As pet owners, all we want is to keep our pets happy and healthy. From giving them the best pet accessories to spoiling them every which way from Sunday, we only want the best for our furry (or feathered or scaly) friends.
So what are some ways to make sure they’re as happy and healthy as can be? We’ve put together a list of tips and tricks that’ll keep those tails wagging, noses flexing, and excitable noises coming!
1. Feed them well
Keeping your pet well-fed is one of the most important roles in caring for a pet and keeping them healthy and happy. But how much is too much?
The amount and how often you feed your pet depends on their species, breed, age, and many other factors. For example, cats and dogs over the age of six months should be fed at least twice a day, with the amount of food depending on the breed. On the other hand, birds will do more than well enough with a daily feed.
When caring for puppies, kittens, or chicks, you may need to be feeding them anywhere from three times a day to every hour or so, again, depending on species, breed, age, and weight.
At this age though, pets tend to be more vocal about when their belly is echoing — with some pets not growing out of the habit, particularly cats (ever been on the bad side of a hangry kitty? No thanks!).
2. Get them moving
Who doesn’t feel better after some exercise? Exercise is good for all living things—including your pets! A daily stroll or play to burn off that extra energy helps keep their bodies nice and strong, as well as keep them mentally stimulated.
Got a pooch? Walking your dog at least once a day is a great way to keep both of you nice and fit. If you have a rather active pup, extending the walk to include time at the beach, park or a dog agility course is ideal for letting them steamroll through their zoomies in a safe environment. Just don’t forget your dog collar, lead and poo bags to keep them safe and clean while doing it.
Think your lazy cat is exempt? The younger the cat, the more active they’ll be (especially right when you’re ready for sleep!), where they sprint around the house, and climb objects that come along their path.
To help your cat with its exercise regime, try engaging in at least half an hour to an hour of activity a day. This is where you may pull out the toy on a dangling string, laser toy, or soft toy to throw around.
While you’re not there, scratching poles and food puzzles can help keep them occupied if they get a burst of energy.
3. Give them a brush, clip, and bath
Regardless of their cries of anguish during a bath, grooming is essential for keeping your cat, dog, or other furry friend happy and healthy.
Longer-haired dogs and cats will need daily (maybe even twice daily during the cooler months) brushing to help keep their fur tangle-free and remove excess hair that may find its way around the house (or in their stomachs).
Shorter-haired dogs and cats will be more than happy with a brush and groom at least once a week to keep their coat nice and healthy. Regardless of hair length, you should also clip your dog’s nails at least once a month and your cat’s claws once a fortnight.
Now, for more exotic pets, like lizards, you may also need to help them with their skin or scale shedding routine to stop excessive build-up.
It’s best to do your research before adopting a new pet into your home, regardless of its species, to make sure it’s the right level of commitment for you.
4. Provide a cozy bed and shelter
Having a cozy bed is more than a place to sleep for your pet, it can also be a safe place to retreat to if they feel overwhelmed or scared.
For dogs, you’ll typically want to have one bed in a quiet, draught-free area and one where you spend the most time, like the living room, so they can rest and still be involved.
While for cats, some may not even like a physical bed. However, you’ll still want to provide a comfortable, warm spot for them out of the way of kids and other pets, like atop a tall cat tower.
If you want to keep your pets off your furnishings, having a bed, especially for them next to that piece of furniture they favor may help keep them and their paws off your own favorite lounging spot.
5. Be a puppy pleaser!
All pets, dogs especially, love attention. In fact, you should be spending at least two hours with your dog, whether it’s grooming, playing with them, or giving their belly a rub — they just love spending time with you!
And let’s be honest, we love spending time with our pets too. From running around playing with them to curling up and watching a TV show or reading a book with our cuddle buddy, they’re the light of our lives.
The love and care you give to your cat, dog, or other pet will be returned tenfold, and indeed helps with your own health and happiness too!