Have you been considering getting a cat or a dog as a pet? Do you want to know what sort of things you'll be required to do to care for your new pet? Owning a cat or a dog isn't terribly difficult, but it is a commitment. Pets are not toys; if you just want something cute and don't want to have to put in any work at all, just get yourself a stuffed toy instead. But if you realize that a pet will be work, read on to find out exactly what sort of things you should know about:

Regular checkups: People need to visit their doctor on at least a yearly basis for a checkup to ensure that everything is working as expected and that there are no health issues to deal with. With cats and dogs, the same thing is true. Instead of doctors, however, pets need to visit veterinarians. These professionals will look for any signs of disease, whether genetic or caused by other factors, and will let you know if anything needs to be done. This is also when your pet will be vaccinated against potentially lethal diseases like rabies and parvo, which will keep your pet safe and healthy.

Right food: You might think that you can simply go to the nearest store, grab a bag of food labeled for the type of pet you have, and everything will be fine. Most of the time, this is indeed how it works. On occasion, however, you'll need to visit one of your local veterinarians for assistance. A food that is perfectly fine for most cats or dogs might not be fine for your feline or canine. Just like humans, pets can develop an allergy to various foods. This is something that a veterinarian would need to determine. If your pet is refusing food, getting sick after eating, or losing weight despite eating well, this is something that needs to be addressed by a professional.

Best toys: Some cats or dogs don't care much for toys. You might try to throw a squeaky toy or a catnip mouse and your pet will stare at you like you've lost your mind. If your pet doesn't want anything to do with toys, then there's usually nothing wrong with that. But most veterinarians agree that you should at least offer toys every so often in order to ensure a healthy cat or a dog. Since cats and dogs can't read books or watch TV, playing with toys is the way that they stay entertained and mentally healthy. Just as it might drive you crazy to be unable to do anything besides staring at a wall all day, cats and dogs are the same. If your pet doesn't want to play with any toys, talk to your veterinarian about what else you can try to stimulate your pet mentally and keep him or her healthy and happy.