What does responsible pet parenting mean to you?
February is Responsible Pet Owners Month, and in a recent 1800PetMeds Facebook survey, we asked pet parents what they believe responsible pet parenting is all about. Among the most popular answers were the following:
Proper nutrition – Feeding your pet a healthy diet that meets his or her nutritional needs is important for overall good health. It may be tempting to grab the least expensive bag of kibble on the grocery store shelf, but empty calories and substandard ingredients can be harmful over time. As well, making sure you are giving your pet healthy pet treats can help improve your pet’s diet.
Spaying and neutering – Preventing unwanted pregnancies in pets is extremely important, both to your family and to the community at large. Shelters are full of homeless pets due in large part to a failure to spay and neuter pets. When the “Free to Good Home” ads fail, many people are forced to take puppies and kittens to shelters because they do not have the room or the means to keep them.
Good dental hygiene – Regular brushing with toothpaste and toothbrushes designed for pets is the key to good oral health for your pet. As well, it’s important to make checking teeth and gums for redness and swelling part of your pet care routine. Periodontal disease is one of the most common infectious diseases in pets. Poor dental health can contribute to serious health problems including diseases of the heart, lungs and kidneys. Be sure to have your veterinarian check your pet’s teeth and gums at least once a year, and preferably twice a year for pets older than 7 years.
Vaccines – Keeping your pet up-to-date with necessary vaccinations can help avoid health problems. It is most important to vaccinate puppies and kittens under one year of age. It is at this stage of life that pets are most vulnerable to many dangerous viral infections. To learn more about vaccinations for pets, please read the article, Dogs & Cats: Vaccinations Schedule.
Heartworm and flea prevention – Similar to vaccines, prevention of heartworm disease and flea infestation is vital to your pet’s good health. Heartworm infection is a potentially fatal disease that requires year-round protection. Heartworm fatalities have been documented in every state across America, at all times of the year. Fleas and ticks are another source of problems for your pet, that can be avoided through the use of flea & tick preventatives. Fleas and ticks can cause skin allergies, hot spots, Lyme disease, Ehrlichia, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and other maladies best avoided.
Pet Health Insurance – Being prepared for emergency health care for your pet can mean the difference between always being able to get the treatment your pet needs or having to make a heartbreaking choice. Unfortunately, many pets are euthanized each year solely because their pet parents cannot afford the life-saving treatment necessary to keep sick pets alive. With veterinary costs rising each year, having pet health insurance will give your entire family peace of mind knowing that health care for your beloved pet will not be out of reach financially.
Some other great answers included good training and socializing, patience and of course love – lots and lots of love! We are proud to see that so many of our Facebook friends are such knowledgeable and responsible pet parents.
What about you? What do you feel are some of the things that makes a pet owner responsible? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!