National Pet Parents Day 2024: From training to safety, checklist for responsible pet parenting - Hindustan Times

National Pet Parents Day 2024: From training to safety, checklist for responsible pet parenting

By, New Delhi
Apr 28, 2024 08:11 AM IST

Happy National Pet Parents Day 2024. Let's ensure our furry friends receive the love and care they deserve. Here's your guide to responsible pet parenting.

National Pet Parents Day is a day dedicated to celebrating the unconditional love, companionship, and responsibilities that come with being a pet parent. It's a time to honour the special bond between humans and their furry companions, recognising the joy and fulfilment they bring into our lives. As we cherish this day, Dr Umesh Kalahalli, Small Animal Consultant (Internal Medicine) at Mars Petcare India, shared with HT Lifestyle some valuable tips on the checklist for responsible pet parenting.

As we celebrate the joy and companionship our furry friends bring, it's also a time to reflect on the responsibilities of pet ownership.(Pixabay)
As we celebrate the joy and companionship our furry friends bring, it's also a time to reflect on the responsibilities of pet ownership.(Pixabay)

These tips serve as a guide for pet parents to ensure the well-being and happiness of their beloved pets, encompassing essential aspects such as healthcare, nutrition, exercise, safety, socialisation, and emotional well-being. By practising responsible pet parenting, we can create a nurturing environment where our pets thrive and continue to enrich our lives with their unconditional love. (Also read: National Pet Parents Day 2024: Pet parenting guilt is real; 5 ways to overcome it and do the best for your furry friend)

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Your Guide to Responsible Pet Parenting

1. Feeding correctly

It is important that you familiarise yourself with the optimal full-day food requirements for your pet. Packaged food will give you a good indication of the guidelines for the specific size and age of your pet. However, your pets' needs might differ from indicative guidelines depending on their activity level and body condition - it is always best to discuss changes in feeding with your veterinarian. Watch out for changes in their digestion and preferences, especially during the summer months.

2. Training

Training can provide your pet with behavioural self-management skills to help them manage any potential social difficulties. Time spent learning new skills is a great opportunity to bond with your pet and build trust. It also helps maintain a positive relationship by correcting any bad behaviour/ habits - like enforcing boundaries of 'play' or basic leash training for their safety. Reward good behaviour and new skills with tasty treats and a lot of positive reinforcement through praise.

3. Socialisation

Starting early is ideal for socialisation, but it is also never too late. It is crucial your pet knows how to interact with other animals and humans. Regularly expose them to new environments, people, and sounds. Stay nearby and monitor, but let them explore and learn by themselves, as this builds confidence. Always keep watch for the safety of your pet and of others around you.

4. Pet Health

Be sure to schedule regular appointments with your veterinarian, ensuring that vaccines, deworming, and other health issues are addressed. Oral hygiene is important for your pet's comfort and is even linked to organ health, so regularly brush their teeth or provide dental chews. Make sure your pet is hydrated, especially during summer months; opt for more wet food and carry portable water bowls. Adequate exercise is a must - you can play with a variety of toys, swimming, running, and most importantly, regular walking. Keep them mentally stimulated; a happy pet is one that is active and uses all its keen senses.

5. Understand your pet and breed

Your pet's feeding, exercise, and lifestyle should be centred around their breed and their specific needs. Learn their grooming requirements and make sure they are comfortable and hygienic, especially in the summer months when breeds from cold regions require extra care. For instance, flat-faced breeds have difficulty breathing, so be careful not to overdo it during exercise; they are also more prone to skin and eye issues.

6. Learning the signs

There is no better teacher than experience, but there are definite indicators of what your pet is trying to communicate. Being sensitive to body language is key. In dogs, bared teeth, growling, or a tail straight up can mean aggression, whilst a tail between the legs and lowered ears means they are anxious and fearful. Your pet's individual personality beyond their breed will dictate their preferences and their tolerance - be mindful not to cause them unnecessary discomfort. Learning these signs can prevent behavioural accidents and ensure everyone's safety.

7. Safety

Pet-proof your home; make sure they cannot get hurt by objects that might fall on them from unstable shelving or run into sharp corners. Keep any openings, windows, and doors securely closed or barricaded. Make sure that you keep a collar and leash on your pet when outdoors or keep them securely in a pet carrier; ensure that they are made for your pet's size and fit properly so that they cannot slip out and endanger themselves. It is always advisable to register your pet so that it can be returned if lost, get it microchipped, or use a GPS collar.

Being a responsible pet parent requires time, effort, and resources. Before adopting a pet, consider your lifestyle, budget for pet expenses, have a suitable living space, research the breed, provide proper training and socialisation, make time for play and exercise, ensure proper nutrition, and be prepared for emergencies. By keeping these things in mind, you can provide a loving and nurturing home for your pet.

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