Most of us with animals know that being responsible for our furry friends is a daily, year-round commitment. To highlight the importance of humans’ responsibilities to animals, In Defense of Animals (IDA) has declared the month of May “Responsible Animal Guardian Month.”
Purpose of the Campaign
According to the IDA, one purpose behind the Responsible Animal Guardian Campaign is to focus on “promoting the life-saving language, actions and values of animal guardianship in regard to our fellow beings.”
The IDA’s goal is to change the term “owner” to the more equal and respectful title “guardian.” Identifying as an owner makes a pet our property while referring to ourselves as guardians mean that we are responsible for an animal’s well-being for a lifetime.
During the month of May, the IDA hopes to accomplish the following:
- To encourage responsible and loving behavior from people who are already pet guardians. This means committing to caring for the pet’s physical and social needs and forming a deep bond with the animal.
- To discourage people from purchasing an animal from a pet store or breeder.
What is a Responsible Animal Guardian?
There is no better time than right now to look at what it means to be a responsible animal guardian.
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) defines responsible guardians as legal adults who are fully committed to humane, compassionate, lifelong care for their companion animal(s).
A responsible guardian is able and committed to caring for the animal’s physical, behavioral, social, and psychological needs for the lifetime of the animal.
What You Can Do
If you are thinking of adding a new fur-friend to your family be sure to consider the following items in regards to your pet’s needs and care:
- Have a plan as to who will be responsible for caring for your new family member.
Your new four-legged friend is going to need walks, feeding, playtime, baths, training. Someone might have to take him out early in the morning as well as in the evening. Pet owners will also have to spend time consistently training him or commit to bringing him to a trainer. These details should be worked out before you take an animal home.
- Make sure you have the time and energy to spend with your new animal.
There is an old saying, “negative attention is better than no attention at all.” Animals want your attention. If they aren’t getting the interaction they need, they will find other outlets for their energy. These outlets can result in behavior problems such as destroying items and excessive barking.
- Find out if the animal is spayed or neutered.
It’s a responsible and healthy thing to help control the animal population by spaying or neutering your animal. There is no reason to bring additional cats and dogs into the world unless you know they will all have loving, caring homes for their lifetimes.
- Be prepared to tend to the emotional needs of a rescue animal.
Some rescue animals come with unknown histories or difficult pasts that include abuse or neglect. They may require some extra patience and TLC to overcome abandonment issues and fear of humans.
If you already are an animal guardian it’s important to remember to:
- Socialize your animal so that she is confident and comfortable in a variety of situations.
- Make exercise part of your furry friend’s daily routine. Just like humans, animals need exercise to stay in good physical shape.
- Go for an annual wellness exam. This way, your veterinarian can find issues and address them before they become chronic.
- Take senior animals for two wellness exams a year.
- Consider buying pet insurance to help cover unexpected vet visits and needed care for your furry family member.
Here at PetFirst, we know accidents and illnesses happen to all pets. Pet insurance can help cover unexpected vet visits and provides peace of mind that if your pet gets sick or injured, you don’t have to worry about the financial aspect of your pet’s care.
Make sure your pet is covered with PetFirst Pet Insurance. We have cat and dog insurance policies as well as Routine Care Coverage to fit every budget.