As February is Responsible Pet Owners Month, now is a great time to take stock of ourselves as pet parents or as prospective pet parents. If you are currently caring for a pet, it’s essential to look introspectively to determine whether you’re providing the best quality of care to your furry, scaley, or feathered friend.
Remember you have a responsibility to care for your pet, but it’s also a privilege and should be treated as such. Here are our thoughts on the top 10 responsibilities of a pet owner:
Give Them Regular Exercise
Some pets will need more exercise than others. Dogs often require plenty of time outdoors from going on walks to playing in the park to burn off excess energy. For cats, these furry friends prefer to get their daily exercise by chasing and swatting at cat toys.
Schedule Annual Check-Ups
Taking your beloved friend to the vet for an annual wellness visit is critical to keep them in good health. A yearly checkup also provides the opportunity to spot any medical issues before they become significant problems. A veterinary professional will thoroughly examine your pet to ensure that they are feeling their absolute best. Annual vet visits are also essential to get regular vaccines and various medications such as flea and heartworm preventatives.
Socialize Your Pet
Socialization is critical for a happy and healthy furry friend. Many animals are accustomed to living in packs. Meeting and getting to know others can boost your pet’s confidence and can help ease or even eliminate any nervous or anxious tendencies.
Feed Them Properly
A proper, healthy diet is vital to providing your pet with the best level of care. The type of animal you have, along with dozens of other factors, can drastically impact the type of food your pet should be consuming. These other factors include age, weight, allergies, and exercise levels. If you are unsure of what kind of food is best for your beloved friend, be sure to consult with your veterinarian.
Keep Them Safe
Being a responsible pet parent also means providing the best level of safety for your friend. This means taking extra precautions in your home, outside of your home, as well as implementing additional safeguards in case your pet runs away from home. Inside your house, it’s essential to pet-proof any room that they can roam around in. This can mean ensuring that any personal medications are put safely away out of reach, and harmful household products are tucked away. Pet tags and microchips are vital in case your pet ever escapes your home or yard and gets lost. With proper and current identification, your furry friend has an increased chance of reunification with their family!
Have your furry friend’s teeth professionally cleaned regularly to help maintain their good health. It Practicing good dental hygiene habits at home is also just as important! Cats and dogs need to have their teeth brushed regularly with animal-friendly toothpaste. It may not be a pleasant feat for either you or your pet, but it’s necessary to prevent dental disease. If you need more tips on maintaining your pet’s dental health, read our blog on proper dental care techniques for your pet.
Training builds trust and mutual respect and can be an enjoyable bonding experience for both you and your beloved friend. Dogs, especially puppies, thrive by being trained and learning new tricks.
Pick Up After Your Pet
Being a responsible pet owner means also being respectful to those around you. Whenever your animal goes outside and leaves little presents, whether on a walk or in the backyard, be sure to pick up their “gifts” in a timely matter. Not only are they unpleasant to see or worse, step on, they also carry germs that could harm other individuals and animals around you.
Spay or Neuter
Unfortunately, there are more animals in shelters than loving homes that are willing and able to take them in. Spaying or neutering your pet can help reduce the number of animals that end up in shelters or euthanized and has many health benefits that also can help pets live happy and healthy lives!
Give Them Plenty of Love
When you take a pet into your home, you’re gaining an extra member of the family. These animals have endless and steadfast love to give you while asking for little in return. It’s our responsibility to make sure we honor and match their love every day by caring for them, providing for them, and giving them plenty of TLC and snuggles!
While these are just 10 responsibilities of a pet owner, the list could go on forever. Being a pet parent is a big commitment, but it is always worth it. We know – we’ve made caring for pets our career!