Ten Things All Pet Owners Should Know

Following these ten tips will guarantee you a happy, healthy
relationship with any kind of pet.

1. Your pet needs to go to the vet. Start saving now.

Every pet needs to be examined by a vet occasionally. Illnesses that
are caught early are often treatable, and regular vet exams are your
best weapon. Even the healthiest pet may have an accident, calling
for immediate emergency care. Older pets may be in pain from age-
related deterioration. Face it, you’re going to have to take your pet
to the vet sooner or later. Be prepared to pay for it!

2. You’re the human, you set the rules.

Don’t let your pet boss you around. Decide on the rules, and enforce
them consistently. Don’t let your pet get his way if it goes against
the rules — he’ll just try that much harder the next time. Animals
may not seem to have long memories, but they sure remember how they
got their own way the last time!

3. Animals love a boring routine.

Pets want to know what to expect — it makes them feel secure. Yours
will be happiest if they are fed at the same time every day, sleep in
the same spot at night, and can count on you to always come home at a
certain time. They’ll get by if the routine occasionally changes, but
keeping their day predictable keeps them predictable, and happy.

4. Good food and lots of exercise equals a long life.

We all know we should eat healthy foods in moderation and get plenty
of exercise. The same goes for our pets. Healthy living prevents
illness, and you won’t have to see the vet as often! If a small pet
is confined to a cage, give it lots of space and things to climb on
or explore, to encourage exercise. Reserve treats like dog biscuits
or table scraps for very special occasions.

5. Everything ends up in their mouths.

To you it’s an electrical cord, but to your dog, it’s a chew toy.
Keep in mind that your pets will chew on anything, and keep dangerous
items out of reach! Encourage them to chew on toys instead by
providing lots of them, especially new ones once the old ones have
lost their appeal.

6. Bacteria do not make good pets.

A clean environment keeps everyone happy and healthy. Pets are dirty,
and need lots of cleaning. On a weekly basis, brush your dog’s teeth,
wash out the gerbil’s water bottle, and scoop out the cat’s litter
box! If you don’t, you’re in for bacterial and parasitic infections,
painful tooth decay, and the smell…!

7. Tight security saves lives.

Keep your pet confined safely. Escape-proof all cages and fences,
walk your dog on a leash, and keep your cat indoors. The outside
world is full of speeding cars, unfamiliar animals, pesticides, and
even pet thieves. Just in case, make certain all dogs and cats have
sturdy collars with tags, or have been tattooed or micro-chipped.

8. There are too many homeless animals already.

Lost pets without tags usually end up being put to sleep at the
shelter when they lose their way home. Even worse off are the pets
who never had homes to begin with. There aren’t enough good homes for
all the animals out there, so have your pets spayed or neutered, and
do not allow them to breed! In America alone, four million cats and
dogs are put down every year. That’s far too many! If you want
another pet, consider adoption instead.

9. When in doubt, look to nature.

When confronted with a pet problem, find out how your pet would have
lived in the wild. Need to know how warm your frog’s tank should be?
Research his natural habitat and try to copy it. Want to keep your
dogs from fighting? Read up on pack behavior in the wild. Our pets
evolved to live in the wild, and by understanding their natural
environment, needs, and social behavior, we can help them live with
us more comfortably.

10. It all depends on you.

Ultimately, when you accepted this animal as a pet, you agreed to
take care of him. This means feeding, habitat, health, safety… you
are responsible for it all. It takes a lot of time and money to care
for a pet properly. However, it is certainly worth it! There are over
100 million households worldwide with at least one pet, and they
can’t all be wrong! Take care of your pets, so you can have a long,
enjoyable life together.

Copyright 2001, Steph Bairey — All Rights Reserved

Steph Bairey is a web developer and pet owner, with 25 years of pet
care experience and 30-40 pets at any one time. Get immediate,
reliable answers to your pet care questions at Steph’s website,
Practical Pet Care, located at: http://www.practical-pet-care.com

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