A guide to proper pet care

Ashtyn Harter, Reporter

From fun little fluffballs to sleepy snakes, taking care of our fuzzy or non-fuzzy friends can be a lot harder than it looks. Each animal has its own specific needs. As a pet owner, it can be difficult to know what exactly your critter needs to be the happiest and healthiest that it can possibly be. The following is a proper guide to pet care. 

According to a survey made by Americanpetproducts.org, about 67% of United States households have pets, which is approximately 84.9 million homes. Also according to that survey, 63.4 million households have dogs. There are many types of dogs and it is difficult to determine which is right for you. Regardless of what kind of dog, they need food, water, and shelter just like humans do. Dogs also need nurturing, exercise, and mental stimulation in order to thrive, according to TheSprucePets.com. Depending on if you choose a long hair or a short hair dog, taking care of your pup can vary. Long-haired dogs shed often and need to be groomed every three months. On the contrary, short-haired dogs need to be groomed at least four times per year. 

Cats are typically more independent than dogs, but that does not mean that they don’t need as much care. Cats require a few things that dogs do not, such as a litter box and something to scratch. “Cats scratch for many reasons: to remove the dead outer layer of their claws, to mark their territory by leaving both a visual mark and a scent (they have scent glands on their paws), and to stretch their bodies and flex their feet and claws,” says a Humanesociety.org article.

Taking care of birds is vastly different compared to taking care of a cat or a dog. For their housing, birds need to be kept in cages. The cage must be strong enough so the bird cannot destroy or escape it. Most of the time, a bird’s cage needs to be wider than it is tall so that the bird can stretch its wings, said an Aav.org. In their cages, birds also need perches, food and water bowls, and cage liners.

Fish are an extremely common first pets for children, but they actually require a lot more management than most parents realize. Fish require a lot more than just picking whatever tank, filling it with water, and putting the fish in there. If you get a tank that is too small, it can stunt the fishes’ growth and causes many other problems like the fish becoming aggressive, for example. The proper tank size depends fully on the kind of fish and the available information can be found at Fishkeepingworld.com. Fish tanks also require a filter, lighting, a heater if you are keeping tropical fish, gravel, lights and a hood, air pumps, plants, and many other things. This information can be found at Users.cs.duke.edu. Fish also require that the water in the tank is at the proper pH level and temperature. Many people also buy decorations for their fish tank, but the decor that they buy might not be the right kind for their pet. 

Reptiles make interesting pets, but some types are harder to take care of than others. Reptiles are cold-blooded animals, so they are unable to regulate their own temperature. Because of this reptiles require a heat source. They also require humidity, lighting, plants, and things to climb. More important information can be found at Petco.com.

Taking care of a pet is a great way to teach children responsibility. Make sure that you do the research first in order to ensure that both the pet and your child are the happiest they can possibly be, that way your pet can live the longest that it possibly can, and be your child’s friend for as long as they can.