As some of you may know, February is “Responsible Pet Owners Month”. Although I am sure you all feel that every month should be “Responsible Pet Parent (sorry I have trouble with the word owner) Month, it is time to bring awareness to what actually makes a responsible Pet Parent?
The America Kennel Club has a short list of 12 points that I totally agree with .
- Pick a pet that fits your lifestyle. The decision to become a pet owner should come after extensive research and planning, not as an impulsive purchase. Just because a pet is cute, does not mean it will be the perfect fit for you. For example, if you are unaware that cute kitty you just bought is very high maintenance and you are low maintenance your cat may form behavioral problems. These problems are the number one reason pets are given to shelters or abandoned leading, in a majority of cases, to euthanasia.
- Make him part of the family. Pets, especially dogs, need companionship. They are traditionally pack creatures and need the warmth and love that comes with living indoors with their family.
- Pet proof your home. To keep your pet healthy you should research what household products and foods can harm your pet. Make sure these are kept in secure locations so your pet cannot get into them.
- Care for your pet. Regular visits to the vet and groomer are absolutely necessary. Insuring your pet may also be important to your pet’s health. Emergencies can happen at any time. Ensure your pet gets the help he needs no matter the cost with pet insurance.
- Spay and neuter your pet. Studies have shown that pets that are spayed and neutered live healthier, longer lives. Plus, spayed and neutered pets are less likely to develop behavior problems.
- Always keep an ID tag on your pet. Consider getting your pet microchipped as well to help identify him if he is lost or stolen.
- Train your pet to understand obedience. Dogs should at least understand basic direction like “sit” and “stay.” In an emergency situation these cues could save your pet’s life.
- Give him the exercise he needs. All pets need regular exercise to stay fit and to release their energy. Without it, your pet will begin to act out. Young pets that do not get enough exercise are more likely to develop negative behavioral issues that lead many owners to give up their pet.
- Feed him properly. Ask your vet what type of food and how much is right for your pet. Keeping your pet on a regular, portion controlled diet will help with weight management and prevent weight related health problems.
- Unless your pet is in a secure, fenced off area keep him on a leash. Even a well trained pet may run off when you are not looking.
- Socialize your pet. Meeting new people and other pets improves the confidence of your pet. Plus, having extra playmates will help relieve some of your pet’s built up energy.
- Love your pet. You are your pet’s favorite thing in the whole world. He craves your love, attention and care. So show him the love and devotion he shows you!
Please feel free to pass this onto any of your pet loving friends. Somethings may appear obvious to some, but not to others. Also please add to comments what YOU think makes a responsible pet parent.
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