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12 Steps of responsible pet ownership PART 3 – General Wellbeing

Amy Holloway

Making sure your pet is comfortable and happy may sound like they should be ‘a given’, but you’d be surprised how many pet owners go about their busy lives and leave little time for their pets. April is National Pet Month, and to highlight responsible pet ownership, we’ve put together a list of 12 things we think make a responsible pet owner.

If you missed part 1 and 2, here’s what we covered:

Part 1 – microchipping, pet insurance, car safety, socialisation and training.

Part 2 – vaccinations, parasite control, neutering and dental care.

PART 3 – Look after your pet’s general wellbeing

Regular exercise & playtime – for a healthy body and mind

rabbit needing exerciseWhatever type of pet you have, exercise is extremely important for the health of their body and mind. A pet that is cooped up most of the time is likely to be bored, develop bad behaviour and become overweight and unhealthy. Exercise and playtime inside and outside of their home are ideal for ensuring you have a happy and healthy pet.

When choosing a new pet, make sure you thoroughly research their exercise needs before bringing them home, and that the person who will be looking after them is aware of all the responsibilities that come with pet ownership. When it comes to dogs, different breeds have different needs. For example, medium to large energetic breeds such as labradors, springer spaniels and boxers, typically need much more exercise than smaller breeds like chihuahuas and miniature dachshunds. Read about how you can help your pet lose weight with regular exercise.

When it comes to dogs especially, it’s also important to exercise them in all weathers, so long as it’s safe for you both to do so. That doesn’t mean you have to always go outside in torrential rain or blizzard conditions, instead you could exercise your pet indoors. Throwing a toy or getting them to jog around your living room with you will stimulate their mind and body. You could also consider indoor swimming sessions depending on their level of fitness and health, as this is an excellent all-over body workout. Take a look at the heated indoor pool at our pet fitness and rehab centre in Bromsgrove.

A healthy diet – the right food for your pet

cat food in cat shaped dishYour pet relies on you to provide them with their daily intake of food and water and ensure they are able to thrive, not just survive. A healthy diet plays a huge part in your pet’s wellbeing, from what their body condition is like, how healthy they are inside, and even how they behave. Being overweight can cause your pet a variety of health issues – read more.

When it comes to treats, your pet will say always say yes, but you should learn to say no more often. Excessive treats and human foods that are high in fat or sugar can be a big contributor to weight gain and conditions such as diabetes in pets. Don’t worry, your pet won’t love you any less if you give them less or swap bad treats for good ones. Read about how you can change your pet’s diet to help them slim down and stay trim.

Health checks, cleanliness, nail trims, home comfort & safety

Keep your pet in tip-top condition by looking after their wellbeing. Bring them to the vets for regular health checkups that could help to spot certain illnesses early, giving your pet the best chance of a full recovery. Keep your pet clean and well groomed; dogs with long hair can become matted if they don’t have regular trims, and rabbits can pick up devastating conditions such as fly strike if their backend and hutch are not kept clean. Plus, dogs especially will start to smell if they don’t have a bath often enough!

dog's paw with long nails that need trimmingKeep your pet’s nails trimmed so that they can move about comfortably. Dogs can become disorientated if their nails aren’t trimmed due to the nerve endings in them, too short and this will cause them pain.  If you’re unsure about how to trim your pet’s nails, why not let our friendly nursing team take care of this for you?

Finally, make your pet comfortable in your home, with a bed that will support their size and weight and allow them to rest comfortably. If it’s not safe or you don’t wish your pet to go up and down stairs, install a pet or baby gate for safety. If you do need to leave your pet at home alone from time to time for short periods, make sure they have a bed, food, water, toys and somewhere to go to the toilet. You could ask a friend or relative to pop in and check on your pet, to give them some company and let them outside, or look into professional pet walking and sitting.

Your pet’s happiness is in your hands

Last but not least, we think a big part of being a responsible pet owner is ensuring your pet is happy. What’s the point of having a pet if you don’t enjoy them? Pets make wonderful companions and they deserve to have the best life possible. Spend quality time with them every day, playing and showing them affection. If you have a dog, take it with you wherever you can and enjoy life together. Be your pet’s best friend just as you are theirs.

It

happy chihuahua sat in man's lap

Cuddles after work, or at work! More companies than ever are allowing pets in the workplace

man with 2 dogs on rocky hillside adventures

Dogs love exploring new surroundings, take them on your adventures and enjoy them together

woman and dog running to stay fit

Some dogs can make excellent exercise partners, which is a great way to keep fit and have fun together

Thanks for reading, we hope you found our 12 steps informative and useful.

Contact our team if you would like to discuss any of our pet care or ownership advice.

National Pet Month is a registered charity, with the unique aim of bringing animal welfare charities, professional bodies, pet businesses, schools, youth groups and pet lovers together to raise awareness and campaign for responsible pet ownership.

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