Do good for animals with a few simple actions

Is improving the welfare of your animals — and animals in general — on your list of New Year’s resolutions? We hope. Working to make the world a better place not only for pets but also for animals in need, is the best solution we can think of.

The idea of ​​making life better for animals can seem overwhelming, especially when it comes to animal cruelty or homeless pets, but every little bit helps. If each of us does one small thing a couple of times a year, or one small thing every day for our pets, the overall result will be more impressive than we can imagine. Here are some ways to improve the lives of your own pets and other animals.

• pay attention. Our dogs and cats spend a lot of time watching and studying us. We can return their interest by giving them some quality time, even if we are busy. A few minutes of cuddling or petting, sweet talking, tossing a ball, or a quick review of the tricks they know — rewarded with high-value treats! – will be special for them, and it will also take the pressure off us.

• Mental stimulation is as important as physical exercise. Provide some puzzle toys to give their brains a workout or allow a few extra minutes of sniffing time at the start or end of a walk. Sign up pets for a toy subscription box or learn how to make your own puzzle toys (

• Take the time to pay attention to what is normal for your pet so you can recognize what is not. This helps you avoid surprises when your pet gets sick or injured. Pay attention to any different behaviors—not eating, overeating, drinking more water than usual, breaking house training, playing or going for a walk—so that if they persist for more than a day or two, you You can report them to your veterinarian. . An early response can save your pet’s life and your wallet.

Buy pet health insurance. If your pet has a serious health problem or injury, you won’t have to worry about paying for it.

Do not overfeed pets. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, up to 59% of all pets are obese. Instead of skipping meals all the time, measure meal times and feed regularly.

• Positive power. Learn how to train your pet using positive reinforcement techniques to stop unwanted behaviors — barking, jumping, slamming doors, destructive chewing, etc. You’ll both be happier.

• Plan for emergencies. Teach pets (including cats) to enter and remain calm in the carrier on cue ( Prepare a go-bag with a three-day supply of your pet’s food, any medications, up-to-date vaccination or titer records, and anything else your pet might need if you have to leave in a hurry. can

Build a good relationship with someone you trust. A veterinarian is your partner in keeping pets happy and healthy.

• What about other animals? Does your local shelter have a wish list of needed items? Help out by ordering some toys, cat litter, pet food or other supplies. Create a community cat sanctuary ( Volunteer at a shelter by walking dogs, cuddling cats or doing something menial like pulling trash cans. Aid organizations that foster pets for victims of domestic violence so they don’t have to worry about leaving pets in an unsafe situation.

• Come out of narrow-mindedness. “The most important practice we can offer people and pets is to put away our phones and look and listen,” says Lori Weiss, executive director of Downtown Dog Rescue in Los Angeles. Do this “without prejudice, without having an agenda of what needs to be done or what the person or pet should do. Give the person or pet the gift of allowing them to be who they really are.”

Do you have a pet question? Send it to or visit Pet Connection is created by veterinarian Marty Baker, journalist Kim Campbell Thornton, and dog trainer/behavior consultant Michael Baker. ©2023 Andrews McMeal Syndication

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