The month of May marks the beginning of summer for many of us. May also is “National Pet Month”, a special time for celebrating our relationship with the pets in our lives.
Pet ownership has many benefits. It’s well documented that having a pet improves both our physical health and emotional well-being. In exchange, we have a responsibility to give our pets attention and care.
So, in honor of National Pet Month, here are five ways to honor your bond with your pet and improve his or her health and well-being.
1) Take your pet to see the vet.
Chances are your pet doesn’t really enjoy going to the vet and getting his shots. But, that annual physical is often the only way to uncover health problems. And the vaccinations and checks for parasites are important to prevent serious illness. Don’t put it off, schedule an appointment this month.
2) Give your pet regular exercise.
Without a regular work-out, most pets will put on weight and suffer from boredom. Dogs in particular need regular exercise or they can develop problem behaviors – like chewing furniture or scratching walls. If you can’t take yours out for a daily walk or run, try doggy day camp – it’s a great way for your pet to get both exercise and socialization.
3) Keep your pet clean and fresh.
Regular grooming is essential to your pet’s good health and will help you uncover skin and parasite problems so they can be addressed early. Dogs’ and cats’ coats should be brushed at least once a week – more often, if yours is a long-haired breed. Toenails should be trimmed at least once a month to prevent foot problems. A shampoo and conditioning treatment will keep your pet clean and nice to be near. Too much to tackle at home? Set up a regular appointment with a professional groomer. Your pet’s skin and coat will feel better and be healthier.
4) Keep pets safe.
Don’t let pets roam unsupervised outdoors where cars, bikes and other animals put yours in danger. Keep your cat indoors, and walk your dog on a leash, except at fenced-in off-leash dog parks. Ask your vet to microchip your pet so you can recover him if he does get lost.
5) Spend time with your pet
It’s easy to let a busy schedule get in the way. But our pets depend upon us for more than just food and shelter. Dogs, in particular, are social animals and thrive on interaction with the family pack. Give your pet just 10-15 minutes of undivided attention each day – playing, training, and even cuddling on the couch -- and you’ll notice the difference in his bond with you.
How are you celebrating National Pet Month? Share your suggestions with us at DogDishEditor@bestfriends.net .