They say that when getting a pet, you end up with the one that you need. Not necessarily the one that you want. Anyone that has had a pet as a part of their family can understand this.
A cat or dog can teach you to respect life, to practice patience and to be clear on what you want. You can beg your dog to sit or move or stop barking, but it’s not until your body language means it that they listen and respect you!
Sure, personal growth is an available option for those that choose it. But what else? Well pets literally make you healthier. It’s been shown time and time again that a pet helps to reduce stress, anxiety, depression. Whether it’s the routine of taking care of them, the calm that petting them brings, or just how open they are to love, the mental and emotional benefits are abundant. It’s for this reason that therapy dogs are regular visitors to children’s hospitals, shelters, and areas struck by natural disasters. It’s their natural gift to bring out the calm and love in everyone.
But it doesn’t stop there! The physical benefits follow suit, as pets have been shown to reduce high blood pressure and to strengthen the body’s immune system.
What Can We Do For Our Pets?
With all the benefits that a pet can bring us, it’s important to ask ‘what are our responsibilities to them?’
We all want a happy home. A perfect picture might be something like a well-behaved dog that’s gentle with kids, doesn’t bark needlessly, watches over the house and can sometimes be off leash because it responds to your commands promptly.
We all will adjust that picture a little bit depending on our personalities, but the point is to have a clear picture. Because the next step is working towards that.
Pets Flourish with Clear Boundaries
Pets, especially dogs, want to be clear on the rules. Unlike humans, who will rebel at a certain age, a dog lives to please. The clearer the rules are, the happier the dog is. This is because he is clear on what is expected and how he can obey. Without clarity and structure, a dog or cat can become stressed and depressed. You see this sometimes with dogs that are barking constantly when no one is home and are overprotective when they are home.
This doesn’t mean being overly strict. It means that a pet can do whatever it wants… with permission first.
There is plenty of information out there on how to establish a strong and healthy relationship with your pet including books, tv shows, online resources and more. Our responsibility is to do the research and learn. At that point, we can make a decision we can stand behind.
One of the most important factors with a pet is establishing roles. If there is not a clear role or order, many pet will become aggressive, or ‘alpha’. They naturally will try to fill this void if they notice it, not because they want to. So learn how to establish yourself and the members of your family so that your pets will be able to relax and happily obey.
So how can you celebrate National Pet Week? If you don’t have a pet, consider adopting! If you do have a pet, consider what you can do to improve your relationship with your pet and your pet’s life. Finally, don’t forget to bring your pet in to our Joplin veterinarian for regular pet wellness exams to ensure the ongoing health of your furry friend.