How to Celebrate Your Pet During National Pet Month

Little girl cuddling pet cat

Celebrate the Joys of Pet Ownership During National Pet Month

Have you planned anything special for National Pet Month in May? These six ideas can help you honor the special pets in your life.

Spend the Day with Your Pet

Most pets thrive on attention and would like nothing better than to spend a little extra time with you. When life becomes chaotic, pets often become an afterthought. Although you may make sure that your dog, cat, or guinea pig has plenty of food and water, you might be too distracted or busy to really spend any quality time with your pet.

Devoting an entire day, or at least a few hours, to your pet offers benefits for both of you. People who have pets in their lives often have lower stress, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Spending time with you can improve socialization skills for pets, reduce anxiety and help your pet stay fit and healthy.

Teach the Young People in Your Life About Responsible Pet Care

Teaching children to properly care for pets is one of the most important things you can do to ensure that the next generation values animals just as much as you do. Involve your children, grandchildren or other young people in the care of your pets. Explain the importance of good nutrition, grooming, socialization, and physical activity for pets, and discuss the importance of treating animals kindly.

Spay or Neuter Your Pet

Spaying (for females) and neutering (for males) are surgical procedures that prevent your pets from reproducing. Although puppies and kittens are certainly cute, animal shelters are full of unwanted animals that have been surrendered because some owners believe they have outgrown the cute stage. The surgeries also reduce aggressive behavior and spraying in cats, lower the risk of mammary (breast) cancer, and prevent your female pets from developing serious uterine infections or your male pets from developing testicular cancer.

Puppies and kittens can safely be spayed or neutered as young as eight weeks, according to the ASPCA. Your pet's veterinarian can advise you on the ideal time for the surgery.

Train Your Dog

Training your dog not only improves your pet's behavior but also helps keep him or her safe. If your dog suddenly takes off after a squirrel during a walk, a quick "come" or "sit/stay" command may prevent him or her from sprinting into traffic.

During obedience classes, both you and your dog will learn common commands, plus your dog will learn how to interact appropriately with other dogs and people.

Adopt a Pet

Have you been thinking about adding a new pet to your family? The local animal shelter offers plenty of dogs, cats, and small animals that desperately need new homes. Although kittens and puppies are always in demand, older pets need homes too and have a lot of love to offer.

Let Your Pet Pick Out a Toy

If you want them to enjoy a special gift from you, take your pet to a pet store in your local area and allow them to pick out a toy that they really like. Pets love receiving toys and what better time to purchase them a new one than during National Pet Month!

Schedule a Visit with the Veterinarian

Regular checkups are just as important for your pet's health as they are for yours. Unfortunately, health problems aren't always obvious in pets. During annual visits, your pet's veterinarian conducts a thorough examination, in addition to performing blood or other tests that help him or her diagnose common ailments.

If your pet is diagnosed with a disease or condition, the veterinarian can offer helpful treatments and recommendations. Checkups also include vaccinations and medications that protect your pet from contracting serious, potentially fatal diseases. The visit is also the perfect time to discuss weight, diet, health and behavioral concerns with the veterinarian.

Monitor your pet's health so you can celebrate them for as long as possible.

Sources:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: About Pets and People

ASPCA: Spay/Neuter Your Pet

American Kennel Club: Basic Obedience Training for Puppies, 3/2/20

Partnership for Healthy Pets: Why a Checkup?

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