These days, pets are so much more than vermin hunters, cattle drivers, and protectors, they’re beloved family members. Their health, well being, and safety are our responsibility, which is why being a responsible pet owner is, well, really important. February is Responsible Pet Owners Month, a shout out to the people who are doing it right and an opportunity for all of us to reflect on our pet parenting style and ways we can do better. We don’t want to be too stern, but the truth is that taking on the responsibility of a pet and not taking it seriously can have a serious ripple effect – people can get hurt, the homeless pet population could grow, you could even lose your animal. We’re here to help. Below is a quick responsible pet owner checklist for you to run through – where do you fall?
- Spay/Neuter. Not just to prevent unwanted litters, it also reduces their chance of developing cancer in their reproductive organs.
- Knowing where they come from. Whether you adopted or paid top dollar, you know to research the breeder or facility your pet hailed from to ensure they’re healthy and support responsible practices.
- Are your pet’s tags and microchip information up to date?
- Routine check-ups. Because nothing replaces proper veterinary care.
- Know your animal, and be involved. You recognize when your pet is wrong and have no problem removing them from uncomfortable situations.
- You don’t just feed your pet, you know what they’re ingesting. You read labels and monitor your pet’s weight almost as closely as your own.
- Clean up! You either always have poop bags or your pal’s cage or litter box gets cleaned regularly without question.
- You treat them like a family member. Whether it’s sleeping on the bed or just playing and cuddling with them as often as you can, you celebrate your pet any chance you can.
7 or 8 – Top Dog! On behalf of your pet and the people around you, thank you for being so dang responsible and taking such great care of your pal.
5 or 6 – Relax, You’re Responsible. You’re conscious and trying to be the best pet parent you can be but perhaps forget a poop bag here or there.
3 or 4 – You’re on the Right Track. But you might want to step it up a little on behalf of your best bud.
Less than 3 – Try Harder. We hate to be blunt, but your pal deserves the best!