Pet Care 101: The Basics for a Healthy, Happy Pet
Pet owners have a big responsibility to provide for the needs of their fur babies while also keeping them safe, but many owners don’t know where to start. For example, did you know that a great way to provide both safety and the freedom to play is with a wireless containment system? This is an alternative to traditional fencing. This allows your pet to roam while preventing them from wandering off too far. In the following paragraphs we will explore a list of the most important information about pet care to ensure that your pet lives its happiest, healthiest life.
What should I feed my pet?
A consistent feeding schedule will promote energy and overall good physical health for your pet, but make sure you are giving it an appropriate amount of food for its size! Each animal is different and has slightly different nutritional needs. According to Pet MD, most dogs require two meals a day, but the amount varies based on several factors, such as weight, health concerns (if any), and age.
Growing puppies will typically need a little more food to support the needs of their growing bodies and minds. For cats, the recommended amount of food is between ¼ cup – ½ cup daily, depending on weight. If you are unsure about how much to feed your pet, ask your vet or do a quick search on the internet browser of your choice to learn a little more about your pet’s dietary needs.
Be sure to wash your pet’s food and water bowls every day to prevent bacteria growth that can cause health problems if left unchecked. If you notice that your dog is experiencing stomach upset, check the label on the dog food.
According to a friend of mine who is a Vet Tech, most dogs are allergic to red dye, which is commonly used in dog food. Grain is another problematic ingredient for many dogs, especially Bully Breeds. Symptoms of a grain allergy can include loss of fur, rash and other skin abnormalities.
Many pet parents don’t know that these symptoms can be the result of feeding their dog a type of food that doesn’t agree with them. Simply replacing your dog’s food with a grain-free option can make all the difference in the overall health of your pet.
What should I do to ensure a happy home environment?
Make sure that your pet has plenty of room to walk around, play, and generally get comfortable with its new home. Even small pets need some room to play! Just like people, pets can feel claustrophobic and even depressed if their emotional needs are not being met. It’s also a good idea to keep a couple of toys around to prevent boredom and encourage learning.
Make sure you play with your fur baby, too! Pets need affection just as much as humans do, so make sure you set aside some time to spend cuddling and playing with your pet every day. Not only will this benefit your pet, it will also help you by releasing mood-boosting endorphins!
What can I do to make my pet’s environment as safe as possible?
Make sure that your pet has a clean, comfortable place to sleep, eat and go about its other daily activities. More specifically, make sure that you keep all electrical wiring, sharp objects, cleaning products and any other household items that can have strong fumes or be poisonous if ingested away from your pet.
It’s important to double-check that these items are out of reach of your pet, as they sometimes get a little too curious for their own good. For example, you don’t want your pet seeing an extension cord, thinking it’s a toy and chewing on it. If your pet is teething and needs something to chew on, provide a toy to help relieve the gum pain and help it release its nervous energy.
What about exercise?
Exercise is another important part of your pet’s health and longevity. As an added bonus, regular exercise decreases anxiety, which in turn will lower the likelihood that your pet will struggle with aggression or other behavioral problems.
This is especially true for dogs. According to an article on Rover.com, it’s a good idea to walk for about “five minutes for each month of your dog’s life, up to twice a day.” Of course, there are some breeds that will require more exercise. The correct amount of daily exercise for your dog can depend on many factors, so be sure to ask your vet if you aren’t sure about what is right for your dog specifically.
Cats also benefit from daily exercise, and since house cats don’t have as large of an area to explore as outdoor cats, they often don’t engage in as much activity as they should. Taking a cat on a thirty-minute walk daily will help prevent obesity and other health issues that can result from a sedentary lifestyle. As always, if you have questions or concerns about the needs of your pet, ask your vet and do some online research to learn all you can about your pet’s needs.
How important is housetraining?
Housetraining can be an especially tricky task that requires a lot of time, repetition and patience. One of the most important things to remember is to not get angry at your pet if it has an accident in the house. Your pet is probably still learning about and adjusting to its new environment, so remember to be loving and kind during the training process.
If you’re training a puppy, the American Kennel Club recommends taking it out regularly to get your pet used to the idea of going outside to use the bathroom and giving it a treat when it uses the bathroom outside. It is also a good idea to designate a specific area of your home where you can lay out an absorbent paper pad for your puppy to use the bathroom on when you can’t take it outside due to weather conditions or other inconveniences. Kittens are a bit easier to housetrain because of their natural urge to hide their stool.
This instinct makes kittens very willing to use the bathroom in a litter box, as long as it is kept clean and easily accessible. It is important to note that it is very difficult to housetrain a pet once it has reached adulthood, so be sure to train your pet while it is still a baby!
So, there you have it! Your beginner’s guide to the basics of pet care. One last piece of advice: Remember that pet ownership is a journey, and you won’t always be perfect at it. Focus on doing your best as a pet-parent by bonding with your fur-baby and following the advice of your vet, and everything will fall into place.