Be honest now, are you a GREAT owner? Or an average owner?
What I want to know even more is: How many owners know how to be a great owner? Do you know that if you own a cat or a dog, you need to brush their teeth? That if you own a rodent, you should provide something hard for them to chew on, otherwise their teeth will get too long, and then they can't eat?
Some animals seem to be easy to care for, but many owners don't even realize the most basic care needs they have. How do you think your gums and teeth would feel if they were never brushed throughout your entire life? Older pets such as cats and dogs have a lot of pain in their mouth because they have acute gingivitis. Their teeth end up falling out. And for some reason, people attribute this to old age!
Most owners will give their pets 3 things:
- Food & water: This is obvious. If you don't give them this, you won't have them for very long.
- Love & attention: Animals need this as much as they need food and water. If they don't receive love and attention, they grow depressed, or they may annoy you until you do give them some sort of attention, whether negative or positive.
- A means to excercise. Such as; taking your dog on a walk, playing with your cat, or giving your hamster a wheel to run in.
The biggest thing that owners skimp on is hygiene. Cats and dogs need their ears cleaned, their fur washed and combed, (especially long-furred ones) and their teeth brushed. Many of them need their nails clipped, unless they walk on hard surfaces often enough to keep them dull.
Another thing that owners skimp on is giving their animal excercise, especially dogs. If you have a dog and cannot or will not take them for walks or play with them, plan on getting another dog. If a dog has someone to actively play with, then it will help them get the excercise they need. It also helps if you do not want to play tug-of-war with your dog; she can play with the other dog. It is still recommended to take your dogs on walks, or go to the dog park for adequate excercise.
Cats usually can get enough excercise on their own; just make sure you're not overfeeding them. They will become overweight, and while overweight they lose the energy to run rapidly from room to room, which in turn makes them obese. Female cats will usually gain a little weight after being spayed.
Another important thing is to make sure your pets aren't bored. A good example of a bored pet is birds. A bird will pluck his feathers off his chest and back if he has nothing to do. Sometimes they'll pluck enough feathers off that the feathers will never grow back. The best way to stop this is to provide their food in small amounts in different places. This is called scavenging, and it's what birds do in the wild; they have to find their food. There are plenty of different toys available that you can place bird food inside. Start small, and when your bird figures it out, start giving him harder toys. There are also handmade toys you can make, like taking a cardboard tube and sealing food inside of it.
Now that you know just a little bit more about taking care of animals, you can answer my initial question a little more accurately: are you a good pet owner, or a GREAT one?