father and son playing with their kitten

How to be a Better Pet Parent

Many of us probably consider ourselves to be good pet parents. We give our pets all of our love and affection, provide them with plenty of treats, buy them toys, and spoil them with attention. While all of this is sure to guarantee our pets a happy life, there will always be areas for us as parents to improve. So, we’ve put together a little list of ways that everyone can be a better pet parent. While you probably already do a number of these things, you may find something in this list that you never considered before.

Do the proper research before adopting a pet

It’s vital for both yourself and your new furry friend to choose a pet that best fits your lifestyle. If you’re not home, then a needy kitten or a high energy dog breed won’t probably be the best fit for your family. Instead, try looking into getting an animal that is a bit older and a naturally more laidback breed. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a pet that can go on long runs with you and entertain the kids with hours of play, then you’ll need a pet that’s likely to stay high energy even as it grows up.

Properly ID your pet

You may see debates on whether it’s better to microchip or get a physical tag for your pet, but the safest option is to do both. A physical tag lets people know that your pet isn’t stray and allows for quick contact if it gets lost. A microchip is an excellent backup for in case your pet’s tag gets lost or broken. If your pet lives exclusively inside, then this may not seem like that big of a deal, but if your pet ever goes outside, even just in your backyard, or is prone to trying to slip out the front door, then tagging is a must.

Give your pet its own space

Just like how humans need a safe space they can go to when they’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, animals need a place like that too. We love giving our fur babies our attention and love, but just like how we can close our bedroom door to keep others out, our pets need a place they can go when they want some alone time; this will help your pet manage anxiety and stress.

Exercise your pet often

It’s great to play with your pet when they’re restless and need to burn off energy, but it’s essential to play with them other times too. Whether you’re taking your dog for a walk, playing tug of war with a rope toy, or teasing your cat with feathers, you’re providing them with both mental and physical stimulation that they wouldn’t get otherwise. On top of that, pets that are active and exercise daily typically live longer.

Train your pet

While you may think your pet will grow out of certain behaviors once they’re no longer a puppy or a kitten, this is simply not true. If your kitten is never taught not to scratch the upholstery, or your puppy is never taught to stop jumping on strangers, this behavior will persist into adulthood. On top of that, teaching certain pet commands, such as teaching a dog to sit and stay, will make life with a pet easier overall. Even if your pet is no longer young, they can still learn new tricks with the proper patience and training techniques.

Wash your pet’s food and water bowls

While we may not think about these dishes getting dirty, they can build up dirt, hair, and bacteria that would make our pets sick. Be sure to wash their dishes out regularly to keep your pets healthy.

Trim your pet’s nails

Not only do long nails damage your floors and furniture, but they can also hurt your pet. Cat’s nails grow in layers, so if they aren’t trimmed frequently, then the layers can build up and become painful. Some dogs also have nails that grow in curved shapes, and if left for too long, can be damaging to your pet’s paws. Make sure to use pet-specific clippers designed to fit your pet’s nails and create a painless experience. If you have a large animal or are having difficulty trimming your pet’s nails, then it might be best to make them an appointment at the vet or groomer to get their nails trimmed.

Indulge your pet’s natural behaviors

Scratched up furniture and chewed up shoes don’t make very happy pet parents, but these are behaviors that come naturally to our pets and are part of their basic necessities. Cats scratch things to help shed layers of their claws, and dogs chew to keep their teeth strong and clean. Make sure to give your pet plenty of outlets for this behavior that isn’t your expensive furniture, such as doggy chew toys and cat scratching posts.

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