10 easy ways to be a better pet owner in 2021

Author picture Jessica

Start 2021 on a paw-sitive note

2020 was challenging, but a new year can be a fresh start. Though your pet really doesn’t care what year it is (there’s a lesson in that for us somewhere!), January can be a great opportunity to improve your pet care routine.  

So without further ado, here are 10 easy habits to improve the quality of life of your pet. Why not add them to your new year's resolution?

Dog and owner in the sunshine

1) Exercise both brain and body

Exercising improves fitness, regulates sleep patterns, strengthens the immune system and keeps mental health in check. And that goes for you AND your pet! Plus, some extra vitamin D and fresh air will do both of you the world of good.

Commit to a fortnight of setting your alarm a little earlier for a walk, or set aside time in the evening for a mentally challenging training session. It won't take long for this to become a part of your daily routine.  

2) Schedule a checkup – even if everything is fine

The vet can look closely at your pet's weight, dental health, and any other health issues you might miss. As such, it's important to schedule a yearly visit, even if your pet seems perfectly healthy.

And if you spot anything irregular in your pet's appetite, energy levels or toilet habits, take notes and snap some pictures on your smartphone. You may even want to keep a pet health journal so you can pass this info over to the vet.

3) Check in on your pet’s diet

While at the vet, ask them about your pet's diet. They may have some suggestions about what you feed your pet, and how much you feed them for their age and ideal weight range.

Here are some creative ways for you to feed your dog to make it more stimulating and fun for them.

4) Keep an eye on your pet's dental health 

It's important to keep an eye on your pet's teeth, as decay can lead to big problems later.

You can maintain your pet’s pearly whites with dental chews and/or pet-sized toothbrushes with pet toothpaste. Your vet can also arrange a professional clean to make those chompers sparkle.

Brown and white border collie eating a treat

5) Grooming habits

Buy a good pet brush and make brushing a part of your pet's day - perhaps before bed to relax. Your pet will love it and it will make things much more comfortable for them. Plus, brushing now will keep the fluff off the floor later.

If your dog needs regular clipping (such as a poodle-cross), find a good local groomer that you trust. Likewise, commit to gently wiping your pet's eyes and ears weekly to prevent gunk and tear stains. Many Pawshake sitters offer additional grooming services, so ask about this next time you make a booking!

6) Freshen up your pet's bedding

Your pet's blankets can get a bit smelly and itchy if left unwashed for weeks on end. As such, throw out any smelly old pet bedding, or give everything a wash in unscented detergent and hang in the sunshine. This will keep the fleas at bay and help avoid that dirty pet smell, without overwhelming your pet with strong chemicals or perfumes.

7) Make a commitment: no unhealthy snacks

A table scrap here, a few chips there....these snacks add up, and we really want to highlight how unhealthy human food is for your pet. Your pet's diet is so important to their health, weight management and life expectancy.

We aren't talking about the odd bean, carrot stick or boiled egg - some human foods are harmless for your pet in moderation. But it's important to be mindful, especially of human food that contains a lot of salt, fat and artificial ingredients.

Here are some human foods that won't do any harm as the odd treat. And, if you are feeling like getting busy in the kitchen, here are some healthy and easy pet treat recipes. 

Two dogs running with a red ball

8) Update your pet’s info

Have you moved home since adopting your pet, or are a little late in getting their vaccinations? If so, call your vet to step you through what to do next. They can help you through updating their microchip details and check their vaccination and worming history. Tick this off the list in the new year and your pet will be on top of their paperwork!

9) Safeguard your pet against nasties

Fleas aren't fun and can make life super uncomfortable for your pet. But ticks can have extremely nasty consequences.

Prevention is better than cure – talk to your vet about the various prevention products on the market to protect your furry friend. 

10) Find a perfect sitter

If you have a road trip planned, visit Pawshake to explore the range of pet sitters near you. This way, you can message your favourite when the time comes and your pet can have a new human friend to care for them when you can't.

Find a local pet sitter.