Owning a pet is both a privilege and a joy, similar in many people’s lives to having a child or extended family member. Many people form emotional and personal connections with their pets that rival their personal relationships with humans. Although owning a pet can incur some expenses (such as an eventual carpet cleaning service or basement remodel), many people find the expenses to be entirely worth what they receive out of the relationship.
Pets (especially dogs) are almost as popular as having children, with 48 million people owning at least one dog in the United States. Clearly, people see them as part of their families and social structure, and may even rely on them for emotional support on rough days or when they’re feeling lonely. Many psychology studies have noted the positive impact that being around companion animals can have on people’s moods. For people that cannot have children biologically, many times their animals end up as “surrogate children” that they love and treat as their own.
In this article, we’ll discuss healthy pet tips and how to keep your animal in tip-top shape. From making sure that your home is “pet friendly” to monitoring their health care, this can sometimes be a full-time job. It doesn’t mean that you can’t dress them up, celebrate their birthdays, or not let them watch movies too late. It’s simply a mix between knowing that it’s better for them to be outside that hot tub on a leash (or in a tank) than sipping drinks with you. A pet is a companion that needs loving care from a competent adult at all times, lest you become a neglectful pet parent.
Making Sure Your Home Is Pet-Friendly
No matter what type of animal your pet is, you’ll want to make sure that your home is pet-friendly in a variety of ways. Not only will this make your home a more comfortable and inviting place, but it will also eventually save you from having to take expensive trips to the pet hospital when something in your home is incompatible with your pet. If you’re struggling to think of an analogy in the world of healthy pet tips, think of making your home “pet-friendly” in the same way that parents of babies/toddlers “baby proof” their residence. It is the same concept, albeit with some adjustments.
If your pet uses your home for exercise to run/walk around, you’ll want to make sure that the inside doesn’t have any sharp corners or ledges that they can hurt themselves on. This doesn’t mean that you have to round off corners or put padding on everything, but it can mean limiting the rooms your pet enters. If your pet goes outside, this might mean taking your backyard and fencing it off so that your pet doesn’t wander off and harm someone else or get into trouble. With quality chain link fence installers, this can be done rather inexpensively within a couple of days.
In the realm of healthy pet tips, another thing to consider for outdoor pets is the danger that can be your outdoor past times. Whether you own an iguana or a puppy, something like a swimming pool can turn from a dream into a nightmare. Just like you’d call swimming pool repair services to build a gate or install a pool cover, you should consider roping off/pet-proofing any outdoor areas that could be a danger to your animal. It is simply the smart and prudent thing to do for a pet that may not know better.
Diet, Exercise, And Sleep
If you pay attention to none of the other healthy pet tips that we list here, we hope that you heed this headline. Just like humans need a proper diet, some form of exercise, and sleep, so do most pets. While our pets sleep schedules may not conform to ours in the human world, often they do sync up in ways that become mutually compatible and beneficial. Even if you own a “nocturnal” animal such as a spider or lizard, there are ways to create the perfect environment for them so that they are awake when you are awake and can bring joy to your life.
Feeding your pet the right diet is an indicator of how their life will go and proceed forward, similar to your diet. If you have a cat or a dog, this may mean finding out if a “science diet” or “vet-approved diet” is right for them versus feeding them whole foods that they’d also enjoy. If you own an exotic pet such as a lizard or snake, this may mean shunning processed foods in favor of rodents, frozen meats, or other things that are appropriate for these animals to eat. Nothing will impact your pet’s health more than feeding them a high-quality diet, so this should always be on your top priority list.
Exercise should be an obvious point on a list of healthy pet tips, but it is easy for people to forget. Especially if you don’t exercise yourself, it can be difficult for you to be motivated enough to get up off the couch and move your body in dedicated ways for the sake of your pet. If you have a smaller pet such as a hamster or cat, the exercise concerns may be as simple as purchasing exercise equipment that they can actually use. If only human exercise was as easy as getting on a hamster wheel, perhaps we’d all be in such great shape!
Spay/Neuter Your Animals (For Their Health)
Unless you are a pet breeder of some sort, you should always consider it part of owning a pet to get them spayed/neutered for health reasons. It is not often included on lists of healthy pet tips, but it should none the less. In cats and dogs, spaying/neutering reduces the risk of certain cancers (cervical, ovarian, testicular) while also tamping down aggressive behavior or making your pet a target for other animals in their reproductive phases.
Perhaps the biggest reason that it is important to spay/neuter your animal is the same reason that Bob Barker was so passionate about it on “The Price Is Right” TV show. When people don’t spay or neuter their animals, we inevitably end up with more kittens, puppies, and other critters that don’t have homes to go to and are unwanted. These animals don’t simply disappear into the wild never to be heard from again: many times they are euthanized or given to homes that cannot care for them. Instead of having to worry about the care or potential abuse of animals, it is best to spay/neuter pets so that we limit how many animals there are in the world.
Your Vet Is Also Your Friend
Animal health care can be both a fascinating and frightening endeavor to encounter. On one hand, to see you pet get a check-up is an interesting experience in itself. Since they cannot talk or tell the vet what is wrong, there are all sorts of interesting ways to check and make sure that an animal is OK. But if your pet is sick or hurt, it can also be frustrating and downright scary to not be able to communicate with them. This is where having a good relationship with your vet can be one of the most practical healthy pet tips of all.
Other than your own personal experience with knowing your animal’s wants and needs, your vet is probably the most authoritative source of healthy pet tips around. Not only will your vet be able to provide the best veterinary care for your specific animal, but their tips will be tailored from their expertise and experience over the years. It is best to introduce your pet to them when they are young so that they can form a healthy and trusting relationship.
Many veterinary clinics also provide dog boarding and long-term stays if you need to go out of town or cannot have your pet in your home. While nobody likes to board their animal or be apart from it, it is best to do this at a vet facility because then your animal is already in care’s hands if something should go wrong. Unlike a private facility, in which a vet is usually not on staff, this is the best of both worlds. It cannot be overlooked as part of a list of healthy pet tips you should heed.
Keeping Your Pet Safe From Legal Issues And Harm
While pets are a part of our lives and inner worlds, they are only a fraction of that in the society at large. In some countries, pets are not licensed or even thought of as part of society at all. They pose no more consequence to others than a tree or bush on the side of the road, they are simply part of nature. In developed and industrialized nations, this is not true at all and it is unique mark on the list of healthy pet tips to have a legal protection strategy for your pet.
While any potentially harmful animal can wreak havoc upon someone’s life, it is rare that a member of the general public may interact with your poisonous snake or fish. However, dogs are known to bite strangers and can cause serious damage when doing so. Dog bites are so common (when compared to other pet interactions), that there is a specialty of the legal profession in which lawyers identify as a dog bite lawyer or other such titles. Dog breeds that are though to be aggressive are usually target in these suits or by restrictive laws depending on the area you live in.
Dog bite attorneys have a tough job, and unfortunately depending on where you live it can be somewhat of a lost cause to rescue your pet if an incident has occurred. There is so much nuance depending on what state, municipality, and dog breed that you own that it will be impossible for us to give blanket advice on what to do. Without exception, if your dog bites someone and they report it, you should know that you may face serious consequences from the law. It is best to avoid this whenever possible through prevention and training.
Training Makes The Difference
One of the most complex healthy pet tips we can offer is to train your animal. Whether this is a dog, cat, or rabbit, training can go a long way between getting the behaviors you want and avoiding interactions that will be negative for everyone involved. There are many different ways to train animals, positive and negative.
This is especially true for dogs, whose lives and limbs may rest on you giving the proper command for them to stop or stay. Being able to say that your dog has passed a training exam or is certified may also help with legal appeals should an incident occur.
Treat Them Like Part Of The Family, And They Shall Be So
Probably one of the most complex and nuanced healthy pet tips that we will parse out today is this: when you treat your pet like part of the family, they shall be so. In time past, many people had pets for utilitarian or ornamental reasons. Whether this was to guard a piece of property or retrieve hunted animals depends on the time and place, but people for much of history did not form intensely personal bonds with their animals. That dynamic is changing as we now know that pets can have complex inner lives full of emotion, memories, and their own personalities.
When you treat your pet like part of the family, you essentially abide by the golden rule: treat others as you’d want to be treated. Especially as a pet parent, who is responsible for their well being, you have to nurture and guide your pet toward the appropriate actions while still maintaining control over your own life. There is nothing wrong with feeding your pet a gourmet dinner that you’ve cooked, but perhaps they’re still not suited to sit at the table. Except in circumstances of self-defense or impending harm, it is rarely advised to physically hit your pet. There are many other ways to train, guide, and love your pet that you can research as part of your healthy pet tips journey.
Most of all, it is important to love your pet and provide them with the best domestic life that they can have. Unlike humans who can have insatiable needs that may never be gratified, most pets are content to simply have enough water, food, and playtime each day to love on you and other family members. While we hope you abide by the healthy pet tips we’ve listed, the basics and foundations of pet care are always essential. Never forget that loving a pet is one of life’s simple pleasures that can teach you a lot about how you interact with the world. In caring for other creatures that do not speak our language or participate in our society, we can learn a tremendous amount about ourselves and where we would like to go.