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7 Tips for being a perfect parent to your pet

Molly Cerreta Smith loves writing about all things mommy, parenting, food, health and travel. When she's not staring into the face of her Mac, she loves to hike, read, do messy crafts with her kids and compete in BBQ competitions with he...

Be the best pet parent

Just because you don't have kids doesn't mean you're not a parent! Your pet relies on you for care, love and more. Make sure you are doing all you can to be the best pet parent possible by checking off these seven tips for being a perfect parent to your pet.

cat sitting on scale

Keep them fed right

Make sure you know what your pet should eat -- and how much he should eat -- on a daily basis to ensure proper growth and health. Though you may be tempted to feed him scraps from your take-out, it's probably not the best thing for Fido.

You might be surprised how much your cat should eat >>

Take them to regular check-ups

Don't wait for an emergency to get your pet to the vet. Schedule regular check-ups for your pet to ensure his health is being properly maintained. In between well-checks, if you notice any odd behavior or new symptoms, make an appointment right away.

Primp your pet

Just like you need the occasional spa day, your pet needs to be pampered too. He may not appreciate his grooming as much as you relish your deep-tissue massage, but it's essential nonetheless. Keep on top of regular groomings, nail trims, teeth-brushing and more. Long-haired pets may require more regular haircuts to keep fur from becoming tangled and matted.

Snuggle with your (four-legged) sweetie

Your pet craves your attention as much as he does a meaty bone. Just think about how good you feel when you get back from work (or simply checking the mail) and your dog reacts with utter joy upon your entrance. Return the favor by giving your pet special time each night that you dedicate simply to snuggling with him or stroking his ears.

Read up on how to find a trustworthy pet sitter or doggy day care >>

Exercise your pet

Your pet needs exercise as much as you do. Why not combine your cardio routine by taking your pet jogging with you or tossing the ball to him at the park?

Don't leave your pet alone for too long

Your pet gets lonely and bored when you are gone for extended periods of time. This boredom often results in dogs digging through the trash, chewing your shoes or even trying to escape. If you work nearby your home, make a point to swing by during your lunch break to give Fido a quick quality-time session (or a trip outside to potty!). If you can't make that happen, look into a doggy day care where you can leave your pet while you are out. He can socialize with other pets and you don't have to feel guilty that he's home alone. Win-win.

Check out these four tips to help cope with your pet's separation anxiety >>

Give your pet the occasional treat

Whether it's your dog's favorite chicken jerky or a can of tuna for your cat, occasionally give your pet a special treat. This is a fun way to reinforce your love and to reward your pet for good behavior. Just don't make a habit of it, as too many treats can lead to a pudgy pet.

More on pet care

How to handle pet health emergencies
Top pet health resources

Fat pets: How overfeeding damages their health

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