7 steps to being the best pet parent you can be
Being a pet parent is incredibly exciting - and there’s an endless list of fun things to get ready! The real important things though, are the habits you need to keep throughout your life for the wellbeing of your pet.
You don’t get given a shiny hard-cover training manual when you bring your first pet home - how cool would that be though? The assumption that everybody knows how to look after their animals is a bit of a dangerous one and can seriously impact the life and well-being of the pets who are not having their needs met.
To make up for the lack of available training manuals, I wrote this list of the seven things that are fundamental to becoming a brilliant, responsible and thoughtful pet parent.
Giving your pet a long, healthy, happy life often comes to what you put in their bodies. The food that we feed our pet plays a huge role in how effective we are as pet parents. Your dog or cat will need the right food at the right stages of their life to grow into a healthy adult pet.
Knowing what kind of food to feed your pet is key. A young puppy will need their diet to promote growth and give them sufficient energy whilst an older dog may need their diet to fight off weight loss and relieve joint pain. A lot of conditions can be treated through diet, so make sure you are looking after the health of your pet from the inside out!
2. Pet insurance
To be fair, I could write for days about how very, very important this pillar is when it comes to doing a solid job at pet parenting. Getting pet insurance is one of the most responsible things you can do for your pet. A pet insurance policy means that your pet is protected under your name for the rest of its life, and that’s pretty special I think. If your pet is young, jump on getting pet insurance as soon as you finish reading this blog!
3. Exercise and stimulation
When I see an overweight pet, my blood starts to boil. Overfeeding and under exercising your pet is as cruel as underfeeding them. Make sure your pet avoids gaining any excess weight and by doing so, avoid any future health complications.
If you live in South Africa, you have no excuse not to take your doggo out into our beautiful nature walks. Read about 10 Pawsome Dog-friendly Walks & Hikes In South Africa.
Keeping your pet active goes beyond physical exercise, but you need to remember mental exercises are just as important. Having balls, toys and games for your pet will make for some of the fondest memories.
Our pets can’t very well get up and walk themselves to the vet when something is wrong. They aren’t even able to verbalise when they feel ill, so as pet parents it is so important that we keep on top of their health. Taking responsibility for the health of your pet means getting them to the vet every six months, keeping up to speed with their vaccinations and making sure they are regularly dewormed, de-flead and de-ticked.
Looking after your pet’s health also means keeping their environment sanitary. Litter boxes, bowls and toys need to be cleaned regularly to get rid of germs and harmful bacteria.
Making your home a happy environment for your pet is pivotal. Pets thrive in homes where they know they are a valued family member. Making a happy pet home means a few things. You need to establish a routine for them to get used to walking times, feeding times and bedtimes are good ones to keep consistent.
Somebody needs to regularly groom your pet. For optimal coat condition, brush your pet every couple of days (or once a day depending on how much hair they shed). It’s great for removing dead hair and skin cells and improving your pets blood circulation.
You need to get your hands dirty to wash your pet! Expect to get wet if you have an especially wriggly hound. Wash your dog a few times a month and your car a few times a year (they clean themselves with their tongues and need to maintain their natural self-cleaning oils)
A lot of dogs in South Africa live in fenced areas - they don’t often get the chance to socialise with other dogs if you don’t take them to parks or out into the world. There are so many dog-friendly places you can go to and experience with your pet if they are well-trained and calm in public.
If you want your pet to know basic commands and act appropriately around other cats and dogs, you should start socialisation training as young as you can. It will make for better bonding with your animal plus more stimulation and growth for them!
So which is the most important one? The most important part of being a pet parent is loving your pet and letting the rest come as part of the package. Enjoy every part of loving your furry family member!
Until next time,