Did you know that the month of February is Responsible Pet Owners Month? But what does that really mean?
I’ve put together a little list of the 10 most important ways I believe you can be a great and responsible pet owner.
- Feed a Good Diet – By this I don’t mean the most expensive food out on the market. Reading the ingredients list is key in making sure your dog is getting the proper nutrients it needs to lead a long happy healthy life. If you have trouble making out what all those ingredients mean and are not sure what the difference between Chicken Meal vs. Chicken, check out sites such as The Whole Dog Journal. Though this journal is a subscription, it provides a wealth of information on Food, Manufacturers, Health and so much more. It is my go to reading for all my dogs health.
- See a Veterinarian regularly – Don’t wait until your dog is ill before taking him to the vet. See your vet once a year for a wellness check. If possible talk with the vet about having blood work done while your pet is healthy so that changes are noticeable down the line if an illness does occur. Panels such as Liver, Kidney, Glucose can help you detect if these diseases begin to show as the pet ages, and early treatment can possibly save your pets life!
- Administer Flea & Tick repellant – not only are fleas and ticks uncomfortable for our pets, they can also lead to horrible diseases. Parasitic dermatitis is an allergic reaction that is caused by a pet’s hypersensitivity to substances in flea saliva leading to possible hair loss and infection. Lyme disease, for both us and your dog, which can lead to lethargy, anorexia and fever.
Read more: 7 Diseases Spread by Fleas and Ticks
- Administer Heartworm & Parasite Preventative – I am adding this separately because this is often overlooked. Heartworm is a horrible disease that is transmitted by a mosquito bite. And if you think you are safe because your pet stays indoors, or that you live in a colder climate you are wrong! A mosquito can fly into a house and heartworm disease has been documented in ALL 50 states.
- Exercise & Prevent Obesity – Did you know that over half of all pets (cats & dogs) in the U.S. are overweight or obese? What can you do? Exercise and walk your dog! PetsMove.org is a great site to become more active with your dog. Join PetsMove.org today to help your pet lead a happy healthy life! To learn more about pet obesity and get some cool weight calculators for your pet visit Pet Obesity Prevention.
- ID & Microchip – We may think that we have a secure fence, or that the leash is secure. But accidents can happen. If you have a collar with contact information, if your dog becomes lost and someone else finds him, your dog has better chances of coming back home to you. You say, “Well he has a microchip, he’ll be fine.”, don’t be too confident. Have you registered your microchip information? If you have moved have you contacted your microchip company to let them know? All to often pets are microchipped but their owners can not be found.
- Prepare for an Emergency – If your pet cut himself or broke his leg would you know what to do? Do you have an emergency kit ready for your pet? Have you attended a pet CPR & First Aid class? Many Amercian Red Cross locations offer a Pet First Aid & CPR class.
- Canine Good Citizen Certificate (CGC) – Is your dog a Super Dog? He can be. Make sure you take the time to teach / train your dog the basics such as Sit, Stay, Come, Walk Nice on a Leash, Be Friendly to Strangers & Dogs then take the test! Did you know that some insurance companies give discounts for having the certificate? To learn more about the CGC head over to the AKC!
- Scoop that Poop – Yup I said it! If you are walking your dog make sure to Scoop the Poop! Be a good neighbor and keep your neighborhood, park or forest clean. Do your part and join the campaign.
- Play with your Dog – play is so important with your dog. It creates a wonderful bond between you and your pet, and not only does it make your pet feel good with getting some great attention, I bet all your worries will melt away in the process 🙂
So what do you do that makes you a responsible pet owner? We all have different ideas, lets share to learn and grow from each other.
***UPDATE: I left out the most important way you can be a responsible pet owner. SPAY & NEUTER your pets!!! I forgot this one because it is not something I think about, we just do it! It has always been a way of life for our family… and that’s a long time :). Unless you show your dogs in AKC events and only breed to improve the breed, yes there are these wonderful breeders out there, you have no reason to breed your dog. The excuse of “but I want her to have puppies” is not a reason. If you still think so, come to my home town and I will take you to a shelter that euthanizes approximately 35,000 pets a year!!!***