4 min read

8 Ways to Ensure Your Pet is Living Their Best Life


Written by Aurus Sy

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 05/02/2022, edited: 05/19/2023


We love our companion animals, and many of us consider them our favorite family members. In fact, of the 1,000 individuals who were interviewed for the 2022 Wag! Dog Parent Survey, 42% said they’ll miss their dog more than their kids and spouse when they return to work! 

To celebrate National Pet Month this May, we want to ensure your furbaby is living their best life! Read on for tips on how to keep your precious pal healthy and happy.

Gray cat riding in a backpack outside with their human

Treat them to different experiences

Variety is the spice of life, and that goes for our companion animals too. In addition to preventing boredom in your furry friend, doing new things together strengthens your bond with each other. Plus, they bring so much joy and are always there for you when you need them; they deserve to be treated to fun experiences.

Hanging out at dog-friendly bars, camping, and going on a cruise are just some of the things you can enjoy with your canine pal. Cats can also be taken on adventures and staycations, but it’s a good idea to leash train them first or get them used to riding in a backpack.

Curly-haired brown dog chasing a ball outside - 8 Ways to Ensure Your Pet is Living Their Best Life

Make sure they’re getting enough exercise

How much exercise a dog needs depends on their age and breed, but regular physical activity is a must for all canines. Exercise improves agility, reduces unwanted behaviors, boosts confidence, and prevents obesity. Daily movement is important for felines too. Not only does exercise keep your cat healthy, but it also lets them express their natural behaviors. 

Aside from going for a walk, you can exercise your pooch by taking them for a hike or swim, playing fetch, or having them go through an obstacle course, just to name a few. For indoor cats, a few short play sessions each day should be enough to keep them fit.

Chocolate labrador retreiver looking at chicken and vegetables on a table

Feed them a high-quality diet

Just like us, our companion animals feel better when they eat well. Not all pet foods are created equal, and many brands contain fillers and byproducts that not only do not meet your four-legged friend’s nutritional needs, but can also harm their health. 

Good pet food is made with high-quality ingredients and may be more expensive, but will ultimately save you from spending more at the vet. Some pet parents prefer to prepare homemade food for their furchildren. If this is something you’d like to do as well, talk to your vet to ensure your dog or cat is getting what they need.

Collie being trained by pet parent outside

Keep training

The benefits of training are endless. Training teaches your dog life skills, increases their sociability, and helps avoid problem behaviors. It also builds and strengthens your relationship. If your pup already has the basics down, try teaching them fun tricks like giving kisses and catching a treat from their nose. Whether you've got the training skills, or enlist the help of an in-home trainer, training can be super rewarding for your both.

And yes, cats can be trained too! Training decreases anxiety and increases contentment and sociability in felines. Some of the things that you can teach your feline friend are sit, come, and high five.

Two puppies in the grass

Get them spayed or neutered

Spaying and neutering not only prevents unwanted litters, but also provides protection against some serious health problems and may reduce certain behavioral problems. Spaying your female dog or cat can prevent breast cancer and uterine infections. Neutering your male companion animal decreases the risk of testicular cancer and benign prostatic hyperplasia, as well as makes them less inclined to roam in search of a mate. 

Orange cat being examined by a veterinarian

Don’t skip vet visits

It may be tempting to skip the yearly checkups as your cat or dog gets older, but they’re just as crucial as the initial vet visits. A yearly checkup, which includes a full physical examination and some tests, can catch underlying health problems early before they become serious. Finding a good wellness plan can help offset the costs of routine preventative care, including vaccinations and parasite prevention.

Our companion animals can’t tell us when they’re sick and are often good at hiding it, so it’s important not to wait until they’re showing signs of illness. The risk for various health issues also increases with age, but taking your furkid to the vet annually throughout their adulthood sets them up for a happy and healthy life.

Black and white dog with a cast on front leg and a cone on

Invest in a pet insurance plan

Accidents and emergencies happen, and veterinary care can be expensive. Fortunately, you can protect yourself from unexpected vet costs by investing in a pet insurance plan. According to the 2022 Wag! Dog Parent Survey, nearly 18% of respondents were “completely unaware” of pet insurance. More than 50%, however, spend at least $50 per month to make sure their four-legged friend gets the care they need in case of injury or illness.

Woman hugging merle dog

Make time for self-care

Your dog or cat depends on you for everything, from food and shelter, to grooming and training and more. If you want them to live their best life, you need to keep yourself happy and healthy as well. Overexertion can lead to burnout, depression, anxiety, and resentment. Practicing self-care reduces stress, increases happiness, and improves energy. Remember to make time for yourself so you can continue taking care of your furchild and be a “grrreat” pet parent!

Need a paw to make pet parenthood easier? Download the Wag! app today!

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