As a committed and loving animal owner, all you really want is to ensure that your precious pet goes through life as happy and healthy as possible. Domestic animals also have a much shorter lifespan than we do, and it is a priority of any owner to help their pet live a life that is long and active.
Fortunately, there are lots of different things that you can do to keep your pet happy and healthy. Here are our ten tips for helping your furbaby live her best life!
One of the most important things that you can do to keep your pet healthy is to make sure that she is getting the right nutrition. Many inexperienced pet owners don’t realize that their animal’s nutritional requirements actually change during her lifetime to reflect her age and circumstances. For example, a puppy needs specific food to help her grow and develop properly, while a senior pet might need a diet lower in calories to reflect a less active lifestyle. And although it is fun to give your pet a treat from time to time, going overboard can be bad for her health.
While we are on the subject of nutrition, what your pet eats is essential for helping her maintain a healthy weight. Too much poor-quality food can cause her to become obese and since obesity is a contributing factor to many health problems including diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer, keeping your pet’s weight under control should be a significant priority.
Exercise isn’t only important for you, your furbaby will also benefit from physical activity on a regular basis. This will keep her heart healthy, her muscles strong and help to keep her weight under control. Bear in mind that some breeds of pets are more active than others, and you can expect to see a natural decline in her willingness to participate in exercise as she gets older.
Preventative medication is an essential part of any pet’s care. There are many different illnesses and diseases that can harm our animals, from potentially deadly conditions such as parvovirus to parasites like fleas and ticks. Fortunately, it is possible to protect our precious pets from the vast majority of these using a preventative care program – something which your veterinarian will be able to advise you on. It is important to stick to the recommended schedule of preventative treatments and medications to make sure that your pet is not left vulnerable to illness at any point.
Many people think that doctors and veterinarians are only there in the event that you become sick. However, taking your pet to your veterinarian regularly enables them to monitor your pet’s health and identify any developing problems early – before they have can have serious consequences for her wellbeing and possibly before invasive or expensive treatment is needed.
There is a massive overpopulation of pets already in the United States and veterinarians everywhere are advocating paying/neutering animals as early as possible to help prevent adding to this number. However, this isn’t the only reason you should get your pet’s reproductive capabilities removed. There are also a number of health and behavioral benefits associated with spaying/neutering including the elimination of some cancers, prevention of urine spraying and marking, and lowering/eliminating aggression associated with hormones. The earlier you arrange for this procedure for your pet, the greater the benefits she will experience and the less likely you are to have an unwanted pregnancy to deal with.
Unbeknown to many people, socialization isn’t just about teaching your pet to get along with other humans and animals that she comes into contact with, although that is almost certainly part of it. Socialization is also necessary to help your pet understand the world around her and where she fits and is the best way to ensure that your furbaby develops into a friendly, confident and well-functioning adult animal. Socialization involves exposing your pet to a variety of people, pets, and environments so that she learns how to handle them. If you aren’t sure what you are doing is right, your vet will be happy to advise you.
Creating a strong and positive bond with your pet is vitally important for your long-term relationship. You need to build trust, companionship and loyalty towards one another and doing so enables you to both enjoy emotional enrichment. Many people take bond-building for granted, but it doesn’t always come naturally, particularly if you are adopting an older pet. It takes time and patience to develop. Make sure you shower your furbaby with as much affection and praise as you can, take the time to read her emotions and spend lots of time doing fun activities together.
Many people liken having a pet to having a small child and it is easy to see why. Animals, like children, are naturally curious creatures that sometimes have very little awareness of danger. They don’t understand hazards in the same way that we might and therefore will not take the necessary precautions to keep themselves safe. Instead, it is up to us as pet parents, to learn what we need to do to keep our pets as safe as possible. This could be identifying potentially harmful substances and keeping them out of reach of your pet, getting her microchipped so that she can be returned to you if she becomes lost. Fortunately, there are lots of things that you can do to keep your pet safe.
Learning to understand your pet is the very best thing that you can do for her health and happiness. By knowing what is ‘normal’ for her, you can more easily detect when something is bothering her. This may be something that you can rectify yourself at home, or you may need the advice and support of your veterinarian.
If you would like more advice on the best way to keep your beloved pet happy and healthy, please don’t hesitate to contact our experienced veterinary team.