Our pets rely on us to keep them safe, healthy, and thriving.
While each animal has unique care needs, some overarching best practices apply across species, from puppies to guinea pigs.
Follow these top dos and don’ts for maintaining your pet’s well-being.
What goes into your pet’s body matters tremendously for good nutrition and digestive health.
- feed species-appropriate diets at age-appropriate calorie levels. Kittens need kitten food, for example, with extra calories for growth.
- keep clean, fresh water available at all times in a spill-proof bowl. Stay on top of refills and washing.
- research reputable pet food brands that invest in quality ingredients and rigorous safety standards. Check labels carefully.
- introduce any food transitions gradually by mixing in increasing amounts of the new food over 5-7 days.
Just like us, pets can suffer complications from poor nutrition. Steer clear of these mistakes:
- Don’t give pets “people food” scraps from the table, which are often too fatty, salty, or spicy. Exceptions are plain cooked meat, veggies, rice, etc. given sparingly as treats.
- Don’t free-feed dry kibble available 24/7, which makes it harder to monitor appetite changes that signal illness. Stick to scheduled mealtimes instead.
- Don’t suddenly change pet food formulas without proper transition, which risks gastrointestinal upset.
Exercise and Mental Stimulation
Physical movement and brain games keep pets fit plus less prone to boredom-related behavior issues like destructive chewing.
- take dogs on regular walks, jogs, or fetch games based on age/breed exercise needs. Kitties love wand toys that simulate prey chase sequences.
- use food puzzle toys, snuffle mats, hide-and-seek games, obedience training, and more to tire your pet’s mind too. A tired puppy is a “good” puppy!
From baths to tooth brushing, hands-on care fosters healthy skin, fur, scales, feathers, and more.
- brush cats and long-haired dog breeds frequently to minimize hairballs, mats, and shedding around your home. Set a routine based on your pet’s coat needs.
- check your pet’s eyes, ears, nails, teeth, skin folds, and rear end during handling to spot potential issues early. Look up normal vs abnormal.
- bathe pets when dirty using appropriate fur-friendly shampoos. Bathing frequency depends on lifestyle factors like how often they play outside.
Preventative Vet Visits
An ounce of prevention goes a long way! Routinely seeing your vet allows them to:
- administer core vaccines on schedule to protect against contagious diseases like parvo, rabies, feline leukemia, etc. based on risk factors.
- run baseline bloodwork for healthy pets to establish “normal” lab ranges for comparison if illness occurs later.
- prescribe year-round flea/tick and heartworm preventatives tailored to your geographic area and pet lifestyle.
- perform annual checkups even for healthy adult pets to catch developing problems early plus discuss any concerns.
When to Go to the Vet ER
Monitor your pet closely for any signs of illness or injury. Rush to emergency veterinary care if you notice:
- Difficulty breathing – limping – uncontrolled bleeding
- Sudden weakness – collapse – seizures
- Continuous vomiting/diarrhea lasting over 24 hours (indicates dehydration risk)
- Loss of appetite beyond 1 day combined with lethargy
- Extreme pain – non-stop crying/whining
- Ingestion of possible toxins like chocolate or grapes
- Accidents involving falls – heatstroke – bites – car trauma
In many cases, early intervention greatly improves treatment outcomes and survival odds.
Know your emergency vet’s contact info and driving directions ahead of time. Don’t wait!
With attentive everyday care at home plus an ounce of prevention from your vet, your special companions will lead their very best, healthiest lives as beloved family members.