February is Responsible Pet Owners Month, and Dr. Shelby over at WhiskerDocs wrote a great blog post on that gives a list of “Responsible Pet Parenting Essentials” to brush up on!
We really like her list, and if you’re even reading this post we KNOW you are the most well-meaning pet parent ever… but it never hurts to take a look at your situation at least once a year and make sure you and your pets are on the right path 🙂
- Is your dog or cat spayed/neutered? Sure, this can be a controversial subject… but neutering your pet really can make an impact on pet overpopulation. Also not many pet parents know that spaying/neutering a dog while it is still a puppy can also reduce the risk of reproductive cancers!
- Has your pet seen a veterinarian in the last 6 to 12 months? Your dog should be seen by your vet at least annually… but if you bring your dog to us, you’ll actually have your dog seen every six months because we require the Bordetella vaccine that often! While that might seem like a hassle (every 6 months geez!) remember, dogs are very good at hiding illnesses, and biannual exams for your dog can catch something concerning early on. Also, if your dog is over 8 years old, 6-month checkups are advised anyway.
Is your pet up to date on his vaccinations? Again, if you bring your doggy here, we will remind you about any vaccines your doggy will be needing. And if you have a boarding reservation, not only will you be reminded verbally, but also over email. Plus your vet should also be sending out reminders in advance of the due dates. We always tell clients to keep a paper copy of the vaccine record in their car glove compartment… you never know when you might need to do some emergency boarding out of state!
- When was the last time your pet saw the dentist? February is also pet dental health month. Since your dog doesn’t brush his teeth, he needs regular dental cleanings from your veterinarian as well! Even if he does allow you to brush for him, he still needs regular cleanings to help keep his gums healthy, just like we do.
- Is your pet microchipped? Microchipping your pet could save his life and help reunite you if you were ever separated. It’s a quick, essentially painless procedure. We think microchipping is a lot better than relying ONLY on a name ID tag… these tags (especially the ones you get engraved in the store at the kiosk) can quickly get worn down. Not only could your phone number be illegible but the metal loop can wear away entirely over time, and the tag could be lost and gone for months before you realize it.
- Are you prepared for an emergency? Every pet parent should be prepared at all times for emergencies, which includes emergency travel gear (carriers, harnesses, leashes, etc.), food, and first aid supplies. One thing I learned to do not only with my dogs, but especially my cats (my cats HATE getting in the crate because it usually means a car ride is coming) is I trained them to see their crate as a safe, and rewarding place to be. I feed my pets in their crate, so they REALLY look forward to going in there. Even my cats rush to their crates and wait patiently at feeding time… this will be so beneficial if we ever need to quickly evacuate. Nothing could be worse than searching for your hiding dog or cat when you need to leave the house!
- Are you providing the optimum nutrition for your pet? You should carefully evaluate the food you’re feeding and speak with your veterinarian to find out whether your pet’s diet is ideal for his or her long-term well-being. Personally I’m a huge fan of high quality pet food, meaning NOT the stuff you can buy at your grocery store or Walmart (although Whole Foods does carry some great brands). Sure this is more expensive than a big bag of Pedigree or Alpo, but even if you buy a high quality pet food you are STILL going to be spending less on your dog than you are for yourself per-meal. Why is it that there is the misconception out there that we should spend so much less money on our pets that we would on ourselves? Your pet is a member of your family after all!Being a responsible pet parent requires time and commitment, as well as all the tender loving care you can provide. If you answered “no” to any of the above questions, February is a great time to be inspired to make positive changes for the health and happiness of your furry companion!
See Dr. Shelby’s post HERE and see how you’re doing!
-Addie – Pet Play House