Pet Care

Group of pets sitting in front of white background

Now that you’ve brought your new friend home, it’s time for the fun part — and the hard part! This is your chance to really prove to your parents, yourself, and your pet that you’re a responsible guardian.

It’s a lot to live up to, but don’t worry-you can do it! All you need to know is what your pet’s needs are, then meet them. Basically, most pets rely on us for:

 

Food
  • Be sure you know the diet and feeding schedule of your new pet as suggested by your veterinarian.
  • Most animals need to be fed once or twice a day. Sometimes baby animals need to be fed more.
  • Don’t ever give your pet table scraps — people food (especially chocolate!) can make most animals sick.
  • Introduce changes to food or feeding time gradually — food changes can be stressful for an animal.
  • Feed your pets in a quiet, protected place, so they feel safe and comfortable when they eat.

 

Water
  • Make sure your pet has plenty of clean, fresh water.
  • Water should be changed at least twice a day.
  • If your pet is a fish or turtle and lives in water, be sure to clean the tank at least once a week.

 

Shelter
  • Your pet needs a place to call home — whether that’s a tank, cage, or doghouse.
  • Shelter keeps pets protected from cold, wind, rain and from the harsh hot sun in the summer.
  • Making your pet to sleep indoors at night will protect him from cars, bad weather, and other animals.
  • Pets who are treated like part of the family are better-adjusted and will be more closely bonded to you.

 

Potty
  • Unless you’re able to train them to use the toilet, pets need to go outside or in a special lined area.
  • Make sure you create a clean and safe place for your pet’s bathroom needs.
  • If you have a dog and live in an apartment with no yard, you need to make sure your dog is walked often.

 

Exercise
  • Dogs need plenty of exercise. Physical activity keeps them healthy, happy, and fit.
  • Cats, especially if they live indoors, also love some quality playtime with you.
  • Rodents like hamsters and gerbils will thank you for putting an exercise wheel in their cage.

 

Grooming
  • It’s a good idea to brush and comb your pets every day to get rid of loose or shedding hair.
  • Poke around to check for fleas, ticks, leaves, and other things that might be tangled in your pet’s fur.
  • If you can, bathe dogs once a month and cats every few months. But don’t overdo it!
  • Cats will have fewer hairballs and shed less if they’re combed on a regular basis.
  • If your pooch has killer doggie breath, try brushing his teeth when you bathe him.

 

Training
  • If you don’t set up rules for your pet to follow, he may act aggressively and out of control.
  • You can do this in a very gentle manner without raising your voice or becoming mean.
  • An obedience class is a great way to learn how to speak a dog’s language and teach her the rules.

 

Health care
  • Just like we need annual checkups with our doctor and dentist, most pets need regular checkups, too.
  • Make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up-to-date.
  • If you bring home a new dog or cat, you should take him to the vet right away to get checked out.

 

Love & affection
  • Just like people, pets thrive on attention! The more love you give, the more you’ll get back.
  • Give your pet plenty of hugs, kisses, gentle pats, and love.

 

Checklist
  • Fix any holes, broken concrete, drains, or swimming pools that your pet could fall into or get stuck in.
  • Are there any gaps in the fence, or a broken gate, that might allow your new pet to get out of your yard?
  • Keep away any poisons, like snail bait, antifreeze, or other toxic chemicals far out of reach.
  • Ensure proper insulation of all dangling electrical cords in the house or outside.
  • Keep away any legos or other small pieces lying around that an animal could choke on.
  • Secure all fragile stuffs far away form your pet for a while, not to get knocked over or stepped on

 

Don’ts
  • Don’t use insect sprays and weed killers around your pets or allow antifreeze to spill in any area where pets hang out.
  • Never leave a pet alone in a car on a hot day-even with the windows cracked open.
  • Don’t ever feed your pet chocolate, no matter how much they might beg.
  • Don’t let your dog wander the neighborhood without you. She could get lost, hurt, or catch a disease from another animal.
  • Never give pets human medicine. Keep all medicines — human or pet — out of your pet’s reach.