Having a pet is one of the best things in life. Anyone who’s ever been a pet owner can attest to the incredible feeling of coming home to one.
More than just companions, pets are great to have around for many reasons. Pets help reduce stress and lower your blood pressure. For example, simply petting a dog lowers stress hormones and increases levels of feel-good hormones. Pets also encourage you to socialize and exercise.
But with such great benefits also comes great responsibility. Being a pet parent puts you in charge of their well-being. So how can you keep your pet healthy and happy? Here are some useful tips.
1. Know what’s normal and what’s not
Certain physical benchmarks tell whether your pet is healthy. That can be normal weight, the color of the coat, and even behavior patterns. Is it normal for your husky to lose so much fur? Do you think there’s something wrong with your kitten if they’re sleeping 16 hours a day?
Knowing these benchmarks will help you identify what is normal to them and pick up signs and symptoms that might indicate a health issue early on.
2. Make sure they get proper exercise and education
Your pet needs physical and mental stimulation to stay healthy. Like humans, pets who don’t get enough exercise can be prone to diseases and sickness. They are more likely to become overweight and even obese and develop health issues, like diabetes, cardiovascular problems, and respiratory illness.
Owners should walk their dogs at least twice daily for regular exercise and mental stimulation. This aids in their socialization too. Dogs are naturally curious creatures. If given the opportunity, they’ll explore as many places as they can. Puppies have the least self-discipline, especially when they are yet to be trained. Puppy or not, it’s best to keep your dog on its leash during your walks. Get them a custom dog ID tag containing your contact information in case they wander away or get lost.
3. Feed them a nutritious diet
Be mindful of what you feed your pet. Table food is not always pet-friendly, and to stay healthy, they need to meet their own unique nutritional requirements. Before picking any brand of pet food or treats from the shelves, make sure that it is safe and does not contain chemicals and ingredients that your pet might be allergic to. Choose quality pet food and alternate their diet for variety if possible.
Always take the safe route by consulting your vet first about your pet’s nutritional needs.
4. Take them to the vet at least once a year
Take your dog or other pets to the vet for a yearly wellness exam and dental checkup. Annual blood work is necessary to help detect illness early, while physical examinations will give you a better profile of your pet’s health.
Meanwhile, having your pet’s teeth inspected and cleaned professionally will also help them avoid periodontal disease, a commonly overlooked disease among pets that can lead to cardiac troubles and systemic illness.
5. Vaccinate them against deadly diseases
The biological mechanism that works very well for humans also works wonders for your pets. Vaccines protect your animal companions from highly fatal diseases and improve their quality of life. Talk to a veterinarian about vaccination options for your pet to discuss the risks involved and help you make an informed decision.
6. Keep them free of parasites
Parasites are a common problem for pets, but they are easily manageable, especially if you detect signs of infestation early. Parasite problems can cause health issues and affect your pet’s quality of life. If you see abnormal behavior patterns, like constant scratching, lethargy, diarrhea, or vomiting, take your pet to the vet immediately to address the problem.
7. Spay or neuter them
If you don’t intend to breed your pets in any capacity, get them fixed. It helps prevent unwanted behaviors that come with the normal mating cycle, and it also helps cut down on aggressiveness, especially among males. But more importantly, having your pet spayed or neutered will benefit them physically by extending their life expectancy and preventing the probability of developing certain diseases and forms of cancer.
8. Show them some love
Like people, your beloved pets flourish when showered with love and affection. Always make a point to cuddle them, engage with them, and show them your love. Affection helps strengthen your unique bond and helps them live happy and healthy lives for a long time.
9. Make sure they get enough social interaction
Different pets will need different levels of socialization. While some uncommon pets are solitary, most common pets like dogs and cats will need to be socialized at a young age to help them adapt to different situations. Unsocialized pets tend to display a range of problematic behavior, and they can be fearful and aggressive when put into situations they are not used to.
10. Practice pet safety at home
Make sure your house is pet safe by following these safety tips:
- Store dangerous things and toxic substances out of your pet’s reach.
- Be familiar with common emergencies related to your pet.
- Know what types of food they shouldn’t eat.
- Microchip them.
Always check your house for hazards, including the following:
- Check your deck boards or any wood surface for splinters. Consider composite decking if you have pets like dogs and cats.
- Keep garbage cans covered. Opt for bins with lids.
- Always close your toilet lid.
- Try to eliminate dangling wires. Arrange wires to prevent your pets from accessing or reaching them.
- Be aware of what types of plants you bring into the house. Check first if it isn’t toxic to them.
- Provide them with their own chew toys and scratch pads.
- Install blockades where there might be a fall hazard.
Most pets don’t show signs of distress or illness before it’s too late, so it’s important that you proactively provide a safe environment for them. With these tips, you are on your way to becoming the best pet parent you can be.