How Can We All Be Responsible Pet Owners?
February is Responsible Pet Owner Month in an effort to teach pet owners how to the best they can be! There are many things everyone can do to be a responsible pet owner whether it be things you do FOR your pet or things you do out and about that affect others around you.
1. Have an annual vet check-up
One of the best things you can do for your pets is making sure they are healthy and the one way to do this is annual vet checkups that usually include a dental check and blood work. There are certain illnesses or ailments you can’t just see and need a vet to diagnose. A healthy pet is a happy one!
2. Get up and WALK!
Dogs aren’t happy just laying around the house all day (ok, some might) so please just do them a favor and get them up off the couch and go for at least one decent walk a day! This benefits both you and them. Also, a tired dog is often less destructive and less ornery.
3. Grooming is essential
All dogs and cats need a certain level of grooming. This is everything from their hair cut/trimmed, nails cut, coat brushed and teeth brushed. Many things can be done from home, especially for lower maintenance dogs and cats. When it comes to longer haired, double coated dogs, they can become so matted so easily and they are just miserable. This can be avoided with regular brushing and trips to the groomers for their blow outs.
4. A balanced diet = happy AND healthy pets
Just like us, our pets need to be well feed to maintain a healthy and nutritious life. Whether you opt to feed kibble, wet food or raw, make sure to consult with a vet to ensure your pet is getting all the nutrients they need without all those gross fillers. This benefits their overall health, a shiny coat and a long life!
5. Make sure identifications are up to date
We all dread the day our pet might be lost. If this were to happen, the best way to ensure they make their way back home, make sure their ID tags are up to date and they are microchipped with updated information.
6. Teach your children and others to respect animals
Many pets end up back at the shelter after they may have bitten the child in the family AFTER the child harassed the pet. Please teach your children how to be respectful to animals of all kind including your own and others. This is the best way to avoid them being bit just because a dog or cat is defending themselves.
7. Train them!
Training often comes with a new puppy or adopted dog, but it should be something that is practiced throughout a dog's life and even cats! Dog's thrive on learning and practicing skills also works their brain on top of keeping up good behaviors. Cats should be taught not be demons (aka don’t let them get away with that). And yes! Cats CAN be trained! It's a similar but slightly different approach than dogs...check out this article for more information on training cats.
8. Pick up their business
This is mainly for those around you and your city. It’s straight-up gross when dog owners leave the poo on the sidewalk right in everyone’s walking path. It’s also a health hazard as it can spread diseases to other dogs (i.e. parvo) and is harmful to the environment. Cats also need their litter cleaned up daily because 1) they can choose to do their business elsewhere if the litter box is full and 2) it can easily stink up your house and no one wants that!
Having a pet is a privilege, not a right. Not everyone can be a responsible pet owner and unless you are one, you shouldn’t have a pet. This is for the health and safety of your pet and those around you. So how do you practice being a responsible pet owner?