February is Responsible Pet Owner Month, which is a nice way to remind current and soon-to-be pet owners to think about what that means. Remember, pets are not accessories that can be thrown aside and forgotten.
Pets are companions that need love, care, and devotion. Here is a short list of the important responsibilities all pet owners should live by when it comes to caring for their pet:
- Get regular medical care. Just like humans should get a yearly check-up, pets should likewise go to the veterinarian on a schedule to ensure that they are healthy and up to date on their vaccinations.
- Seek obedience training. Dogs should at least understand basic directions like “sit” and “stay.” In an emergency situation these cues could save your pet’s life, as well as the life of another pet or person.
- Ensure a safe premises. A pet may become curious around an open body of water, like a pool, or enthusiastically run into a jagged fence. Do a regular check of your shared living space to make sure that your pet can live comfortably. Don’t leave toxic chemicals out where an animal may ingest the chemical.
- Protect against loss. Every day, hundreds of pets wander far from home with no identifying information. Maximize your chances of being reunited by placing collars with tags on your pet. Microchipping is also a common way to identify ownership.
- Prepare for emergencies. In case of a house fire or other disaster, a pet owner may place a sticker on their windows or doors to indicate the number of pets inside of the home. Also, a pet owner should have basic knowledge of animal first aid, such as how to wrap a limb in gauze in case their pet should cut themselves on some thorns.
As a pet owner, you also have the responsibility of keeping others safe from your pet. Be mindful of your pet’s temperament and act accordingly. When out in public, keep your pet on a leash or muzzled to prevent situations in which your pet may injure another. Be ready to produce vaccination records in case of any incidents.
Having pets is both a pleasure and a privilege, and this month is a reminder to take steps to ensure a pet’s safety and wellness.
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