Today’s guest writer is Stacy Mantle, Founder of PetsWeekly. Stacy is writing about being responsible pet owners.
February is Responsible Pet Ownership Month, but pets are more than a responsibility – they are a privilege. It’s a privilege to have a dog who looks to you for instruction, who adores your every move, who forgives every misstep you may take as you learn to care for them, and who loves you unconditionally.
This honor is not something that should be taken for granted. We owe our dogs the same allegiance they give us – which is the main reason being a responsible pet owner is so important.
We’ve broken down the characteristics of responsible pet owners:
- Plan for a long life: You need to commit to your pets for the life of your pet. This means, your dog can be a part of your life for up to 20 years! This is why it’s so important for you to plan ahead. Only adopt the type of pet you can handle. Make sure you can afford to have a pet (it can be expensive!).
2. Provide for Your Dog’s Physical Needs:
- Food: There are many types of diets available to dogs. As omnivores, they require a variety of nutritious foods. Spend time researching the best options for your dog.
- Water: Make sure your pet has clean, cool water available 24-hrs a day. Water is the stuff of life and ensuring your dog has easy access to it is the first step to good health. If the water in your area is not the highest quality, be sure to pick up a water filter or UV filter.
- Grooming: Your dog will need to be groomed regularly. This helps ensure a healthy coat and has the added benefit of reducing dog fur around your home. Don’t bathe your dog more than once every few months and only use a shampoo designed for dogs – otherwise you risk stripping your pet’s coat.
3. Emotional Needs
Having a socialized pet is important. Not only does it make your life easier, it makes for a happier pet. Safer options include kennels (both indoors and out), fencing, and even doggy daycare while you’re at work. A dog should never be tethered to a fixed object or left outdoors all day.
4. Mental Needs
Training is an important part of dog parenting. A trained dog knows what is and isn’t acceptable, which helps them feel more secure in their environment. Use puzzle toys that help your dog feel more stimulated and learn how to turn every treat into an opportunity for learning. The end result is a more relaxed, confident dog that you will love to have in your home.
Emergencies happen. Make sure you plan for them. What would happen if you were in a traffic accident on the way home? Would someone be there to care for your dog? Talk to a family member, friend or professional pet sitter who you can delegate as your primary contact in case of emergency.
Having a dog is much like having a child. They rely on us for their safety, security and well-being. It’s a small price to pay for having such a loyal companion!