If you are a new pet parent then this article is just the one for you. If you already own a pet but do not feel that you are good pet parent, well, you probably are because you want to learn and be the best that your pet can have.
Often we overlook small details that can easily transform your pet’s quality of life and the atmosphere at home. As you read on you will find small ways to do just that.
Find a Good Veterinarian
Ensure you do you find a good vet even before you choose a pet. His knowledge of the breed you desire will either make or break the health and well being of your pet. He is going to be your go to man and the one person who should be able to answer all your queries.
No matter how much you know or experience you have, a vet is a vet. His knowledge and experience with will ensure that your pet has the best quality of life so ensure a good and cordial relationship with him. He should be in proximity to your residence and easy to reach.
During an emergency, every minute matters. A single kilometer can mean life or death. Make sure he can be reached at all times on the phone as well. Last but not the least, in the event that he cannot be present during a crisis, make sure he refers your to an equally good substitute vet whom he familiarizes with your pet’s history.
Give Your Pet Time to Adjust
Once that is sorted make sure your entire family is in the loop and agrees to the idea of a new addition to the family. Ensure that both old and young family members are able to adjust without being much compromise. Your pet whether an infant or adult will need some time to adjust to the new attention and surroundings.
Do not take it upon yourself to bring discipline and order on the very first day or the very first week. Let them take their time to warm up to all the family members and for your family to adjust to the pet and its personality as well.
Ensure that the old members of your family do not develop any health issues or trip over the pet. If there has to be a restricted area then demarcate it in advance. You may have to install a door, screen or partition.
Speak to the young ones about handling the pet with care. They are bound to be excited but it may scare the new pet and take longer for bonding to happen. The worst that could happen is an unwanted and negative reaction from a scared pet.
Make sure you or another adult is around to supervise play time between both the parties. It is at this time that you can teach the kids and instruct them on the do’s and don’ts of pet ownership.
Consider Your Existing Pets
If you already have a pet and are getting ready to adopt or buy a new one then don’t forget to consider the existing one. It is of the utmost importance.
If your pet or pets have dominance issues, food and territorial aggression then you are in a danger zone. You may need to seek the help of a behaviourist who can correct unwanted traits.
A behaviourist will all prove to be a boon when she ensures that the first meeting and introduction goes smoothly between your existing pet and the new one. You may have to be around and supervise all interaction for the first few days.
You will have to praise and treat positive and friendly gestures between both. Ensure that you do not prefer one over the other. Animals are sensitive and can show jealousy just like human beings.
You may think that the training is not working when it is actually you are instigating the undesired behaviour. Give your older pet some one on one time with you and extra TLC at that time so that it does not feel threatened and emotionally abandoned.
Find a Good Dog Trainer
The need for a trainer is often overlooked. Sometimes, we experiment with obedience training and get into quite a mess. It takes only a second for an accident to occur and be fatal. Most accidents are cannot be predicted. Training is the key to having well behaved animals at home.
No matter the age of the dog, get a trainer to have a look. Pups require training and can be trained easily. Make sure the trainer gives you an update on what he is teaching. You will have to repeat the exact same thing several times a day to reinforce it.
Ensure that the training happens in your presence. You do not have to keep watch like an owl but a peek time and again won’t hurt. If you have certain things that you would like your pet to learn or cooperate with then let the trainer know.
Ask him to give you tips as well. These could be on how much of treats to provide during positive reinforcement or what to look out for as signs of bad behaviour so that he can correct it during his next session.
If you adopt an older pet, do not hesitate to show it to the trainer as well. It may have behavioural issues as adults are set in their ways. He may refer you a behaviourist or be one himself and correct any unwanted mannerisms.
Training will also mean potty training. You will have to take the time to practice at a set time and do exactly as he says. Young ones may have a few ‘accidents’ for a while but do not fret, it will decrease and disappear in due time.
Secure Your Pet
Make sure a new pet or your existing one has a sturdy collar with a name and number tag on it. Your pets can be very curious in a new environment and choose to explore all alone. They can get lost or even stolen.
Do not take it easy and wait for their sense of smell to get them to track themselves back to you. This is real and not reel life. If you can invest in a microchip, then nothing like it. These things can ensure that your pet is found and returned to you by a good Samaritan.
Pet-Proof Your Home
Have you pet proofed your home? Well, then you should. Pet proofing your home is not only meant for the pet, it is needed for you and your family members as well.
Animals will be animals and you cannot stop them from sniffing, licking, eating, chewing, jumping or scratching household items. They do not understand the value of an antique vase. A cat will knock it down in a second and enjoy the crash and break effect. A child may crawl on the broken pieces and then, disaster!
Valuable and dangerous items need to be stored away from the reach of your pets. This will also prove to be a safety measure taken for the members of your family.
Ensure your pills and electric cables stay out of their mouth as well. Things like these should be locked up, secured and out of the reach of your pet.
Give Them a Proper Diet
There can never be enough information on food. Good food and a balanced diet do more than just help your pet grow and stay in shape. It can prevent a host or unforeseen illness that can be fatal to your pet.
You have to do your research when it comes to a proper diet for your pet if you want it happy and healthy for many years to come. As your pet grows, the nutritional needs will vary as well.
A growing pup or kitten cannot be fed the same food as a pet in its twilight years. The needs of both differ tremendously. An illness in between can also change the diet considerably and may have to be followed till the very end.
Are you going to prepare meals or provide readymade ones? You have to figure out what you are comfortable with while keeping the health of your pet in mind. There is a variety of commercial food available in the market these days.
If you do not have time to prepare the food at home and cannot depend on anyone else to make it either then you have no other choice but to buy the commercial variety. If that happens then make sure you get your pet the very best that you can offer.
If you choose to cook then make sure the ingredients are fresh and you have all the essential nutrients going in. If you are slack then your pet will have deficiencies that may cripple them later in life.
Make sure the water bowl is cleaned and refilled twice a day. Food should not be kept in the open the entire day. It can catch fungus and make your pet sick. Whatever is served and not been eaten should be disposed of.
Keep Your Pet Well-Groomed
Grooming is a very important part of your pet’s health. A well groomed pet is a healthy one as well. Sometimes a bath may not be the only thing your pet needs.
Long and curly haired animals require baths as well as haircuts. They also need for their nails to be trimmed and ears to be cleaned. These days you can find pet spas that attend to your pet’s total requirements.
Your vet will tell you how often your pet requires bathing and to be groomed. If you pet is scared in the presence of other pets, you can find groomers that come home for the same.
If you pet is neglected, you are going to expose it to skin infections, mites, ticks and fleas and painful conditions like ingrown nails. If you are not a 100 % confident and experienced to groom your dog yourself, go to a pet spa. It is better to spend your money here than at the vet’s!
Keep Them Entertained
Get a variety of pet toys that your pet can chew on and play with. Dogs and cats are the most common household pets. Both require exercise and be mentally stimulation. Dogs need to be walked or taken for a run. This will depend on the breed and age of the dog.
If you have a park close by, make full use of it. You too will benefit from those long walks and games of fetch. If the energy is not spent then you are looking at an unhappy and soon to be destructive pet.
Cats on the other hand need to be played with. If you have two cats then they can keep themselves fit by playing with each other. If not then you need to buy toys that you can use to play with them.
Buy or make a scratch post. These can keep them occupied for hours and away from mischief. It is not only exciting and brings out the ‘cat’ in a cat. It will keep their minds stimulated and have them running and jumping to get fit.
Exercise and play time is a rewarding experience and creates a strong bond between both you and your pet.
Dispose of Their Poop Properly
Cats require litter boxes to defecate. You need to keep it clean at all times. They are considered clean animals and may go and use another spot in the house if their litter box is soiled.
If you dog uses the washroom to relieve himself then make sure to clean up after your pet as soon as possible. You don’t want the washroom to be a breeding ground for germs.
If you have caged pets then make sure you change the wood shavings or new paper frequently. If you have fish for pets ensure the tank is rid of fungus and filters remain clean.
Rescued Pets May Require Extra Care
When Joy and Tina adopted their 2-year old Spitz, Kelly from a drug addict, they knew the road ahead was going to be a tough one. She needed rescuing and a family immediately. They made up their minds and went for it a hundred percent.
Kelly was terrified of men. If she saw one, she would pee in fright. They bought tons of liver flavoured treats, her favourite, and gave it to male guests to offer her when they came home. The elevator and stair case would spook her so they would go before hand and place treats strategically to make it a positive experience for her.
If they had to enter the elevator and there were men they waited for the elevator to return empty. It took almost 6 months of constant care and perseverance for Kelly to get out of her trauma and lead a normal life.
Then there is instance of another couple who adopted a cat that they found injured at a train station. Their cat healed, picked up in health and adjusted to the house very well. The downside came when they found that their cat was chewing cloth.
Wool chewing is very common in cats who have been through trauma as kittens. He started to chew up any cloth left unattended. Curtains, towels, underwear, there was nothing that he could not chew.
The first thing these pet parents did was to replace all the cloth upholstery and then made a conscious effort to put back their clothes and laundry in their designated areas.
They did miss out on it a couple of times but they kept at it until he could not find any cloth and broke the habit. Instead of giving him up, they decided to train themselves. Better the unconditional love of the animal than the never ending lust for material goods.
The Bates family bought their darling Tibetan Lhasa when she was 2 months old. They knew they would have to devote themselves to potty training her as well. Since the husband was working, the role of walker fell on the wife.
Alarms, early mornings, pee pads, rolls and rolls of toilet paper later, they were almost there when the wife was bed ridden with a difficult pregnancy. Their only option was to hire a walker who came and took their dog down for a walk and a trainer who dealt with basic obedience training.
They did not opt to give up the dog because of this setback. The Lhasa learnt well and proved to be a very good natured, obedient and loving companion to their child. In this case, they had to spend some money to ensure the smooth running of the family as it went from two pet parents to the addition of an infant.
Being a good and successful pet parent need not be based on your experience with a human child. Having your own child is no indication of how good you will be when you have a pet. In fact, it is the opposite. Every minute invested in their upbringing is worth it for there is no substitute for the pure and unconditional love of an animal.
Whatever you do for your pets, do it with love. Love seeks to provide, sacrifice, nurture and nourish so it automatically becomes the very best. Your pet has only you and can depend only on you for care, love and more. Make sure your pet knows that you love him all the time and no matter what.