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5 Secrets of happy pets

It doesn’t take much to make a pet happy, but sometimes humans confuse human happiness with pet happiness. Make sure you’re meeting your pet’s needs with these five secrets of happy pets.

Woman playing ball with dog

1The basics

Just like humans have basic needs, pets have basic needs as well. Your pet needs food, water and a secure shelter. The safer and more secure a pet feels, the happier it will be. While it may sound pretty cut-and-dry, humans sometimes misunderstand these basic needs. Here are some quick tips on meeting your pet’s basic needs the right way:

  • Get on a pet feeding schedule and stick with it — the comfort of knowing when to expect food will keep your pet happy and secure.
  • Consider crating your dogs when you’re away — and if you’re a pet owner who feels like crating a dog is akin to cruelty, think again. Crating your dog will make it feel secure and will help prevent separation anxiety and boredom-induced destruction, something both of you will be happy about!
  • Always provide clean water for your pets and check the water at least two times a day to make sure it’s fresh and full.
  • Keep an eye on the weather — it doesn’t matter if your pet is an indoor or outdoor animal, you need to make sure the shelter you provide is sufficient for the weather. Even if you have indoor animals, a house without air conditioning in the middle of summer could be a recipe for disaster.

2Exercise and play

Think about birds, squirrels and other critters running around in nature; much of their lives are spent … running around in nature. Happy animals are active animals, regardless of their species. Unfortunately, humans sometimes buy a particular pet or breed in order to avoid excessive exercise. If you want to keep your pet happy, carve out a portion of every day to focus on exercise and play.

3Combat loneliness

Many animals are social by nature, and dogs particularly so. They enjoy meeting new people and other pets, and they may feel lonely or bored when left home alone. If you have the funds and the time to invest in two animals, you may want to purchase a friend for your pet. If this isn’t an option, try combatting loneliness by playing music for your pet while you’re away, planning social time for your pet at a local dog park or always leaving your pet with something that smells like you.

4Set boundaries

Happy pets are pets that know their boundaries. When you train your cat to use a litter box, or teach your dog to sit before you go outside, not only will you feel better, but your pet will feel confident that it’s meeting your expectations.

5Provide mental stimulation

Pets that spend their days isolated and unchallenged are likely to be unhappy. Look for ways to engage your pet’s brain. Mental stimulation isn’t a hard thing to provide, but you do have to make an effort to provide it. Consider the following possibilities:

  • Giving your pet toys that make it work for a treat
  • Teaching your dog or cat new tricks, skills or jobs
  • Making your small animal work its way through a maze

The more opportunities for mental stimulation that you provide to your pet, the less likely your pet will go looking for mental stimulation in all the wrong places.

Pet training tip

How to get your dog to sit

The tip to mastering this trick? Use treats and lots of praise. Within days, you’ll have your dog sitting at attention and on command.

More tips for pet owners

5 Exercises you can do with your dog
5 Exercises you can do with your indoor cat
Citizen training: Certifying your dog as a good citizen

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