By JENNA LEE REEVES
From the moment we first lay eyes on them, to the last, sad goodbye, our pets supply us with unconditional love and happiness. In honor of National Pet Week, May 6–12, here are 10 tips to help you give your pet all the love, happiness and good health they deserve.
1. Give careful thought and consideration to the type of pet you select, making sure it is compatible with your home, lifestyle and budget. Consider adopting an older shelter pet. Once you’ve chosen your new best friend, commit for life.
2. When you welcome a pet into your home, schedule a visit to the veterinarian for a wellness check, required vaccinations, and flea and tick control products. Continue with regular checkups. Make sure to get a sick or injured pet the care it needs as soon as possible.
3. Keep your pet at a healthy weight and avoid table scraps – many foods humans enjoy can be unhealthy or toxic for animals.
4. Always keep a collar on your pet with its name and your phone number.
Consider microchipping. Keep your pet safely confined to its own yard with available shade and water.
5. Spay or neuter so as to not contribute to the pet overpopulation problem. If you choose to breed your pet, do it through managed breeding practices.
6. Give your pet plenty of love, attention and opportunities to exercise their minds and body. If you are gone all day, consider adopting a companion for your pet. Playhouses, indoor climbing “trees,” and laser pointers will help keep cats active. Most dogs love a trip to the dog beach or dog park, obedience and agility classes,
frisbee and ball games, and swimming in a pool. Both dogs and cats enjoy learning new tricks and playing “hide and seek” with healthy treats.
7. Dogs should be walked at least 30 minutes a day, and only in the early morning or evening hours during hot summer weather. Consider an enclosed outdoor run for your feline friends – the internet has a host of creative ideas.
8. Consult a trained professional if your dog exhibits aggression, anxiety or other behavioral problems.
9. Always have a plan for a loving caretaker to look after your pet should something happen to you.
10. When the end of life is near, consult your veterinarian about quality of life issues so you can make the best decision at the right time.