Responsible ownership is so much more than just daily feedings and a pat on the head.
By Catherine Risling
As we quarantine to slow the spread of the coronavirus, many of us have hunkered down with our four-legged pals at our side. Pets have become an integral part of our families, with Americans spending nearly $100 billion a year on their dogs and cats.
So as we shelter in place and take care of ourselves, our children and each other, remember that our pets need nurturing, too. Here’s how:
Exercise: There’s nothing animals love more than a long stretch in a wide, open area. Consider a dog park, beach or other designated space where they can run and explore off leash. The outing will get you out of the house and keep your pup happy and healthy. Cats, also, need exercise even if they are mostly indoors. A cat tree, feathers on a stick and cat-friendly balls can help keep your feline stimulated.
Healthy Eating: Whether you want to train a pet, improve dental care or satisfy their need to chew, there’s plenty of food and treat choices out there. However, obesity in dogs is a growing concern. According to the Association of Pet Obesity Prevention, a 2018 survey revealed that 59.5 percent of cats and 55.8 percent of dogs were considered overweight or obese. Just like in humans, obesity can lead to an array of health issues including heart disease and diabetes so choose healthy options and skip the table scraps. Look for treats and food made with whole grains and single-source proteins like chicken or lamb and avoid those containing sugar and fat.
Personal Care: Many dog breeds are prone to gum disease and tooth decay, which can lead to tooth loss and infections so it’s a good idea to have their choppers cleaned at least three times a week, according to Fetch by WebMD. Nail trimming and grooming are also recommended to prevent painful nail breakage and entangled coats.
Vet Care: Vaccinations are vital in protecting dogs and cats against serious and even fatal diseases. While some shots are one-time-only, others lose their effectiveness over time so follow-up vaccines are recommended. Stick with a vet who will maintain your animal’s records and remind you when a shot is due.
New Toy: Who doesn’t get tired of the same thing, day after day? Dogs certainly do! Splurge on a new scented ball, squeaky plushie or LooHoo Wooly Tug Toy. There are also plenty of interactive toys that will keep your animals busy throughout the day.
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