Growing up in an environment where animals are kept mainly for food and economic purposes with little care about their help and general standard of living, it was a little hard to imagine that these animals deserves friendship, love, affection and a right to a better living. As time passed, I started loving animals and later got into the college of veterinary medicine, it was then that I now realized how much my community has abused and robbed these animals of their right to live and how my neighborhood has not been an animal loving one.
It is said that a person that has never owned a pet has missed a wonderful part of life.
Before and after we acquire our pets, below are some helpful tips we’ll require:
A loving heart
The basic and the most essential requirement of being a better pet owner is a loving heart. Pets are our close companions; they provide comfort, love, warmth, happiness, laughter and friendship. In return, we owe them our loving heart.
‘‘We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animal’’
‘‘Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains un awake’’ –Anatole France
Acceptance of responsibilities
Next is the ability to show commitment and to cater for the responsibilities of these animals. A pet owner has the obligation to ensure the standard of living of the animal health wisely, socially and in its welfares. He must be able to manage his pet economically, and also cope with occasional weird attitudes from the animal such disorganizing the house, etc.
‘‘He is your friend, partner, defender, your dog. You are his life, love and leader. He will be yours, faithful and true to the last breath, you owe it to him to be worthy of such devotions’’ – anonymous
Decision of pet
The decision of pets to acquire is so important that one must be very careful in making one’s choices. The whole of the family should be involved in making this decision [if applicable]. For a low-income earner, it will be advisable not to get an exotic breed for economic reasons. Also, if one is living in a small apartment, it is better to get a pet that curdles and that is more reserved instead of one that loves running. It is at this stage that all the information needed about the animal is obtained so as to guide decision-making.
Welfare of the pet
It is often advisable to get everything that’ll be needed in place before the animal is acquired and brought home as this will save a lot of run-arounds. Information about what feed to start with, best choice of housing, what kind of clothes and toys suit them best [if required] and sorts have been identified in the process of deciding your choice pet. But it should be noted that a veterinarian’s advice on these issues is most adequate.
After the pet as been acquired, it is obligatory to see a veterinarian for a preventive medical check-up before the animal is introduced into the home. This is required so as to prevent introducing a zoonic disease or ectoparasites into the home and most essentially to know the health status of this new friend.
After introducing the pet into the home, one should try giving him both behavioral and social training as this will save the pet owner a lot of embarrassment. In giving behavioral training, one must be careful not to get the animal mis-informed, but it is generally advised that positive reinenforcement i.e. rewarding good characters and behavior is the most efficient way of doing this. Here, the animal is familiarized with the home and his boundaries are made known to him. Social training on the other hand makes the get use to his outside environment, it trains the animal not to be scared when outside home [like in the presence of other pets or in a clinic]. For this reason, it is advised that a healthy pet should be taken to the clinic once in a while so as to get familiar with the clinic environment.
Feeding and exercise
These two are of paramount importance to the well being of the pet. Always be careful not to get a feed for your pet just because its cheap; the quality of the feed should be considered too. Also, one must be cautious in feeding the animal with treats, and with feeds high in calorie as these can make them overweight and expose them to myriads of medical problems such as diabetes, heart diseases, arthritis etc. It is best to consult a veterinarian about the kinds of feed that will keep the animal healthy, as he will be able to suggest feed and feed dose that best suit the pet’s lifestyle.
A routine exercise and a sort of play with the pet will not only control the body metabolism but also check the weight and help build his muscle mass. A dog can be taken for a walk or might be made to catch a ball, seeds can be scattered far away so that birds or rodents would run to pick them up, and cats wont mind dangle toys [but it shouldn’t be things they can easily swallow]. It should be appropriately noted that exercise varies with species and breeds, as some might be suitable for a breed and harmful to another.
Relationship with a veterinarian
As a pet owner, it is good to have a good relationship with veterinary doctors. This is because your pet will need a routine medical check up even if healthy, as it is easier and cheaper to discover a disease at an early stage and then prevent it rather than curing it after its manifestation. Such diseases that are easier to control than treating include heartworms, dental complications and rabies to mention a few. It is also good to interact with people having the same pet so as to exchange ideas that can better the life of your animal.
Lastly, no matter how much you love your pet, always control your emotions towards them because no matter how long they live, you’ll still lose them someday. There is a family my physiology lecturer told me about, it took them so long from recovering from the trauma of losing a dog. But in all, always value the time you have to talk to them and love them as you wont always have them around.
‘‘Pets are not the whole of our lives, but they make our lives whole’’
‘‘Dogs come to our lives to teach us about love and to teach us about loss. A new dog never replaces an old one’’ –E. Jongs
It should be noted that these tips are mostly general for all pets and there exists other ones that are restricted to certain species and breeds.
I hope these tips will help.