What all Pet Parents Should Know
By Connie Rhoades Hinds, Editor in Chief, TAME Pet Magazine
Pets are like children for many of us. As our fur-children, we bring them home and find ourselves immediately assuming responsibility for cleaning up messes, making sure they eat the right food, providing healthcare and purchasing a vast array of pet-related merchandise. If you are new to the world of pet-parenting, welcome! While the job of taking care of these bundles of energy can be overwhelming at times, you are sure to quickly find yourself in love with and very attached to these little trouble makers.
“While the job of taking care of these bundles of energy can be
overwhelming at times, you are sure to quickly find yourself
in love and very attached to these little trouble makers.”
Getting to know your newest family member is an exciting time. Hopefully you didn’t embark on this adventure without some serious consideration. Pets, like children, come with a few less bumps in the road when there’s been some planning and thought before assuming the responsibility for their care. But, if you didn’t, don’t despair, with love, patience and willingness to learn, you will be just fine. And, let’s face it, even those of us who did do lots of planning and preparation, could benefit from a few helpful tips and reminders from time to time.
Here’s a few tips we recommend:
SOCIALIZATION. Regardless of your choice of pet, everyone in your home will benefit from making sure your new family member is well socialized – with you and with others. A few ways to implement this socialization are outings to pet friendly places, such as stores, restaurant patios, events, and to visit friends. For some pets, like dogs, you might find doggie daycare a good option.
TRAINING. This looks different for different types of animals. But for most of them, this can be a relatively positive experience for you both if you stay firm and consistent. Consistency is the key. Training is communication: you communicate what behaviors are undesirable and they can usually learn. Also, because many animals are social creatures, they will learn from the behaviors of those around them. For example, a kitten will usually learn to use the litterbox when it smells its mother’s litterbox use. You are also not without a wealth of resources. Don’t hesitate to call on a professional when you need help. Trainers can help you with anything from housebreaking and ending undesirable behaviors to all sorts of advanced skills that many pet parents enjoy.
EXERCISE. Most pets require physical activity and stimulation. For some, it’s easy to provide that stimulation by purchasing items for them to enjoy interacting with. Hamsters, mice and other similar critters that are generally contained during the day like things they can climb on, burrow in and explore. Other pets might require a bit more work on your part. Cats and dogs usually benefit from an array of toys and things to keep them busy – and not getting into things around the house. They also tend to require more interaction from their human companions. Dogs especially require physical exercise. This usually means getting us fur-parents up and out of the house. Providing the right sort and adequate amount of exercise will go a long way to establishing a peaceful home and a good relationship between your pet and other family members.
VETERINARY CARE. Thanks to the miracles of modern medicine, just like humans, pets are living longer. It is a good idea to establish a good relationship with a veterinarian. Find one you and your pet feel comfortable with. They can also be a great resource for you. Among other things, your veterinarian can ensure you get started out on the right foot by assessing your pet’s overall health and making sure they stay up to date on boosters and vaccinations. They will also let you know when is the appropriate time to spay or neuter your pet.
NOT SURE IF YOU’RE READY?
Being responsible for an animal is a big commitment. If you haven’t take the leap yet, here are some things to consider before deciding.
- Do you have the time needed to properly care for the pet you choose?
Is everyone in the home on-board with pet ownership?
- Do you or someone that will be in contact with your pet regularly have allergies?
- Can you afford the financial costs that caring for your pet requires
COMMON MISTAKES PET PARENTS MAKE
While we hit on some of the biggies in this article, here are a few things that all pet parents need to keep in mind. These can easily be forgotten and can result in serious consequences for our beloved pets:
- Overfeeding or too many treats
- Lack of supervision or use of leash
- Not maintaining regular grooming
- Leaving children alone with pets
- Not pet proofing the home
- Not microchipping or attaching identification
- Neglecting oral care
Whether you are new pet-parent, considering the adventure, or already a veteran, we hope you enjoyed these little tips. There’s no doubt that having pets can be hectic at times. But making every effort to be a responsible and loving caregiver will not leave you without reward. Somehow, it all seems worth it when you come home after a long day to eager little fur-faces happy to see you.