Pets and Your Love Life: What the Experts Say

By Helen Anne Travis and comments by Diane Weinmann


Want to be a better spouse or partner? Take a few lessons from your pet. Pet’s always get it right and are pure love!


That’s the advice of Dr. Tiffany Margolin, DVM and author of “Relationship Reset: Get Her To Love You As Much As Your Dog Does.”


Pets can teach us everything from how to greet our partners when they come home after a long day, the importance of turning off the television and spending quality time with our partners, and even how to end a fight gracefully, she says.


Then there’s the art of the agenda-less soft touch. You know how a cat pushes against your hand when you rub her cheek? We humans have the same response to a soft touch, explains Margolin. “There are a lot of relationship subtleties you can learn from having a pet.”  Diane’s dog will just lean onto her leg for an hour just craving comforting contact.


Learning To Care For Others


For many people, having a pet is how we learn to take care of something other than ourselves, says Dr. Laurie Hess, a board certified avian veterinarian and owner of the Veterinary Center for Birds and Exotics in Bedford Hills, New York.


Pets teach us how to bond and how to love; from them we learn the art of reading body language and moods, she says. All of these are very important traits to pay attention to in a romantic partner.


“Animals teach you intuition,” says Margolin. They also teach us patience.


“You have to be patient,” she adds. “That puppy will [sometimes] pee on the carpet 50 times before it learns.”


Pets may make us better people, but does that come across loud and clear to our potential partners?


Experts say the answer is yes. And to understand why, you have to go back in time to the early 19th century.


Keeping Up With The 1800s Joneses


People first started having pets, in the modern sense of the word, in the early 1800s, says Dr. Diana Ahmad, University of Missouri curators’ distinguished teaching professor and author of the book “Success Depends on the Animals: Emigrants, Livestock, and Wild Animals on the Overland Trails, 1840-1869.”


A few interesting things led to this pet phenomenon, she explains. Middle and upper class people finally had the means to take care of animals they didn’t plan to eat. The large number of people traveling west at that period were keen to bring along a dog for protection, or a cat that reminded them of the family they’d never see again (remember, there was no Skype or email back then). Finally, a series of books by authors like Charlotte Elizabeth Tonna and Lydia Maria Child suggested that how we treat animals reflected on our family’s social status. “It was a ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ thing,” Ahmad.


In today’s world, our pets still tell other people a lot about our personalities and potential to be good partners.


Having a well cared for pet tells romantic interests we’re likely a nurturing person capable of making a commitment, says Margolin. It shows people we can take responsibility for someone other than ourselves.  You must be a giving individual to care for a pet—in essence you are able to put your pet before yourself.  This aspect of your personality tells someone a lot about the person you are!


So go ahead, put that funny photo of you and your pet in your dating profile, the experts say.


“If your pet is a big part of your life, you need to share that with people,” says Hess. “You don’t want something like that to be a surprise.”


Think about it this way, says Margolin, if your pets are important to you, and you’re looking for a big-hearted person who accepts that, you can use that photo of you and your pet as a filter of sorts.


If a potential partner isn’t willing to accept you for the pet-lover you are, “Maybe they’re not someone you want to be with,” she says.


What About Platonic Partners?


Even if we’re not looking for love, pets can help us meet new friends and bond over a shared interest, says Hess. Just think of all the dog-walking groups, bird clubs, and rabbit societies out there.


“Having a pet fosters a sense of community,” she says. And a common interest in pets can be a great social lubricant.


We can also learn a thing or two about making new human friends from the way we interact with animals.


Remember the last time you saw someone walking a friendly-looking dog on the street, says Margolin. Didn’t you just want to run over and pet it?


Imagine if you applied that same enthusiasm to greeting a stranger, she says, minus the petting, perhaps.


Go at it with no preconceived notions or prejudices. Why not wag your tail and see how the conversation unfolds?


Pet Identification – Do you have one on your pet at all times?

dog tagpet tag 2by Dr. Becker and Diane Weinmann

All pet parents should insure your dog, cat or other companion animal is equipped with up-to-date ID information in the event he gets separated from you. Sadly, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) found that while 80 percent of pet owners realize the importance of ID tags, just 33 percent say their pet always wears one.

If you’re among the majority of pet guardians who aren’t always as disciplined as you would like to be about ID tags, the good news is that tags aren’t the only way to identify your pet in the event she is lost. There are actually several other methods for identifying dogs and cats, including GPS tracking devices, radio frequency identification devices, microchips, and tattoos.

The most popular method for ID’ing pets, second only to ID tags, is microchipping.

How Microchipping Works

The pet microchip is about the size of a grain of rice. It is injected under the skin in the neck area between the shoulders, and provides a permanent means of identifying your pet.

Microchip placement is very similar to a vaccination. A bit of loose skin between the animal’s shoulder blades is gently pulled up, and the needle containing the chip is inserted. The trigger is depressed, injecting the microchip beneath the skin. Each chip is equipped with an electromagnetic transponder with a unique code that must be registered with a recovery program like HomeAgain or Avid. Before it is placed, the chip is scanned while still in the package to validate that the identification code of the transponder matches the code printed on the package label. Once inserted in your pet, it is scanned again to verify that it can be read.

If a pet is lost, most veterinary offices, shelters, and humane societies have scanners that can locate the chip inside the animal’s body and read the code on it. So as long as your pet’s microchip has been registered and your information is up-to-date in the recovery program database, the vet clinic or shelter should be able to reunite you with your furry family member.

Pros and Cons of Microchipping

Microchips have become extremely popular. Many shelters now implant chips in every animal before he or she goes home with a new family. And chips have become a standard method of identifying strays. Any lost animal brought to a veterinary clinic or animal shelter is automatically scanned for at least the two most common brands (HomeAgain and Avid). The primary benefit of microchipping is, of course, that your pet can’t lose his ID.

One drawback is that the insertion of the chip can be a bit painful like any injection. When I’m asked to insert a microchip, which is rare, I always use a local anesthetic to alleviate any discomfort.

Another potential disadvantage is that chips have been known to migrate away from the injection site, which makes them more difficult to locate with a scanner. Also, there are several microchip manufacturers, but to my knowledge, there’s no universal scanner that reads every brand of chip.

Another extremely important point to remember about microchips is that your pet’s chip must be registered to be of any use, and your contact information must be kept up to date in the recovery program database for the same reason.

Also, the people doing the scanning must know how to correctly and thoroughly scan a pet to locate a microchip – especially one that may have migrated away from the injection site.

Health Concerns Related to Microchips

The primary concern any time something foreign is introduced into the body — whether it’s a microchip or, say, a metal plate to repair a fractured bone, or a transplanted organ – is the potential for the body to reject the foreign material.

There have been documented cases in veterinary medicine of sarcomas or fibrosarcomas (soft tissue tumors) developing at microchip injection sites. Research shows that between 1996 and 2006, between 0.8 and 10.2 percent of laboratory animals developed malignant tumors around or near implanted microchips. There are also two documented cases of chip-related malignancies in dogs.2

My recommendation, if you’re considering chipping your pet, is to assess how much risk there is that she will ever get out of your sight. If you have an indoor-only cat, for example, or a well-trained (responsive) dog that is always on a leash outdoors, I believe the potential risks of microchipping outweigh the benefits.

An Alternative to Microchipping: A Permanent Tattoo

This method of ID’ing your pet involves tattooing a unique code or information on the inner pinna (ear flap), the tummy or inner leg of a mature (fully grown) pet. Ideally, ID tattoos are done while an animal is under anesthesia for another procedure. Otherwise, a sedative and local anesthesia should be used.

Tattooing is the method I use to permanently identify my pets. I put my phone number (which hasn’t changed in a very long time) on their inner thighs. Obviously, if your phone number or other personal information changes frequently, this may not be a good option for you.

Another potential downside is that you have to hope the person who finds your pet knows to look for a tattoo, and this is especially challenging if your pet is very furry. In this case, the earflap is a better location for a tattoo, but many people don’t like earflap markings for aesthetic reasons.

You can increase the likelihood of your tattooed pet being returned by registering the number with AKC Reunite, the National Dog Registry, or Tattoo-a-Pet. Any number can be registered with the National Dog Registry, and all tattooed animals can be enrolled in AKC Reunite program regardless of species, age, size or number used.

A drawback to a tattoo is that it may fade or blur over time and become difficult to read. Another layer of black ink can be applied to restore the tattoo.

Each method for ID’ing your pet has pros and cons, so the ultimate decision is yours and should be based on your pet’s personality and lifestyle, as well as your comfort level with the identification method you choose for your furry family member.

Dr. Becker and I both recommend that every pet have a standard up-to-date ID collar or tag in addition to whatever other ID method their owner chooses, since the easiest, fastest way for someone who has found your pet to find you, is to take a quick look at the contact info contained on his tag or collar. Being a long term volunteer at the Parma Animal Shelter, I can’t tell you how many pets are brought into the animal shelter without an ID –most of the pets are without tags—don’t let this happen to your beloved furry friend. By the way, my most favorite thing about the shelter is when I see RTO – RETURN TO OWNER! Makes me smile!

Conventional vs Alternative Animal Healing Methods, part 2

Photo courtesy of Natural Healers (
Photo courtesy of Natural Healers (

In last week’s blog I discussed the differences between traditional veterinary, alternative, complementary and integrative care.  In today’s blog I am going to explain some treatment options that fall under alternative and complementary care.

A holistic vet can bring a wide variety of treatment options that may have a wide encompassing affect than just using traditional veterinary medicine.  After all, we are simply seeking the best for our pets, right?  A holistically trained vet or alternative therapy provider can bring the following treatment options to the table for consideration and use with your pet which can be used as a stand- alone healing modality or in conjunction with traditional veterinary care:

Aromatherapy using therapy grade essential oils to heal emotional and physical issues can be used  alone or with other healing techniques.

Animal communications can be used to heal emotional issues.  It uses telepathy to communicate a thought from one person/animal to another. Technically, telepathy is the communication between beings using thoughts, feelings, desires, or other means that cannot be understood in terms of known scientific laws.  Telepathy is considered a form of extra-sensory perception and is often connected to various paranormal phenomena such as precognition, clairvoyance and empathy.

Bach flower essences are all natural, very dilute solutions made from spring water, an alcohol preservative, and the parts of specific flowers. They are used to help balance the emotions and bring about a state of equilibrium in living organisms, and have been successfully used with people and animals to treat a specific emotion or state of mind such as fear, anger, apathy, anxiety, anger, grief, etc.  This healing technique does not negatively interact any other healing modalities.

A Certified Nutritionist can recommend changes including mineral supplements, enzymes, vitamins, fatty  and amino acids to make up nutritional shortfalls in the diet which will complement any other medical steps.

Massage uses the sensation of touch to engage your pet’s mind. A light touch brings awareness to the coat and upper layers of connective tissue and surrounding superficial muscles. Stronger pressure heightens awareness of deeper muscles, tendons, joints and ligaments. Joint mobilization promotes body-movement awareness and gives the animal permission for exploration of movement to rediscover his “place of comfort.”

Chiropractic care maintains each joint, especially the spine.  By freeing the spinal nervous system which is connected to the brain, they can establish pain free flow of energy from the brain through to the extremities.

Energy-based body work which includes: TTouch, Healing Touch for Animals, Reiki, and acupressure to elicit a state of well-being emotionally or physically and is great for relieving pain and stress.

Healing with crystals uses the energy of the crystal to invoke both physical and emotional healing.

Color therapy has been known to strengthen, cleanse, invigorate, balance and may regulate metabolic processes positively influencing bodily functions and moods.  It harnesses the nutritional aspects of color to provide emotional, physical, anti-aging, and spiritual benefits.

Certified Herbalist using Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) uses plant remedies to treat a variety of ailments. For example, alfalfa is used for arthritis and allergies.

Acupuncture uses very fine needles inserted into specific areas on your pet’s body to balance the flow of energy.

Homeopathic remedies are used to jumpstart the animal’s own healing response with very diluted substances that cause the same symptoms the dog is suffering from. For instance, a dog with diarrhea would be given tiny amounts of a substance that causes diarrhea.

Be aware that some veterinarians don’t care for alternative therapies since, unlike conventional veterinary medicine; most of them haven’t been scientifically proven to work.  However, that doesn’t mean they’re ineffective; it just means they haven’t been put to the test in well-conducted studies.

There are plenty of vets who are open to the alternative approach. Some veterinary schools now provide studies in holistic medicine, and some vets offer alternative therapies alongside conventional treatments as they see the benefit in treating the whole animal not just the disease.  Why not try everything possible to bring your beloved animal companion into wellness?

Animal Communication… Let’s Try It!

Nico On the PhoneAnimal communication takes a lot of practice. You must clear your mind and open it to someone else’s thoughts, which is hard work for a busy individual in today’s world.

For a beginner, I would suggest a quiet meditation prior to trying the process. This will relax you and put you into the correct frame of mind to receive information. Try to communicate with   a close friend’s pet when you first begin. Do not try this with your own pet. You know too much about them to put this exercise to the test!

To start the process, sit in a quiet place, clear your mind, look softly at the animal’s picture or envision them in your head (if you know them well, this should be easy). Introduce yourself to the animal, tell them you’d like to ask them a question and see if it is okay that you talk with them. Wait for a response. This introduction is performed out of respect for the animal.

You may “hear” a reply or just get a sense of knowing what the response was. If you receive the go-ahead, ask the animal a question in your head and the first piece of information you receive, either by “hearing”, “knowing”, or “seeing visually in your head” will be your answer. You should experience the response flying into your head very quickly. Sometimes it seems you didn’t even get the entire question out of your mind and you’ve already received an answer – it’s that quick! Once you receive the answer, thank the animal for speaking with you, it’s only common courtesy! Your “thank you for speaking with me” will indicate to the animal that your session is ended and you are disconnecting from them.

Do NOT tell the pet’s owner ahead of time what question you will be asking but be sure that the answer will be easy to obtain from the owner. Write down the response of the pet, thank the pet for speaking to you then call the owner to tell them the question and the answer that you received. Don’t be disappointed if what you heard doesn’t match the owner’s reply. Just keep practicing and believe in yourself!

Listed below are some easy questions to ask your pet friend when you first start communicating:

What is your favorite toy?

What treat do you like the best?

Where do you sleep?

As you practice your animal communication skills, remember to not say anything that is not true or did not come from the animal. Have fun with the process and you will learn a lot. Our animal companions have a sense of humor and will say the funniest things, much like children! Be aware, they may decide to open up to you and tell you some very personal information regarding their home life. Please be sensitive to all individuals involved and only repeat disclosures that will not embarrass your friends or relatives. By the way, some animals may not wish to communicate with you and that is okay. Simply tell them ‘thank you’ maybe they will wish to talk at another time. Be honest if the animal declines to talk and tell your client/friend that their companion did not wish to communicate at this time.

Have fun, practice and be open to what you will hear! Our pets say the darnest things!

What is Animal Communication?

blog 2 picAnimal communication uses telepathy to communicate a thought from one person/animal to another. Messages can be given in symbols (clairvoyance) which I can visually see or in ‘thought form’.   For me, it sounds like you pet is talking to right to me (clairaudience) in my mind. In other words, I actually hear a voice. In listening to your pet, I gain knowledge about their physical and mental health and learn their choices while battling an illness or struggling with behavior problems.

In animal the communication process I am simply the go between for you and your pet. You let me know your questions and I ask your pet to obtain the answers. The pet does not have to be present but I like a photograph of the pet, I connect to the essence by looking into their eyes. Almost 99% of my animal communications are performed at a distance whether it is across a room or across the world. Many times your pets have a request for their owners. Some of the requests I have heard are shown below (this is just a small sample):

  • Change the litter box more often, get a new litter box, change the location of the litter box, put another litter box in the house
  • Change their food, locate where they eat
  • Do not take them to that groomer, do not pull their hair when combing it
  • Complaints regarding other members of the family include other pets
  • Issues with cleaning products used in the house and on floor/carpets
  • Reassurance regarding a death or upcoming passing
  • Changes in their routine or household (placement of furniture, painting, young adults off to college, divorce)

Technically, telepathy is the communication between beings using thoughts, feelings, desires, or other means that cannot be understood in terms of known scientific laws. Telepathy is considered a form of extra-sensory perception and is often connected to various paranormal phenomena such as precognition, clairvoyance and empathy.

Why use Animal Communication
Interspecies telepathic communication is used to help our companion animals to have their voice. Through animal communications we can learn how animals think and look at the world. Once we understand how an animal thinks, agreements can be made on many different types of issues.

Stumbling Blocks
Animal communication must be performed with an open heart to let the information be received accurately. A hindrance in the communication process comes when you must learn to trust that you are receiving information from your animal companion and to recognize when you’ve placed your own spin on the information. Once a dog told me he wanted his bandana back, because he had lost it. He said it was cool. I thought he was telling me that he thought he looked cool in it and told his owner that he wanted a new one because he thought he looked cool. She laughed and said he wanted one because he was a search and rescue dog and it kept him cool because it was a COOLING bandana (the kind you soak in cold water or freeze). That’s what I call putting my own spin on it! As you can see, I ASSUMED he was trying to tell me he looked cool and he was actually telling me it kept him cool!

As you can see, animal communication has many purposes and many rewards. Why not try it today? What would you learn if you’d only listen?