The pandemic has changed many people’s daily routines. More folks have been spending time at home and because of this, pet adoptions have increased.  What better time to adopt a pet than while spending so much time at home! However, there have also been a lot of first time pet owners who need some guidance.

 Fortunately, ’s new book, The Pet Lover’s Guide, has just been published by National Geographic. Weitzman is the president and CEO of the San Diego Humane Society and he is also a knowledgeable veterinarian. This convenient book is actually a compilation of his previous books, How to Speak Dog and How to Speak Cat as well as the Complete Guide to Pet Health, Behavior and Happiness. 

The book provides useful advice. For example, my five year old rescue poodle suffers from separation anxiety. The description in the book of this condition could be my dog. These include hyperattachment, departure cue anxiety or getting upset when you leave, and excessive greeting. Separation anxiety is very difficult to overcome, but there are some things the book recommends, such as crate training, and seeing a trained professional. Sometimes nothing works except learning to manage your life around it like I have done with my dog.  I asked Dr. Gary about that and he agreed that if all else fails, life management can be done. I found a doggy day care place where I take my dog and he feels safe until I return.

The book also provides useful advice for cat owners.  I have two cats and one of them is an excessive scratcher. Like the book recommends, I provide plenty of “allowed scratching places “, so fortunately, he doesn’t go after my sofa.

The book is divided into sections. Chapter one focuses on choosing the right pet, such as what to look for in a dog or cat. For example, border collies or Australian shepherds need a lot of activity and will not want to stay home all day, so it is important to consider activity level when looking for a companion.  Believe it or not, very large breeds tend to be the laziest. On page 17 of the book, there is a chart that one can look at and determine by the size-from tiny to giant- what the personality and exercise needs will be as well as grooming needs, age, and barking.

When adopting a cat, it is important to consider personality.  He recommends getting an adult cat if you want to be sure of the personality. Another thing he mentions that I have found to be true is males tend to be a bit friendlier than females because females are the better hunters. A final important point is to never declaw a cat as it is a very painful procedure and could cause long term harm.

Chapter two is devoted to everyday pet health and nutrition. This includes preventative health care, diet and nutrition, the importance of spaying and neutering, why enrichment and exercise are important, the importance of grooming, and preventing fleas, ticks, and other parasites.

Chapter three goes over pet behavior and training, and chapter four covers ways of keeping your pets safe and healthy.  For example, it is a good idea to get your dog or cat micro chipped. All in all, this handy book is a useful guide for both first time and experienced pet owners.

The San Diego Humane Society is a great resource in San Diego County. This year their “Virtual Walk for Animals” fundraiser will be a week long, from April 11th to April 17th. They registration is free and will provide personal fundraising tools to help support animals in need.  Various activities are also planned. There will also be a town hall community meeting with Dr. Gary on April 13th from 5:00-6:00. It will be a special virtual event and discussion. Space is limited, so register early.

For more information, visit the San Diego Humane Society website.

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Miriam [Mimi] Pollack was born in Chicago, but moved to Mexico City when she was five years old. She lived and worked in Mexico for over 20 years. She currently resides in San Diego and worked as an ESL instructor at Grossmont College and San Diego Community College Continuing Education until June 2018. She writes for various local publications.