“To have a family of my very own. I promise to dote on, treasure, love, and give my entire life to my special human.” — Young Pup
February is Responsible Pet Owners Month
10.1 Ways to be a Responsible Pet Owner
February is Responsible Pet Ownership month. According to the American Kennel Club, “Owning a dog is not just a privilege – it’s a responsibility.” Before you rush out to get a family pet, be sure it is the right decision for your family – a decision you can commit to for the rest of the pet’s life.
- Pick the right pet for your lifestyle
Evaluate your lifestyle so you can decide what type of pet will be the best fit. If you have children, this will help you pick the best pet for your child. Do you work long hours? Maybe an older pet with less energy would be better suited to your family. Do you have small children? Consider a cat or starting with a puppy that will grow with your family. Have allergy concerns? Fish and reptiles make great pets or you can look at hypo-allergic pets on Health.com to love.#ResponsiblePetOwnersMonth find the right fit, it matters. #PetForLife Click To Tweet
- Make sure a pet is in your budget
It’s important to consider the costs of pet ownership so you can provide for basic needs such as food, shelter and medical care. While this would seem logical, many people jump into it without researching the pet care costs first. Be sure you know what kind of annual shots and medical care would be needed for your pet before you choose. You will also need to consider how you will pay for emergency care should the need arise. Maybe you will want to look at some of the best pet insurance policies available.#ResponsiblePetOwnersMonth don't be caught off-guard. Set aside a pet fund. #PetForLife Click To Tweet
- Pet proof your home
Make sure any poisonous houseplants and toxic foods are not within reach, that electrical cords are hidden and anything that you don’t want eaten or chewed is safely tucked away. Your pet may have no intention of checking any of these things out but better safe than sorry until you learn more about your new pet’s habits. Check out the Guide to Pet Safety on petpoisonhotline.com for suggestions.#ResponsiblePetOwnersMonth better safe than sorry, #puppy #dog proof your home. Click To Tweet
- Select a good veterinarian
Not only do YOU have to approve of the vet you choose but be sure to see how Fido interacts with staff and vet. It’s important that he seems happy to see the vet and not be afraid of them. You know your pet best. Monitor his reaction; it will tell you the whole story. Ask your friends and neighbors nearby for suggestions. Also, ask the shelter or licensed breeder you get your pet from who they recommend. Maybe your new pet already has a great bond with a local veterinarian. It’s worth giving them a chance to continue that relationship. The American Veterinarian Medical Association has some great tips on finding the right veterinarian for your pet.#ResponsiblePetOwnersMonth you are their advocate. Health checks are important. #PetForLife Click To Tweet
- Register your pet
Keeping your pet safe and having a plan should it turn out missing is an important job. Make it a priority to register and license your pet to ensure a greater chance at a safe return. If you let your pet run free in the backyard, make sure you have a good fence and make sure your pet is wearing a collar with a name/address/phone number tag on it in case it gets out. The Humane Society also suggests identifying lost pets with microchips. It’s a very inexpensive and effective way to help you find your pet should it become lost. And, remember, many cities have leash laws so be sure to find a great leash for your pet in your initial shopping trip.#ResponsiblePetOwnersMonth licensing and registration is the right thing to do. #PetForLife Click To Tweet
- Socialize your pet
Introducing your pet with kids and other pets as early on as possible will make a world of difference on how he interacts. It also helps in modifying negative behavior when caught early. Colleen Pelar has some great tips on how to introduce pets and kids. Remember to introduce everyone slowly and be patient as it will take time for your pet to learn to trust you and for you to trust your pet.#ResponsiblePetOwnersMonth a social pet makes for a happy family. #PetForLife Click To Tweet
- Spay or neuter your pet
Pet overpopulation is a known problem best observed at animal control and pet shelters across the nation. Unless your plans include becoming a responsible, licensed pet breeder, there is no reason to take any chances to add to the pet population growth. Your vet can provide you with all the information you need to help you make the right choice for your pet.#ResponsiblePetOwnersMonth millions of pets await adoption at shelters - SPAY/NEUTER. #PetForLife Click To Tweet
- Sign up for pet training
All dogs can be a “Good dog” with a little training. And yes, you CAN teach an old dog new tricks. But remember, this training thing is a two-way street. You, too, need a little training so you can learn how to best handle your pet. Going to dog obedience classes is a great step to train you on how to teach your dog to be the pet you’d like him to be. He needs to learn basic commands like “sit” and “stay” for his own safety. He also needs to learn not to jump up on people or how to meet strangers. You can find a list of AKC training clubs here.#ResponsiblePetOwnersMonth the path to a #PetForLife starts with training. Click To Tweet
- Walk your dog
Walking your dog (or even taking a cat on a walk) can be a great experience for both you and your pet. There are many benefits from taking a walk with your dog. Not only does walking help expel energy that can cause problems at home, but this is a great chance for training opportunities.#ResponsiblePetOwnersMonth make walking your pet an adventure. You'll both win. Click To Tweet
- Bring your pet along
Nowadays, there are many pet friendly places to take your dog. Local parks, events, campgrounds, hotels, shops and even some restaurants are now offering the chance for both you and your pet to get out and see the world. GoPetFriendly.com is an excellent resource for traveling with pets.#ResponsiblePetOwnersMonth share the world with your pet. Click To Tweet
10.1 Always remember, to your pet, you are its everything
Take time to enjoy your pet and know that it lives to make you happy!#ResponsiblePetOwnersMonth you are your pet's EVERYTHING. #PetForLife Click To Tweet
Following these tips will help ensure that not only are you ready and responsible as a pet owner but that you can enjoy your pet and your pet can enjoy you for years to come too.
I’m guilty of not always wanting to go on walks with Max (my Rottie). I have to push myself to step out the front door. But, it never fails, once I do, I’m glad I did. His happiness is contagious, the fresh air clears my head and the walk does us both good.
Can you think of, and share, one thing you’d rather not do but are always glad you did?
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Founder of KirinGie.Me. A dreamer and believer that humanity can come together for the greater good and well-being of the pets we love. You and I can make a difference to reduce pet abandonment, relinquishment and euthanasia through community support, corporate sponsorship, and city partnerships. Ask me how and get involved.