How to Take Care of Pets

Cat care

If you want to welcome a pet into your home, it’s important that you understand the commitment you’re making, and are ready and willing to be responsible for them. A puppy or kitten might seem cute when they’re really small, but they can easily live 10-20 years. The song of a feathered friend might seem like a beautiful way to greet each day, but many birds have life spans as long as humans.

What pets need

While different species will have different needs, there are certain things that all pets need in order to thrive.

A protected and clean living environment is one of the most important things for a pet to have. You can’t bring a pet home and not have a space for them. Dogs thrive with a crate or bed, cats enjoy a hidey hole or cat condo, birds and rodents require a cage, and fish and reptiles should have a tank or aquarium. Ensure that any bedding is changed or cleaned regularly, and that any enclosures are properly sized for the animal, as well as secure.

Food & Water

Food is just as important for pets as it is for people. In fact, feeding your pet a high quality diet can help maintain their overall health and prevent costly trips to the vet later in life. If your pet is overweight, work with your vet to help them lose weight. Ensure your pet has access to adequate fresh food on a daily basis, and be sure to wash the food bowl regularly.

Water is essential for our pets, and having access to a constant supply of clean, fresh water is one of the best ways to take care of your pet. Be sure to wash the water dish regularly.

Exercise

Like their human counterparts, exercise is another key component for caring for pets properly. This could mean regular walks, playing with toys, time outside their enclosure, or engaging in puzzles and games. Nearly every pet benefits from having toys to play with when their favorite toy (that’s you!) isn’t around. Be sure to inspect toys regularly for damage and deterioration, and replace when necessary.

Health & Dental Care

Taking care of a pet also means taking it for veterinary care, not only when they become ill, but for preventative care as well. At a minimum, pets should see a vet on an annual basis for routine wellness checkups and any vaccinations. As they get older, dental care will become important.

You might not consider it, but love is another important aspect of caring for a pet. In order to thrive and connect with their owners, pets need gentle, respectful handling and to actually spend quality time with you. This can be as simple as going for walks, watching TV together, spending time working on training, or just saying hello to them before you leave for work.

Grooming

Some pets require regular grooming in order to maintain their health. Trimming a dog’s nails means they can walk without pain, while clipping a bird’s feathers ensures they won’t be able to fly away should they escape from the safety of your home. Many animals bathe themselves in some manner, but they might also require your assistance as they age, or if they get particularly dirty.

Caring for a pet throughout its lifetime also involves caring for it when its life is nearing the end. One of the most compassionate last acts a pet owner can provide for their animal family members is to say goodbye humanely, especially if the animal is in pain or suffering. Your vet can help you decide when the time is right.

Finally, consider a plan for your pet’s care in the event that they should outlive you. This isn’t always pressing for owners of smaller animals such as hamsters, guinea pigs, or even cats and dogs, but is especially relevant for animals with longer life spans, like birds and turtles.

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