Today is National Pet Owners Day (I looked it up, it’s a real thing). So we’re taking some time to think about what makes a responsible pet owner. If you’re reading this blog, I’m guessing that you already know that pets are not just playthings or accessories, but living creatures with personalities, feelings, and emotions. They require dedicated care and attention to be happy just like any living thing. Owning a pet is an enormous, but rewarding, responsibility. Here are five ways you can continue to practice responsible pet ownership.
Make Your Home Pet-Friendly
One of the best ways you can take care of your pets is to make your home safe for them. Keep toxic plants away from pets and keep any products containing xylitol securely locked away. Xylitol is especially deadly to dogs and cats, and it’s increasingly included in food products as an artificial sweetener. And of course, keep lots of toys, beds, and fluffy blankets around to keep your pet comfy.
Give Them Plenty of Exercise
A tired pet is a happy pet. Exercise is stimulating for your pet’s mind and body. It keeps them calm and obedient as well as trim and healthy. Some dog breeds need more exercise than others, so check to see if your pup needs to get out more. In general, provide at least 20 minutes of moderate exercise a couple times a day for both cats and dogs. Bonus: you’ll feel better and get your own workout in at the same time!
Train Your Pet
In general, your pet (all dogs and some cats) wants to make you happy. When you provide obedience training for your dog, it gives him/her the confidence to know exactly what to do and when to do it to please the pack leader. Obedience training also keeps your pet well-behaved around other people and pets, which could at least prevent a potential lawsuit when your dog bites the plumber. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything. (Thank you, nice plumber, for being so understanding!)
Spay or Neuter Your Pet
I can’t overstate how important this is. Thousands upon thousands of cats and dogs are euthanized every year because they cannot find forever homes. Spaying or neutering your pet prevents unwanted litters of puppies and kittens. Yes, they’re cute. But unless you want six more cats or dogs running around the house, you’ll need to find them homes. It’s not as easy as it seems sometimes, so often, these surprise babies end up in kill shelters or overcrowded rescues.
Cover Your Pet with Pet Insurance
When you have a pet, it’s inevitable that at some point, you’ll face a vet bill in the thousands. Pet swallow things that they can’t digest. They get injured. They get sick. And it’s often difficult to meet the exorbitant cost of treatment. A good pet insurance plan will reimburse up to 90% of the cost of unexpected treatments. Combined with a savings plan, pet insurance is the best way to make sure your pets get the best care when they needs it. And it will provide you with peace of mind knowing that when disaster does strike, you’ll be ready.