Our pets are more than just animals—they’re family members. Whether you’re a cat parent or a dog parent, your pet is your fur baby, and you want to make sure you’re doing everything you can to ensure your pet is healthy and happy. While it’s always fun to spoil your dog or cat with treats and toys, being a great pet owner is sometimes simpler than you might think.
Your dog or cat is your best friend and you are theirs, but there’s a reason we call them our fur babies. You’re also your dog or cat’s caregiver. They depend on you to take care of their health, give them food that’s good for their bodies, provide them with mental enrichment, and exercise and socialize them appropriately. If you’re a first-time pet owner, it might be a good idea to do some research on the exercise and food needs of your specific pet and breed. Moreover, you should make sure that you’re aware of your dog or cat’s health history and any common health risks for their breed. Conducting research on how to select pet insurance plans couldn’t hurt, either. Squeaky toys, treats, and fluffy pillows are always fun extras for your dog or cat, but taking care of their physical, mental, and emotional health will help you create a memorable bond with your furry friend. Here are a few tips to be the best pet parent you can be.
Exercise Your Pet Regularly
It can be tough to find time to exercise your dog or cat, but whenever you find yourself short on time. When you become busy with work and your own schedule, remind yourself that it is in your dog or cat’s nature to want to exercise and spend time outdoors. They may love snoozing around the house, but running and playing with them every once in a while is good for their physical and mental health—and yours.
Most dogs need around an hour of exercise a day, but it’s important to take your dog’s breed and physical health into consideration. Active breeds like Belgian Malinois or dogs that were bred to work—like Border Collies and Australian Cattle Dogs—will need the most exercise, up to two hours a day. Small breeds like pugs or toy poodles may be okay with a short walk around the block every day. Indoor cats, on the other hand, need much less exercise. Thirty minutes a day should suffice. It may be easier to convince your cat to get moving by using an enrichment toy, like a feather or laser pointer, to improve their mental stimulation at the same time.
Spend a Few Minutes With Your Pet Each Morning
It’s easy to get swept up in routines as you rush off to work each morning, but it’s important to spend a few extra minutes waking up with your pet each day. Take some time to give your dog or cat a pet or two, say hello to them and praise them, and spend some time playing with a favorite toy. Your pet’s entire life revolves around you, and it’s especially important to establish that bond during the early stages of pet ownership.
Sign Up For Pet Insurance
No one wants to think about the possibility of a medical emergency for your pet, but signing up for pet insurance as early as possible can help ease your fears. If your dog or cat has a medical condition, pet insurance can help cover surgery and large medical costs so you can spend more time with your pet. Even if your pet is fairly healthy, vet bills can still add up. Pet insurance can cover vaccinations, microchips, vet check-ups, preventive care, prescriptions, and even prescription diets or therapies. You can’t put a price tag on how much your pet means to you, but pet insurance can help you cover those fees that do come with pet ownership.
Give Your Pet Nutritious Food
Have you heard? Pet owners are changing the way they think about dog and cat nutrition. Some dog and cat owners are switching over to raw diets or fresh food in place of kibble. While some kibble brands are organic and nutritious, many are highly processed. Dog and cat treats can be even worse for your pet’s health. Some are extremely high in unhealthy fats and sugars—the equivalent of human cookies! On the other hand, foods that humans typically eat, like rice, apples, carrots, chicken, turkey, pork, beef, and fish can be healthy for your dog or cat. Just make sure that you check with your vet and ensure your dog or cat doesn’t have allergies before switching their food.
Taking care of your dog or cat’s physical, mental, and emotional health is essential to being a great pet owner. Ultimately, your dog will be just as happy with a stick as he or she would be with a fancy toy. As long as your dog or cat is feeling his or her best and you remember to set aside a few extra minutes a day for playtime, your dog’s tail will be wagging and your cat will be purring.