Pet owners are aware of the immediate happiness that comes with living with companion animals. However, many of them don’t know the physical and mental benefits cuddling with furry friends can bring.
Companion animals, especially cats and dogs, may help reduce depression, anxiety, and stress, ease sadness, promote exercise, encourage playfulness, and improve heart health. That’s more than enough reason to care for them as well.
Proper pet care is a sign of being a responsible pet owner. If you plan to adopt a pet, you should understand that sharing a life with a companion animal is a lifetime commitment, and their health and well-being depend on how you take care of them.
So, how can you become a responsible pet owner? If you don’t know where to start, this post is here to help. In this article, you’ll learn how to take care of your companion animals. Continue reading for more information.
1. Be careful when feeding kibbles
Make sure your pets are eating the correct type of food. Dogs shouldn’t eat cat food, and cats shouldn’t eat dog food. Why? Here’s a simple explanation:
Why should dogs’ access to cat food be restricted? Keep in mind that dogs are omnivores, while cats are carnivores. What does this mean? Cat food is primarily made of meat, so it’s high in protein, calories, and fat. All of which isn’t ideal for dogs.
In addition, there’s a risk of complications when dogs eat cat food, such as diarrhea, pancreatitis, and gastrointestinal upset. This is why it’s crucial to give dogs a more balanced diet to help them meet their nutritional requirements.
The same goes for cats. Cats may be able to eat dog food, but only for a short period, more like a last-resort solution. If they eat dog food regularly, their health and well-being will be compromised.
So, if you have two different animals living together in one home, ensure their access to food that doesn’t belong to them is restricted. This will help you circumvent problems that can be detrimental to their health and well-being.
2. Give your animal companions 24/7 access to water
Like humans, animals require instant access to clean water to survive. This is especially true during hot, dry weather, where the risk of dehydration is high. But how much water should you give to your pets? Take a quick look at this breakdown:
- Dogs: one oz of water per body weight
- Cats:5-4.5 oz of water per five pounds of body weight
- Hamsters: 10-30 ml of water
- Guinea Pigs: 80-100 ml of water
- Rabbits: 100-150 ml per two pounds of body weight
- Birds: 5% of body weight
To ensure your pets have ready access to water 24/7, consider placing water bowls across your home. They might be too lazy to look for water, especially when they’re not too thirsty. Grab a few water bowls and place them strategically throughout your home, focusing on areas where your pets often hang out.
You may also consider adding flavour to the water to encourage your pets to drink more fluids throughout the day. You may include fruit slices, a bit of low-sodium chicken stock, or juices (made from fruits and vegetables).
Also, don’t forget to regularly clean your pets’ water bowls to reduce the risk of microorganisms that may harm their health.
3. Give your pets a cosy, safe shelter
Aggressive animals (e.g., untrained dogs), predators, and cars can be a threat to your furry companions. That’s why it’s important to keep them indoors to make sure they’re safe. This is especially crucial when caring for cats.
If you own a dog, it’s okay to let them play off-leash, provided that your yard is fenced-in, they’re wearing tags, and they’re microchipped. This way, you’ll be able to pinpoint the location of your dogs in case they go missing.
In addition, make sure you provide your pets with shelter and shade. Dogs and cats also enjoy having a dog or cat bed—or an orthopaedic bed for senior dogs and cats.
Like humans, companion animals need protection against temperature extremities and severe weather conditions. Also, they’re not expected to live outside because predators that often lurk at night might be present during the day as well.
4. Schedule regular veterinary check-ups and preventative care
One essential aspect of responsible pet ownership is making sure your pets receive regular veterinary check-ups, vaccinations, and preventative treatments for common health issues. Veterinarians can help monitor your pet’s overall health and detect potential health problems early on. Regular check-ups also ensure your pets receive vaccinations against diseases like rabies, distemper, and parvovirus.
In addition to vaccinations, your pets should receive preventative treatments for common issues such as heartworm, fleas, and ticks. These treatments can help protect your pets from potentially life-threatening diseases and keep them feeling their best. Talk to your veterinarian about the most appropriate preventative care regimen for your pets.
Mental stimulation, socialisation, and training are crucial components of pet care, particularly for dogs. Providing your pets with mentally stimulating activities can help prevent boredom, reduce anxiety, and promote overall well-being. Interactive toys, puzzle feeders, and regular playtime can help keep your pets engaged and happy.
Socialisation is also important, especially for puppies and kittens, as it helps them develop good manners and learn how to interact positively with other animals and people. To properly socialise your pets, expose them to different environments, people, and other animals in a controlled and positive manner.
Training is essential for maintaining a harmonious relationship between you and your pets. Teaching your pets basic commands and good manners can help prevent behavioural issues and ensure they are well-behaved members of your household. Enrolling in obedience classes or working with a professional trainer can be helpful, especially if you are a first-time pet owner or have a pet with specific training needs.
6. Choose the right pet for your lifestyle and living situation
Before adopting or purchasing a pet, it’s important to consider your lifestyle, living situation, and financial resources. Some pets require more time, space, and energy than others, so it’s essential to choose a pet that will fit well with your current circumstances.
Take into account factors such as how much time you can devote to pet care, how much space you have available, and whether you can afford the ongoing costs of pet ownership, including food, veterinary care, grooming, and other expenses. Research different breeds and species to understand their unique needs and characteristics, and speak with a veterinarian or pet care professional for guidance on selecting the most suitable pet for you and your family.
By incorporating regular veterinary check-ups, mental stimulation, socialisation, training, and choosing the right pet for your lifestyle, you will be well on your way to providing the best possible care for your companion animals. If you have questions or need further assistance, consult a veterinarian or qualified pet care professional.
7. Take your pets to the bathroom regularly
Most pets can be housebroken, meaning they’re trained to pee or poop in a particular location or outside the house. This allows them to roam the house without worrying about accidents. If you have cats, give them at least one litter box and teach them how to use it.
When it comes to puppies, let them take a potty break every hour (or every two hours) throughout the day. According to the rule of thumb, puppies will be able to hold it for a few hours, depending on their age plus one. For example, a four-month-old pup may need a potty break every five hours.
However, remember that no dog can hold their poop for six hours or longer, especially when it comes to senior dogs that need to relieve themselves like older adults. You can teach your dogs to wait for walks or use potty pads and doggy doors.
Of course, you want to make sure to clean your pet’s dirt regularly. Maintaining proper hygiene can help prevent bacteria and secure your pet’s health.
8. Consider spaying or neutering your pets
Every year, millions of unwanted animals worldwide are killed to prevent overpopulation. This is why spaying or neutering is crucial—common surgeries that help animals prevent them from having offspring.
Spaying is the process of removing the ovaries of a female dog or cat. On the other hand, neutering, also known as castration, eliminates an animal’s reproductive organs.
A spayed or neutered pet is much healthier, more devoted, and less likely to move around. If you’re interested, call your local veterinary office or clinic and schedule an appointment.
Companion animals deserve nothing but the best in the world! As a responsible pet owner, you want to keep your furry friends safe and healthy. Follow this simple guide to learn how to care for your companion animals. If you have questions and need further assistance, seek a veterinarian right away.