Dear Readers: This holiday, stop for a moment and consider your pets. They have become such a part of our lives that they can be overlooked and not appreciated for the magnificent creatures they really are.
What are your favorite attributes of your dog or cat? Companionship is a big one — they are always happy to see us after we've had a stressful day at work, they can tell when we're feeling blue, and they will give a nudge or a head bonk for cheer.
Playing with your dog or cat can bring out the kid in you, and walking the dog can relieve stress and help you break the ice and meet people.
And ending the day snuggled on the couch with the dog and the cat curled up next to you is a way for all to feel safe, warm and protected.
Make sure to take a minute to let your pet know he or she is loved today and all throughout the year.
Dear Readers: Catnip is an herb, Nepeta cataria, in the mint family. Catnip and cats go together like peanut butter and jelly. Cats are comical when playing with catnip; it can give a cat a feeling of euphoria, but it's generally not harmful. See if your cat likes it: Pour some in a sock and tie it off.
You can purchase catnip at a discount retailer or pet store. Clearly label the catnip in a resealable container to keep it fresh. Ask your veterinarian for more information about catnip.
Dear Heloise: My new rescue dog, Joe, was a chewer. The couch, the easy chair, the legs of the table — Joe probably had been abused and had developed anxiety issues that he'd release by chewing.
Here is my easy fix: vinegar. Lightly misting the objects with vinegar cured Joe of his chewing. Now I give him lots of appropriate things to chew on and lots of love.
B.K. in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Dear Heloise: I took an empty, crinkly water bottle, slipped it in an old sock and tied it off. My Labrador loves the noise, and the crunchy sound keeps her happy.
When the bottle doesn't crinkle anymore, it's time to replace it. I inspect it often for rips in the plastic.
Brandon W. in Southern Calif.
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