Owning a pet is a big task. And being a responsible pet parent is an even bigger task. That’s why February is Responsible Pet Ownership month. It’s a time to remember that it’s a privilege to own pets and that we also have to be a dependable source of nourishment and care.
Establish Healthy Eating Habits
To help your pet have the best diet possible, talk to your vet. They will help you decide what type and how much food is right for your pet. Depending on breed, weight, age, and activity levels the amount your vet can help you make sure your pet is getting all the right nutrition.
- Feed them at the same time every day. Don’t let them graze all day long.
- Avoid overfeeding to keep them at a healthy weight. This includes treats too!
- Always have easy access to clean water.
- Clean their food and water bowls often to prevent mold and bacteria from building up.
- Don’t feed them table scraps. It’s can be hard, but they usually end up with an upset stomach from eating “people food.”
Keep Their Health & Hygiene in Check
Schedule yearly check-ups to make sure that they stay on the right track. Preventing sickness is far easier than trying to cure it.
- Schedule yearly visits with the vet
- Keep up with their vaccinations
- Give them regular flea and heartworm treatments
- Make sure their teeth and gums stay clean with dental chews and regular brushing
- Keep a canine first aid kit on hand
- Don’t forget to spay and neuter your pet
Give Them a Safe Home and a Place in The Family
Dog ownership means giving your dog a place to call home. They deserve to be thought of as part of the family. Make sure you spend time with them in a loving manner. Pets are generally pack animals and they need warmth and love to thrive.
- Give them their own blanket, bed or crate. If you’re using a crate make sure they have enough room to stand up, sit, turn around and die down in.
- Dog-proof the area. Remove chemicals like antifreeze, toxic plants, cords, and garbage cans from places your dog will frequently be.
- Make sure the climate is appropriate, especially if they are outside.
- Never leave them tied up in the yard while you’re away. They can easily get wrapped up and choke.
Movement is Important
Just like humans, dogs need exercise and mental stimulation to stay healthy. A bored dog will often get in more trouble because they are looking for something to do. Plus, keeping them active prevents obesity and all of the complications that come from being overweight.
- Walk them regularly.
- Get them treat puzzles to keep them busy when you’re not home.
- Play games like tug-o-war and fetch with them.
- Don’t forget to cuddle with them and give lots of positive reinforcement.
Dog ownership is a very big and very rewarding responsibility. They look to us for their basic care and also for comfort and stability. That’s why it’s so important to make sure we’re always giving our dog’s all of our love and care.