any items destroyed by your pet.

If your pet is well-behaved, only ask a close family member or friend, if you can bring your pet along for a visit. If your host declines, do not be offended. Find a professional pet sitter or kennel by contacting your veterinarian, the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters, Pet Sitter International or the American Boarding Kennel Association. Confirm that the animal professional is bonded and insured and has at least three references.

* You can love your pet, but keep a balanced life.

You might love your little critter, but not everyone wants to hear every detail about your pet, especially a date. Practicing petiquette is an important part of the modern pet owner’s life. Balance is important to understand and implement at work and at home.

For example, one picture of your pet on your desk or in your wallet is perfectly fine. But make sure that your office doesn’t become a shrine to your furry companion. Not everyone shares your enthusiasm and subtlety is a virtue every pet owner must have.

Besides keeping your home clean, it’s important to keep your clothes clean as well. “There’s no need to go to work looking like your cat or dog slept on your clothes all night. A quick swoop with a vacuum or sticky roller should do the trick,” adds Reed.

For more pet tips, please visit www.missfidomanners.com. And for more information about the Dyson DC16 Animal, please visit www.dyson.com. Charlotte’s book, “The Miss Fido Manners Complete Book of Dog Etiquette,” is available everywhere books are sold.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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