Whether you're the proud owner of a dog, cat, bird, horse or any other creature, you want them to remain happy and healthy for their long lives.
But making sure your pet remains as chipper as the day you set eyes on them isn't as easy as it sounds, and becomes ever more difficult as they grow into old age.
Exacerbating this problem is the pesky fact that your pet can't talk. Without the ability to tell you how they feel, you can ultimately only guess when they're in need of a visit to the vet.
Yet as your pet owning skills improve and your bond with your pet strengthens, those guesses will become ever more educated and you'll notice changes in your animal's behaviour more acutely.
To help you reach that level, we've assembled this bite-sized list so that you can spot the tell-tale signs that your pet requires some TLC.
How are they behaving?
While your pet is unable to directly communicate with you to tell you they're unwell, their body language, temperament and appetite may alter if they're feeling peaky.
Your aloof cat, for instance, might become increasingly desperate for your attention if they aren't well, while your usually affectionate dog might shun your company entirely.
Unless they're ill, pets are usually consistent in their behaviour. If their attitude towards you changes, it could be time for a check-up.
Are they eating enough?
Losing a few pounds can be ideal for many greedy pets, but if your furry friend begins shedding weight for no obvious reason it could be a sign that something is up.
A noticeable disinterest in food could stem from your pet simply growing bored of the brand you usually buy for them, so trying alternative foodstuffs could see them pile those pounds back on.
Are they breathing normally?
Respiratory issues are a common sign that your pet requires the attention of a veterinarian.
This could mean shallow breathing, hyperventilation, wheezing or nasal discharge. In dogs which have had respiratory issues bred into them - like pugs or British bulldogs - noticing these changes can be difficult, which is why regular check-ups are a must.
What will your vet do?
Your vet's response will differ depending on the symptoms shown by your pet. But to begin with they'll most likely give your pet a standard check-up, focusing on the areas of the body which seem to be affecting them.
If the problem hasn't been identified after a check-up, then blood or fur samples may have to be sent to a company like Avacta Animal Health to discern if the ailment is allergy-related. Samples may also be sent elsewhere to check for other problems.
None of this process will be cheap, which is why animal insurance from a provider like Petplan is essential. These insurance can cost as little as Pound 10 a month but could save you thousands in vet bills.
Do all of the above and you'll be well on your way to keeping your pet healthy for their long life.
Do you have any animal care tips? Then let us know in the comments below.