Anyone who is lucky enough to have the unconditional love of a dog, cat, rabbit, ferret, goldfish, horse, iguana, or any kind of pet, knows that animals deserve our best even if we can’t give it to them every day. If any of the following ring true for you, then your pet is likely thankful for you. If you’re looking to become a pet parent, follow these tips!
#1. You support adoption.
When you buy a pet (or even pet supplies) from a store that sells puppies and kittens, you are supporting the puppy mill trade. So when you’re thinking of getting a new pet, head to the shelter or contact a rescue group.
#2. You neuter or spay your pets.
Backyard breeding, puppy mills, pet stores, and irresponsible unplanned breeding are all root causes for the overpopulation of unwanted pets. This overpopulation results in the senseless euthanasia of more 5 million pets a year.
#3. Your pet’s health is important to you.
Your pet’s healthcare should be your top priority to ensure a quality healthy life. Your pet should be examined by a veterinarian immediately (within 24 hours) for a thorough physical when you first bring them into your home and annually for preventive care. Always seek veterinary care immediately when your pet is injured or sick.
#4. You play outside with your pet on a regular basis.
Your pet, regardless of size, requires plenty of fresh air and exercise. Exercise is a good outlet for pent up energy and will help avoid unwanted behavior some pets display due to having too much energy. Interacting with your pet is highly recommended as it reinforces the bond you have with them. Remember to bring disposable baggies to pick up after your pet if necessary.
#5. You act as a teacher to your pet.
Many guardians surrender a pet because they never took the time to properly train them. Training your pet builds and strengthens a healthy and appropriate relationship, and allows for a clear method of communication––so you know what to expect from your pet and your pet understands what you expect of him/her. Training also lays down the rules and boundaries, allowing your pet to be a responsible member of society and preventing any unacceptable habits.
#6. You clean up after your pet.
A sanitary and clean environment for you and your pet ensures a healthy lifestyle for all. Be sure to keep your pets’ environment as clean as possible, as bacteria and disease festers in fecal matter and urine.
#7. You consider your pet’s environment.
If you do not own your home, be sure to check with your landlord on any restrictions they may have on pets. If you plan on moving, take your pet into consideration when figuring out arrangements. Too many animals are dropped off at shelters because their family is moving and unable to accommodate them any longer, or the pet just simply does not fit into their lifestyle any longer. Make your pet a priority in your home and your life, and we promise the love will be repaid in spades.
#8. You keep your pet safe.
When a pet is allowed to roam freely outdoors, it poses a greater risk of them falling victim to attacks (by other animals as well as humans), theft, or a traffic accident. Annually, thousands of pets are severely injured or killed due to these risks. Spare yourself this heartache. Also, keep in mind that tethering (tying your pet up) is not a recommended device for confining your pet while unsupervised. Many animals wind up strangling themselves. If you choose to use a fence or kennel, please consider the appropriate height and material used so that your pet cannot jump over, climb, or get hung up on it trying to escape.
#9. Your pet is microchipped.
Pets have their sneaky ways of escaping confinement. We recommend providing both a microchip as well as an ID tag for your pet. An ID tag can bring your pet quickly and safely home by anyone who finds them and does not have a microchip reader. A microchip is an excellent backup should your pet lose its collar or escape due to a lack of a collar or slipping out of its collar. Without proper identification, it is nearly impossible to reunite pets and their companions should they get lost––get your pet microchipped and avoid this risk.
#10. You make sure you know whoever is taking care of your pet.
If you are looking for a veterinarian, trainer, groomer, pet-sitter, or kennel, be sure to check references before leaving your animal in their care.
If you already do these things, you are a great pet parent! If you are considering getting a pet, make these part of your pet parent guidebook, and you will find you have a happier and healthier pet!