Whether you have a dog, cat, bird, gerbil or any other type of pet, knowing how to take care of them properly can be challenging. Knowing what is best for your animal companion can be difficult, particularly if you are a first-time pet owner. This article explores the basic fundamentals of primary pet care, so that both you and your pet can enjoy each other’s company for a long time!
Providing the Right Environment
No matter what type of pet you have, giving it the right living space is key to its overall health and well-being. The type of environment that your pet needs will depend on what type of animal it is. Researching the specific breed’s living requirements is an important step to take before purchasing a pet.
For example, if you live in a small city apartment, buying a high-energy dog that needs lots of space to roam is probably not a good idea. If you do not have the space for a large aquarium, then consider only fish that can thrive in a small tank or bowl. Carefully considering a pet’s needs will help to make sure that they are both happy and healthy.
Beyond the right kind of environment, primary pet care should also include providing an enriching environment for your pet. This could include scratching posts and toys for a cat, a wheel or ball for a hamster, or long daily walks for a dog. Providing physical and mental stimulus for your pet will strengthen your bond with your pet — and help them stay in good shape.
Regular Check-Ups and Vaccinations
Most people would not rely only on their own skills or judgement for their health care. When it comes to pets, you should seek out regular medical care from a veterinarian. Look for a veterinarian who specializes in the particular type of pet that you have; some veterinarians work primarily with household pets like dogs and cats, while others specialize in horses and farm animals or even exotic birds.
Yearly exams are the foundation of primary pet care. An annual visit can help prevent medical problems, or catch small issues before they become much more difficult to treat. As needed, vet appointments should also include vaccinations, dental exams, parasite control, a discussion of nutrition and weight control, and a general health screening. Vaccinations can protect your pet against common issues like rabies and distemper, or more rare illnesses like feline leukemia. The vet will recommend vaccinations based on your pet’s age, lifestyle, health, and risks.
While at your pet’s yearly examination, ask the veterinarian about the need for spaying or neutering your pet. In addition to reducing the number of unwanted animals at shelters across the country, these procedures can protect your pet from certain illnesses, including cancer. Your vet can also provide medication or treatments for parasites such as fleas or heartworms. If you are concerned about a particular type of parasite, talk to the doctor about options for protecting your pet.
Beyond annual exams, if your pet suffers an injury or illness, it may be necessary to take them to a veterinarian for immediate medical care. Keep the number of an emergency veterinarian service in a convenient location, or ask your pet’s vet if they provide after-hours services. Seeking prompt medical attention is incredibly important in any sort of emergency, or when your pet is acting differently from usual and you suspect that it may be sick.
Attention and Grooming
While some pets don’t require much in the way of grooming, others will need frequent attention to ensure that they stay healthy. Every pet owner should understand the essential grooming needs of their pet, as it is a necessary component of primary pet care.
The type of grooming and care your pet requires will obviously depend on the type of animal that it is. Fish don’t need grooming, but they do require clean tanks and water. Birds may need bathing, in addition to having their wings, claws and beaks trimmed. Dogs and cats often love to be brushed, and care should be taken to not allow their fur to grow too long, which can present a health hazard.
The Right Diet
One of the most important parts of primary pet care is providing your pet with a proper diet to help them maintain a healthy weight and good health. A veterinarian can provide guidelines based on your pet’s age, weight and lifestyle, and many pet store employees will also be able to point you towards the right food for your pet.
Be sure to not overfeed your pet, as this can lead to health problems and even premature death. Avoid giving your pet “people” food or medications. Both can be toxic to animals, or can cause health problems because their bodies were not designed to digest that type of food or medicine. Take advantage of online resources for your type and breed of pet — you will likely find a wealth of information on the best options for food for your pet.
Learn More About Primary Pet Care
Primary pet care does not have to be complicated. With some education, common sense, and regular trips to the vet, you can help your pet live a long, happy, and healthy life. Contact Paw Pals today if you’d like to learn more about primary pet care!