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Pets give us endless love and bring smiles and joy to our everyday lives. They teach us to be kinder and more compassionate. They are our loyal friends and fearless protectors. So it is worth remembering that pet ownership comes with great responsibility. After all, we are their guardians, leaders, and protectors, although it may not always feel that way.
February is Responsible Pet Ownership Month, a fitting time to look at what it means to be a responsible pet owner.
Although there is no one accepted definition of “responsible pet owner,” here are some tips to help you create the best possible environment for a happy, healthy pet.
Recognize that you are making an emotional and financial commitment to your pet for his or her lifetime.
Pet care costs money. Therefore, you need to be aware that you are making a financial investment. Just like people, pets get injuries and health issues that require doctor visits and treatment.
If you are adding a dog to your family, think about your lifestyle, hobbies, habits, and schedule. Research breeds or mixed breeds that best fit your lifestyle.
Whether you adopt a pet from a shelter, rescue organization, or a breeder, be prepared to fill out a detailed application and/or answer extensive questions about the type of home you can provide for a pet.
Any reputable organization cares as much as you do about finding the ideal match between the pet and prospective home.
We all know that life can throw unexpected curveballs. Responsible pet owners take this into account and carefully plan ahead so their pets will be cared for in the event that something happens to them.
By taking a pet into your home, you are committing to provide safety, food, water, shelter, health care, and companionship.
Food, water, and protection from the elements are necessities. However, animals also have emotional needs.
Among these are the need for companionship and interaction. Most pets, if given the choice, would prefer to be indoor pets, living side-by-side with their human companions.
Pets live more fulfilling lives when they are treated as family members rather than provided with outdoor shelter or relegated to the garage.
Abide by state and local ordinances regarding pets.
No one wants to risk their beloved pet becoming lost. According to the ASPCA, one-third of all pets in the United States will become lost once in their lifetime.
Thankfully, you can greatly increase the likelihood of your pet’s safe return by doing the following:
Pet overpopulation is a serious issue. Being a responsible pet owner includes preventing your pet from reproducing by having him/her spayed or neutered.
The American Humane Association estimates that approximately 8 million animals enter shelters annually. Approximately 3.7 million animals are euthanized each year because they do not find homes.
Until all pets have loving homes, do your part to prevent additional litters.
Developing a relationship with your veterinarian as soon as you bring your new pet home.
Your vet will get your pet started on a regular vaccination schedule and will recommend options for preventative parasite control treatments.
Regular check-ups and preventative care are important to keeping your pet functioning at his best. PetFirst Routine Rider Coverage offers options to help you pay for portions of preventative care for your pet in addition to coverage for accidents and illnesses. Get a quote today.
Pets need regular exercise to stay in shape just like people do.
Some statistics indicate that up to half the dogs in the United States are overweight. Regular exercise helps prevent pet obesity and provides necessary mental stimulation.
Always remember to give your pet lots of love. You are your pet’s favorite thing in the whole world. So don’t forget the little things because to him, they are huge:
Guest Blogger: Lauren Lee
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