When families adopt pets, those animals become an important part of the household. Single people and young couples often view their pets as their children and families with children enjoy sharing experiences with all family members, including the pets. Pets often travel on vacation with the family or attend family parties and gatherings. Since pets are such an important part of our lives, it is important to keep them healthy, happy and safe. While pets sometimes require less attention than humans, there are still things that should be done to protect them. Start by making sure your home is a safe environment for your pet. Pests are just as threatening to animals as they are to humans. While your cat or dog may not have a bug phobia like some people do, it is still important you avoid exposure to critters and pests. Some pests such as stink bugs will not cause any serious harm, but if a stink bug attacks your dog or cat, you will have a smelly mess to clean up. Other threatening pests include spiders and mosquitoes.
Animals, just like humans, require plenty of fresh water to stay healthy. Whether you feed your pets at a special time each day or you leave bowls of food for them to visit at their leisure, they should always have access to water. This is true indoors and out. If you leave your dog or cat outside during the day, be sure you place a water container in their space. Indoors, set up water and feeding station in your kitchen, basement or out-of-the-way area. Your pet should feel safe and comfortable when eating and drinking and if their dining area is in a busy place, they may feel anxious and uncomfortable. Freshen their water a few times a day and when the temperature rises, add a few ice cubes to their water bowls.
Pets should also have access to many of the same comforts humans crave. Both cats and dogs need warm, soft places to sleep. Also be sure the area is dark for a portion of the day. Just like humans, animals need access to a cool, dark area to get deep, restorative sleep. If you choose to let your pet sleep in bed with you, launder the sheets at least once a week to keep pet hair and dander from building up.
Outside, pets should have a large, but restricted area in which to play. Outdoor cats will roam as they please, but dogs will be more controlled. Ideally, you will have a large fenced area that enables your dog to spend time outside throughout the day. Even with a fenced area, take your dog for walks a few times a week so they get some variety and structure exercise. If there is no fence around your home and you leash your dog in the outdoor space, be sure to provide plenty of length to the leash to allow for exploration and exercise.
Finally, be sure your pet is protected from the elements when outdoors. During extreme cold or heat, never leave your pet outside for more than a few minutes. Unless weather conditions are ideal and your area is secure, you should never leave your pet outside for hours at a time, like during the workday.