Alison Kero of Alicat Pet Service LLC offers these tips for great pet care:
DO research pet foods. Read the ingredients just as you would with your own food. Many pet foods claim to be healthy but are not. If you're not sure which ingredients your pet needs, consult your veterinarian.
DON'T overfeed your pet. They look at us with those eyes, and we can't help but give them extra little treats or second helpings of food. Feeding your pet too much creates extra weight, which in turn can lead to expensive health problems and even early death.
DO give your pet plenty of water. As it does in humans, water flushes out the system and keeps your pet healthy. A surprising number of health problems may occur if your pet isn't drinking enough water.
DON'T bathe your pet too often. Animals are prone to dry skin. Not only will your pet be itchy and uncomfortable, but your home will be filled with allergy-inducing pet dander.
DO use supplements. Animal supplements fill dietary voids and help protect your pet's skin from dryness.
DO treat your pet for fleas and ticks. "Frontline is the best product for treating flea and tick infestation and for preventing future problems," says Kero. Treat your pet before your living space becomes overrun with these pests.
DO make sure your pet gets plenty of exercise. Walk your dog every day, especially if it's confined to the indoors or a small yard. And make sure your cat has plenty of toys that stimulate the senses.
DO investigate holistic ways to keep your pet healthy. Do some online research and, more importantly, talk to your vet about natural options for keeping your pet healthy and happy.
Certified professional dog trainer Joan Hunter Mayer of The Inquisitive Canine in Ventura, California, offers this very important "Do":
DO know your animal! "Before adopting any animal, educate yourself about such things as the species' specific traits and the 'normal behavior' of that particular animal. It helps set you up for realistic expectations."
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