Your Pet’s 360 – The Most Important Relationships in your Dog and Cat’s Life

Your Pet’s 360 – The Most Important Relationships in your Dog and Cat’s Life

dog family photographer

When I worked in Human Resources, we used to conduct what are called 360s for all of our management and high-performers. One reason being, you wanted to see how healthy their relationship was with the people around them and make tweaks as necessary. (I’m purposely being very brief here…ha!)

When it comes to our pets, the relationships our dogs and cats have with the people and animals in their lives also need to be healthy. We need to take stock and see what is working and what might need some changes.

The first step is identifying the people that have the most impact on your pet’s well-being. So, read on to see our list of the people who we feel are important to your pet’s own happy, healthy life. 

1. YOU (of course!)

In this case, you know you are #1. You are the one constant in their life and your pet looks forward to time spent with you, even if it is just in the mundane things of life. Spending time with them is vital.

In our house, Panda, is incredibly bonded to my husband I. Especially as we had to say goodbye to her furry brother, Baxter, last December.

We spend at least 20 minutes a day in active play where she zooms around all of the rooms. And, since the pandemic, she has learned new skills: she now knows that the words “let’s go to work!” mean that she will hop up on her bed beside my desk and has quickly become the best co-worker ever; she recognizes the sound of coffee being made to mean that lactose-free milk will be not too far behind; and she spends the rest of the day either sitting on me or napping beside us. We are her world.

2. Their compassionate veterinarian

Next to you, your pet’s veterinarian and clinic staff may be the most important people in his or her life. So, it’s vital that you cement that relationship with an annual check-up in addition to visiting when your pet doesn’t feel well. Or just drop in to say “hi!” so vet visits aren’t always scary. While the pandemic has made this more of a challenge, speak with your veterinarian to see what can be arranged.

We’ve always chosen our vets on the fact that they are exceptionally compassionate and truly care about our pet’s well-being. That, coupled with no “guilt trip” when discussing expensive medical options when helping us to navigate the unavoidable goodbye, has made us loyal to our clinic for 20 years.

And if you are in a bind and need emergency advice, there are services like Vetster, that are on-call, 24-hour connections to veterinarians.

3. Their reliable pet-sitter

Some pets grow to really love their pet sitter, whether they are a professional or your best human friends. Not only do they go to great lengths to make sure your dog has loving company, food, water, and exercise, they make sure your home is safe and secure, too.

A point about cats: While some feel that they can leave cats for days on end with ‘enough food’, I believe that it is not enough. We have never left our cats overnight without someone staying with them. It started with Ripley, who had terrible fears of being abandoned (he was a rescue who had his family move on him and leave him behind), and it has continued with all 4 of our kitties.

4. Their furry best friend

Humans are great! But when it comes to romping in the yard or curling up for a nap, some pets really enjoy the company of their own fuzzy kind. Baxter was Panda’s very best friend. If your pet craves companionship from a fellow canine or feline, call a fellow pet parent for a hike or a playdate.

Or if there is room in your heart and your home, it may be time to adopt another pet as a full-time best friend. Of course, choose wisely. We are currently in the process of deciding whether Panda needs another friend. Her days and nights were filled with Baxter, so she’s obviously had to adjust. But, I know that if we find the perfect boy companion, we will welcome another furry heart into our family.

5. Their soothing groomer.

A genuine bond between a pet and their groomer often lasts a lifetime. A great groomer can take a stressful bath event and turn it into a feel-good spa day. The fact that your groomer understands your dog’s unique needs and your particular desires when it comes to the final result, makes them invaluable. Your pet’s monthly relationship with their groomer involves trust and respect on both ends of the table.

6. Their good time dog walker.

Cue all the butt wiggles when the dog walker shows up! When you can’t be home, the dog walker is the one you and your dog trust for potty breaks, exercise and just plain good fun. 

How to know if you have found the right dog walker? Check out the 4-step process here.

In conclusion…

Who are the people in your pet’s relationship circle? Friend, family, or professional, be sure to let them know how much you both appreciate their expertise, care, and affection. A card, text, or just a heartfelt “thank you” will say aloud what your pet can only articulate with a happy nudge and welcoming eyes.

Before You Go | Tips for a Better Visit to the Vet

Before You Go | Tips for a Better Visit to the Vet

Toronto commercial photographer vet visit tips

Spring has sprung! A sure sign that Spring is here in the Posh Pets® household is that we plan our annual vet visit with our favourite veterinarian. Yesterday, I made the phone call – I always phone early, long before the reminder in mail arrives – because their vet is one of the best and is in great demand. If we want to see her specifically, we need to book early.

I realize that I am very fortunate to have two kitties who do not seem to mind their visit to their docotr. To them, the vet visit is a new place to explore and to be made a fuss of. It may be a product of the fact that, although being rescues, they have always been healthy. Sure, there is the occasional needle, but Baxter is far too much a gentleman to complain and Panda purrs through the whole thing.

However, every dog and cat is an individual and, just like the people, there are so many of us that can get a bit nervous for a simple and routine check-up. I am one of those people, so I can completely sympathize with our furry family members who just do. not. want. to. go.

So, for those cat mums and dog dads who struggle with their pet’s anxiety before you even walk in the door, here are a few ideas to make the vet visit as stress-free as possible.

1. Start with the car

Make sure your pets are familiar and comfortable with riding in the car. Take them on errands or play days at the park so that they associate your car with fun and harmless activities. If they associate riding in the car with more than a trip to the vet, their anxiety will not start as early or be as prolonged. While this may be a simple idea for dogs, consider also getting your cat to go on short trips with you in their carrier. It will depend on their character and if they enjoy such things, but a car ride that is just that – a short trip with no stress – can be a great start to a stress-free vet visit.

2. Choose the right veterinarian/clinic

A good relationship with your veterinarian is a must! If you are uneasy or do not trust your current vet, it makes for a stressful situation for you. Do not underestimate how much in tune your pet is with your emotions; if you’re uneasy they will be too. In most cities, there are a number of veterinary clinics and hospitals, so you will often have a choice. If car rides are already fun for your dog or cat, you can expand your area of search. I know that for the first few years, we drove an hour to get to a vet that we felt comfortable with.

3. Be social

Call ahead and arrange for a visit to your chosen vet just to say hello. If their first few visit are fun, easy events with lots of attention and treats and, most importantly, without the poking and prodding that a normal visit entails, they will be at ease when it comes time for a real visit. Most veterinarian offices are more than happy to accommodate these visits. The staff at our clinic love meeting new puppies and kittens as well as the older, but new family members.

4. Gather the evidence

It might seem like a small thing, but have all of the information regarding your pet’s health ready for when you go for the vet visit. Bring in any samples you need. Keep good records of any changes in their behaviour. For example, there is a great difference between telling your veterinarian that your dog has experienced diarrhea a ‘few times’ and providing very specific times and dates. I have found that it can assist them in diagnosing a potential problem more quickly, perhaps avoiding costly additional tests if they feel they are simply trying to narrow it down a cause to some common symptoms.

Any other tips that you have found helpful? Let us know in the comments below!