Pets are wonderful. They can be companions, protectors, and servants. Domestic animals have been making human lives easier for millennia and there’s been a plethora of research in that time that’s shown the emotional benefits of having animal companions. Yet, it seems fewer and fewer people know how to be responsible when it comes to our furry little friends. I’ll start with the most important point.
Pets Aren’t Children
We love our pets, and well we should. I love animals myself, although I only see dogs and horses as warranting an emotional bond. One thing that many don’t seem to understand is that no matter how much you love them, they shouldn’t be treated the same as children. Human children are incapable of functioning independently, but animals can. They also won’t care if you buy them a gift or anything like that. Animals don’t think like children so they won’t respond like children either.
Know When to Leave Them at Home
Animals don’t understand human culture. They won’t feel left out if you don’t bring them along. If you do bring them, they’ll likely only notice the inconvenience of it. On the other hand, animals are a lot like us. They don’t like heat or rain, or any other kind of unpleasant weather. They’d rather go home and sleep than walk around on the hot streets. You’re often the only one getting anything out of bringing your pet. Your pet and the other people around probably hate that they’re there. If you have to leave them in the car, leave them at home instead. Also, exclude them from any activity that wouldn’t be enjoyable to them, given they’re limited intellect. You wouldn’t take your newborn baby to the opera, would you?
What that means may vary, but every pet needs to be trained. If you don’t train your pet, it’ll end up being a nuisance and may even destroy your home. In the most extreme cases, an untrained pet becomes a threat to the safety of every one of your guests. A veterinarian should be able to help you find the help you need in training your pets but you can also find numerous books on the subject in your local library or bookstore.
Find a Vet
There’s no way to keep your pet healthy without a veterinarian. Your vet can help you diagnose any health problems your pet may have and give you excellent advice to prevent them. When your vet gives you advice, take it to heart. You don’t necessarily need to follow it, but you do need to give it due consideration.
Feed Them Properly
Again, what that means varies but it’s not hard to figure out. Once again, your vet will have some excellent advice but any commercially available food is adequate. Feeding your pets is much like feeding your children, you can feed them adequately or well. Foods with more natural ingredients are better, as well as foods that more closely parallel the diets they’d eat in the wild. You don’t have to buy the most expensive food you can find, but don’t feed them the cheapest either. If you really want, you or your wife can even make your own pet food but that’s usually only worthwhile for more typically farm animals.
Put People First
This is similar to my first point, but it is distinct. When the interests of the people in your life conflict with the interests of your pet, do what’s best for the people. For example, if you’re worried about what your dog will do to your upcoming baby, give the dog away to another loving family.
Give Your Pets Their Space
What they need varies, but every pet needs to have some kind of space where they can retreat from whatever stresses them. Animal psychology is very simple and so are their comforts. Just having a place to go that’s soft and secure can make an animal feel safe. Even better is if that space is a transport crate of some form, so they can enjoy the benefits of it during the stress of travel. After all, an animal could never understand the concept of a vehicle.
Pay Attention to Your Pets
This one should be obvious, but your pets need your love and attention. They’ll tend to become increasingly troublesome if you neglect them, and they’re health will decline as well. If you can’t give your pets the attention they crave, give them to someone who can.
Keep Them Under Control
As I said already, animals don’t understand the human world. They don’t know how to keep themselves safe. Somehow people think they need to hold their six year old’s hand but their dog can run free. Also, it’s illegal in most places to not have physical control of your pets, and nobody should have to feel unsafe because an unfamiliar dog might attack them. For the safety of your pets and the general public, keep them on a leash or locked up. It’s what your pet would prefer anyway.