During National Pet Week, AVMA shares tips to provide “lifetime of love”

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(SCHAUMBURG, Illinois) May 1, 2022— Pets bring so much to our lives every day, and during National Pet Week (May 1-7), the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is providing pet owners with tips and resources to help them return the favor and make sure their pets are living happy, healthy lives.

National Pet Week, which takes place every year during the first full week of May, was established in 1981 by the AVMA and the Auxiliary to the AVMA to celebrate the pets in our lives and promote responsible pet ownership.

“Whether companion, comedian, confidant, or protector, our pets are always there for us, but not everyone is aware of all the things their pets need from them,” said Dr. Jose Arce, president of the AVMA. “That’s why, in addition to celebrating the bond between us and our pets, National Pet Week encourages pet owners to be certain to provide their best friends with everything needed for a happy, healthy life.”

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 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
While the prospect of adding a pet to the family may be exciting, it’s important that people are not 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
Socialization is the process of preparing a dog or cat to enjoy interactions and be comfortable with other animals, people, places and activities. Ideally, socialization should begin during the "sensitive period" which is between 3 and 14 weeks of age for puppies, and 3 and 9 weeks of age for kittens. View AVMA’s resources on socializing dogs and cats, as well as a video on socializing pets.

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, and watch AVMA’s National Pet Week video on the importance of proper pet nutrition.

Wednesday - Love your pet? See your vet!
Everybody loves 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
Many people may be planning on traveling this summer, making up for previous trips cancelled due to the pandemic. 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 planning and 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, and see AVMA’s new National Pet Week video on safe pet travel.

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 Pets Age Faster chart to check how your pet’s real age compares with yours.

View AVMA’s “Lifetime of care for a lifetime of love” National Pet Week video.

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.