There’s no doubt that our pets are part of our family. So we should care for their health as if it was our own. Whether you have a dog, cat, bunny or even animals around the farm, their health is in our hands. Here are some pointers on keeping the furry members of our family in top shape.
Regular Vet Checkups
As much as we wish we could read our favorite pet’s mind, science hasn’t worked out the technology quite yet. So, when our animals are sick or in pain, we might not know about it until it has gotten very bad for them. That’s why regular appointments with a veterinarian are very important to keep our pets healthy. With yearly appointments the vet can see any problems that can be addressed, and help you prevent illness in the future. Your vet will also be able to provide important vaccines against illnesses such as rabies, and treatments to prevent fleas, ticks, and heartworm, which also carry diseases that can affect animals AND humans. These appointments are still important even for smaller animals such as reptiles and birds! Beyond an annual appointment, you should also see the vet if an animal is limping, injured, or is acting strangely, such as becoming skittish, or acting aggressively out of nowhere.
Human Foods Isn’t for Pets!
No matter how much your adorable puppy begs for table scraps, there’s lots of reasons not to feed your pet human food. Pet foods are designed to be the healthiest diet for our furry friends. Unless your veterinarian sees a need to add certain foods to their nutrition, feeding our pets “human food” is like piling on extra junk food in our own diet. Just like the health risks for humans, unhealthy amounts of food can lead to obesity, organ damage and illnesses like pancreatitis in our pets. Plus, many foods that can be eaten by humans are harmful, or even deadly to animals! You might already know that chocolate is bad for dogs, but did you know that grapes can be poisonous? Or what about onions? In both cats and dogs, onions, garlic, shallots, and other vegetables in the same family can damage their red blood cells! That’s why, unless you’re guided by a veterinarian, it’s safest for our pets to use food that is designed for them.
Household Dangers for Animals
Our pets can often get into trouble by chewing up our shoes or leave “gifts” in the laundry basket. But sometimes the items we have in our houses can make this trouble turn deadly. For example, if you have a puppy that likes to chew up non-food items like toys, clothes, or shoes, they can swallow bits of material that can’t be digested. This can lead to an intestinal blockage, which is an incredibly painful condition that is fixed through invasive surgery (if it can be fixed at all).
Other common household materials that are harmful for pets can be chemical pest controls, antifreeze, fertilizers, some essential oils, and even some plants! Human favorites like coffee, alcohol and chocolate should also be kept far away from pets, and medicines locked away just as you would for a small child. Before bringing something into your home, it is good to research it and read reviews in case it has been found to cause harm to animals.
To make sure you are being a kind and responsible owner, it’s best to research any animal that you are wanting to bring home as a pet. Each species has its own needs and environments that it thrives best in, and you should provide the healthiest home for any creature in your care.