May 4-10, 2014 is National Pet Week. Pets bring joy to our lives. Celebrate them this week and thank them by promising to be the best pet-parents that we can be. Start with the following 5 tips on how to take better care of our furry family members:
1. Take time to exercise them. Without physical exercise, pets get out of shape, just like we do. To help prevent many behavioral and medical problems, it is important to provide 1 hour of physical activity daily as many days during the week that you can. You can even split the hour of activity into 3-4 smaller spurts of fun. Go for a walk around the block for 15 minutes in the morning. Throw the ball in the backyard when you get home from work. Then, after dinner, take the entire family for a 30 minute walk around the neighborhood. For cats, provide a stimulating environment with several types of toys.
2. Take time to provide mental exercise, too. In general, 15 minutes of mental exercise is equal to 1 hour of physical play for their mental health. The more we provide our pets with mental activities, the less likely they will develop undesirable behaviors. Feed your pet his or her meals with a special food-dispensing ball. Throw a handful of food out in the yard and allow your pet to sniff around and find the hidden treasures. Practice basic obedience (sit, stay, down) once or twice daily for 10 minutes at a time.
3. Provide good dental care at home. Pets have teeth, too. Try brushing your pets’ teeth once daily. Alternatively provide an enzymatic chew to help prevent tartar accumulation, dental disease, and bad breath.
4. Take your pet to the veterinarian once or twice a year. Pets age 7 years for every 1 human year. Taking your pet to the vet for an exam and bloodwork once a year is like you visiting the doctor every 7 years!
5. Finally, have fun with your pet! Enjoy the time that you have with your pet. Before you know it, your puppy or kitten will be a senior, and you’ll wonder where the years have gone. Form a strong bond with your pet. Don’t forget, they love you unconditionally.