It may seem obvious that the way to your pet’s heart is to provide them with plenty of food, exercise and cuddles. But just like us, pets have basic needs too. Part of the responsibility of owning a pet is to ensure they lead a happy and healthy life. Here are some useful tips to brighten up your pet’s day and help them lead a happy and healthy life.
1. Think carefully before getting a pet and learn about their special requirements
Falling in love with a pet is easy but they do require a huge amount of your time, money and commitment. Owning a pet is a very rewarding experience, so before you jump right in, think carefully about whether you actually have time for one. Can you afford a pet? How will they be cared for when you go away on holiday? There are all sorts of questions to think about when deciding what would be your perfect pet.
2. Ensure your pet is sociable and well trained
A well-trained pet is a happy pet. If your pet is well behaved, they can take part in family activities and they will be welcomed to more places. Make learning fun, keep sessions short and reward them for their excellent behaviour when they do something well.
3. Provide a nutritious and well-balanced diet
Make sure you provide them with a nutritious diet that covers all their requirements. But just like us, our pets have to limit the treats they have, and we need to make sure their weight doesn’t creep up. If you have any concerns, your vet will be able to advise you on the most suitable food for your pet, and will be able to talk to you about how to keep your pet’s weight in check.
4. Give your pet plenty of exercise
Giving your pet enough exercise doesn’t mean you have to be an athlete yourself. Try to take your dog out for a walk at least once a day and play games together to prevent them from becoming bored – their minds need exercise and stimulation too! And it’s not just dogs that need exercise for mind and body – think of ways to play with your cat or rabbit too – particularly important if they are ‘house pets’. A pet that has restricted opportunities to exercise is likely to suffer from serious conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and arthritis.
5. Protect your pet from dangerous diseases
Vaccinations are essential for protecting your pet from a variety of serious (sometimes fatal) illnesses. Whether you have a cat, dog or rabbit, it is vital to vaccinate all pets against these illnesses and to maintain their immunity by giving regular boosters.
6. Groom your pet regularly
Regularly brushing your pet’s fur coat gives you the opportunity to check for lumps, bumps, parasites and scratches that may need attention. Grooming also allows you to remove dead hair and distributes hair oils to help keep your pet’s fur coat and skin healthy, all whilst improving the bond between you and your pet!
7. Control your pet and ensure they are easily identifiable
Over 900 pets a day go missing in the UK. With it already a legal requirement in Wales and Northern Ireland, as of April 2016, it will also be a legal requirement in England and Scotland to ensure your dog is microchipped, so be sure to make certain your pet is chipped and that dogs are wearing an ID tag on their collar when out for walks.
8. Take out pet insurance for dogs, cats, rabbits and horses to cover against unexpected veterinary fees and third party liability
Your vet and vet nurses can provide further information on this, so be sure to send any questions you may have their way!