May 1-7 is the 35th anniversary of the American Veterinary Medical Association’s National Pet Week. As such, we’d like to take the time to think about what it means to be a good pet owner:
Of course, we all know what it takes to physically keep a pet - food, water, and shelter being the big three. As pets grow, these needs change. Different breeds of animals need different nutrition, as do growing baby and aging senior pets. Research your pet’s breed and history and ask your vet advice on keeping your four-legged pal in tip-top shape.
Happiness needs are a little tougher to deliver. Making sure your pet gets enough attention and exercise are vital. Often, pets that are labeled “naughty” or “unruly” are simply bored or lonely. It is important to be understanding of the needs of an animal before you own it. For example, if you live in a studio apartment and are not home much, a large, active dog would not be very happy living with you. It can be tough, but an animal’s happiness is important to think about, not just your own.
Besides knowing the basic needs of your pet, it is important to understand how much attention and commitment it takes to keep your pet happy and healthy. You pet can’t tell you when it feels uncomfortable or when it is in pain, so it is up to you to take them on regular trips to the vet. This also includes getting your pet spayed or neutered, keeping up with their vaccinations, and providing monthly treatments for fleas, ticks, and worms.
Be selective when it comes to picking a vet for your furry friend. It may seem like the best option is someone nearby in case of a medical emergency, but most often, your veterinary needs are much more basic. Pick a vet with the same criteria you would use when picking a doctor for yourself. Ask friends, look up reviews, and be sure to do plenty of research before you settle on a vet.
Sadly, many people become pet owners on impulse, not after they have thought through the responsibilities that come with owning a pet. This is a large contribution to the overpopulation problem. The truth is, pet ownership is not cheap, it takes dedication and consistency, and isn’t anywhere close to as easy as it looks - sometimes it can be downright frustrating. If you are prepared to make an investment, however, is completely worth it.
You might not want to think about it, but it is important to consider the “what ifs” of pet ownership. What if you pet gets very ill? What if you move in with someone who is allergic? What if there is a fire and you need to evacuate quickly? All the contingency plans you make for yourself should include your pet. Pro tip: keep a rainy day budget in case your pet has unexpected health issues. That way, seemingly tough decisions about your pet can perhaps be a little bit easier to make.
For more information on keeping a happy, healthy pet, check out some of our older blogs, or visit the AVMA’s website to read Seven Days to a happier, healthier pet.
From all of us at AgVenture, have a very happy pet week!
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