Different countries around the world celebrate “Responsible Pet Ownership” at different times of the year and in different ways, but the bottom line of all these celebrations is to educate the public about responsible pet ownership. The American Kennel Club and Canadian Kennel Club celebrate Responsible Dog Ownership Month in September; National Pet Month is celebrated during April in the UK and National Dog Day is celebrated in August across Australia.
No matter the time of year, today is a good day to remember that being a responsible pet owner is much more than providing food, water, and shelter for your pet. Raising a healthy pet is a large commitment, but is so rewarding to your entire family.
What exactly does being a responsible pet owner mean? Regardless of where in the world you live or what type of pet you have, consider the following tips to help you become the best pet owner you can be:
- Spay or neuter your pet to eliminate unwanted puppies or kittens.
- Always provide fresh water and high quality pet food.
- Regularly brush or comb your dog or cat.
- Provide pet hygiene beyond brushing or combing, including teeth brushing, ear cleaning, and bathing as required.
- Socialize your dog to new people, places, and other dogs.
- Pick up and properly dispose of your pet’s waste.
- Take your pet to the veterinarian for regular wellness checks and keep all vaccinations and parasite prevention current.
- Provide appropriate exercise and mental stimulation for your pet.
- Ensure your pet has proper identification (microchip, collar tag, and/or tattoo).
- Adhere to local laws regarding leashing, number of pets owned, and other local by-laws.
- Pet proof your home so accidental injury or consumption of toxins is avoided.
- Travel safely with your pet. Restrain your pet in a crate or by a safety harness or safety net.
- Train your dog to reduce behavior problems and keep your dog safe: train your dog to sit, stay, and come when called.
- Take your pet to see your veterinarian if you think your pet is ill or injured.
Be prepared to commit time and money to take care of your pet. Set aside time each day to devote to your pet. This will foster a special bond with your pet and provide time that both of you will look forward to. Consider purchasing pet insurance, or create an emergency fund by setting aside money each week to help pay for any unexpected costs that may occur in the future. Of course we always hope that our pets will never become sick or injured, but these types of emergencies do occur from time to time. Having pet insurance or an emergency fund will make these situations easier to deal with should they arise.
Events to help celebrate Responsible Pet Ownership are planned in many communities. In the US and Canada, many kennel clubs host special events like dog sport demonstrations, pet parades, training classes, and therapy dog demonstrations during the month of September. Similar events are held during the month of April in the UK. During the month of July in Australia, responsible pet ownership is promoted by encouraging the spaying and neutering of dogs and cats.
No matter where in the world you live, make a promise to your pet this month to provide him or her with the best care by following the above tips.