Pets are, to many people, just like children. They are caring, loving members of the family, and deserve the same good treatment that is given to other family members. In fact, according to the American Pet Products Association, nearly 85 million US households have at least one pet.
Because pets are so precious, losing a pet can be devastating, especially on children. This is why taking care of your pet is so important. Whether you have a cat, dog, gerbil, guinea pig, or even bearded dragon, there are things you can do to take better care of your pets. So let’s take a look at a few tips.
Since most people own cats, dogs, or small rodents, those will be the common focus of this post. However, near the end, there will also be some tips out there for those of you with the more exotic kinds of pets.
General pet tips
First, let’s start with a few tips for taking care of your pet that are always good to keep in mind. Remember that many pets, especially dogs, are social creatures. They need to socialize to remain healthy. So if you have a dog, make sure to spend plenty of time playing with it and keeping it company. The same can be said for cats, although they are much less social, so pay attention to their cues and if they want you to leave them alone, do it. Let them come to you.
Many rodents are social as well, although some are decidedly antisocial. Before getting one, research their needs. If you have a more social pet, such as guinea pigs or chinchillas, make sure you get two of them so they have a playmate. You can also spend time playing with them, just be gentle. And if you have a more antisocial rodent, keep them by themselves— while they may like you, they won’t play well with other pets.
For dogs and cats, get ID tags on their collars. We don’t want to think about our pets getting away from us, but sometimes it happens. In the event that it does, you want to be able to get them back quickly. If their collar has your contact information and maybe even address on it, anyone who finds them will be able to get them home safe and sound.
Lastly, even though it might be sad to think about, be prepared for mishaps when you get a dog. Some dogs can be very aggressive, and without proper training, could be dangerous. So be sure to give your dog the training it needs, so you don’t end up having to research a dog bite injury attorney.
No one wants to be caught in doggy court. Invest in a dog bite lawyer when you need one.
Your indoor environment
As your pet will most likely live indoors, keeping a clean and safe environment is a vital part of taking care of your pet. Your pets have many of the same needs a toddler might: they need to be sheltered from the weather, kept comfortable, and kept away from any potentially hazardous objects.
To keep them safe from weather conditions, make sure your home is running well. This is important to your safety as well as theirs. Check on the plumbing, as dog fur can clog up your pipes. Make sure there are no leaks in the roof. And, for the very hot or cold days, make sure your air conditioning maintenance is up to date. If you have to, invest in heating and cooling repair if necessary.
Lastly, a bad garage door can be terrible for keeping temperatures regulated, so check out a good garage door company if you plan on allowing your dog into the garage. You want to provide your pets with a comfortable space, just as you would for yourself. For cats and dogs, keep their beds fluffy and well-stuffed, so they have a good resting place. Make sure that all their toys are fun and safe— no small parts or sharp edges.
If you have rodents, remember that they need comfort and exercise too! Provide them with plenty of animal-safe bedding (paper-based bedding is your best option). Also give them a wheel, plenty of tunnels, or some other way for them to run around and burn off energy.
Another part of taking care of your pets and keeping them comfortable is flooring. This will be a tough decision to make, as there are benefits to both sides. Wood flooring makes it much easier to clean up accidental messes from cats and dogs, but can be tougher for them to walk on. Carpet will be much more comfortable for them, but make messes that much harder to clean up. Whichever you choose, make sure to keep it clean and well maintained.
And, of course, keep the area clear of hazards! Small objects can be dangerous, especially for dogs who love to eat everything. Sharp edges are also bad, as well as anything that could get stuck in your pet’s fur, like a stray cup of coffee or stick of gum. So be careful to keep your house clean and free of potential dangers to your pets.
Most importantly, be careful with houseplants. Many of the plants you may love are actually dangerous for cats and dogs. Before getting a plant, research if it is safe. Pets love to eat things they shouldn’t, and no matter how far out of reach you think it is, they will find it.
The outside world
Just as with the inside of your house, taking care of your pet means assuring that they have a safe and fun outdoor space as well. This mostly applies to dogs, but some other pets, especially cats, love to go outdoors on occasion.
While you want your pets to have fun, you have to make sure they are safe. If you want to do some backyard renovations to make more playspace for your little pals, invest in good fence builders to make sure your dog can’t run away.
While doing this, you could also consider a security company to secure your yard and make sure that while your dog can’t get out, nothing bad can get in either.
Keep your outdoor space free of hazards as well. Plants can be especially dangerous here— not just ones you bring in, but ones that may naturally be there. Do some research and don’t hesitate to consult professionals to make sure that there’s nothing harmful in your yard.
And, most important, have fun with it! Your dogs need exercise, and there’s no reason they can’t have fun with it. Get them some fun outdoor toys and, if you really want to, an obstacle course or puppy playground! Having fun is an important part of taking care of your pet.
A healthy diet
What you feed your pets is vital to their health. For one, make sure there is always fresh water around for them. And remember, for rodents, they need a bottle, not a bowl, as they can drown easily.
In terms of food, it may be hard to find out what is and isn’t good for taking care of your pet. Consulting a vet or other professional is a great idea. Follow their recommendations, and you should be able to keep your pets healthy. Just make sure not to overfeed them or go too heavy on the treats, as obesity can be very bad for your little pals.
The best way for you to take care of your pet is to consult a qualified professional. Taking your pets in for regular checkups with a veterinarian is a great way to keep them happy and healthy, without having to do exhausting research.
A vet will also be able to keep your pet up to date on all necessary vaccines and medications. Viruses, fleas, and other pests can be harmful to the health of your pet, but regular vet checkups will keep them healthy.
While you’re at it, don’t forget dental care. If your normal vet can’t handle this for you, you should find an animal dental specialist. Just like humans, pets need to keep their teeth healthy. If you have a dog, you can also consider treats that have teeth-cleaning properties, so you can keep your pet’s teeth clean at home.
Also think of reproductive control. Depending on the laws in your area, getting dogs and cats spayed or neutered may be a requirement, or will have already been done. But if not, consider doing it anyway. Unless you want to become a dog breeder, doing this will be easier for you and help keep your pets out of trouble.
Lastly, think about grooming and nail care. Dogs and cats sometimes need regular maintenance to keep their fur and nails as healthy as possible. You can get this done at a vet, at most pet stores, or even do it yourself at home. Just remember that even if you do it yourself, you should still consult a professional to ensure that you are taking care of your pet properly.
Out of the ordinary pets
Some of you out there may contain less common pets, or exotics. These include lizards, snakes, some rodents, birds, and amphibians. If this is the case, while some of the previous tips may help you in taking care of your pet, you will likely need more specialized advice.
Since each animal type is different, there is no one definitive guide. The best thing you can do is to talk to a veterinarian or animal specialist and get their advice. It is also important to make sure you see a vet that specializes in exotics; a normal dog-and-cat vet won’t know how to help you. However, there are some general tips to consider.
The first is lighting, and mostly applies to reptiles and amphibians. These animals often need specialized lights to keep them healthy. Heating, basking, and UVB bulbs are all common things you may need.
If you have an aquatic or semi-aquatic pet, water treatment also matters. Keep the water at the proper temperature, and use a filter that is geared towards the specific type of pet you have.
Heating is also important, as many of these animals are cold blooded, meaning they can’t regulate their own heat. You may need heat lamps, under-the-tank heaters, or other heat sources to keep them warm and cozy, especially in the colder months.
Lastly is their food. You can buy pet-specific food at most pet stores, even if there are fewer options than there are for cats and dogs. But, some animals need more than just these foods. They may need servings of fruits and vegetables, or a vitamin supplement, such as calcium. Make sure your pets are getting the proper diet that they need.
That was a lot of things to consider, and that’s because pet care can be difficult. But you shouldn’t panic about taking care of your pet. As long as you do your homework, consult professionals, and try your best, your little companions should be as happy and healthy as possible.
There are a few key things to remember. One is the environment. Both indoors and outdoors, make sure that the area is safe and free of hazards for your pet, and that they are comfortable and have fun things to occupy them and help them exercise.
Next is food and water. Following all recommendations and watching their weight will help you in taking care of your pet.
Lastly, regular checkups. Vets exist for a reason, so make sure that you take your pet for regular checkups for their health. Also keep them up to date on any vaccinations and medication they may need, so as to avoid illnesses and harmful pests.
If you do all of these things, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about not taking care of your pet properly. They love you just as much as you love them, and doing these things will help keep them as a happy part of your family as long as possible.