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Healthy Pets
Raising Happy and Healthy Pets

Most pet owners want their pets to be happy and healthy. While accidents and illness can happen even with the best care, there are some things you can do to give your pet the best chance at a happy, healthy life. Here are some tips.

1. Finances

When you fall in love with the sweet animal, whether it's a dog, cat, rabbit, iguana, or whatever, your heart can get the better of your head. So before you pull out the credit card, think for a moment about the long-term costs of owning an animal. Here are some expenses involved in keeping an animal for its entire life:

* Flea and tick control
* Heartworm medication
* Spaying and neutering
* Vaccinations
* Veterinary check-ups
* Bedding
* Food
* Grooming
* Boarding (for when you are out of town)
* Housing (such as rabbit hutches or dog crates)
* Accoutrements (such as scratching posts, leashes, collars, toys, etc.)

You can't raise a healthy animal without investing in some or all of these expenses. So keep that in mind before you buy.


2. Time

You need to invest time in your pet for it to be happy and content. Dogs are perhaps the neediest in this regard, and you need to be prepared to meet your dog's affection needs. They need to be trained, talked to, petted, brushed, and included in the family's activities as much as possible. Even a hamster needs you to take the time to hold it (to keep it tame), change its bedding, and give it fresh food and water daily.

3. Training

Dogs must have training, no matter what their size or breed. It is vital to a harmonious owner-pet relationship. Otherwise, neither you nor your pet will be happy if your couch is getting torn up, your shoes are getting chewed, and your rugs are getting soiled. Dogs are so much happier when they know the rules, and you will be, too!

4. Know When to Leave the Dog at Home

While inclusion in family activities is important to a pet's wellbeing, do not take your dog with you if you have to run errands where the dog is not allowed. Then you will have to leave the animal in the car, where it can quickly die of heat exhaustion. If it's wintertime and the sky is cloudy, it is okay to leave your pet for a moment or two while you run in for a quick errand, but if it's anywhere above 65 degrees outside and sunny, do not risk it. Your pet could get seriously ill or even die.

5. Daily Care

You need to give your pet daily care and attention. Even the most minimal care - scooping the cat box, walking the dog, changing the water, giving food - must be done daily, often more than once.

6. Good Food

This is often overlooked by pet owners, who may just get the cheapest food available or whatever food has a coupon that week. For one thing, changing the brand or flavor of food constantly can make your cat very ill and make your dog a very picky eater. More important, though, is the quality of food you feed your pet.

Whether it's a rabbit, dog, cat, canary, or hamster, check the ingredients of its rations carefully. Make sure it's good quality food without artificial colors or flavors. Feeding healthy food can go a long way in promoting your animal's health, so if you go ahead and spend a bit more on food you will save on vet bills.

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