Just like their human companions, emotional support animals (ESAs) need health checkups regularly. However, they need more than just checkups to ensure they’re healthy and happy; they need you as their owner to be an integral part of their wellness and health routine.
Here are some tips on how to care for your ESA so they can stay healthy and happy with you for years to come.
Health Checkups For Your Emotional Support Animal
Most emotional support animals need to see the vet at least once per year. During these annual exams, the vet examines your animal to evaluate their health. A physical exam is performed, along with a temperature check for most animals and any additional tests that may be required.
If you have an older ESA, remember they can be prone to health conditions that may require more frequent visits to the vet. It depends on your ESA and their needs, but they need to see the vet regularly no matter what.
Help Them Exercise
If you have a dog as an ESA, they may require a daily walk or two. For cats, you may need to get out their favorite toy and help them to leap around for a while each day. Your ESAs needs are unique depending on what type of animal they are, but most animals will require some form of exercise to help them stay healthy and keep the two of you connected.
Feed Them The Right Food
Feeding your ESA high-quality food that is right for their needs is another way to care for them properly. Make sure to take care when choosing their food and treats, and do research particular to the animal and their breed.
If you’re not sure what food is the best, the vet is a great resource, but you can also find a lot of information online or at pet stores about what’s going to be the healthiest choices for your ESA.
Give Them Attention And Love
Most people think interaction and attention are only required by certain types of animals, such as cats and dogs. But the truth is that most, if not all ESAs need attention and affection. No matter what type of animal your ESA is, you still need to be ready to treat them with love and affection, giving them the attention they need to thrive.
Take time to spend with your ESA and give them the stimulation they need. You can do this through play, treats, toys, or even simply providing them with enough room to run, bounce, or slither around to be happy.
Groom Your ESA
Some ESAs will require grooming and it’s vital that you stay on top of it. The basics of grooming include things such as:
- Trimming nails
- Brushing hair or fur
- Bathing to reduce skin irritation
- Brushing teeth to prevent tooth loss
How To Care For Your ESA: Find The Right Vet
You’re doing what you can at home to keep your ESA healthy and happy, but you also have one very big choice to make for them: which vet you’ll take them to. A vet will help you to care for your ESA and keep them in great condition.
Here are a few things to consider when choosing a vet for your ESA:
Your ESA’s needs
Consider the type of care your ESA requires and find a vet that can give it. Just as with human doctors, some vets specialize in the care of certain animals. If you have a more exotic ESA, then you may need a vet with more exotic experience!
The vet’s credentials
Again, just as you would with your own doctor, check the vet’s credentials before taking your ESA to see them. This will help to give you peace of mind that your ESA is in good hands.
Choosing a good vet that is right for your ESA also means choosing one that is convenient to see. Even the best vet may not be the right one if you can’t make it there easily when your ESA needs medical attention.
Does the vet you’re considering offer all the services your ESA needs? The vet practice must have the right equipment to do the lab testing and health checkups your ESA requires, especially if your ESA has a health condition. If the vet offers a variety of services, then you’ve likely found a good one.
If you work certain hours and will only be able to take your ESA for checkups during certain times, does the vet practice offer the hours you need to do so? That’s a big question that must be answered before choosing the right vet.
Your ESA may be priceless, but care for your ESA does come with a price tag. Not all vets charge the same fees, so make sure you find out whether it’s a practice that operates within your budget.
You and your ESA have many years ahead of you together, but it’s crucial that you do all you can to make those the best years of your ESA’s life. The healthier and happier they are, the more they’ll be able to provide you with the emotional support you need, and the better you both will be.