Pets are a big part of our lives. As a father of 6, I’ve had my fair share of experience with them. You name it – I’ve had it. The list of animals under my roof include amphibians, fish, mammals and reptiles. There’s been hairy moments, but I have no regrets. After all, their presence provides us with love, company, and simply something to smile about after a tiring, stressful day at work or school. Yet, just like people, animals have physical and emotional needs that require compliance, otherwise undesired consequences will emerge. Whether you are a first-time or long-time pet owner, here are some pointers for a healthy and happy pet – straight from a seasoned parent and petowner.
Provide Adequate Shelter
As mentioned above, pets and humans have several basic needs in common, one of which is shelter. Any domesticated animal requires a home of his/her own. Sure your dog or cat may be born with naturally thick fur coats, but it doesn’t mean they are well protected against outside elements, such as rain, snow, heat, insects, etc. If your pet has to live outside, give them a kennel with decent bedding, preferably somewhere enclosed.Make sure the shelter allows them to feel protected. If you have a dog, you can rest assured they’ll appreciate the effort. Giving your pet shelter will surely make him/her happy and healthy in many ways – it will protect them from the elements and provide a safe space when they’re scared.
Food & Water
Your pet won’t be happy with an empty stomach or dry mouth, but that doesn’t mean you should feed them anything in your fridge. Too many pet owners provide their pets with anything they beg for or are interested in. This is a mistake – any vet will tell you that it can lead to serious health complications. Furthermore, some pet foods are better than others. Be a responsible and caring pet owner and choose healthy pet foods rather than those with filler ingredients and less nutrients. Furthermore, never forget to monitor your pet’s water supply frequently. Again, many owners simply leave their animals with a bowl of water for days on end. Do you best to clean out their bowl daily and change their water twice a day.
Many pets, including dogs, hamsters, and guinea pigs, require plenty of exercise to stay fit and happy. If you have a large enough backyard or front lawn, exercise shouldn’t be a problem for a dog. If you don’t have the space, be sure to allow time everyday to take them out and stretch their legs. This may mean having to hire someone to come in during the day – this may seem tough, but your dog’s well-being is at stake! For mice, hamsters, and guinea pigs, be sure to invest in the appropriate equipment – tunnels, wheels, balls, etc.
Love & Affection
Pets – even cats – love being petted and cared for as much as people do. They also love receiving attention from people. If you have a pet, it is important that you make the effort to maintain physical contact with him/her, even during busy work days. If your dog is crawling to your lap, allow him/her to do so! They don’t have to sleep in the same bed as you (though if you know it wouldn’t be dangerous, you should consider allowing it), but do be affectionate on a daily basis.
Making your pet happy is a crucial part of your long-term journey together. The happier your pet is, the better care you’ll be able to give him/her. Also, make sure you have your pet checked by a veterinary at least twice a year to prevent major health conditions – not many people know this, but animals are prone to almost all of the diseases/problems as humans (glaucoma, cancer, ulcers, etc). And one last pro-tip: make sure that all of the members of your household are responsible and healthy enough to handle any furry addition to the family. The last thing you need is to have to give away a kitten or puppy down the road – this is healthy for no one, least of all the animal. Animals have feelings too – respect them, and they’ll respect you!
About The Author:
Patrick Mahoney is a father, pet-owner & teacher who writes about parenting and education.His most helps like-minded parents earn Early Childhood Education Degrees from home.