10 tips on being a great pet owner – Pet tip 155
Our pets are amazing additions to our lives and they enrich us in so many important ways. It is common knowledge that pets reduce human blood pressure, can help with depression and can even make us live longer. People that are suffering from loneliness can often reduce this feeling by getting a pet and can even meet new people by getting involved with others that share a passion for pets. So how can we repay our pets given that they give us so much? Surely there is more that we can do than just feed them.
In truth there is lots that we can do to pay our pets back by being great pet owners and the following short list is a great starting point;
(Edited on June 11, 2012 to add another tip (Spay/Neuter/Microchip) as tip #1
hat tip to Maureen V.)
In order to help combat the pet overpopulation problem, please spay and neuter your pet. Tens of millions of pets are put to death yearly simply because nobody wants them. Do not think you can keep an eye on the pet for the rest of its life. Thousands of accidental pregnancies happen daily and the drive to escape and mate is very strong in both cats and dogs. Aside from unwanted pregnancy, a whole host of other health and behavioural advantages come with this fairly simple procedure (less marking, roaming, aggression, incidence of certain cancers are greatly reduced etc.). Once this is done, microchip your pet! This way if it is ever lost, you can be contacted easily. Pets should also wear a collar with ID at all times.
Commit to your pet for life
This involves a lot of research on the part of pet owners because pets need us for their whole lives. Even in emergencies, pets need us to be there for them. Make sure your whole family is allergy free before getting a dog.
Make sure you can afford your pet
Pets aren’t cheap and will need routine and possible emergency veterinary care during their lifetimes. Make sure no matter what happens financially, that you will continue to care for your pet.
Pet insurance is a great way to avoid possible financial burdens due to unforeseen medical problems. As with all insurance policies, make sure you know what is or isn’t covered and make sure it covers possible health problems associated with your particular breed of pet.
Make time for your pet
Most pets need human attention. When we take them home, we become their surrogate families and they depend on us for attention and interaction. Pets that get too bored can suffer from depression and engage in destructive or unwanted behaviours just to pass the time.
Research the breed or type of pet you want
Not all pets are good choices for all people. Some pets need more space, more exercise, more interaction, have more health problems, have exotic diets etc. Buy a book or do some research online BEFORE you get a pet so that you know what to expect.
Get a good veterinarian
Ask a friend or colleague for a reference. Search online in forums or chat rooms and chat with veteran members if you can’t get a personal reference.
Exercise with your dog, cat or pet
Cats and dogs in particular need regular exercise sometimes exceeding 2 hours per day depending on the breed. Exercise is crucial to maintaining good health in cats and dogs in particular. If your cat is an indoor cat, engage it daily with games that make it run and pounce.
Socialize your pet
Mostly for dogs, this means getting your dog used to the outside world and different people, objects, riding in cars, meeting other dogs etc. This is best done at a young age so that your pet is less fearful of new experiences.
Group obedience training
Again mostly for dogs but this type of training can help avoid behaviour problems and lets the dog know that you the owner are the ‘top dog’ at all times no matter what else is going on.
Good pet food
It goes without saying that the expression ‘we are what we eat’ also applies to our pets. Don’t buy cheap pet food. Ask your vet for a good food or do some research on your own talking with other committed pet lovers.
This list is only a starting point for how we can repay our pets for the joy that they bring into our lives. Ask your veterinarian for further explanations or referrals when you have issues that you can’t solve yourself. By taking better care of your pet’s needs, your pet will be able to help with your needs as well.