With the arrival of some real spring weather, May also brings National Pet Week and National be Kind to Animals Week. Ironically, both are celebrated at the same time, May 7 to 13, 2017.
In acknowledgement of National Pet Week, the American Veterinary Medical Association (www.avma.org) offers some basic ways to assure that your furry friend is as happy and healthy as possible. For example, it’s important to give some thought and consideration to selecting the kind of pet that is best for your family and household. This means assuring as much as possible that family members can be responsible for meeting the various social and health needs of the pet you choose. If a dog is the addition to your family, encourage family members to provide regular exercise. Going out for a walk and for some playtime with the dog is always the best choice. Not only does it improve cardiovascular health but it helps maintain a healthy weight and support good mental health for all involved – human and canine! While we know that being overweight is often a problem for humans in the US, we are also learning that approximately 52% of dogs and 57% of cats in the US are also considered overweight or obese. If your pet is in this category, regular veterinary visits that include discussions about healthy food choices will help your dog or cat obtain a more appropriate weight. Adding regular physical activity to the daily routine helps to expend calories and use up all that extra energy. Other ways to assure a happy, healthy pet is to spay or neuter, and to develop a family or household emergency plan that includes your pet’s needs. For more information about National Pet Week, visit www.petweek.org.
The American Humane Association (www.americanhumane.org) has featured the celebration of Be Kind to Animals Week for over 100 years. Encouraging compassion for all animals, American Humane promotes strategies such as buying humanely raised eggs, meat and dairy products, learning about conservation measures and visiting only zoos and aquariums that are Humane Certified, viewing only movies in which no animals were harmed, and promoting the “adopt, don’t shop” philosophy when obtaining a new pet. Be Kind to Animals Week also focuses on steps to take for the best care of your pets, ways to appreciate wildlife - observing while not disturbing, and learning to recognize animal abuse/ cruelty and how to report it in your community. One other very important and easy strategy in which everyone can participate is to purchase products that are not tested on animals. Look for this information on labels of the soaps, lotions, shampoos and shower products that you use, and pledge to use only products that are not tested on animals. American Humane has created a special website, www.kindness100.org that offers much more information on all these topics. Take some time during the month of May to learn how you can expand your kindness and compassion for all animals. Perhaps volunteering at your local animal shelter is the first step!