Are you trying to figure out the best way to keep your pets happy and healthy? Read this article to learn how to take care of pets.
According to the American Pet Products Association, we spent a total of $99.5 billion USD on our furry friends last year. It’s hard to resist the temptation to buy Rover and Snowball an assortment of toys, plush beds, stylish sweaters, and of course, a huge array of delicious treats. The urge to spoil and pamper their canine and feline companions is particularly strong for people who consider their animals “fur babies.”
Of course, there is a lot more to responsible pet ownership than splurging on pet accessories and spoiling your little darlings rotten. Before you can buy even a single rawhide chew or catnip mouse, you need to know how to take care of pets. Here are 8 tips to help your pets stay healthy and happy!
How to Take Care of Pets Like a Pro
Spay and Neuter
Remember when Bob Barker would end each episode of The Price Is Right by exhorting viewers to “help control the pet population; spay and neuter your pets”? This is Step 1 of responsible pet ownership, for several reasons. First, as Barker told us, it helps reduce the number of pets who are homeless, who end up in shelters, and who are eventually euthanized.
There are direct benefits to you and your pet as well. Spaying your female pets can help prevent breast cancer and uterine infections, while males who are neutered are at a lower risk for prostate problems and testicular cancer.
These procedures will also help with behavioral issues. A pet who is “fixed” is less likely to stray from home, to mark its territory, and to act aggressively.
Visit the Vet
It might not be the most fun activity for you or your pet, but keeping their health in tip-top condition requires regular vet visits. Experts recommend at least one checkup a year, preferably two. That will ensure your furry friend stays up to date with vaccinations. Additionally, keeping a close eye on their physical condition means that any diseases can be caught and treated earlier.
ID Tags and Chips
No matter how vigilant you are about closing doors and windows, many indoor cats will still make a break for it, given half a chance. The same goes for dogs, who might try to bolt if they sense you’re not holding their leash super-securely. So be sure to outfit your animals with collars and ID tags. Tags ought to include the pet’s name, your name, and your contact information.
Does your cat wriggle out of a collar? Just want to be extra secure? Have your pet microchipped. Microchipping can help you be reunited with your beloved buddy in the event that they go off on an adventure without your permission.
The procedure is simple and quick. It doesn’t cause the animal any more pain than a vaccination would. Just be sure to update your contact information if you move or get a new phone number.
Healthy Food to Eat
Look for a food that has a balance of protein, carbs, fat, and fiber. Buy organic, grain-free pet food if you can afford it. It’s also important to choose dog or cat food that is formulated specifically for your pet’s age and/or activity level. You may also want to address health concerns, like joint pain or skin troubles, by feeding specialized food.
Both dogs and cats will do their darnedest to convince you that your food, whether it’s a juicy burger, a hunk of cheddar, or a slice of salami, is perfectly safe for them to eat it. But don’t fall for those puppy eyes. Feeding your pet human food may cause them to develop a bad habit of begging at the table. Some human food is relatively benign, but others are downright toxic, so it’s best to avoid giving it at all.
Fresh Water to Drink
Just like humans do, animals need a steady supply of clean, fresh water to keep them hydrated. Whether you give your fur baby tap water or filtered H2O is up to you. Keep the bowl filled, and wash it thoroughly with soap and water once a day.
Training for Proper Behavior
Naturally, you want a pet who is well-behaved. This could mean no scratching on the leather sofa, no chewing of your Jimmy Choos, and no “accidents” on the oriental rug — among other no-nos. If you adopt an older animal friend who is already housebroken and doesn’t have bad habits, consider yourself lucky. Otherwise, you need to spend some time teaching your dog or cat right from wrong.
Enlist the help of a professional trainer if necessary, or do your homework if you want to take the DIY route.
Safe and Fun Play
All animals need exercise. Whether your dog needs a great deal of time and space to romp, race, leap, and play, or is satisfied with a quick jaunt around the block, depends largely on the breed. It’s essential that you take your own living arrangements and lifestyle into account before adopting a pet that needs hours each day of physical activity.
Cats are a bit more low-maintenance, but they still need enrichment and interactive play. A laser pointer, wand-style toy, and jingly balls that you can roll and throw for them to chase are all good investments. Kittens won’t need encouragement, but if you have a senior kitty, you might need to entice her to get up off her paws and get moving.
Again, the amount of grooming your pet requires is breed-dependent. If you don’t want to spend a good chunk of time each day brushing your fuzzy buddy, don’t adopt a Bichon Frise, Pekingese, Persian, or Himalayan. Regular grooming prevents the development of mats, can reduce dandruff in cats, and keeps your animal friend looking their best!
Taking care of an animal’s coat is just one part of grooming. Responsible pet owners also need to give pedicures, brush teeth, and administer baths.
Going to a groomer is an option for busy pet parents, but remember that grooming time is also quality one-on-one time. You and your furry friend will bond more easily, thanks to this activity.
Knowing How to Take Care of Pets Is Vital
Pets bring an incredible amount of joy, companionship, and even entertainment to our lives. Learning how to take care of pets can prevent all kinds of problems and will help them live their best lives!
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