A pet can be a wonderful addition to a home. Just having an animal companion to come back to each evening is enough to boost your mental health massively, but there are plenty of other psychological benefits to owning a pet. Of course, moving into the world of pet ownership is a two-way street; if your new furry (or feathery) friend is going to bring you joy, then you’ll also need to make sure you’re providing for them. Here are 10 things you need to make your pet feel at home with you.
#1 A great bed
Did you know that cats spend an average of around 16 to 20 hours a day sleeping? That’s a pretty impressive total, and we’re sure that many of us here could average that if we were allowed. Pets need a great bed to sleep on because they’ll be spending a lot of their day asleep. From cute cat baskets to orthopedic memory foam dog beds, no matter the age or species of your pet, you’ll need to make sure they’ve got somewhere comfortable to sleep. There’s nothing wrong with your bed, either!
#2 A good food supply
Depending on the species of your pet, their diet will vary greatly. Dogs, for example, need a mixture of meat, grains, and other food types to stay healthy. Cats are far more carnivorous and generally tend to eat more meat. High-quality pet food is very important for keeping your pet happy and healthy; they’ll know if you’re trying to fob them off with the cheap stuff, and after several vet’s bills, you’ll know too. The extra expense is worth it to keep your little friend happy.
Whether your dog responds well to training or your cat stays away from an area you’ve designated a no-go zone, you’ll need to reinforce desirable behaviour in your pet. Keeping a constant supply of good treats is essential. Again, depending on the species, this will vary. There are a variety of excellent healthy options available for dogs if you want to make sure your dog isn’t gaining too much weight or eating too unhealthily while still maintaining a good training regimen.
Higher functioning animals – dogs, for example, or cats – are definitely capable of becoming bored. When left for long amounts of time with nothing to do, dogs and cats will often turn to shredding up the furniture or knocking things off shelves. In order to make this behaviour less likely, buy plenty of toys for your dog or cat and make sure to spend a lot of time with them. Just talking to them can keep them entertained; that adorable dog head-tilt shows they’re trying to understand you, which is exciting.
Make sure that your home is a safe place for your pet to navigate. If there’s stuff in your house that could potentially cause harm to your pets, then either remove it or make it inaccessible to them. There could also be certain behaviours you’re exhibiting that could be damaging to your pet – smoking, for example, or giving them human medication. Sometimes, pets don’t know what’s good for them. Don’t let them eat things they aren’t supposed to and don’t let them lick cosmetics.
Of course, not every pet thrives on a completely silent home, and a certain degree of noise around the house is not only unavoidable but also should be encouraged; a pet should get used to loud noises if they’re going to happen frequently, other wise pets such as dogs can become anxious. Still, too much noise can seriously upset or traumatise a pet. Make sure you’re not constantly shouting or making loud, sudden noises around your pet. Keep them relaxed, and if a loud noise is going to happen, cuddle them before or afterwards to make sure they’re OK.
We know, we know – you love your pet. We love ours too. Still, sometimes it’s good for pets to be alone with their thoughts. You wouldn’t like someone to constantly badger you regardless of whether you were in the mood for company or not, so don’t subject your pet to it. Many pets – cats, for example, or dogs – will give you very clear signs that they want to be left alone, like growling, hissing, or body language. Make sure you heed those warnings.
Even though you should leave your pet alone when they want to be left, that’s absolutely not a reason not to play with them. This is a great way to give them the much-needed stimulus we mentioned above, but it’s also a good time to bond with your pet and develop trust between the two of you. When you need to take your pet to the vet, or when you need to deliver medication, they’ll feel much better about it if you’ve taken the time out to be with them in happier moments.
Don’t ignore that persistent limp your cat has, or the fact that your dog keeps vomiting. It’s not seriously likely to be anything life-threatening – especially not if the animal is young – but you don’t want to miss something that needs to be treated. When you suspect your pet might not be well, don’t hesitate to take them to the vet as soon as possible. Sometimes, vet’s bills can be quite expensive, but you can’t put a price on your little animal friend’s happiness.
Just being in the same room as your pet will not only make the pet feel better, it’ll have great effects for you, too. We’re not just talking about human companionship here, though. Getting another pet to keep yours company can be an excellent way to reduce boredom, improve socialisation, and make you and your family feel happier. First, you need to make sure your pet is the kind of animal that wants to socialise, though. It’s not fair to introduce your pet to another animal if they don’t want to make friends.