Monday, September 7, 2009

23 Ways to Be a Responsible Pet Owner

By Julia Williams

We talk a lot about responsible pet ownership in this blog, for obvious and perhaps not-so-obvious reasons. For starters, our sponsor is CANIDAE All Natural Pet Foods, a company that is wholly committed to helping people be the very best pet owners they can be. Hence, we write about responsible pet ownership because it fits perfectly with that commitment, and it’s such an important topic. We also feel that being a responsible pet owner is an intrinsic part of animal companionship.

Our pets depend on us to provide the basics of proper nutrition and care. But being a responsible pet owner goes so much deeper than that. Pet ownership is not something one should ever enter into lightly or “in the spur of the moment.” Why not? Because when you bring a pet into your home and your life, you are making a lifetime commitment.

When you adopt a pet, it becomes your responsibility to provide them with everything they need to be healthy, happy, safe, well adjusted and well behaved. It’s your responsibility to teach them how to be good feline and canine citizens. And lastly, it’s your responsibility to give them an abundance of love. When you meet their emotional needs – which just might be the most vital aspect of responsible pet ownership – your dog or cat will repay you a thousand fold.

I’ve used the letters of ‘Responsible Pet Ownership’ to impart 23 ways you can take good care of your four-legged friend.

Recognize that pets require a long-term commitment of time and money.
Every family member should take an active role in caring for pets.
Shower your pet with love and hugs every moment you can.
Pet proof your home: lock up medicines, cleaners and breakables.
Obesity is preventable with a proper diet and plenty of exercise.
Never let your dog ride untethered in the open bed of a pickup truck.
Schedule a “wellness check” for your pet at least once a year.
Identification tags and micro-chips are a lost pet’s ticket back home.
Be kind to your pet every day, in every way.
Let your pet sleep on your bed if it makes you happy.
Exercise is vital for good health and maintaining a proper weight.

People food is not meant for pets, so give it sparingly if at all.
Emergencies happen: be prepared with a disaster plan and supplies.
Take precautions to keep your pet safe on July 4th and Halloween.

Obedience training can help your dog be a better “canine citizen.”
When in doubt about your pet’s care, consult your veterinarian.
Nails need trimming, teeth need cleaning and coats need grooming.
Elderly pets need special care and extra-vigilant owners.
Respect leash laws, vaccination laws and registration laws.
Spay or neuter to prolong their life and prevent unwanted litters.
Hire a pet sitter when you go away on vacation or business trips.
Invest in premium quality pet food for good health and longevity.
Pets deserve the very best care, and they depend on you to provide it!

P.S. This September, hundreds of AKC affiliated clubs and other dog organizations will be celebrating AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Day nationwide. Rather than designate one particular day to promote responsible pet ownership, they’ve earmarked the entire month of September – even better! You can join the fun by attending an event in your area. Simply visit the AKC website to find a listing of events in your state.

Read more articles by Julia Williams

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