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Pet Talk Column: Mother's Day and our Pets

Written By Timothy Knight on 5/7/15 | 5/7/15

Here we are just three days away from Mother’s Day and just because your kids are scaly, feathered, finned or furry with four legs, doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate and join in on the fun. Pet parents are some of the best, most loyal, compassionate, and deserving people around.

It’s not exactly clear when pets, like dogs and cats, became full-fledged members of the family, but a pet’s elevated status is quite apparent. About 82 million American households or 68% of total American households, have a domestic animal. Americans spent $55.7 billion on their pets last year and it’s estimated to be just about $60 billion this year; according to APPA (American Pet Products Association).  So what does all this mean for Schoharie County? As of the 2013 census, there was an estimated population of 31,849 people, which calculates out to 12,820 households and an average of 2.4 people per household. Using this data against the national averages, we can figure the number of pet owning households in this county to be 7,179. That tells us that about 56% of the households in Schoharie County own a domestic pet, including horses but does not include most other livestock.  That’s a lot of households. If only half the pet owning households had a pet mom, then there would be 3,590 pet moms. Now that we know this, wouldn't you like to know how many cats, dogs, birds and horses reside here? Using the pet ownership calculator, I have determined the average number of each of the following pets residing in our county. Dogs: 7,486 Cats: 8,179 Birds: 910 Horses: 526. The data just goes to show you, how important pets are to our small community and where we stand in the big picture. Let’s celebrate this bond with our pets by doing something special this Mother’s Day. Here are some ideas.

Take a walk or hike together. The greatest gift we can give our pets is good health and happiness. Getting outside in the fresh air is good for both of you. If you already do regular walks with your pet, then change it up a bit. Take them to a new park or trail or even pack a lunch and make a day of it. Don’t forget to bring some fun things to do, like a Frisbee, ball or favorite toy. An important tip to remember on any outing is to bring water for both and make sure you are both protected from ticks and mosquitoes. Those critters can take the fun out of anything.

Go shopping with your pet. Take them to a pet friendly shop and treat them to a new toy, treat, collar, leash, name tag, bowls, bedding, etc. Dogs love to travel, and many cats do as well. Other pets may not enjoy it quite as much, so just go shopping for something new for them.

For the non-travelers, you can bake them homemade treats. Here are a couple simple treats for cats, dogs and horses. They are simple, tasty and budget friendly. **Be sure the baby food doesn’t contain any onion products**

(For dogs and horses): Sweet Potato Treats  

1 sweet potato, 2 ½ cups whole wheat flour, ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce and 2 eggs. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prick sweet potato several times with a fork. Heat sweet potato in a microwave about 6 minutes. Scoop out flesh and mash. Discard skin. In separate bowl, mix whole wheat flour, applesauce, and eggs and 1 cup mashed sweet potato, until a dough forms. Save rest of mashed sweet potato for another batch. Turn dough onto a well-floured surface and roll to 1/2inch thick. Cut out shapes using a cookie cutter of choice and arrange on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake until crisp, 35-45 minutes. Cool for 10min before moving to a wire rack to finish cooling.

(For cats): Chicken Lickens

1 jar (2 ½ oz.) strained chicken baby food, 5/8cup wheat germ, 5/8cup non-fat milk powder and 1 egg beaten. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray cookie sheet with vegetable oil spray. Mix baby food, wheat germ, milk powder, and egg in medium bowl. Drop by ½ teaspoonful’s onto prepared baking sheet.

Bake 12-15 minutes. Remove and let cool on wire rack. Store in airtight container or freeze. Makes 2 ½ -3doz.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there (especially pet moms) and enjoy your special day. You deserve it!

Lorraine Fancher, LVT
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