What Does it Mean to Be a Responsible Pet Owner?
By: Jeff Noce, i4C Innovations President
If you spend any time reading animal welfare articles or pet care blogs, you’ve probably run across the phrase “responsible pet owner” on more than one occasion. It’s a nice idea – and an important one – but what does it really mean?
I first became involved in the pet world over 25 years ago when I owned a successful dog training facility in Washington, D.C. Over the last two decades, I’ve watched as the way we perceive and treat our pets in this country has evolved and changed. As pets have become more and more a part of our everyday lives and families, some might argue that the definition of “responsible pet owner” has shifted as well.
That may be true. But at the core, one thing has remained the same. A responsible pet owner recognizes the responsibility of having a pet and works to ensure that his or her pet is safe, healthy and happy.
Being a responsible pet owner includes:
Not every pet is right for every person or family. For example, a dog that prefers the couch over a 10K may not be right for someone who dreams of a running partner. Before bringing home a new family member, take into consideration breed traits, human personalities and lifestyle to help ensure a great match.
Visiting the Vet
Regular check-ups, dental cleanings and blood work are just as important for pets as they are for people. This gives your vet the opportunity to note and address any changes that may indicate a potential problem. Being observant and vigilant between visits is also important and using a tool like Voyce can help pinpoint minor issues before they become big ones.
Leashing your pet on walks and keeping him secure in your yard is not only the courteous, neighborly thing to do, it can help protect him (and others) from harm. Loose animals can encounter many risks – including cars, other animals, poisons and harmful substances – which may significantly reduce their life expectancy.
Socialization and Play
Both dogs and cats are social animals who need to interact and play with others for their mental health and well-being. Taking the time to throw the ball for your pup or scratch your cat behind the ears will not only make them happier, it will help strengthen the bond between you.
Exercise and Training
Pets, like humans, require both physical and mental stimulation to be healthy and happy. Teaching and practicing simple commands like “sit” and “stay” can challenge your pup’s brain and keep him mentally sharp. And a 30-minute walk around the neighborhood is good exercise for both of you.
If you have kids, help them become the next generation of responsible pet owners by teaching them the proper way to care for animals. Explain why it’s important to treat them with respect, dignity and kindness, and then demonstrate this through your own actions.
Making a Commitment
Some pets can live 10 to 15 years or more. Before adopting a pet, make sure you are willing and able to give them a space in their home and heart for the animal’s entire lifespan.
I’d like to hear from you. If you have any questions concerning pet health, wellness or behavior, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org