Pet Wellbeing: A Complete Guide to Caring for Animals
Pet wellbeing refers to how happy your pet is, whether they are getting the attention they need or the nutrition they need.
We explore how to keep your pet happy and healthy and why pet wellbeing is essential.
We also discuss what makes a good pet owner and suggest ways to improve your furry friend's quality of life.
What is pet wellbeing?
How to keep your pet happy
What makes a good owner
What is pet wellbeing?
The term 'wellbeing' encompasses a lot of feelings, from happiness and energy to comfort and health. For people, it can also refer to a sense of purpose or satisfaction. So, what does it mean for pets?
In general, it mostly relates to how content our furry friends are. Depending on the type of animal you own, this can include:
Their boredom levels
The most important element here is happiness. If they are healthy, they are more likely to be happy. If they aren't experiencing hunger or boredom, they are also more likely to be happy.
Why is pet wellbeing important?
Pet wellbeing is just as important as our own wellbeing. We know it's essential to fix an element of our lives that isn't contributing to a happy and healthy life. Well, it's the same for our pets.
By being pet parents, we take on the responsibility of caring for another life. This life is just as sacred and important as any other, so you have to treat it as such.
Without considering your pet's wellbeing, they may suffer. This can lead to:
Pets are relatively easy to keep happy. But sometimes, that means we can become complacent. It's easy to simply stick to your normal routine and assume your pets are happy. However, there is often more we can do.
Not all pet food contains what your furry friend needs, despite what it says on the packet. Every animal is different, and the nutrients they need depend on a few things like:
Whether they have any conditions
It's a good idea to tailor your pet's diet to their needs. For example, if you have a kitten or a puppy, research what they need most to grow strong and healthy and then opt for a food high in that nutrient. Or, if they are older and their joints are becoming stiff, then Omega 3 found in fatty fish can help.
If you don't know where to start, consult your veterinarian. As a baseline, nearly all animals need a good amount of:
So be sure to check the ingredients of the food you are buying. If you are unsure whether your furry friend is getting what they need, look out for these signs in dogs and cats that they may be missing a key nutrient:
Lack of energy
Unusual body weight (under or overweight)
There is increasing interest in more natural products that help our pets stay as healthy as possible. Below are some of the best herbal solutions to consider for your pet:
Sheep sorrel herb: Helps keep kidneys functional and healthy.
Blessed thistle herb: Helps keep the liver functional and aids purification of the blood.
Slippery elm bark: Helps your pet's digestive system.
While scientific research relating to natural products is limited, many vets will recommend these solutions to aid pet wellbeing.
Top Tip: Always consult veterinary medicine guidelines and chat with your vet before giving your furry friend any new substance.
Like us, our pets need attention. Most of them don't want to live a solitary life and instead enjoy interactions with other animals and people.
Attention when they are young also helps socialize them into being well-adjusted pets that can be trusted around other animals, people, and even children.
This can be difficult to keep up if you have an animal that lives in a cage. However, it's even more important to make sure they are getting quality time outside of their cage. Try:
Setting at least one specific time a day to take them out of the cage and spend time with them
Creating a safe and secure place where they can play outside of their cage
Talk to them and interact with them when they are in the cage
Place the cage somewhere that is not completely isolated
Leaving dogs and cats home alone for too long can lead to anxiety disorders and other health issues. If you need to leave home for over 3 hours a day, consider investing in a pet sitter.
You may think this is an expensive option and out of your means. However, there are plenty of people who love animals but can't have a pet and would relish the opportunity to spend some time with your furry friend.
Joining programs like 'Borrow my Doggy'
Posting on local Facebook and WhatsApp groups to see if anyone is available to watch your pet
Important Insight: Pregnant animals will need more care and attention. If your pet is expecting babies, do your research to find out how to keep them as happy as possible!
Animals are incredibly intelligent. Sitting in a cage for the rest of their life is not enough stimulation to keep them engaged and interested and is unlikely to lead to good pet wellbeing.
Dogs enjoy learning new tricks, cats love new toys, and birds love a new puzzle to solve. We often underestimate our pets' intelligence and need for stimulation. A quick walk or a run outside the cage just won't cut it for the rest of their lives.
Although animals love routine, they'll also enjoy a change every now and then!
For dogs, consider:
New trails for walks
Meeting other dogs
For cats, consider:
A scratching post
Installing climbing blocks on the walls
Expert Insight: Many pets don't get the exercise they need. Make sure you're reaching their personal exercise goals to help them lead healthier lives.
We often underestimate our pets' intelligence and need for stimulation. A quick walk or a run outside the cage just won't cut it for the rest of their lives.
What makes a good owner
So we know what our pets need. But do we know what differentiates a good pet owner from an average pet owner?
Just a few years ago, the fact that our pets needed support might have just been laughed off. Their animals, after all. They are bred to survive. However, this isn't the case. Pet wellbeing is most impacted by pet owners, so there is a lot you can do!
Being passionate pet owners
It may sound obvious, but a love for animals is essential if you want to be a good pet owner. Owning a pet isn't all sunshine and rainbows. It can be stressful, frustrating, and scary.
To truly and passionately care for your pet through thick and thin is to be a good pet owner. It's a huge commitment and something that needs to be carefully considered.
Getting professional advice
It's not good enough to assume your pet is healthy or that you know best. Googling symptoms and advice is okay when you want to learn more, but if your pet is struggling, you must seek help from a health professional immediately.
If your pet develops an illness that requires regular medication, you may be faced with hundreds if not thousands of dollars worth of bills. To reduce the risk of not being able to afford to look after your furry friend, investing in good pet insurance is a must.
It'll also encourage you to take more trips to the vet when you notice anything out of the ordinary, meaning your pet is more likely to get the help they need as soon as possible.
No matter how much we love animals or feel we need a pet, often our setups and situations don't suit keeping a furry friend. Being responsible is about recognizing when you're ready for a pet and when you're not.
If you travel a lot, don't have enough money to get your pet regularly checked at the vet, or have to leave the house for hours every day for work, owning a pet is not a responsible decision. They won't have the quality of life that they deserve.
Another element of being a responsible pet owner is putting your pet first. While it may seem inconvenient sometimes or require a lot of effort, a good owner will always consider their pet's wellbeing and prioritize it over anything else.
Being responsible is about recognizing when you're ready for a pet and when you're not.
How do I stop worrying about my sick pet?
To stop worrying about your sick pet, make sure they are getting all the care they need. If they are already in the safe hands of a vet, then you have done all you can. You can rest assured knowing that they will be getting the best care possible.
Is it normal to worry about your pets?
Yes, it's very normal to worry about your pets. They are part of the family, and sometimes, it can be difficult to understand what they need and whether they are happy. As long as you are giving them attention, stimulation, nutritious food, and love, they should be happy and healthy!
Will my dog be okay if I leave him for a week?
No, your dog should not be left alone for a week. Dogs need a lot of attention and stimulation. Without this, they will be neglected and can suffer from anxiety, depression, and behavioral issues.
How do I keep my pet healthy?
To keep your pet healthy, you must ensure they are getting nutritious food, lots of love, attention, stimulation, and exercise. It's important you research what your pet needs or get professional advice from your vet to keep them as healthy as possible.
What are the basic needs of a pet?
The 5 basic needs of a pet are nutritious food, water, attention, stimulation, and exercise. If you ensure your furry friend gets these 5 main things, along with a big dose of love, they should be happy and healthy.
Why is it important to keep your pet healthy?
It's important to keep your pet healthy because their health is your responsibility. If you let your pet become unhealthy, they can develop diseases and other illnesses. This will decrease their quality of life.
How can I improve my pet's welfare?
You can improve your pet's welfare by paying attention to their needs. Make time to play with them, keep their environment clean, offer them new toys, give them enough exercise, and give them a lot of love!
Pets live happier, healthier lives when they have caring and responsible owners. It's normal to worry about our furry friends as it can sometimes be difficult to tell whether they're happy or not.
However, if you're prioritizing their happiness, getting them any help and support they need, and ensuring they are getting the exercise and nutrition they need, they should be very content!
In this blog, I combine my two areas of expertise: pets and writing. I share my personal experiences alongside plenty of animal behavior research to help owners look after their pets. I have always lived with furry friends and am now a loving cat mum to two orange kitties.