It’s a dog’s life!

A dog’s life is, in fact, not seven to our one. Calculator? For starters, both cats and dogs are 15 years old during their first year. Year 2, add another nine years. So, in Year 2, they are equivalent to 24. Thereafter, add four years for each year. Or five, depending on which science is used, i.e., taking into account size and breed. Perhaps the ‘7 year to 1’ ratio is easier. Phew!

Choosing a dog? Visit websites. Check out the different breeds. Are they long-haired, short-haired, anti-allergenic? Lap dog versus guard dog. Naturally cuddly? Aloof? Hound or terrier? Floppy or pointy ears?

Feeding our munching pets need not be a minefield. They simply need the best we can afford. Whether canned, sausage shaped, pellets or mixed, pet food is an important consideration for a healthy coat, skin and energy. Does it contain the essential vitamins and minerals? Dogs can eat cat food but not vice-versa.

Always give them a clean bowl and plenty of water, and a sensible, regularly cleaned comfortable bed. Pets often rearrange their pillows/bedding into different settings, depending on mood. Avoid television disturbance. Placing your pet’s bed somewhere quiet and draught-free is important. What seems like a nice cool breeze can be harmful to weak immune systems in puppies or older dogs.

Some consider a second-hand dog as just that, second-hand. Perhaps a problem? Abandoned dogs are just ordinary dogs. Dumped for no reason other than they are no longer required – too big or too costly to feed. However, they are loving, loyal and grateful. Consider lockdown and the ‘designer pets’ that were bought at great expense being abandoned, not just here but everywhere.

Always consider what your strengths and weaknesses are when taking on any pet – whether a brand new, top of the range, especially-bred puppy or an abandoned one.

How that creature, canine or feline, develops is totally up to you. How you start is important for you and your pet, and a happy household with no regrets.

Visiting an abandoned dog shelter and getting to know them is essential. Don’t just walk in; see a dog and expect to make an eternal bonding. It takes time, but it is worth it!

A new pet needs patience and training, and our animals reflect us! How we train our animals, or not, as the case may be, is the end product of our endeavours. A happy pet reflects a happy and proud owner. Good luck!

For more information about APAA (Association for Protection of Animals Algarve), visit www.apaaportugal.com or email [email protected].

Date for your diary:
Special Carnival Day Pop-Up on Tuesday, March 1, from 12pm to 3pm, at O Tasco Restaurant (282 471769). Pop-in, have a drink and enjoy time with the APAA.

• Dobby (for information, contact Suzy +316 534323989)