The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) invites pet owners across the country to join in a week-long celebration of their furry, scaly, and feathery friends during National Pet Week.
The AVMA’s 36th annual National Pet Week takes place May 7-13 and highlights the special bond shared between people and their pets. The AVMA features seven specific actions pet owners can take each day of the week to ensure the continued health, happiness, and overall well-being of their pets.
“There is no doubt that pet owners love their pets,” said Dr. Tom Meyer, president of the AVMA. “But there are many people who simply aren’t aware of their pets’ specific needs and that those needs change over the pet’s lifetime. National Pet Week® gives all pet owners the opportunity to refocus on their pets and learn what they can do to help their animals live the longest and healthiest lives possible.”The AVMA is also offering an official National Pet Week® toolkit for veterinarians to utilize in observing the week with their staff and clients.
Here are National Pet Week’s Seven Days to Happier Pets:
Sunday: Choose well. Commit for life.
Selecting the animal that’s right for your family is the first step in building a lifelong relationship with your pet. Some factors to consider are species and breed, time and financial commitments, and the level of care your pet will need. A veterinarian can help you consider all of the factors, so it’s a good idea to talk with one even before you make your decision. If you have already welcomed a pet into your home, talk to your veterinarian about the specific social and health care needs that may be unique to your animal. For more tips on selecting the right pet for your household, from cats and dogs to ferrets and fish, view AVMA’s Selecting a Pet for your Family.
Monday: Socialize now. New doesn’t have to be scary.
Creating a socialization plan will help your pet feel more comfortable in its new home, and among other animals and people. Pets that are well socialized often develop calmer and more confident temperaments that help them enjoy a wider range of interactions and activities. For tips on how to socialize your pet safely and effectively, view AVMA’s Socialization of Cats and Dogs.
Tuesday: Exercise body. Exercise mind.
Just like people, pets require regular exercise to maintain cardiovascular health, preserve a healthy weight, and provide mental stimulation. Exercising with your pet also offers the opportunity to strengthen the human-animal bond through shared experiences outside of the home. Your veterinarian can help you create an exercise program based on your pet’s breed, age, lifestyle, and overall health. For tips on walking, running or designing another exercise program that you can enjoy with your pet, visit Walking with Your Pet.
Wednesday: Love your pet? See your vet!
When was the last time you took your pet for a checkup? The AVMA recommends regular wellness exams for all animals, but many pet owners (53.9 percent of cat owners and 48.6 percent of dog owners) only take their pet to the veterinarian when they are visibly sick or injured. Pets often hide signs of illness, so routine checkups are vital in preventing potential diseases, catching health problems early, and treating illnesses quickly. Not only does early treatment improve the chances of a longer life for your pet, it can also save you money. If your pet hasn’t had a wellness exam in over a year, schedule an appointment today.
Thursday: Pet population control: Know your role.
Spaying or neutering your pet is important in preventing overpopulation and can also keep your animal healthy. There are many options when it comes to spaying or neutering, including both surgical and non-surgical procedures. You can also avoid unplanned breeding through containment or managed breeding. Talk to your veterinarian about the decision to spay or neuter your pet, and make sure to discuss the benefits and risks associated with these procedures.
Friday: Emergencies happen. Be prepared.
You want to keep your pet safe, even in the event of a natural disaster or other unplanned emergency. It’s important to include your pets in your family’s emergency plan and ensure their safety in any situation. Use the AVMA’s step-by-step guide to assemble a pet-friendly emergency kit and create a plan that safeguards your pet under any circumstance.
Saturday: Give them a lifetime of love.
Thanks to better care, pets are living longer than they ever have before – but as pets get older, they need extra care and attention. Talk to your veterinarian about what is normal behavior in your aging pet, and what may be a cause for concern. Regular examinations can detect problems in older pets before they become advanced or life-threatening, and improve the chances of a longer and healthier life. Visit the AVMA’s Senior Pet Care FAQs to learn more about what to expect as your pet gets older.