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Sometimes as humans we often don’t realize everything our pets require. They need the basic things in life, such as nutritious food, fresh water and safe shelter. But did you also know, just like humans, they need mental stimulation, physical exercise, and medical care? Our furry friends can’t care for themselves and we’re lucky enough to care for them.  Here are a few things you should know about owning a pet to help it live a long and happy life:

  1. You’ll be making a life long commitment to your pet so it’s recommended to choose a pet that suits your lifestyle. For example, if you live in a really small space, a large, active dog may not be a good fit unless you’re able to provide adequate exercise and mental stimulation. Hiring a dog walker or doggy daycare are also great options!
  2. Be prepared for the cost of owning a pet. Just like we set money aside for retirement or for our kid’s college funds we need to invest in our pets. Sometimes our pets don’t feel well, get injured, need training or need routine care which all costs money.
  3. Socialization and training are very important. According to an abstract by Jeff Grabmeier from the University of Ohio “about one-third (30%) of dog owners who give up their pets to an animal shelter do so because of the dogs’ perceived behavior problems.”  We can’t expect our pets to be perfectly behaved all the time, but someone needs to be consistent in showing them appropriate behavior. There are many behaviorists and training facilities in the Tulsa area as well as a multitude of online resources.
  4. Ensure your pet is properly identified! Microchips, Rabies tags and tags with owner information are some of the best ways to make sure  your pet could be returned safely if they were to get out. Make sure your information is kept up-to-date (i.e. if you move or get a new phone number).
  5. Establish a good relationship with a veterinarian, just like with your physician or your child’s pediatrician. Preventative care such as exams, vaccinations and parasite control can help extend your pet’s life. Schedule regular check-ups with your veterinarian! They can help advise on diet, exercise, grooming and other health concerns.

We all want the best for our pets and it starts with us. We have to take our time, energy and resources to be the best pet owners we can be! Our pets will thank us for it.

Source: By Dr. Jana Layton, Riverbrook Animal Hospital, Tulsa Oklahoma

Love, The PetsWell Team

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