Having a pet isn’t an experiment. You will be the most important thing in your pet’s life for many years. Everything in your pet’s life will be up to you. Here are some very important things you can do to protect pets.
I decided to start from the end. I added #10 on my list as #1. This is to show you where I’m going with this, no surprises. #10 is the most important, if you don’t do this then don’t bother as much about the others. It will be like putting a band-aid on a broken arm. Just won’t make sense.
- Keep their vaccinations current.
Work with your pet’s doctor to find the best schedule for vaccinations for your pet. I believe working with a holistic vet is best if this isn’t a fit for you at least find a vet that isn’t just interested in the profit. It has been researched and proven that giving annual shots every after year can cause more harm than good, but before you just stop giving shots please talk with your veterinarian.
- Always have a leash on your dog when walking.
Cars are a real danger. Even if your dog is trained to walk off lead you never know what will make them take chase and run out in traffic. It’s better to properly leash train them for those fun walks. Save the off-leash outings for the dog parks.
- Make sure your dog has a fenced secure yard to play and exercise in.
If you wouldn’t put a toddler outside alone in an open unsecured yard, don’t do it with your dog either. Think of pets the way you do a toddler and you will be making the right safe choices.
- Always have tags on your dogs and cats’ collars.
Make sure the pets wear the collars. Go a step further and have them micro-chipped. If your dog or cat sneaks out the door and gets lost the odds are greater of being reunited with them if they have ID or micro-chips. During the two years I worked at the humane society I saw too many pets come in as strays that never found their families again. With no ID tags or microchips, it’s almost impossible to locate the owners. There are too many shelters for families to search every one of them when a pet is lost.
- Keep them clean, brushed, nails trimmed, ears and eyes cleaned.
If you aren’t able to groom your pet take them to a professional. Many professional groomers will brush a pet’s teeth as part of the grooming. Find a groomer who will be gentle and handle your pet with tender loving care.
- Housedogs tend to live longer than outdoor dogs.
It’s best to provide a safe warm place inside your home for a dog to sleep. If this isn’t possible at least provide a warm doghouse with blankets. Keep water available at all times. If a dog must sleep in the garage make sure no solvents are around. Anti-freeze kills dogs and they go for the sweet taste and smell so make sure none is dripping from cars. If at all possible, bring your dog inside during winter. Dogs can get frostbite on their ears, nose, toes or any exposed area.
- Play and exercise with them every day.
Even if you are exhausted playing with your dog will make you feel better. Remember, they are waiting all day for you to come home. They miss you and want to have fun when you finally get home. Just take 15 minutes to toss a ball or take them for a walk. Remember the saying, if you have put on extra weight, you have exercised your dog enough.
- Socialize your dog.
Let them see other dogs, kids, and big people. If the only outing your dog has is going to the doctor for check-ups, he will be afraid or anxious about anything new. If you got your dog as an adult and he’s a scared dog you can still help him by going very slow. Take him out on walks and build up to taking him to public places as his confidence improves. Some dogs never get used to being around other people or animals. If your dog is like that just accept it and love him for it.
- Do all the things above and you will help keep your dog safe and happy.
Skipping one thing for a day isn’t going to kill your pet. Not getting into a habit of doing all these things for your pet can shorten their life and will make their life very un-fulfilling.
- Pay attention to what you feed your dog. If you do all the other things, I talk about but buy the grocery store brand of food you are not helping your dog. Would you feed your child McDonald’s every day? If you did wouldn’t you expect them to be sick more often, do poorly in school, be tired and crabby and become lazy from lack of energy? The same is true for your dog or cat. The average pet food is not going to help your pet live a long, healthy, or happy life. Do some research and do the right thing for your pet. Find healthy natural food and prove to the pets in your family that you care about their health and well-being the same as you care about your human families. For more help or advice goes to Comet Bay Vet Hospital.