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10 Tips for taking care of your pet at home

10 Tips for taking care of your pet at home

How you care for your pet at home can affect their health and overall wellbeing, so it’s important to keep them happy and healthy as much as possible. Here are ten tips to consider when caring for your pet at home that will ensure they stay happy and healthy every day of the year.

1) Have them neutered/spayed

One of the most common surgeries performed on dogs and cats is neutering or spaying. Both procedures are considered routine procedures by many veterinarians; what’s not routine about them is how much money people spend each year to have their pets altered. Some argue that it costs hundreds if not thousands more to fix a dog and/or cat, which can make it difficult to choose between having babies or giving up a beloved family member who might be euthanized at a shelter in order to make room for another. Often veterinarians include neuter/spay costs as part of an overall package price, making it easier on clients who want to do right by their animals but aren’t sure they can afford it.

2) Brush their teeth

Tooth brushing might seem like a no-brainer, but did you know that half of all pets over three years old and a whopping 70% of dogs never brush their teeth? It’s not only dangerous for them to develop tartar, it also leads to bad breath. Brush your pet’s teeth once or twice weekly using a toothbrush with soft bristles or an enzymatic cleaner designed specifically for animals. If they don’t like toothbrushes, you can use gauze wrapped around one finger to rub over their teeth and gums – just make sure you check in with your vet first! One way or another, regular brushing is essential.

3) Play with them

Regular exercise, both physical and mental, is important in animal healthcare. As you get to know your pet better, you'll begin to understand what exercises they enjoy best. You may even start looking forward to them—just as a good workout can be enjoyable and invigorating, so too can it benefit pets (although they may take a little longer to see results). In any case, make playtime a priority. If possible (depending on where you live), go outside with them and let them run around in a fenced-in area; play fetch or soccer or just chase them around. This will also provide plenty of opportunities for fresh air and sunlight – two things pets need but don't always get enough of!

4) Get them vaccinated

 need regular health check-ups, just like people. Be sure to schedule annual physicals and dental cleanings with a vet who knows how to keep pets healthy and happy. Pet vaccinations are also important; be sure to schedule your dog or cat’s routine shots at least once a year. Just as children should receive certain vaccines before entering school, so too should animals, such as cats and dogs, be vaccinated against communicable diseases that can spread from person to person. Ask your vet about specific recommendations for immunizations in addition to booster shots necessary throughout an animal’s life.

5) Give them fresh water

Whether it’s a bowl, fountain or other water dispenser, fresh water is crucial to any animal’s health. Most veterinarians recommend offering pets fresh water daily, especially if they’re not getting much exercise. And here’s an extra tip: Be sure to wash and clean bowls regularly. Not only will it cut down on bacteria that can harm your pet, but you could save yourself some money in vet bills later on down the road if they fall ill from contamination.

6) Feed them nutritious food

Feeding your pet a well-balanced, nutritious diet can go a long way toward preventing chronic health conditions like heart disease and diabetes. A good rule of thumb is to purchase a quality brand of food that includes meat as its first ingredient. Alternatively, you can also supplement commercial diets with fresh food from your own kitchen, such as vegetables and eggs. Talk to a veterinarian if you have any concerns about what's right for your animal friend.

7) Keep their living space clean

Your dog or cat’s living space should be clean and comfortable. Daily, weekly, and monthly maintenance will help keep it fresh. Some pets like to have their living space freshly vacuumed and cleaned with scent-free solutions; others like a simple cleaning every few weeks. How often you should clean depends on how messy your pet is, what they play in, where they sleep and where they eat.

8) Take them to the vet regularly

Regular veterinary visits are important for animal healthcare. You may already be aware that scheduling regular trips to a vet can benefit both you and your dog or cat by helping them stay healthy, but regular vet visits also make it easier to catch health problems earlier, when they’re often more treatable. When you see a vet on a regular basis, chances are high that any issues or injuries will be caught as early as possible. This can make it much easier to address small problems before they turn into big ones—or even save their life in an emergency situation. Regular trips to the vet will also give you peace of mind, so you can keep tabs on all your pet’s important metrics—like weight and nutrition—which is especially important if they have any existing health conditions.

9) Plan for emergencies

The best laid plans won’t take into account every possible scenario, and when it comes to planning ahead for emergencies with our pets, we need to consider worst-case scenarios. Do you have a go bag packed with enough supplies to last several days in case an emergency takes place where you can’t get home? In addition to that bag, do you have an emergency contact list made up and ready?

10) Keep up with preventative care.

Though we’re sure you already know how important regular visits to a vet are, many pet owners don’t follow through on these recommendations. One key prevention measure? Keeping up with preventative care. We suggest making an appointment with your veterinarian twice per year (once in spring and once in fall) to discuss vaccinations and check-ups. This can help keep your animal healthy, so they can stay active and happy with you over their lifetime!

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