Owning a pet requires more than just giving your cat or dog love and affection. Becoming a pet parent is a responsibility that demands your complete attention. It shouldn’t be discounted as easy or cheap because you’ll have to invest both your time and money to ensure your pet stays happy and healthy.
However, doing so for your pet’s lifespan is one of the most fulfilling tasks you’ll ever take part in, as your pet will thrive and love you for this endless devotion. Here are the top eight ways to give your pet the best life.
1. Feed a Proper Diet
As a pet owner, you’re undoubtedly familiar with situations where your dog sits nearby and looks at you with those big puppy eyes while you’re eating. Those eyes are difficult to resist, so you probably end up giving your pooch some table scraps. While giving your dog human food is acceptable occasionally, the more frequently you do it, the more often your dog will expect it from you, which can lead to an unhealthy diet.
Try to stick with food made for pets, as your dog or cat needs particular vitamins and minerals. Also, giving your pets unhealthy alternatives can lead to obesity and other health issues. Research your pet type and find the best food options based on its age, breed, and activity level.
2. Let Your Pet Enjoy the Outdoors
Pets that go outside occasionally are actually healthier than those that stay inside 24/7. Cats and dogs benefit from fresh air, and nature’s sights, sounds, and smells are great for mental stimulation. Additionally, going outside is another outlet for them to get necessary exercise.
However, you shouldn’t let your pets roam free, as they may get injured or even stolen. Instead, consider outside cat enclosures for your feline friends or a fence for your dog. If you have a dog that’s an expert jumper, you may need to invest in a fence extender to ensure your pup stays safely on your side of the barrier.
If you don’t want to enclose your yard but still want your cats to be able to go outdoors, you can try a fully enclosed fence option or a catio. Make sure you add a cat staircase to ensure your cat can run up, down, back, and forth to chase bugs and get the best vantage points.
3. Provide Access to Drinking Water
Just like humans, pets can become dehydrated quickly. You should always have at least one bowl of fresh water in a place your pet can easily access. However, having more water bowls available is better. Try to change the water a few times each day so your pet can get the coolest, most refreshing water any time it needs a drink.
4. Create a Safe Zone for Your Pet
Cats and dogs occasionally need some space to rest, relax, and enjoy solitude. Often, pets require a safe place to decompress when feeling stressed or anxious. You can easily create this area by setting up a room or closet to meet your pet’s needs. Include a pet bed, blankets, toys, treats or anything else your pet likes.
5. Clean Pet Areas
While dogs are generally housetrained, they sometimes have accidents. On the other hand, cats are easier to take care of because they use litter boxes. Wherever your pet uses the bathroom (purposely or accidentally), the area needs to be cleaned regularly.
Properly scrubbing or sanitizing these areas will keep bacteria from growing, which will protect your pet from becoming sick. If your dog smells the area it urinated in before, it’ll want to go there again, so you’ll need an enzyme cleaner to remove the odor. Alternatively, cats don’t like to use dirty litter boxes, so if you don’t take the time to scoop them regularly, your cat may decide to urinate or defecate elsewhere in your home.
6. Groom Your Pets
Grooming tasks, including trimming your pet’s toenails and brushing its fur, will keep it looking its best. More importantly, grooming allows you to closely inspect your pet’s fur and skin for issues such as dry patches, bald spots, or lumps, which you can address with your vet.
7. Visit the Vet Regularly
When you adopt a pet, you should visit the vet promptly, so your furry friend gets its appropriate vaccinations. This session also allows the vet to examine your cat or dog to ensure it’s healthy. After the initial visit, you should schedule regular appointments every year.
Unfortunately, many pet owners opt to call the vet only when their pets have issues. Without regular checkups, your pet may suffer silently from an ailment that could be easily cured if caught earlier.
8. Show Your Love
Make sure you give your pet the attention it needs and deserves. Take time to play with your cat or dog and give them lots of cuddles and scratches. Dedicating time to your pet each day will strengthen the emotional bond between the two of you.
Having a pet is a commitment that shouldn’t be taken lightly. By keeping your pet’s needs and desires in mind, you and your furry friend can live happily together for years to come.