We can guess, but pets can’t actually tell us how they’re feeling. When we get to know them well enough, they do have their little ways of letting us know when they’re comfortable, if they want something, or when they’re in any distress or discomfort. It’s up to us to keep an eye on them, know their habits and be able to spot the trickier (and less obvious) symptoms of illness or injury.
Understanding the Breed & Species
As responsible pet owners, we learn what we can about our pet's species and breed so that we can provide for our pet’s health and wellness. Beyond how attracted you are to the size and appearance of a particular breed of dog or cat, there are many things to think about when choosing the right one for you and your specific situation.
As different species, dogs and cats obviously have distinct needs. However, within a species, not every dog (or cat) is alike. Each breed has a wide range of characteristics and needs – physically, mentally and emotionally – from both a caregiver and a home.
Characteristics / Personality
Each breed of pet has physical characteristics and personality traits that can impact how much and what kind of care they need, or how well they fit into a particular lifestyle or living environment. For example, some breeds of dog are known to be better and more patient around young children, some dogs absolutely require hours of physical exercise each day, and some working breeds need mental stimulation in the form of challenges to be happy and stable. Those are just a few of the many factors pet owners need to keep in mind.
All breeds of dogs (from Poodles to Rottweilers) and cats (whether a Rag Doll or a Manx) are each susceptible to the development of certain types of medical conditions. If you talk to your vet and do your research, then you know what these conditions are in advance. That can help you plan for whether you can afford to care for them, as well as how to watch out for medical issues and what to do if you begin to see any of the telltale signs and symptoms.
As responsible pet owners, we also want to make sure our pets have the following:
- A safe and stress-free living environment
- General behaviour training
- Routine, structure and discipline (as required)
- Stimulation and play
- Sleep and rest
- A healthy diet
- A healthy lifestyle (exercise, grooming and maintenance)
- Veterinary medical care and advice
- Preventive care (healthy teeth and gums, etc.)
- Identification through a collar, registry or other means