Did you know that 51 per cent of UK adults share their homes with a companion animal? (pdsa.org.uk) But sadly, not everyone looks after their animal friends as well as they should.
Make sure that you are the best carer possible for any animals living with you and remember, that whilst they may not be your entire world, you are theirs – without you, they would not be fed, sheltered, kept healthy, or loved.
Here are seven ways that you can be a fantastic animal carer:
• Practice responsibility – take responsibility for any ‘bad’ behaviour; it is likely due to something that you are/are not doing, not them. Get dogs and cats spayed or neutered and learn about your animal’s breed and specific needs.
• Bond with your companion – spend time with them each day to strengthen your connection and relationship to maintain mutual trust.
• Learn to detect signs of stress and illness – look out for warning signals like excessive yawning, shaking when dry, hiding or avoiding, trembling and repeatedly licking lips.
• Consider their needs, not only your own – place your animal’s toys where it is convenient for them to reach, not just you. Make sure feeding dishes and water bowls are accessible. Provide your animal friend with a secluded and quiet space they can retreat to.
• Groom and bathe them regularly – this is especially important for long-haired dogs, who can get uncomfortably matted fur.
When washing your dog, make sure to use actual dog shampoo – human products aren’t the correct pH. We recommend using Hownd (dogslovehownd.com), the makers of ethical and caring dog shampoos and treatments.
• Plan for when you’re away – don’t leave them home alone for too long. Arrange for a familiar face to walk your dog or cuddle your cat if you will be out all day.
There are also animal-friendly TV and radio stations, as well as calming pheromone sprays to keep them relaxed.
• Keep them active – depending on your animal’s species and breed, energy levels will vary; provide suitable outlets
for play and exercise. Walk dogs and provide cats and other small animals with toys and engaging activities for their mind and body.