Did you know that February is “Responsible Pet Owners Month”? What does it mean to be a responsible pet owner?
1.Providing Shelter and Basic Needs:
All pets deserve a warm, dry and safe shelter from the elements. In fact, it’s the law in Canada. You cannot leave your dog outside without shelter from the elements. You must provide water and food as well, which should go without saying but sadly there are too many cases of malnutrition.
2. A Safe and Fear-Free Environment:
I hear “why would someone abandon a dog to the SPCA for having too much energy/being anxious etc.” way too often. My husband and I personally adopted a beautiful dog from a local rescue who has a lot of anxiety. She formerly lived in a home with children and that wasn’t a good fit for her. A responsible pet owner realized that having young children tugging on her was not a good fit. So instead of seeking to euthanize her, letting her run loose or whatever else people may do, they chose to give her the best chance they could at a new life with the right family. That, to me, is responsible pet ownership. Ensure that the environment they are in is respectful, safe, and conducive to happiness for that pet.
3. Medical Care:
Of course, this is a vet hospital’s take on this so you knew this would be in here, but before I ever worked in the industry, my mother taught me the importance of being responsible with my pets. If they are sick, you bring them in. They go in yearly for their annual exam and possible vaccines (depending on the vaccine cycle). This does not end with your pet; we go through this same debate with children. Yes. You are responsible for your pet and its wellbeing, but you cannot go out into a dog park without vaccines and put all of the other owner’s dogs at risk. Same goes for an outdoor cat; if you do not vaccinate that cat and then let it roam the neighbourhood with other cats, you are putting others’ pets at risk. Pets can die from many communicable diseases that float around out there… such as this year’s Leptospirosis outbreak. This did claim lives and could be dangerous to owners and their families.
To summarize, to keep your pet healthy & happy provide shelter and necessities, a safe and fear-free environment and finally, provide up-to-date medical care. Responsible pet ownership is providing your pet with respect and love, and knowing when you cannot afford what they need and making the conscious choice to rehome them or change your lifestyle to suit their needs. Pet ownership is a choice and responsibility, and therefore cannot be treated lightly.
Written by: Blair Lutes, Site Coordinator