AVMA: National Pet Week is perfect time to celebrate furry, feathered, or finned friends helping you through COVID-19 crisis

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(SCHAUMBURG, Illinois) May 3, 2020—While many of our lives have been upended this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing that millions of people have been able to rely on has been the companionship and love of their pets. During National Pet Week (May 3-9), the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is asking pet owners to recognize the special role pets play in our lives and commit to a lifetime of love through responsible pet ownership.

Pet owners are encouraged to visit AVMA.org/PetWeek for more information on ways to celebrate their pets and resources to help them provide appropriate care. The AVMA is also offering an official National Pet Week toolkit for veterinarians to utilize in observing the week with their staff and clients. The AVMA has created three new videos that clinics can use or share as part of their National Pet Week celebration.

Each day of National Pet Week focuses on a different topic essential to responsible pet ownership. This year’s themes include:

Sunday - Choose well: Commit for life
Many shelters are reporting an increase in pet adoptions during the COVID-19 pandemic. While this is wonderful news, it’s important that people are not being impulsive or careless when bringing a new pet into their homes. Select the pet that’s right for your family’s lifestyle and make a commitment to that pet for its life. Even if you have already welcomed a pet into your home, your veterinarian can help you better understand the social and healthcare needs of your individual pet. View AVMA’s resources on selecting a pet for your family.

Monday - Socialize now: New doesn’t have to be scary
During this time of social distancing it’s more important than ever to properly socialize your pet. Learn about how to appropriately prepare your pet to enjoy a variety of interactions with other animals, people, places and activities. Everyone will be more comfortable! View AVMA’s resources on socializing dogs and cats.

Tuesday – Nutrition and exercise matter
With more than half of dogs and cats in the United States considered overweight or obese, and humans plagued by this issue as well, the AVMA encourages pets and their owners to get regular exercise— together! This not only improves cardiovascular health, maintains a healthy weight, and supports good mental health for both owner and pet, but it strengthens the human-animal bond. For tips on walking, running, or starting another exercise program with your pet, visit avma.org/Walking.  

Wednesday - Love your pet? See your vet!
Everybody love’s their pet, yet many pet owners do not take their pets to the veterinarian unless they are visibly sick or injured. Pets often hide signs of illness. Regular check-ups are vital to catching health problems early. Not only can early treatment mean better health for your pet, it can also save you money. View AVMA’s money tips for caring pet owners.

Thursday – Travel with care
Traveling with pets requires advance planning and coordination to keep everybody safe. Whether you’re taking a short car trip or flying to another state or country, getting your pet safely to your destination requires special precautions. These range from proper restraints during travel to veterinary exams and travel certificates. Plan ahead, and know exactly what’s needed when you travel with pets of different species. View AVMA’s pets in vehicles resources.

Friday – Emergencies happen: Be prepared
Include your pets in your family’s emergency plan. The AVMA offers a step-by-step guide to assembling emergency kits and plans for a variety of pets and animals.

Saturday – Plan for their care: Give them a lifetime of love
Thanks to better care, pets are living longer now than they ever have before – but as pets get older, they need extra care and attention. Regular veterinary examinations can detect problems in older pets before they become advanced or life-threatening, and improve the chances of a longer and healthier life for your pet. Visit the AVMA’s special page for senior pets to find out what is ‘normal’ and what may signal a reason for concern about an aging pet. Contrary to popular belief, dogs do not age at a rate of seven human years for each year in dog years. Download the AVMA PetsAgeFaster chart to check how your pet’s real age compares with yours.

Whether companion, comedian, confidant, or protector, our pets are always there for us. National Pet Week celebrates this bond and encourages pet owners to be certain to provide their best friends with everything needed for a happy, healthy life.

About the AVMA

Serving more than 105,000 member veterinarians, the AVMA is the nation's leading representative of the veterinary profession, dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of animals, humans and the environment. Founded in 1863 and with members in every U.S. state and territory and more than 60 countries, the AVMA is one of the largest veterinary medical organizations in the world. Informed by our members' unique scientific training and clinical knowledge, the AVMA supports the crucial work of veterinarians and advocates for policies that advance the practice of veterinary medicine and improve animal and human health.