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Love Your Pets For Valentine’s Day


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How do you tell your pets “I Love You” on Valentine’s Day? Of course, you can buy a special treat (naturally, not chocolate). If you have a pet lizard, maybe Valentine’s is the day for fattening but yummy mealworms. Ferrets might enjoy extra playtime and the same is true for Labrador Retrievers. Thing about our pets, though, is they don’t care how much money you spend. Oprah’s dogs love and adore her as much as a dog living with a homeless guy And pets don’t make any comparisons either – they love the one they’re with. Their definition of wealth is very different than ours (perhaps something to learn from?)

In my opinion, all pets do require what animal welfare experts refer to as The Five Freedoms. These were originally defined by the UK’s Farm Animal Welfare Council in the 1960s, and subsequently updated. They are now understood to apply to the welfare of all animals, not just livestock.

The Five Freedoms are:

  • Freedom from hunger and thirst, by ready access to water and a diet to maintain health and vigor.
  • Freedom from discomfort, by providing an appropriate environment.
  • Freedom from pain, injury and disease, by prevention or rapid diagnosis and treatment.
  • Freedom to express normal behavior, by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and appropriate company of the animal’s own kind.
  • Freedom from fear and distress, ensuring conditions and treatment, which avoid mental suffering.

And if I may add a number six to the list – it’s using the Fear Free approach, doing all we can to minimize chronic fear, anxiety and stress. Sure some stress is “normal,” but not every day, and not being in fear all the time. I endorse visiting Fear Free certified veterinary professionals; Fear Free dog trainers and even soon Fear Free groomers.

Most of all, what your pets desire is your love. And among dogs and cats – even ferrets and parrots, pet rats and lots of other species – you will receive that love right back ten-fold.

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Steve Dale is a certified animal behavior specialist who has been a trusted voice in the world of pet health for over 20 years. You have likely heard him on the radio, read him in print and online, and seen him speaking at events all over the world. His contributions to advancing pet wellness have earned him many an award and recognition around the globe.

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