Don’t get a pet if you don’t have the time or resources. It’s very tempting to have pets because they are “cute” but few people realize that having a pet takes much responsibility. If you can’t make the commitment, don’t get a pet.
Do this as soon as you r pet is old enough to prevent unwanted litters adding to the numbers at animal shelters. If you do not plan to adopt your pet’s litter or have proper homes waiting for them (be it one puppy or seven kittens), do the responsible thing and get your pet spayed or neutered.
Don’t wait till your pet is sick or injured. Ensure your pet is healthy through regular check-ups with your vet. Get the required vaccination and check for heartworms and other common pet diseases.
Did you know that one cheeseburger is equivalent to six cheeseburgers when consumed by a medium-sized dog? Be more mindful of what snacks you give your pet! What we eat may not always be the best thing for our pets. Make sure your dog gets the right quality and quantity of food everyday. Provide your pet with fresh water and clean its bowls daily.
A responsible pet owner is observant of his/her pet’s behaviour and mannerisms. If your pet starts acting strange, such as not eating as much or refuses to walk around, take him to the vet immediately to check for problems. Also, make sure your pets are not causing harm or inconvenience to other people – especially your neighbours. Even the friendliest neighbour will lose his patience when your dog barks incessantly or howls at inappropriate times!
Dogs in particular need a good bath now and then, especially after they’ve had a good roll in the mud! Long-haired dogs and cats need to be groomed regularly to ensure their coat remains shiny and tangle-free. Some pets don’t need to be groomed but thoroughly enjoy being stoked with a brush.
Pets should not spend most of their time in confined spaces and cages. Dogs need walking at least once a day – the bigger the dog, the more exercise they need. Playtime with your pet also let you bond with them. Don’t chain your dogs all day unnecessarily. This makes for a hostile and depressed pet. If you must keep them confined, make sure their enclosures are proportionate with their sizes.
While cats are more “resourceful” in finding a place to sleep, make sure your dogs have blankets or towels to sleep on to keep them warm, especially at night. Even better, provide them with a sheltered dog house.
Check for holes in fences and gates to ensure your dog is unable to escape. Electrical wires, cords, poisonous substances and sharp objects are also hazardous to your pet – make sure these are kept out of reach.
Apart from changing the litter tray and giving them fresh food and water while you are away, your pet will feel more secure having human company now and then, particularly with someone they are familiar with.
A pat on the head, a belly rub and a hug are great ways to let them know they are loved. Research shows that pets who receive affection and attention from their owners have less behavioural problems.
“If having a soul means being able to feel
love and loyalty and gratitude,
then animals are better off than a lot of humans.”
James Herriot - Veterinary surgeon and writer
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