Keeping a pet is not a light decision to make. Taking care of a pet is a full time job and requires as much work as it raising a baby. Sure, pets liven up your homes and serve as amazing companions, but they deserve responsible attention and care. Whether you are a dog person or a cat person, you must always read up on the animal you want to keep, since each breed is different and has different needs. For starters, some of the ways you can take care of your pet are:
Grooming pets helps them not only physically but also physiologically. Pet birds take care of their feathers by preening to keep their feathers smooth, but their other grooming needs include trimming their wings, beaks and claws. Reptiles such as lizards are low maintenance, but apart from regular tank cleaning, they also require claw trimming which can be done by clippers, and providing rocks in the tanks so that it is done naturally. For rats, hamsters and small creatures,brushing gently with a soft toothbrush or a small brush satisfies their grooming needs. For cats and dogs too, regular brushing, and coat clipping or shaving, forms an important part of their care as it improves circulation and growth. Some breeds in particular, may require professional grooming services too. Another important aspect of grooming is bathing, and all pets need to be bathed well at an appropriate temperature, with proper soaps as well as shampoos. Similarly, their cages and tanks fish bowls should be regularly cleaned.
The number of homeless pets entering shelters every year has been on the rise. Spaying not only reduces number of homeless pets euthanized, reduces bad behavior it also improves the health of your pet. It reduces the risk of developing cancers such as pyrometra and uterine cancer and behavioral problems such as aggression, barking and mounting without altering their basic personality.
Training is best given when your pets are young, since that is when they are learning the most from their surroundings. It is necessary that only one person should train and the rules should be consistent. You can use trainers to do the job, or do it yourself after relevant research about the type and behavior of the breed. Keep a certain time during the day reserved for training and of course, make sure to reward your pets during the process. Start with the basics from toilet training, following instructions, reducing damaging habits and live alone without owners, and then progress onto games and other fun tricks. Most reptiles can be tamed but require a lot of time and patience and it is best to treat them with caution every time, and use tongs and gloves when necessary since most are prone to be upset or angry. A great way to establish boundaries at home, and even outside, and it acts as a bonding opportunity for your pets and develops greater restraint in them.
Socializing forms an important part of your pet’s life since it helps in overall physiological development and keeps them happy. When they are young, socialization is much easier to establish with other animals and humans due to their fearless, inquisitive nature, but it takes longer for adults and requires a little more care. For young dogs and cats, they can play as groups during their sensitive period, but mature dogs do not prefer large group interactions with unfamiliar dogs and introducing one dog at a time can help them, gradually get accustomed to one another. Birds require time and patience and over dramatic reactions can frighten them. For reptiles and amphibians, getting used to external surroundings outside of their home takes time and though most of them are comfortable with other animals, different varieties require different care.
6. Weather conditions
Depending on weather conditions, the precautions that you need to take you’re your pets will also differ. One of the most dangerous weather conditions for pets is the extreme heat in the summer season, which can cause lethargy, drooling, vomiting and in extreme cases heatstroke and even death. You must serve more water and at greater frequency to your pets, so they remain hydrated. Make sure there is a cool place at home where they can relax, and they do not spend too much time outside in the heat and humidity. Small animals such as hamsters and guinea pigs are more prone to heatstroke, hence keep their cages in well ventilated areas. Restrict walk timings to early mornings and late evenings, and prevent them from walking on very hot surfaces like pavements, sand and blacktop since paws might get burnt. Never leave your pet in the car since temperatures can greatly rise inside, even with air conditioner on. Similarly, during the winter seasons in very cold places where temperatures can fall very low, keeping pets in warm places, making them wear sweaters are some measures that can be taken.
There are certain precautions and prevention methods that you must use with pets in the house to avoid injuries. Make sure that there you don’t leave your pet unattended for long, and take care what they put in their mouth. Ensure that there are no gaping holes or gaps in your fences, and doors for smaller pets to escape. Keep tinsel articles, glass or aluminium toys or decoration away from their grasp since they can be toxic and dangerous. Take care that electric cables and chords are not in the open to serve as chew toys for your pets. Dogs find coolants sweet, and are extremely toxic hence keep this and other garage oils and liquids out of reach.
4. Proper exercise
As is with humans, even animals need daily exercise and activity to help keep them physically healthy and avoid illnesses. Staying in flats and apartments or in cages all the time can cause pets to get restless and have an adverse effect on them. Obesity has been on the rise in cats, dogs, birds, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs due to insufficient exercise and excess calorie intake. It is necessary to encourage exercise from an early age to prevent a sedentary behavior later on. The amount of exercise again depends upon the type of pet as well as the particular breed that you own, hence large and active dogs need much more exercise than lap dogs. Twice a day exercises like walks or games in open surroundings like parks or lawns is appropriate, while for rats, and hamster’s toys such as wheels should be used. Apart from muscular and skeletal development, a daily exercise routine also helps to develop a toilet routine and improve your bond with your pets. Reptiles and insects instead prefer closed, confined areas and do not require exercise.
3. Proper nutrition
When pets become part of the family, there are times when you lose sight of the fact that they are not humans and though you may share our food with them on an occasional basis, their dietary and nutritional needs are different from yours. It is necessary to ensure that you take care of their requirements and needs, and read up on the same. For dogs, the calorie requirement depends upon their size as well as the level of activity, and any less or more can cause them to become weaker or overweight. Apart from meats, grains and vegetables also form a staple part of their diet. The similar kind of rule applies for cats with respect to food apart from the fact that cats have more protein requirement hence it is necessary to give them meats. Pets such as Chinchillas, rabbits and guinea pigs are herbivores hence fruits and vegetables, dried grass form their food, while hamsters are omnivores so they will eat meat as well. If your pet is a bird, then their food requirements vary from type to type, hence their food can comprise of grains, seeds, worms and fresh foods. For fishes as well the type of fish will have different food but mostly the food pellets available are sufficient for their nutrition.Pet foods available in canned or dry form usually have everything that they need.
2. Regular check ups
One of the most important things that you should take care of, is the vaccinations to reduce incidences of distemper, leptospirosis, adenovirus, parvovirus and feline leukemia. Keep an eye on your pet’s general behavior, and if you notice any unusual activity make sure to report it to the vet during regular check-ups. Ticks and fleas are another cause for concern, and controlling them becomes necessary since their larvae can be present anywhere in the house, transmitting diseases. Worms are also common among pets and taking care of their food and hygiene becomes very important. Not many owners concentrate on this, but brushing their teeth occasionally also goes a long way in preserving their dental health. For senior pets, arthritis, memory loss and organ failure are common conditions and may require surgeries. Keep them comfortable and ensure they receive proper medication.
1. Love and attention
All pets, like humans have emotions too and crave for your attention and acceptance. Love your pets like you would your family. Pets can be like kids sometimes, hence if they end up doing something wrong, set boundaries in a firm manner but never be too harsh, or raise your hand at them, since it does affect them psychologically. Spending time with them is as important as feeding them regularly. If you cannot give time to your pets, make sure you find a good kennel or a reputed caretaker, else find better home for them. Their damaging and noisy behavior is often a sign of their feeling that they are being ignored hence learn to recognise their behavior.