It’s hard to believe how far we’ve all changed in how we feel about and treat pets — me included!
My very first memory as a child is holding onto the back of a shepherd dog named, what else, Shep, as I was learning to walk. Recently I was going through some old family photos and came across several photos of us with our family pets. It got me thinking about how we lived and interacted with our pets then vs. now.
Back in the bad ol’ days, we used to do the following on our southern Idaho farm without a second thought (heck, we thought we were good pet owners):
- Fed the dogs the scraps from all three meals.
- Rarely gave the dogs any treats — once a year was about it.
- Gave our dogs bones including the really dangerous ones such as cooked poultry, rib, and fish bones.
- We’d give them all the gobs of fat off of the holiday hams, roasts and turkeys.
- We typically bought them one huge collar that was twice as big as needed to start, but they grew into it.
- Used chemical warfare (dips, powders, sprays, shampoos) to treat flea infestations.
- We never bathed our dogs. Ever.
- Never did any kind of oral care nor did we worry if they fractured their teeth.
- Did not preventively vaccinate or deworm. Just puppy shots as I recall. The barn cats got nothing.
- Did not spay or neuter the dogs or cats.
But that was then and now is waaaay different:
- We feed the dogs and cats high quality commercial diets and also give probiotics.
- We have a smorgasbord of treats some of which are dispensed daily.
- We never give our dogs bones or fatty trimmings, but we do give them dental chews and treats.
- We have several collars for different seasons, a lot of bling-around-the-collar, clothes, costumes, bows, etc. They are also chipped and have ID tags.
- We use parasite control products.
- We bath our dogs at least once a week with really sudsing, great smelling shampoos. We use grooming wipes daily.
- We do daily oral care for all of our dogs. We do weekly oral care for our cats.
- All of our pets are current on vaccinations, are strategically dewormed quarterly, and we pay a lot of attention to keep their nails trimmed.
- Our pets are spayed and neutered.
- Our pets sleep in our beds. The dogs allow us to also sit in “their” chairs while we watch TV.
How has your life with pets changed from childhood to now?