What Does It Mean to Be a Responsible Pet Owner?

Pets are more than just our companions — they become our family members, too, and being a pet parent has so many positive impacts on us. Studies have shown that people who have a cat or dog at home have lower blood pressure, exercise more, spend more time outdoors, and have increased cognitive function. Pets also help people who experience depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Pets do so much for us, and that’s one reason why it’s important for us to do as much as we can to protect their health, too.

How to Be a Responsible Pet Owner

Becoming a responsible pet owner means caring for them the same way you would anyone else. These are our top seven tips to be a responsible pet owner.

1) Watch Their Diet

One of the best things you can do to prevent heart disease in dogs and cats is to watch their diet. Brands like Hill’s Science Diet and Prescription DietRoyal Canin, and Wellness Pet Food are great companies that have heart-healthy dog food and cat food available. It’s also important to limit the amount of human food you feed your pet. There are some foods that are safe for cats and foods that are safe for dogs, but eating too much human food can cause an imbalanced diet and obesity.

2) Get Regular Exercise

Speaking of obesity, which can negatively impact your cat’s and dog’s blood pressure and overall cat and dog heart health, make sure that your pet gets regular exercise. Take your dog out for regular walks, runs, or hikes, and throw the ball for them. Exercising does more than prevent heart disease in dogs and cats; it also helps keep their muscles strong and bodies lean, and it also helps regulate their energy levels and sleeping cycle and promotes brain health. You can also take your cat for walks and hikes if you’re one of the lucky few who have a cat who enjoys being harnessed and leashed. If not, play with your cat indoors as much as you can to get their little bodies working and moving.

3) Work on Dental Hygiene

It’s important to brush regularly to help promote good oral hygiene. If you can start when they’re babies, it helps them get used to it. You can also get treats and toys that help to remove plaque and buildup from their teeth and water additives that clean their mouths. You should also have your pet’s teeth regularly cleaned and checked by your vet to help prevent periodontal disease, which is the most common disease in household pets, affecting 87% of dogs and 70% of cats.

4) Get Regular Checkups

Take your pet to your vet regularly for checkups and shots. Your vet will be able to do preventative screening and check your cat’s and dog’s heart health, measure cat and dog blood pressure, screen for heart disease in dogs and cats, check their weight and eyesight, and examine for any other illnesses and concerns. It’s also important to build a relationship with your vet so that they become familiar with your pet and notice any physical or behavioral changes in them easier.

5) Spay or Neuter Your Pet

Another incredibly important way to be a responsible pet owner is to spay or neuter your pet. Shelters all over the country have more stray animals than homes for them to go to. Most of these animals end up spending their entire lives in a shelter and then get euthanatized. In fact, each year, 390,000 dogs and 530,000 cats are euthanized in the U.S. alone. By spaying or neutering your furry friends, you can help prevent that number from growing.

6) Train Your Pet

It’s important to train your pet properly, especially dogs, who tend to interact with a larger number of people and animals than cats do. Training your pet bolsters the bond between you both, and it builds trust, confidence, and brain cognition.

And most importantly…

7) Give Them Lots of Love

The most essential thing you can do for your pet is give them lots of love! Pets provide so much for us, including unconditional love, and it’s important to reciprocate that for them. When you shower your pet in love and affection, you strengthen your bond and show them that they live in a happy, safe, and secure home.

Before adopting a pet, make sure you’re up for the challenge and understand what it means to be a responsible pet owner. Taking care of your pet helps them live longer and fuller lives, curbs heart disease in dogs and cats, and brings an abundance of happiness to you both.

For more information on responsible pet ownership, or if you’re looking for a new vet, contact us today.

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