My five year old Siberian husky, Zeb, is a part of my family. We share the bond of family love. I have realized that a pet is more like a child than a more mature family member. Pets are almost totally dependent on their family (notice that I didn’t say “owner”) and give their unconditional love in return for the support that they receive. Learning the basics of pet care took me less time than it took to learn to set the time on my DVD player, and my reward is a healthy and happy pet.
Health care is just as important for a pet, no matter what kind, as it is for a child. Vaccinations prevent serious diseases such as rabies, which can not only kill a furry companion but endanger the rest of the family as well. Annual checkups will catch most health problems while they are still treatable and provide an opportunity for informative conversation with the vet.
Exercise is very important for all critters for the same reason it is important for humans. It is critical to heart health, the immune system and emotional health, among other considerations. Cats generally entertain themselves, I have seen them terrorize tennis balls for hours on end, but they also enjoy time with their two legged friends. Dogs greatly enjoy play and need at least thirty minutes of fairly vigorous exercise daily, although Zeb seems to need much more than this to burn his stored energy.
I cannot decide who gets more out of our quality time together, Zeb or myself. I think it may be a draw. Whether it is our daily run through the neighborhood, a ride to town or just a walk to the mailbox, I definitely feel our bond grow during the time we spend together. This bond is important to the happiness and development of any domestic animal. Not only are well adjusted companion animals friendlier, but it has been proven that they live longer and happier lives.
Perhaps the most important thing that I do for Zeb involves nutrition. Pets generally have the same nutritional needs as people. A balanced diet includes the correct ratio of carbohydrates to protein, as well as fiber, and a good pet food provides these nutrients from mostly natural sources. Purina’s Beneful brand includes foods and treats with natural ingredients that supply vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fatty acids which are often missing from other foods. Beneful also offers a wide variety of foods sure to please even the pickiest critters. Special offerings include foods for highly active dogs, like Zeb, and low fat foods for more sedentary pets. The innovative line of treats are baked goods with special shapes and textures designed to clean the teeth and freshen breath.