1. Shop at stores that don't sell animals. Many lizards, birds, puppies and kittens die in pets stores. It is always better to patronize stores that offer adoptions.
2. Read the labels on your animal’s food. If it doesn't sound right, ask. Also, beware of specialty diets. Urinary tract diets can be harmful to kidneys because they are made for bladder problems. Senior diets can be too high in carbohydrates and make diabetes worse. Consult with your veterinarian.
3. Don't buy pet toys made from other animals. Avoid raw hide and rabbit fur mice.
4. Dogs can be vegetarians. Unfortunately, cats can't. One must be very careful in choosing a complete and balanced vegetarian diet to dogs.
5. Teach your animals to come when they are called. This can save their lives.
6. Vaccines are no longer considered necessary to be given every year. It is best to vaccinate your animals according to their life style. If your cats are indoor only, they might never need to be vaccinated. Remember, vaccines have a downside too. Many have been associated with the development of fibrosarcoma, a very dangerous form of cancer.
7. Even if you are not getting your animals vaccinated every year, be sure they get a physical examination every year - twice yearly for older animals. Make an appointment with your veterinarian.
8. Choosing a good veterinarian can be difficult. Ask around the neighborhood. Call vets’ offices. Do they declaw? That might mean that they are less animal-friendly than vets who will not declaw.
9. Know where your emergency hospital is and have the phone number handy. Make an emergency plan.
10. Establish a record with your local veterinarian and make sure that the office realizes that you want every measure taken to keep your animal alive.
11. Know your household toxins. For example: Tylenol is toxic to cats; avocado is toxic to birds; pure bakers’ chocolate is toxic to dogs.