February is Responsible Pet Owners Month. For those of you who already have pets you know what a wonderful addition they are to your family and to your life. But with the advantages of pet companionship come responsibilities. It is important to remember those responsibilities every day.
You are responsible for ensuring your pet is getting fresh water, good quality food, exercise, a warm place to sleep, stimulation and love. You should also ensure that he/she is getting regular veterinary care including dental check ups, vaccinations if needed, blood tests etc to make certain they stay in good health. If your pet is hurt, ill, or suffering in any way, you are responsible for getting them the necessary care they need to be pain free.
If you have a dog, you are responsible for cleaning up after it on public streets, parks etc. and making sure it is well-socialized. You are also responsible for following all the state laws regarding rabies shots, and leash laws. You should ensure your pet has proper identification so he/she can be returned to you if lost. This could include a tattoo, microchip, and ID tags.
You are responsible for ensuring your pet is spayed/neutered and therefore not contributing to the existing problem of over-population. In a disaster, you are responsible for ensuring your pet is kept safe.
It is important to remember that cats, dogs, birds, etc. are sentient beings. They can and do feel pain and can and do suffer. Please make sure that your pet is never mistreated, abused, neglected, or abandoned. Pets are family members, and as such, we have a responsibility to them for the rest of their lives. Pets are forever!