There are more pets than humans in Australia. Almost two-thirds of us have at least one pet: about two in five households have a dog and three in ten households have a cat, according to Animal Medicines Australia's most recent report.
As any pet owner will tell you, their pet is not just an animal. More than likely they are part of the family and deserve to be shown love and care just like the rest of us, even though we can never hope to give back as much as they add to our lives.
Still, you can try, especially as next week is National Pet Appreciation Week. PETstock has provided five ways to keep your furry friend happy and healthy:
- Grooming: Untrimmed dogs, cats and rabbits with an extra-thick winter coat require regular brushing. Keep your pet's coat in top condition by brushing daily to remove tangles, dirt and dead hair, to increase skin circulation and distribute oil. A winter coat can hide trouble, such as lumps, bumps or sores, which is another good reason to keep brushing regularly. As you brush, feel and look carefully for signs of illness.
- Playtime: Play games and leave out a range of safe toys to keep pets entertained while you're away. An automated laser pointer for your curious cat will provide lots of fun. Tip: Try a treat dispensing toy for a food obsessed pooch, such as the Kong Puppy or Kong Cat Wobbler.
- Regular exercise: Most dogs love exploring new and interesting places with their best friend. Vary your daily walks as new routes provide exposure to exciting smells and different stimulation. Tip: Consider doggie day care or a dog walker once or twice a week in addition to daily walks to help meet your dog's exercise requirements or consider hosting a playdate.
- Spoil them with a special occasion treat: Who needs an extra excuse to give Fido a treat? Your local PETstock store is sure to get tails wagging with its range of pet-friendly biscuits and pupsicles. Tip: Pets need a healthy, well balanced diet. High-end dog treats should only be given on occasions as over-feeding could cause weight gain or other health-related issues. Always check with your local vet.
- Shower them with love: Most people and pets feel better when they have physical contact. Simply patting a pet can lower your heart rate and theirs too and helps build an unwavering friendship. Tip: Not all pets like to be patted and have preferences as to where and how they like to be touched and who by. It's important to become familiar with your pet preferences and pay attention to body language.