Pet Care Basics

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love. Pets give us so much. But unlike their wild animal cousins they can't

take care of themselves.

Just like kids rely on their parents, pets need people to provide for their basic

needs too.

We're talking about things like food and water

shelter and identification

potty needs, healthcare exercise and grooming.

Before bringing home a new per there are things you need to know to

make sure your pet becomes a happy and healthy member of your family.

Alll pets need food and water. Most animals need to be be fed once or twice every day.

Find out from your veterinarian or pet supply store what kind of food

you should give them

Never, ever give your pet table scraps. People food, especially chocolate,

may taste good but it can make your pet very sick. And here's something

really important:

make sure your pet always has a bowl of fresh clean water available

so they can get a drink.

Next is shelter and identification. if your dog or cat spend a lot of time

outside they need a place to get out of the hot sun in the summer or cold and

rain in the winter

a fenced yard with a dog house or other shelter

is great for dogs and provides a safe environment for your pet.

It is NOT ok to tie or chain your dog in the yard.

That's called tethering and it is against the law in Miami-Dade County.

Remember dogs are pack animals by nature. Your family is they're pack and they

want to be with you as much as they can.

it's cruel to tie them up and leave them alone outside and it can lead to aggressive behavior.

Animals that are treated like a part of your family are better adjusted and

will have a closer bond with y ou.

Did you know that a collar and tags are more than just cool fashion accessories?

Your pet can tell people his name or where he lives

so every pet needs a collar with their license and ID tag

that they wear all the time. If your pet ever gets lost that little ID tag is just like

their ticket home to you!. Ask your veterinarian about a microchip too.

Just like us, pets need a place where they can go to the bathroom.

For dogs that means outside

so be prepared to take them out for frequent walks.

And clean up after them! No one wants to step in your dog's poop so scoop it up

and throw it out.

Indoor cats use a litter box for a bathroom, and just like the bathroom you use

it needs to be kept clean.

You want your pet to be around a long time, so don't forget about his

health care needs.

Pets need regular check ups with the veterinarian just like we need annual

check ups with the doctor.

If you are bringing home a new dog or cat one of the first things you should do

is to take it to the Vet to get a thorough checkup along with the

necessary vaccinations.

To keep your pet healthy give them plenty of exercise. You need to walk

run or play fetch with your dog every day. It's fun and it's good for them...

and for you!

Cats, especially if they live indoors, also love quality playtime with you and benefit

from the workout.

Grooming keeps your pet's coat healthy and looking great.

Regular combing or brushing helps cats have fewer hair balls and shed less.

Dogs should be brushed often and have a bath about once a month.

And don't forget to brush their teeth! Seriously! Tooth decay can lead to

many other health problems.

As you can see

pets really need us to take care of them. It's a big responsibility>

They need: food and water every day. Shelter and identification,

don't forget the collar and ID tag. A place to go to the bathroom.

Healthcare including Vet checkups, grooming, tooth brushing and

plenty of exercise.

And there's one more thing to add to the list:

Respect and kindness.

Just like you,

pets have the right to be treated with respect and kindness. They crave

your attention and affection.

So make sure your pet knows how much you love them. Give them plenty of hugs, kisses

ear scratches in belly rubs.

The more love you give, the more they'll give back to you in return.

Once you're ready to get a pet

consider adopting a shelter pet from Miami-Dade Animal Services.

Hundreds of lovable dogs and cats are looking for loving

forever homes

like yours!

Brought to you by Miami-Dade County Public Schools and the

Miami-Dade County Animal Services Department.