Do you love animals like we do? Are you thinking about getting a dog or a cat? Well, the following tips from Kathy Wilson, certified pet sitter and business owner of Clermont Pet Sitting, www.ClermontPetSitting.com , will help you make your experience the best and keep your pet happy and healthy!
If you are like many American families, one of your family members has four legs, a furry coat and a tail. Pets have become a cherished part of our society, with several philanthropic groups, such as The Humane Society and the ASPCA, organized solely for the purpose of protecting the rights of our furry friends. According to the American Pet Products Association (“APPA”), it is estimated that Americans will spend $45.4 billion this year on the care and pampering of their pets. Nowadays, it's not uncommon to see pooches decked out in raingear, sweaters, booties, jeweled collars and even painted nails. You can even purchase health insurance for your pet, to cover anything from basic healthcare such as annual shots and a teeth cleaning, to more extensive coverage, in case your pet needs unexpected surgery. It's probably safe to say that many Americans spend more on their pet's healthcare than they do on their own. But for many of us, these furry creatures are our best friends and just as much a family member as any other human family member.
There is so much available to us as pet owners to make sure our furry family members have the best life possible, it can be overwhelming at times. With that said, we mustn’t overlook the basic needs of our pets. Below are some basic tips to make sure your pet is receiving the proper care.
1. Diet- Stick to foods made specifically for your pet. With the exception of certain "people" foods, such as boiled chicken, pets should not be fed table scraps. Not only does it create a problem with your pet always begging for your food, but it can often lead to health problems in pets, such as obesity and kidney failure. Certain foods to definitely steer clear of are chocolate and grapes, as these can be very toxic to your pet’s system.
It is also important to understand that not all pet foods are created equal. The most expensive pet food is not always the best choice for your pet, so it is important to educate yourself about the variety of ingredients found in pet foods, as well as your pet’s specific needs. If your pet experiences regular episodes of diarrhea, vomiting, hair loss or scratching and biting itself, your pet may have a food allergy. For example, some dogs may have a difficult time digesting grains or they may be allergic to them, so in this case, you’d want to try a grain-free pet food, such as one that would contain sweet potato instead of corn or rice.
Some pet food retailers have samples available for you to try before investing in a bigger bag. If you are unable to locate samples locally, you may contact the manufacturer and often times, they are happy to send you samples, as well as coupons. If the manufacturer is unable to mail you samples, you can ask your local retailer if they accept returns on opened bags of pet food, should your pet not like the food or not do well on it. Most retailers are willing to accept returns of opened bags of pet food, providing you have the receipt, and providing the purchase was made within the last 30 days and providing the remaining food is returned in the original packaging.
2. Fresh water- Always be sure your pet has access to fresh water, and clean their water bowl regularly. If you have concerns about the tap water in your home, you may want to give your pet filtered water or distilled water. Ice chips are an excellent way to hydrate your pet after a walk, and usually they think it's a treat
3. Exercise- this is so important for all pets, not just dogs. During the puppy and kitten stage, exercise is especially important for your pet. Similar to young children, young pets typically have a lot of energy to burn off, and if they don't receive an adequate amount of human interaction and exercise, they can often take out their extra energy on your home furnishings. For example, investing in a scratching post for your kitten could save your curtains and sofa from severe claw mark destruction.
Similarly, bored dogs can display acts of destructive chewing throughout your home. I've seen dogs destroy anything from linoleum flooring to drywall and door frames, so be sure your dog is receiving adequate exercise and attention from you. Not only is it awful to come home to find destruction, but more importantly, it can lead to very expensive vet bills and sometimes even a life-threatening situation for your pet.
If your dog is a chewer, it is probably best to either crate him or provide a doggie-proof area for him when you are unable to supervise him. Contrary to what some people think, crating your pet is not cruel, providing the crate is large enough for him to move around in. It is more important to be a responsible pet owner and protect your pet from potential hazards or things he could get into that might put him in a dangerous situation.
There is so much to know about pet care, so be sure you are ready for all that it entails before accepting the responsibility of a pet. With the above tips on basic pet care though, you’ll have a good start to providing your pet with the care he needs.