Helicopter Parenting Your Pet

In 1969, Dr. Haim Ginott used the term “helicopter parent” as a way to describe parents who would hover over their children like a helicopter. Helicopter parents typically are overly focused on their children and become so involved in their child’s life that they become controlling. The term became so popular that it eventually became a dictionary entry in 2011.

In my circle of friends, if you’re called a helicopter parent, you’ll quickly adjust your behavior. None of us want to have that label attached to our names. However, as it turns out, it is totally okay to helicopter parent your pet.

Lisa Acho Remorenko

Research from UC Berkeley and California State University East Bay says that clinginess is fine for pets since they need us for guidance. So go ahead and hover away.

Here are some ways to helicopter parent your pet:

Help your pet see at night. Taking your pooch for a walk twice a day is highly recommended. Once daylight starts to fade on your evening walks, it’s a good idea to invest in a night-light to help illuminate your dog’s path. This way you can both see where you’re going. PupLight is a great invention that straps right on your dog. For more information, visit: puplight.com.

Monitor your pets while you’re away. Ever wonder what your pet does when you’re gone? Now you can watch your pet, even when you’re at work, with this wireless monitoring system. For more information, visit: this website.

Watch over what your pet drinks. Certain foods and drinks, including alcohol, can be toxic to your pet. But when you enjoy a cold brew, your pet can enjoy one with you, provided you choose a nonalcoholic beer made specifically for pets. Bowser beer is a beer made from malt barley and beef or chicken. For more information, visit: bowserbeer.com.

Serve your pet whole foods. Whether you feed commercial or homemade pet food, many pet owners credit better ingredients with helping their animals live longer and make less trips to the veterinarian. Here are a few guidelines that experts recommend when choosing a pet food:

• Look for the named meat or fish to be the first ingredient (chicken, turkey, beef, herring, salmon, etc.) and avoid unnamed food ingredients (by-products, bone meal) and protein fillers (corn gluten meal, wheat gluten).

• Look for whole grains (rice, barely, oatmeal) and fruits and vegetables (potatoes, carrots, peas, apples, sweet potatoes, etc.) and avoid grain remnants, such as highly processed flours.

• Look for named fats from quality sources (chicken fat, lamb fat, sunflower oil, herring oil, etc) and avoid fats from non-specific sources (animal fat, poultry fat and vegetable oil).

Visit your veterinarian. Keeping a close watch over your pet for signs of illness is always a good idea. In addition, adult pets should be examined at LEAST once a year. Older pets may need to be seen more often. This schedule allows the veterinarian to learn how your pet normally looks and behaves and makes it easier to spot abnormalities when they occur.

You may want your annual visit to coincide with your pet’s annual vaccines (if necessary) or their examination for parasites such as intestinal worms, fleas and ticks.

Being a helicopter parent may not be the most ideal way to raise your child. But when it comes to pets, providing this type of assistance may be just what your pet needs.

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