The Animal Welfare Bill has highlighted the importance of ensuring that animals are treated fairly in British households. Owning a pet is an exciting and significant responsibility, and it is a pet owner’s duty to keep their animals entertained and stimulated in order to promote their mental and physical health.
All pets, whatever their environment, be it country or city, need to receive physical and mental stimulation as well as regular and positive interaction with their owners.
New pets are an exciting new addition to the family, and immediately become the centre of attention. However, before getting a pet, it is important to remember that your pet will need your care and attention throughout its life and not just when it is very young.
The Pet Health Council has compiled its top tips which explain how to play with your pet and why it is important.
1. R-E-S-P-E-C-T! – Playing games with your pets from an early age, and throughout their life, will teach them to respect and listen to us.
2. Good boy! – Reward your pets if they are behaving well. Never shout at or punish them if they are being naughty as this could have a detrimental effect and make them fearful of you.
3. No fear – Socialise your pet from an early age and get it used to its new environment – as well as different noises and people.
4. Home Alone – Give your pet something to do when it is left at home on its own. An activity toy stuffed with some tasty food will help to keep it occupied. Activity toys will stop your pet getting bored and allow it to channel its energy into positive rather than destructive actions such as ripping furniture or even biting.
5. Productive pets – Playing games will help your pet to overcome behaviour problems such as breaking toys, chewing furniture or even biting.
6. Friends for life – Pets that are in contact with a range of different people from an early age are more likely to be friendly and open to new visitors. Is it also important for pets to learn about other animals and species that they could encounter in the future. You can do this by spending some time in an outdoor area where they can learn to socialise with pets and people
7. Puppy love – It is important to train your pets to be child friendly from when they are young. If you live in a household free from children, remember you may have children to visit at some point. Get your pet to interact with children of all ages, whilst always remembering to supervise. Children can be a bit rough and a pet can only put up with being pestered for so long –it hasn’t got the ability to say “You’re stressing me, please leave me alone!” Attend puppy socialisation classes – they are good fun for you as well as your dog and remember your pet is more inclined to learn when it is still young, so start early.
8. A bond for life – Ensuring you spend quality time with your pet will increase the strength of the relationship between the two of you. Play their favourite game on a regular basis, but remember to introduce new games and toys to keep things interesting for them – and you!