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5 Tips for happy, healthy pets

Molly Cerreta Smith has enjoyed a career in the publishing industry for more than 10 years. As an editor of several regional magazines, she has had the opportunity throughout her career to meet many local celebrities, businesspeople, ent...

Raise a happy, healthy pet

Your pet can become like a family member, so why treat her any differently than you would treat a human loved one? SheKnows offers these five tips to ensure you raise a happy, healthy pet.

woman with her dog outside

Nutrition

When you get your new pet, make sure you gain the knowledge about the best way to ensure he is getting his proper nutrition. Much like humans, pets need nutritious foods and water several times a day. You should also make sure you are aware of the foods that your pet should not be fed. For example, chocolate and grapes can be deadly for dogs. But that doesn't mean pets can't have treats. Do your homework to find out your pets' favorite treats and dole them out appropriately -- but not too often!

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Exercise

All pets -- from hamsters to horses -- need their exercise. Many breeds of the same species require different activities to stay healthy. Be sure to give your pet the minimum exercise needed on a daily basis -- as well as some fun free time. For example, a running wheel will give your hamster some efficient cardio, but you also need to give him some time outside the cage to explore the world in a safe environment. In addition to letting your dog outside to "do his business," build some time in your day for a game of Frisbee, or take him jogging with you so you both get your exercise.

Training

As with humans, it's important that we follow the rules of society. Pets are expected to act in a certain way (i.e. no peeing on the carpet and no chewing your Jimmy Choos). If they don't, there should be consequences. Before you become an owner of any pet, be sure you are prepared to handle the important process of properly training it. If you are not able to conquer the training process on your own, seek an obedience class that you and your pet can attend together. It's important in all instances that your pet respects you and obeys you. After all, you are the master.

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Socialization

You know how much you love your Friday happy hour with the ladies so you can catch up, chat and laugh? Well, pets like time to hang with their friends too! They may not commiserate about a brutal boss, but they have their own way of communicating and interacting with one another that is just as important as your social interaction. If you are away from the house all day most days of the week, consider a pet day camp where you can drop off your pet to play with other pets. When you can, take your pet to a pet-friendly park or beach to interact with others. Or meet your girls for happy hour at a pet-friendly restaurant and let your pets play as you and your besties chat it up over chips and margaritas.

Love

Who doesn't love a good hug, snuggle or smooch? Pets need love just as much as their human counterparts. Make sure you give your pet lots of special attention in the way of pats, tummy rubs, scratches behind the ears and any other affection that your pet craves.

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