Responsible Pet Ownership in Groveport, OH
While February is widely known as the month of love, that isn’t its only distinction. Here at Groveport Canal Animal Hospital, we also recognize February as National Responsible Pet Owners Month. As your veterinarian, one of our major goals is helping people be the best guardians and caregivers for their cherished pets. It’s easy to indulge your pet with treats and snuggles, but putting their health needs first is what truly shows that you love them.
Communicate with Your Pet in a Language They Understand
While dogs and cats are capable of following basic commands and responding to their own names, there are various non-verbal forms of communication you can employ as a responsible pet owner to truly connect with your pet. This includes:
- Reinforce your dog’s place in the pack. Snuggles and always being close will help them feel secure, safe, and, most important, like they belong. A dog that is fully aware of their position in the pack is a happy dog.
- Eye contact while petting your dog and speaking softly to them is another way to connect with your pet and make them feel loved. However, avoid making direct eye contact with any dogs you don’t know; they may interpret this is a challenge and become aggressive.
- Lean into your dog to initiate contact and increase their sense of security. This is especially important if your dog often leans into you.
- It’s no mystery that dogs love having their ears rubbed. Gentle rubbing helps release endorphins, so your dog will feel happy and relaxed.
- Does your dog have any favorite activities, like going to the dog park, playing frisbee, or taking walks? Devote as much time as you can each day to bonding with your dog and keeping them active.
- Groom them. Grooming is something that your cat does quite regularly, but your help is always appreciated—especially if they’re of the longhaired variety! Brushing your cat daily or a few times a week can reduce or even prevent hairballs, and it also removes dead hair and skin cells from their coat.
- Pet them! Even standoffish cats enjoy being petted every now and then. Indulge your companion with chin rubs and neck scratches to get them purring!
- Eye contact. Making eye contact with your cat and doing a slow blink sends a message of love. When cats do a slow blink, it means they’re extremely content and trusting in your presence.
- Keep them stimulated with play. You should play with your cat for at least 20 minutes a day so they can stay active and sharp. Whether it’s chasing the laser pointer or hunting down their favorite catnip toy, choose a play style that appeals to them the most. Cardboard boxes are an easy and popular way to enrich your cat’s environment as well.
Be Observant of Your Pet’s Daily Habits
It’s easy to take your pet’s health for granted when everything seems to be going well and you have plenty of obligations in your own life to worry about. However, since dogs and cats can’t tell us when they’re not feeling well, it’s up to us to be alert to any small changes in behavior and/or appearance. Pay attention to your pet’s eating habits and activity level. Are they sleeping more? Are they eating less? Listen to your gut—if your pet is behaving differently, let us know. They might be concealing an illness or injury.