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11 Tips for Being a Responsible Pet Owner

February is “Responsible Pet Owner” month, and that got us thinking: how do we view responsible pet ownership? While there isn’t an exact definition for it the America Kennel Club gives each of us a great starting point for how we view pet ownership: “Owning a dog is not just a privilege-it's a responsibility.” Whether you own a dog or a cat one thing is for sure, owning that pet comes with great responsibility.

Pets are not accessories that can be thrown aside and forgotten. Pets are companions that need love, care and devotion. You can find many lists that outline very specific ways to be a responsible pet owner, like the American Kennel Club’s list for dog owners, but we’ve compiled a short list for you of the important rules we think all pet owners must live by.

  • Make him part of the family. Pets, especially dogs, need companionship. They are traditionally pack creatures and need the warmth and love that comes with living indoors with their family.
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  • Pet proof your house. To keep your pet healthy you should research what household products and foods can harm your pet. Make sure these are kept in secure locations so your pet cannot get into them.
    pet proofing tips
  • Care for your pet. Regular visits to the vet and groomer are absolutely necessary. Insuring your pet may also be important to your pet’s health. Emergencies can happen at any time. Ensure your pet gets the help he needs no matter the cost with pet insurance.
    laidback pet breeds
  • Spay and neuter your pet. Studies have shown that pets that are spayed and neutered live healthier, longer lives. Plus, spayed a neutered pets are less likely to develop behavior problems.
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  • Always keep an ID tag on your pet. Consider getting your pet microchipped as well to help identify him if he is lost or stolen.
    laidback pet breeds
  • Train your pet to understand obedience. Dogs should at least understand basic direction like “sit” and “stay.” In an emergency situation these cues could save your pet’s life.
    basic obedience training
  • Give him the exercise he needs. All pets need regular exercise to stay fit and to release their energy. Without it, your pet will begin to act out. Young pets that do not get enough exercise are more likely to develop negative behavioral issues that lead many to give up their pet.
    how much exercise do dogs need
  • Feed him properly. Ask your vet what type of food and how much is right for you pet. Keeping your pet on a regular, portion controlled diet will help with weight management and prevent weight related health problems.
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  • Socialize your pet. Meeting new people and other pets improves the confidence of your pet. Plus, having extra playmates will help relieve some of your pet’s built-up energy.
    basic puppy socialization
  • Love your pet. You are your pet’s favorite thing in the whole world. He craves your love, attention and care. So show him the love and devotion he shows you! pet love
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Thanks for sharing this advice on taking better care of your pet.  I agree that it is important for your pet to have a lot of socialization for them to be happy.  That’s why I’m considering dog boarding for my dog while I’m away on vacation.  That way, she will get to play with other dogs and have a good time.

This is some really good information to know if you are a pet owner. I didn’t realize that you should probably neuter them around 5 to 6 months after they are born. That is a huge thing to know if you are thinking about or do have a puppy.

I just got a cat that hasn’t been spayed and I have actually been wondering whether or not I should have it done. However, I had not idea that there were studies that say that it is important for pets to be fixed so that they can live healthier lives. By not being spayed or neutered, how are certain pets’ health put at risk?

Hi Faylinn,

That’s a great question.

Spay/neuter surgery eliminates the risk of reproductive tract cancer and other diseases. No reproductive parts, no reproductive cancer!

Outdoor cats or indoor/outdoor cats who are fixed also tend to stick closer to home because they have no desire to roam the neighborhood looking for a mate. Unneutered cats may wander into a dangerous area far from home, or they may wander onto a busy street.

Your vet can help you decide whether to spay your cat. There are risks with any surgery, and spay/neuter is no exception.

I find it interesting that pets that are spayed and neutered live healthier, longer lives. I’m sure it really does help them have more steady and calm behavior. I also think that loving your pet is a big part of being a responsible pet owner. Thank you for your helpful tips on being a responsible pet owner!

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