Owning a pet has many physical and mental benefits, and your life wouldn’t be the same without your devoted four-legged friend. Our team at Town and Country Animal Hospital wants to help you show your appreciation by offering do’s and don’ts on how to express gratitude to your pet.
DO express your gratitude by spending more time with your pet
Spending time with your pet benefits you, as well as your pet. Ways to get the most out of your time together include:
- Working out together — All pets need an appropriate amount of physical exercise every day to keep them fit and healthy, and a workout for your pet will help motivate you to get moving, too.
- Practicing a new trick — Teach your pet a new trick, and practice the skill every day.
- Setting up an obstacle course — Household items, such as a broomstick, couch cushions, soda bottles, and furniture, make fun home obstacle courses. Walk your pet through the course, to help them understand what you expect.
- Grooming your pet — Set aside time every day to give your pet a thorough grooming session. They will love the extra attention.
DON’T express your gratitude with extra pet treats
When expressing your love and gratitude, you may be tempted to give your pet extra treats, but food is not love. The extra calories can lead to obesity, and pets who carry excess weight are at much higher risk for conditions such as cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, and arthritis. Keeping your pet at a healthy weight is a much better expression of gratitude. Steps to ensure your pet remains at an ideal weight include:
- Schedule regular wellness exams — Yearly wellness exams are crucial for keeping your pet happy and healthy. Their weight is carefully tracked during these visits, and If your pet is carrying a few excess pounds, our team can provide a weight loss program to help them safely lose the weight.
- Monitor your pet’s weight status — Weigh your pet about once a week to monitor their progress. Tracking their body conditioning score (BCS) is also recommended for more accurately assessing their weight status.
- Feed your pet appropriately — Use a calorie calculator to accurately determine your pet’s daily energy requirements, and use appropriate measuring devices to ensure you are feeding your pet the exact amount.
DO express your gratitude by providing enrichment for your pet
Enrichment is important for your pet to reduce stress, give them some control over their environment, and keep them occupied in a non-destructive manner. Tips to ensure your pet is getting the enrichment they need include:
- Feed your pet in a food-puzzle toy — Making your pet work for their meal by feeding them in a food puzzle toy makes meal time more exciting, and forces your pet to engage their mind.
- Rotate your pet’s toys — Choose three or four toys from your pet’s stash for your pet to enjoy, and then switch out the toys every few days, to ensure they don’t get bored. If your pet relies on a favorite toy for comfort, ensure this one remains out at all times.
- Provide a window perch — Ensure your pet has a stable area near a window where they can watch the neighborhood wildlife. You can also place a bird feeder outside the window, to ensure they are sufficiently entertained.
- Play nose-work games — Let your pet use their excellent sense of smell to hunt and find treats. You can lead a scavenger hunt through your house, or simply let them pick a hand to find the hidden treat.
DON’T neglect your pet’s dental health
The majority of pets have some degree of dental disease by the time they are 3 years of age, and the bacteria can lead to serious and painful health issues, such as bleeding gums, loose teeth, fractured jaw bones, and organ damage throughout their body. Tips to keep their mouth clean and healthy include:
- Regular professional veterinary dental cleanings — The only way to remove the harmful bacteria from under your pet’s gum line is regular veterinary dental cleanings. These procedures are performed under general anesthesia, and thoroughly address every aspect of your pet’s dental health.
- Brushing your pet’s teeth — Plaque can start to accumulate on your pet’s teeth a few hours after a cleaning, so brush daily, to remove the food particles that attract the plaque-causing bacteria.
- Dental treats and chews — Offering your pet dental treats and chews approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) can help reduce plaque and tartar accumulation.
DO consider insuring your pet
If your pet experiences a medical emergency, the veterinary bill can be high. Insuring your pet covers some of these expenses, and ensures you won’t have to consider your pocket book when making decisions about your pet’s health. Insurance policies are cheaper for young pets, and insuring your pet early helps ensure they don’t develop a condition that can be excluded on the policy.
Following these do’s and don’ts will show your appreciation for your pet, and also help them live a long and happy life. Let us help you express your gratitude for your pet—contact our Town and Country Animal Hospital team, and schedule a wellness exam or dental cleaning for your pet.
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