Since time immemorial, pets have been valued as companions for human beings. Making them part of our homes, fostering a human-animal bond with them, is one of life’s most joyful experience because pets have affected the quality of our lives in a positive way. They have assumed a therapeutic role because their presence has improved the emotional and mental aspect of our health, much like how animals give benefits to a disabled or rehabilitating patient.
In the field of rehabilitative medicine, there are certain roles that animals or pets have been designated to. For a blind person, a seeing-eye dog is a “mobility aid”, which guides the visually impaired when walking along the streets. For a patient in need of recovery (whether from a physical or mental disability), there is what we call “animal-assisted therapy”, which helps them reach their treatment goals through a guided interaction with an animal.
As much as they are rewarding in our lives, having a pet and taking care of one requires some effort. Depending on our financial resources, adopting or owning a pet does not have to be extremely expensive, but much like people, we are going to need just extra cash for their sustenance and maintenance. Note, however, that time, love and affection are just as important, so they’ll receive adequate care. To raise a pet, specific needs of a certain breed or species have to be met.
First things first
Before heading off to get a pet, determine if we even have the budget to afford an animal and its specific needs i.e. supplies, diet, vaccinations, etc. Next, we need to be honest with ourselves if we want a pet in the long-term, and not just for a day or two. Also, we have to be sure that our time is flexible, and that we are available in our homes long enough to give them care. Lastly, we have to reconsider if our lifestyles are stable enough to make pet care manageable.
Choosing our pet
The basics of pet care begins with the responsible act of choosing one who goes well with our needs and lifestyle. To adapt accordingly to a different breed of pet, we have to make a conscious effort to research thoroughly the behaviors, general concerns and needs of the pets we have in mind before buying one.
Animal-proofing our home
Good pet care also includes preparing the house for a pet-friendly environment. Protective spaces must be taken into account for the benefit of both the pet and its masters. Any holes or openings that can give pets a chance to escape from must be sealed shut. Toxic chemicals or pointed tools must be out of reach. Any fragile items like vases or glasses must be put away in a safe space to avoid damages.
Buying the supplies
Purchasing pet supplies is necessary for their housing, grooming, playtime, and their diet or feeding. As masters, it is our responsibility to encourage and teach everyone in the family on how to use these supplies or tools accordingly for the well-being of our pets.
Feeding our pet
Different animals require different kinds of food. A good owner will not consider feeding his pet with food of the cheapest quality. Cheap does not necessarily equate to healthy. Also, we do not feed them with leftover people food lest we risk them into putting their health in danger. For example, chocolate in large amounts can kill a dog because of its toxic component, the theobromine. It is because there are certain minerals and nutrients in people food that can do more harm than good.
Grooming our pet
Basic grooming is not limited to giving our pets baths, cutting their nails short, or brushing their fur or their scales. It is imperative to inspect their bodies for parasites like fleas and ticks or any unwanted objects that can make them sick. Cleaning their shelters also means practicing good hygiene for disease prevention.
Vaccinating or medicating our pet
A general rule, which is applicable, among pets that are first brought home is to bring them to a veterinarian right away. On that first visit, we discuss with the vet the scheduling of regular health check-ups, their dietary needs, shots and vaccinations. We also need to let the vet inspect the animal for disease symptoms before they persist so that necessary treatments can be applied.
Loving our pet
Lastly, the most important guideline, which encompasses those mentioned above: giving our pet love, affection, and attention. Because they are social beings like we are, communication is part of the care package. Engaging in an exercise with them like walking together or playing with them using toys stimulates their physical and mental capacity. Rewarding pets occasionally with treats motivates and strengthens good behavior and habits.
These are just some of the general guidelines in providing proper pet care. However, every pet has different sorts of needs. To adapt to a specific breed or pet accordingly, it is our job to know more about what we are dealing with. There are books that provide specific information a certain breed of pet or animal. The internet is also a haven of information regarding pet care. To make processing of information faster, we can let young children in our home watch short videos that demonstrate specific ways of pet care to make teaching simple and easy. Instead of giving out instructions verbally, showing them videos may prove to be more helpful.
The nearest source of information is also our friends or neighbors with pets of the same breed. Any tidbit of knowledge, experiences, or general concerns they can share about their pets are also valuable since we can use them in the future.