As I sit here working on my laptop, I’m dogsitting my parents’ dog, Coco.

And I think we might be in love…

I know, I know, it’s early in our courtship, but we sure do seem to enjoy spending time together.

And I want to know how to make her life even more enjoyable, as do all pet owners!

How can we make the lives of our pets better?

AskReddit users shared their thoughts.

1. Do it!

“For the love of god brush your dog and get their nails clipped on a regular basis.

The amount of owners who have gotten upset when the groomer explains they need to shave their dog astounds me.

Like you try not combing your hair for 3 months and then go to your hairdresser and see what they say.”

2. Think about the finances.

“If you think of getting a pet, think of finances too.

Not just how much food, litter and some vaccinations are, but be sure that you’re able to pay the vet bills if an emergency occurs or even for if your pet needs regular care due to something chronic, an injury that makes them need physiotherapy etc. We have way too many people struggling with their bills. Some put their needs back, some the animal’s. Some of the stories are horrifying.

If something is off on how your pet behaves, if it suddenly doesn’t let you touch certain parts of their body or anything else you can’t put your finger on is happening, go to your vet. Don’t wait too long. Many animals are extremely good at hiding severe pain and illness. If you notice anything off, go to the vet.

Care about their teeth. If you can’t brush them, let your vet have a look every now and then. They can cause extreme pain and severe inflammation in there is really dangerous.”

3. Important.

“Visit your pets when they’re sick and staying in the veterinary clinic overnight.

Obligatory not a vet disclaimer: when my cat was sick I’d visit him at the vet every day and bring an old towel so he would have something soft to cuddle that smelled like home.

After a few days the staff mentioned a lot of people don’t do that. “The animals think they’re being abandoned and they get depressed. They don’t understand why they’re here.”

20 minutes of mama time lets them know they’re still loved.”

4. Two good points.

“Don’t love your pet with food. The amount of morbidly obese pets.. It really does shorten their life and their quality of life people.

And be a big enough person to let them go before they suffer. Don’t drag the end out because you can’t say goodbye.”

5. All about love.

“Love your pet. Tell them every day. They can hear it in your voice and see it in your actions.

They will repay you with everything they have. If you can’t love your pet, don’t get one.”

6. Ask away.

“Do not be afraid to ask questions. When my vets come out To my barn I have a list of questions for them.

Don’t be afraid to ask.

They are there to help, and if you think you’re annoying the vet find another one.”

7. Pay attention.

“Please pay attention to your pet in the quiet moments of life. Simple things like an elevated respiratory rate while sleeping can indicate cardiac or respiratory changes that should warrant investigation.

If your dog normally wolfs down food and then one day just kinda slowly picks at it, something may be wrong. Teeth chattering can indicate pain. All these little things add up. Owners will beat themselves up when things have gone too far and there’s not much to be done, but they didn’t know to look. Look up the the cat grimace scale or Colorado pain scales to get a good feel for painful body language.

Pet obesity is a terrible and unfortunately common thing.

Look at the pet nutrition alliance if you want to see what companies are willing to share information about their ingredients.

And for the love of Christ, I cannot look at your animal and figure out what’s wrong so please please please let me run diagnostics. I have a debt to income ratio of 4:1, I am not asking to run a blood smear just to make money.”

8. A big one.

“My girlfriend is a vet tech.

Don’t leave your pets to be e**hanized without you. It’s hard to be there and it’s hard to watch, but if you leave them they will d** scared and looking for you.

She had to try and comfort pets whose owner’s couldn’t bring themselves to stay and it’s one of the few things that makes her cry.”

9. Medicine is good!

“Just vaccinate your pet regularly, give worming tablets routinely, and if possible keep up to date with ticks preventions and heartworms prevention.

Yes it costs money but in the long run those are cheaper than seeing your pets suffer. Heartworms disease and blood parasite are no joke.”

10. Keep ’em inside.

“Cats do not belong outside unless they are leash trained or are confined in a catio or fully secure yard.

They are invasive, they k**l animals you don’t see, they pick up diseases, they fight, they have unwanted litters, at risk of cars, people, predators.

The best thing you can do to keep your cat healthy and safe is to provide it a stimulating environment where it is contained.”

11. For exotic pets.

“Here are some tips for our more exotic friends!

Training! More animals can be trained than you think, such as rabbits and birds. It’s a great bonding experience and good enrichment especially for more intelligent species eg. Parrots. Birds can use their training to make vet visits less stressful, such as if they are used to stepping onto strange perches or being in a towel.

Birds also benefit from lots of enrichment, parrot species need a lot more mental stimulation than many people expect (even budgies!) and there’s loads of great online resources for enrichment tips!

Rabbits are so much happier with companions (although typically not a guinea pigs). Look up the rabbit welfare association for great ways of enriching their lives, and how to introduce new companions.

Spaying your rabbits/rodents at a young age (ask around your local vets for who has experience or look on the rabbit welfare association’s rabbit friendly vet list) can help prevent a number of future health issues such as mammary tumours, uterine cancers, and pyometras.

If your exotic pet – rabbits, birds, reptiles, etc. is looking sick, take them to a vet ASAP. Lots of them are very good at hiding their symptoms, so if they are looking visibly unwell, it could be a lot worse than it seems.

And of course love your pets! They love you too!”

12. From a vet.

“I am a veterinarian . Please be kind to me and have patience with me. I see so many sick animals every day.

I work 10-13 hours per day, 4 to 6 days per week. I’ve taken a lunch three times in four years. I’ve put so much blood, sweat and tears into cases, only to have the owners trash talk me by name publicly on Yelp because they don’t understand how medicine works, and they get mad when I explain it to them.

The best thing you can do for your pet is to believe me, trust my recommendations, and follow my instructions.

Yelp reviews of doctors or prescription medicines are meaningless and are irrelevant. People don’t know what they’re talking about, are controlled by their emotions, and write fabricated stories.

If you ask me to do a physical exam or diagnostics, there is going to be a fee associated with that. People stealing my services is fairly common.

Sometimes I spend the money and try my hardest to save the pet, and the pet still does poorly. There are no guarantees in medicine. People will often abuse me and my staff because they are grieving. Grief is not an excuse to be abusive.

Some problems are preventable! You can prevent heartworm disease for $8 per month.

I am not in the pocket of Big Kibble, and I truly want you and your pet to do well.”

Now we want to hear from you.

In the comments, give us some more advice on how we can love our pets even more!

Thanks a lot!