“Pets are wonderful companions and often become an integral part of the family,” says veterinarian Dr Chris Brown, otherwise known as the Bondi Vet. “Looking after them can be hugely rewarding –just be sure that you look at their world through their eyes, and give them the best care they need.”
While it’s tempting to treat your favourite furry friend with human comforts, seeing the world through your cat or dog’s eyes means making sure you put their unique animal needs first.
“People often make the mistake of treating a beloved animal like a human being. However, a pet’s needs are very different to ours,” Dr Brown says. “Things that we enjoy – such as chocolate – can be poisonous for many animals. Similarly, while you may enjoy nothing more than relaxing on a sofa in the evening, your dog needs to be walked regularly.”
7 pet care tips from Dr Chris Brown
It is important that people educate themselves thoroughly on the best care for their pet. There are many great books and websites out there, and of course people can ask their vet for advice.
Here are a few tips to set you on the right path…
1. Don’t overfeed your pet
While your beloved animal might appear to have a healthy appetite, many pets don’t stop eating when they’re full. Overfeeding a pet leads to obesity, which can create a number of health problems. It’s estimated around 41% of dogs in Australia are overweight or obese.
2. De-sex outdoor cats
Whilst it can be upsetting to put your cute little kitten through a medical procedure, if your cat is going to spend time outdoors then it needs to be de-sexed, or you will have a lot more kitties on your hands to deal with!
3. Make sure you give your pet appropriate food.
Many foods that humans enjoy are poisonous to some animals, so research any treats you give them. Did you know that chocolate and mushrooms are dangerous for both cats and dogs, and in some cases can be fatal?
4. Small dogs are not fashion accessories
Yes, they’re cute and Paris Hilton has one, but don’t carry your dog around in your handbag. He or she is still an animal and needs exercise!
5. Make sure you feed your cat enough.
Although cats are hunters and will bring you the occasional “present” of a bird or mouse, don’t make the mistake of assuming they don’t need regular feeding.
6. However independent a cat may seem, don’t leave them to fend for themself
Take your dog for regular walks. Yes, relaxing on the sofa reading or watching TV is a great pastime, but your dog needs to be walked regularly, preferably twice a day, and will need lots of open space. This is a big commitment, so make sure you are ready to make it prior to acquiring him or her.
7. Bring your cat indoors at night
You may love the nightlife yourself and appreciate your cat’s desire to stay out late, or it may be a hassle to bring him or her indoors every night. However, cats are more prone to traffic accidents in the dark and more likely to go hunting at night, leading to some unpleasant surprises for you in the morning.