Our beloved pets can't tell us what they need to be happy and healthy, so it's up to us as their family members to make sure we do all the right things for them. This month is Responsible Pet Owners Month — why not use this opportunity to become even closer with your four-legged buddy? There are easy ways you can show how much you care by making small improvements in pet ownership skills
Going for walks and exercising your pet
Physical activity is important for both dogs and cats. Just like humans, pets need to burn off the food they eat so it doesn't lead obesity. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, about 35% of pets are overweight or obese and that can lead to respiratory disease, diabetes, and liver disease. Regular exercise can prevent health issues, plus it's a fun bonding experience for you and your pet.
Research the breed
Every pet is unique, so take the time to get acquainted with your furry friend. Do they enjoy going on adventures or prefer staying at home? Is snuggling up next to you their favorite thing or do they prefer space? These are questions you should ask when deciding which breed fits you best. Oh, and don't forget about shelter animals! A little extra research can make sure that any traumatic past experiences won't affect your bond in the future.
Stay up to date on vaccinations
Certain shots are required for your pets, and others are highly encouraged for their long-term health. The initial round of shots can be overwhelming, but it'll save you money and subsequent visits to the veterinarian in the future. Consult with your vet about when to get booster shots so your pet has minimal problems for their entire life.
Be attentive at dog parks
If you decide to take your dog to a park or off-leash area to play, make sure you watch what they're doing. They can easily wander off to find gaps in the fence or items they shouldn't eat. You also should pay attention to how they interact with other dogs so they don't get too aggressive or bullied. Socialization at these parks is highly recommended at an early age to prevent skittish or aggressive behavior.
Clean up after their messes
Cleaning up the yard or litter box after your pet goes to the bathroom is essential for keeping your home clean. Dogs are generally motivated to go to the bathroom in places they've already relieved themselves, while cats tend to avoid their litter box entirely if it is too dirty.
People in your neighborhood will also appreciate your cleaning efforts in parks and during walks. Don’t be that neighbor who leaves their pet’s feces on the ground for others to potentially step on.
Buy safe toys for them
Do some research and invest in high quality toys. Especially if your dog is an aggressive chewer. Your pet can potentially choke on rawhide chews or bones if they swallow pieces that broke off and are too large. This could cause internal damage to your pet by getting stuck. Don't buy toys that are too small because they could be swallowed and be a choking hazard. Rotating toys can keep your pet intrigued while preserving the toys they have, especially if they like to destroy anything that's soft or squeaky.
Last but definitely not least, spoil your pet because they deserve it! Treats, cuddles, new beds, and fresh toys are priceless in the mind of your furry friend.
Have a question about pet health? Want to become the best possible pet parent? Find helpful tips, reminders, and insight to giving your furry friend the best possible care with For Pet's Sake! Learn more at drdevonsmith.com.