How to be the best pet parent you can
By Team Walmart Pets
April 21, 2021
What pet breed should you get?
If you’re a couch potato, an active breed is not for you. If you live in a small apartment, think again about a larger pet. And before you head off to a breeder, consider visiting your local shelter or rescue. If you do choose to get your pet from a breeder, research them to make sure they’re reputable. It’s not about getting a pet that you simply want, it’s about finding the right pet for you.
Know the costs of pet parenting
The cost of parenting a cat is $1,100 or more in the first year alone. Dogs are upwards of $1,800 in their first year. And these are conservative estimates. Statistics show that pets under 1-year-old are 2.5 times more likely to get hurt or sick. Protecting young pets with insurance at an early age is a great way to ensure you and your pet are covered for up to 90% of vet bills if they get sick or hurt.
Keep up with your pet’s health
Schedule annual physical exams (bi-annual for geriatric pets) regardless of if your pet is due for vaccines or not. Physical exams are just as important for safeguarding your pet’s health as vaccines, and exams allow you to identify problems sooner rather than later.
You can also keep up with your pet’s health with monthly preventatives for fleas and ticks. They can carry diseases that could infect your pet, and heartworm disease can be fatal. Consider giving your pet a monthly preventative year-round rather than just in the summer.
Feed your pet a healthy diet
Give your pet a healthy, balanced, age-appropriate diet and be sure to choose some healthy dog food or healthy cat food for your best friend. And don’t overfeed! Pet obesity can lead to major health problems like diabetes and can exacerbate joint pain caused by arthritis.
Spay or neuter your pet
Decreasing the pet population is important, plus spaying and neutering pets help reduce the risk of certain health problems, such as mammary or testicular cancer.
Make sure your pet has ID
Current identification tags on your dog or cat’s collar can help them make it home if they’re ever lost. Microchips are even better. If your pet gets lost, the microchip can be scanned instantly, giving rescuers access to your phone and address. If your pet has a microchip, you must keep your information up-to-date.
Be prepared, stay prepared
Have a pet first aid kit with things like gauze, vet wrap, plastic bags, hydrogen peroxide, styptic (for small cuts), eyewash, antibacterial ointment, scissors and tweezers. Keep one at home and one in your car. Don’t forget to include your vet’s phone number and the number to nearby emergency facilities.
Train your pet
Start training and socializing your pet as soon as you get them, especially a puppy. Knowing simple commands like “Come”, “Sit” or “Stay” can keep your pet safe. The ability to call your dog back to you with “Come!” is especially important in avoiding dangerous situations. Training and socializing your dog can help prevent behavioral issues down the road.
Set a good example in public
When you go out with your pet, be sure to bring bags so that you can clean up after him. Leaving waste is just plain wrong. It not only annoys others, but it’s also unhealthy and usually against the law!