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When we make the decision to bring a pet into our lives, the time and effort it takes to care for them is not always our first thought. We get excited at the idea of having a furry companion with whom to share wet kisses and warm snuggles, but it doesn’t take long to realize that having an animal is a lot of work. Caring for your pet doesn’t have to be complicated, and it’s possible to keep your new best friend safe and healthy even when you can’t leave your home.
Here are some tips on at-home critter care to help you keep your pet in their prime.
Feed Them High-Quality Food
The advent of commercial dog food has made it easy to keep our pets’ bellies full. However, it also means there is an unnerving number of low-quality pet foods available at your local retail store. Before you pick a specific brand or variety of food for your dog or cat, talk to their veterinarian. They may recommend a kibble made with human-grade protein, or depending on your animal’s health, may suggest a homemade mix that’s optimized for wellness.
Stay Active Together
Exercising with your pet is an excellent way to bond, and it will also help them keep their muscles fit and their waistline slim. The American Kennel Club suggests outdoor activities, such as hiking, swimming, and obedience training.
Know When and How to Groom Them
For the most part, grooming needs are minimal for short-haired animals. A bath once per month or less is probably sufficient, but there are other hygienic measures that should be done more regularly. Tooth brushing, for example, should be done at least a few times per week to ensure optimal oral health, and you should trim their nails a couple of times a month. Also be sure to clean their ears, and most importantly, brush long-haired animals regularly. Holiday Barn Pet Resorts smartly points out that cats, especially, may have lots of dirt and debris hiding under a seemingly-clean coat.
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Ensure They Have Proper Identification
One unsettling statistic that many new (and even experienced) pet owners are unaware of is that one in three furry family members go missing at some point. Because of this, it’s extremely important to ensure they are wearing proper ID at all times. At minimum, this should be a collar with ID tags, but pet microchipping is one of the best ways to ensure your dog or cat will find their way home should they wind up in a stranger’s hands.
The American Veterinary Medical Association describes socialization as “the process of preparing a dog or cat to enjoy interactions and be comfortable with other animals, people, places, and activities.” Socializing your pet is a lifelong process. Ideally, it starts when they are young by exposing them to a variety of situations and people. When your animal is properly socialized, they are calmer and less likely to react negatively to an intense situation.
Remove Health Hazards
They say curiosity killed the cat, and unfortunately, that can be true of dogs as well. Animals are naturally curious, and they will smell, lick, and ingest anything that looks interesting. If you want to keep your pets safe, particularly when your back is turned, eliminate hazards. These include items such as human medication, cooked bones, cleaning agents, air fresheners, dental floss, stuffed toys, and many household plants.
The above actions can help you keep your pet safe at home, but don’t forget to also take them for their regular veterinary checkup. Everything you do to keep them healthy will prolong their life, and that will only enrich yours.