By Daniel Katz
Every day, Millions of people watch Internet videos and feel the “awwwws” when they see cats ‘booping’ their buddies or French bulldog puppies jumping in snow for the first time. Having a cute, cuddly companion is a great way to get through the mundane slog of schoolwork.
However, while having a pet can feel like it’s all fun and love, students may not have all the information they need when deciding whether it’s a good idea to get a pet while in school.
Cricket & Company, the ByWard Market’s first pet shop, was founded by Kizil Reeder and Natalie Zeldin. They are two animal lovers and former roommates who owned two dogs and a cat while in university. They have some tips for young pet owners attending school that will ensure a healthy and active pet, despite a student’s hectic schedule and lack of a steady income.
Make sure your pet has a nutritious diet
It is important that you read the label and make sure the ingredients are all-natural.
“Many of the type of brands you buy at big grocery stores or chains have ‘meal by-product’ written on the packaging,” says Reeder. “These are especially bad for your pets. Healthy food brands, while being maybe a few dollars more expensive in the store, will offer plenty of health benefits to your pet and save you expensive trips to the vet in the future.”
Have a roommate or friend who can help
If you have a roommate who’s on board with helping take care of your pet, this means your pet can maintain a more set schedule for being let out or getting fed.
“Having a dog especially takes a lot of time,” says Reeder. “Two people taking care of an animal really helps ensure the animal stays healthy. If you can’t devote the time to taking care of a dog, maybe getting a cat would be a better fit for your lifestyle.”
Get a safe space for your pet
If your pet has a cozy bed or a soft space in a corner, your pet will be much more relaxed and comfortable in your home.
“There might be some behavioural issues if your pet is out of their comfort zone,” says Zeldin. “A dog bed under a desk does wonders. Having a space for them also keeps them off of all your stuff.”
Get your pet a toy or treat to keep them occupied
Since your pets will likely spend much time alone, having their favourite things on hand is important.
“Having their high-value toys and treats around keeps their mind off destroying your stuff, like your cell phone, laptop or shoes,” says Zeldin. “Also, by keeping them busy with a toy or tasty bone, it affords you some quiet while you study and do schoolwork.”
Ottawa Humane Society website: http://ottawahumane.ca/home/index.cfm
Ottawa Stray Cat Rescue website: http://www.oscatr.ca/