Are You a Responsible Pet Owner?

February is Responsible Pet Owners Month. As the month winds down, we look back on ways you can be the best possible parent to your beloved pets.

February is Responsible Pet Owners Month. As the month winds down, it's a good time to reflect on what being a responsible pet owner means. While you read this post, make a mental checklist and if you find yourself not doing engaging in any of these activities, consider making some positive changes for you and your pet.


Why is responsibility so important?

When you bring a pet into your home, you are fully responsible for that pet's well being for the remainder of its life. Being a responsible pet owner means seeing to all aspects of your pet's health and happiness. In return, your pet will shower you with unconditional love and faithful companionship!


Some ways to be a responsible pet owner include:


  • Veterinary Care: You are responsible for providing professional health care for your pet. Regular check-ups per your vet's desired schedule are important, as is seeking the advice of your vet if your pet is sick or injured.

  • Spay or Neuter: If you have a cat or dog, it's especially important that you spay or neuter your pet, unless you have a specific reason for breeding. (If you are breeding your pet, there are a separate set of standards for responsible breeding that you should research, too.) Spaying or neutering your pet helps control the population of homeless and unwanted animals, and reduces the number of such animals put to death every day.

  • Fitness: You need to make time to let your pet exercise and encourage your pet to stay active. Just as this is important to humans, it's important to other animals, too!

  • Home Environment: You are responsible for providing a safe, clean home environment for your pet. If your pet is small and caged or kept in a tank, tend to this tiny home well. If your pet is able to roam your house freely, put away anything that could be hazardous to your pet to prevent accidents.

  • Tag or Microchip: Ensure your pet is identifiable at all times if there's a chance he or she could get loose outdoors. This will increase the likelihood of your pet being returned home safely.

  • Clean up After Your Pet: When you walk your dog, clean up after any messes he makes along the way. If you have an indoors cat, clean the litter box frequently to avoid unhygienic conditions.

  • Instill Obedience: Bad habits become big problems for pets. Train your pet, or hire a professional to do it, before those problems become unmanageable and damaging to your relationship. If you have a dog, you should ensure your dog is trained enough to be easily controlled. Others may view unruly dogs as a menace.

  • Research Service Providers: Thoroughly research your choice of breeder, veterinarian, trainer, groomer or pet sitter before committing. You should feel comfortable that the people who work with your pet are professionals in good standing.

  • Research Your Pet: Do your homework about your pet's breed. Find out if there are any health problems you should be aware of and remain alert for signs. Understand any breed bias you may encounter. Get to know the breed's personality and any quirks that may show up. Brush up on proper care, feeding and hygiene practices. Treat your pet with respect.


For more information and to discuss responsible pet ownership with other pet owners, visit the official Facebook page for Responsible Pet Owners Month. You can find more pet ownership tips at the Pet Peeps blog, too!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Rather Be Anonymous February 28, 2013 at 02:17 PM
Clean up after your pet. PLEASE! Have some respect.
Gus Elfving February 28, 2013 at 05:57 PM
Agreed completely. Thanks for commenting!
lauri March 01, 2013 at 05:05 AM
and don't let your dogs bark incessantly!!
Gus Elfving March 02, 2013 at 10:28 PM
So true Lauri. Controlling your dog with at least basic training is vital. Thanks for your $.02!
George Clark March 06, 2013 at 03:39 AM
dog crap is natural fertilizer,. as long as it';s off the walk get over it, with all the serious crap in this country and world don;t we have more important messes to worry about cleaning up? all the people that panic when they see a loose dog should also grow a pair or carry spray if they are so defenseless and scared. please
Rather Be Anonymous March 06, 2013 at 09:33 PM
When kids play baseball or whatever at Volta or Montrose they can get this "natural" fertilizer on their hands.. which for little kids means they may get it in their mouths. It stinks up our house a few times a year when it comes in on shoes. Not panic, disgust.
Gus Elfving March 07, 2013 at 05:40 AM
I appreciate everyone's input and can understand both sides of the argument. However, it's considered very irresponsible when people don't pick up after their dogs, mostly on the basis of disrespect to the property owners and hygiene concerns like those that Anonymous raised. I don't think anyone is calling for legislation, but just common courtesy. As for loose dogs, the majority of loose dogs may not be a threat, but being loose in a city could be more of a threat to the dog - being hit by a car, placed in the pound, etc. Thanks for the comments!


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