Taking care of a pet is a lot like kid parenting. It’s not always fun and games; it’s also a combination of love, responsibility, and long-term commitment. As such, it’s only logical to strive hard and aim to become a better pet parent than you already are. Here are some tips on how to do this:
Get to Know Your Pet
Pets are more similar to humans than you think. They each have their quirks and individualities, something you should uncover to get to know them on a greater level. It’s one of the first steps you should take if you’re keen on becoming a better pet parent. Doing so will help gain their trust and connect with them on a deeper level.
To give you a clue on where to start, take note of their posture and facial expressions during common daily scenarios. Watch out for their body language, too, as it’s their way of communicating with you. Do they wag their tails in excitement once you enter their space? Is it combined with a stiff stance, indicating their anxiousness about your presence? Learn to understand your pet’s non-verbal cues, and you’ll be a much better parent that can cater more to their needs.
Ensure that They Have an Active Lifestyle
The road to being a better pet parent does not only mean you’d spoil them endlessly with toys and treats. It’s also ensuring they’re getting their fair share of exercises, providing ways to exert all that pent-up energy. Doing so will keep them to a healthy weight, maintain mobility, and stave off boredom. You could even use these workout periods to socialize them and strengthen the bond you two have.
Note that you don’t need to spend the whole day exercising with your pet. Dogs, in particular, require only a minimum of thirty minutes of physical activity to keep them in tip-top shape. Similarly, cats need at least thirty minutes of interactive games divided into short sessions of two to three. Other types of companions would also thrive on brief physical stimulations, like running on wheels or wing-beating.
Pet-Proof Your Home
One of the most underestimated tips that some owners neglect is pet-proofing their homes. Sometimes, they get too caught up in buying treats, clothes, and toys that they forget the most crucial thing: a safe living space. You shouldn’t make this mistake and prepare your house for a new pet to become a better parent.
Start by putting potentially hazardous items out of your pet’s reach. These include household items such as cable wires and chemical cleaners to high-risk food like chocolate and gums with Xylitol. You may also want to install pet-safety gates to keep them from accessing dangerous rooms or stairways. Additionally, you should secure vents and other holes to ensure your pet will not get stuck exploring them.
Take Time to Train Your Pet
Wondering how pets on TV perform one awesome trick after another? The answer lies in training, something you should also do to become a better pet parent. Think of it as a session of learning, where you can teach them good manners and other useful skills. These include coaching them to pick up or drop something and calmly walking on a leash. You can even throw cool party tricks in their lessons, like high-five, hide and seek, or play dead.
There are plenty of benefits to teaching your pet, aside from the strong discipline they will develop. Training can also give them much-needed mental stimulation and bonding time with you, their favorite human. That’s right; hiring a professional is not necessary to teach your pet. You can do this by having their favorite treats, adequate space, and a lot of patience to see them perform basic and complex commands.
Provide Them with a Healthy, Balanced Diet
A healthy, balanced diet is something you must provide if you want to become a better pet parent. This means more than just giving them random shelf-stable foods you find in regular supermarkets. You should also refrain from feeding them table scraps, which, more often than not, are too unhealthy for them.
Still trying to figure out where to start their journey toward a healthy, balanced diet? The first step is to choose brands with no preservatives or added chemicals that may harm your pet in the long run. You can also introduce fresh, whole foods into their meals, particularly those rich in antioxidants. Boiled liver and veggies are occasionally good, too, as well as kibble and unflavored meat.
Don’t Skip Out on Vet Appointments
For some reason, pets always know when it’s time for their vet appointments. They’d start giving you those adorable, big eyes to coax you into bringing them into the park instead. It may be hard to resist, but you’d have to steel your heart when they do this. It’s the perfect time to show that you’re a great pet parent by standing your ground and prioritizing their wellness.
Remember, there’s no good outcome if you constantly skip vet appointments. Doing so may jeopardize your pet’s health, as some conditions may go undiagnosed. Regular checkups are also vital to ensure they grow well and receive vaccinations on time. These can be pricey, but one of the genius money-saving tips for pet owners is availing of pet insurance to help with the expenses.
Give Your Pet Proper Identification
One of the things you can do to become a better pet parent is to ensure that your pet will always find their way back to you. Some animals have the talent to become great escape artists; they’ll unfailingly wiggle out the fence or slip out of their leash every time. The solution to this? Give them proper identification to make reuniting with them much easier.
You could have them wear a traditional ID tag containing your number and basic information. The downside is that collars of this kind get worn out over time, especially if your pet is more energetic. Alternatively, you can use a digital ID tag, a more advanced, sturdy version that links to an online profile, and an all-day emergency hotline. There’s also the option of microchipping your pet, a permanent ID that professionals embed under their skin.
The Bottom Line
Taking care of a pet requires more than just providing treats and kibbles. It’s a lot more responsibility than that, something you should learn along the way to being a better pet parent. It’s a journey you may struggle with at times, but the most important thing is not to give up on providing the best for your pet.