6 Ways To Become A Better Pet Owner
by Chiara Micallef
It's not always easy for us to understand what our pets need to lead a better life. Even though we cannot ask our four-legged friend what it is that they require, there are several foolproof ways to become a better and more responsible pet owner.
1. Physical activity
Physical activity is an essential part of life not just for us, but also for our pets. Whether you own a dog, a bird, a rabbit or a cat, offering them ample physical activity to keep them healthy is of vital importance. It is easy for certain animals to gain weight if they do not get adequate amounts of exercise. Weight gain in pets can lead to respiratory issues, diabetes or other diseases. The recommended amount of daily exercise for dogs is anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours. Cats need around an hour of activity a day, while rabbits need anywhere around three to four hours of play and exercise a day. You can get a choice of toys for indoor pets such as cats and rabbits.
2. Never neglect check-ups
Taking your pet to the vet's might be a quasi-traumatising experience for both of you. However, it is something that should never be neglected. From getting their vaccines to having regular check-ups done, pets need their visit to the vet just as much as we need our yearly medical check-ups. It is ideal to schedule yearly or bi-annual veterinary check-ups for your pet.
3. Clean up after them
Be it your yard or their litter box, it is important to present your pet with a clean and hygienic space. Bacteria found in pet waste can spread a range of diseases if not disposed of properly – from E. coli to salmonella, along with several types of worms and parasites.
Wash their food and water bowls daily as well to avoid illnesses or health issues that can arise from unhygienic conditions.
4. Don't leave them alone for too long
Most pets, such as cats are quite independent, however, that does not mean that they do not need company. Pets can develop separation anxiety if left alone for too long – something which can lead to destructive or attention-seeking behaviour. If you own a dog or a very social pet, you can also organise play dates with other pet owners to help them relieve some of their pent-up energy with their peers. You can opt for boarding kennels if you will be away from home for a long period of time.
5. Provide them with a healthy diet
Just because your pet wants to taste some of your food, it doesn't mean that you should let them have it. Certain foods can be extremely harmful, toxic or even fatal to dogs, cats or other animals. It is best to always consult your vet or do your research online before presenting them with snacks or treats. Ask your vet what type of food your pet needs – and the portion size as well. A healthy and portion-controlled diet will help in preventing health and weight problems.
6. Dedicate some time to grooming
Dedicate some of your time to groom your pets – especially long-haired ones. Check their coat for any lumps, bumps, fleas and ticks and make sure that their nails are trimmed properly. If you are unsure about trimming your pet's nails, you can consult your vet or better yet, book an appointment with a pet groomer. It is best to do this weekly to avoid matted fur and painful tangles that can cause discomfort for your beloved pet.