A Happier Pet in Six Simple Steps

Cat and dog

An 11-year old tabby cat and a mixed Molosser breed dog. Photo by Ohnoitsjamie.

While we may love our pets and be getting everything we possibly can out of the loyal friendship, our furry companions’ needs are often different to ours. Luckily, cats and dogs are humble creatures and it often doesn’t take a lot to keep them happy.

A positive attitude

Animals are very intuitive; perhaps even more so than humans. They can pick up on the atmosphere of the home and the mood of their owner and so the simplest way to keep your pet happy is to remain happy yourself. By being friendly and positive around them, you encourage them to behave in the same manner.


Animals that are commonly domesticated are so because of their inherent social nature. Making sure you always set aside some time to dedicate solely to them; be it taking them for a walk, grooming them or just giving them some hugs and kisses; reminding them that they are loved is the key to a happy pet. If you lead a busy life and find yourself away from home for much of the day, consider a dog walker or house sitter to keep your furry friend company until you return.


As much as our pets crave love and attention, every now and then they will also desire some independence and freedom. It is equally as important that this request is adhered to by providing them with their own space; be it a bed, kennel or otherwise where they can retreat for some down time. Animals are also known to become competitive and even aggressive towards fellow pets if they are forced to share food bowls, toys and such like and so having their own belongings gives them a sense of their place within the household dynamic.


Animals are much like children in that they benefit hugely from a solid, reliable routine. Knowing when and where they can expect to be fed, what time of day their beloved owner will return to greet them and what areas of the house and garden they are free to explore will allow them to feel safe and settled within their environment.

A healthy diet

Diet is crucial to the health of an animal and good health is crucial to happiness. Providing them with fresh water and sticking to reliable names like Bakers dog food means you can trust that your pet is getting all the nutrition they could ever possibly need while keeping them away from rich human foods and potentially harmful plants or objects that they may be tempted to chew will ensure they avoid an upset stomach and can remain in good spirit as equally as they can in good health.


Just like their human counterparts, exercise is equally as important as diet, though perhaps even more so, as most humans exercise out of necessity whereas animals are active by their very nature. In the wild, they would roam free and spend much of their day running, hunting and exploring. Though our pets are well and truly domesticated, their natural instincts are inbuilt and a desire to be active remains within them. This is why you must be sure to set aside plenty of time for them to exercise and play.

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Dr. Jade Marie Tomaszewski is a pathologist-in-training at McGill University, where she also did her degree in MSc Pathology. She obtained her medical degree (MD) from the University of the Philippines, after completing a BSc in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. In her (little) spare time, she enjoys spending time with family, curling up with a book and a large mug of tea, and trying out new recipes in the kitchen. You can follow her on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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