6 Tips for Responsible Pet Owners Month

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Valentine’s Day is a few days away and the timing has never been better to show your pet some extra love. February is also Responsible Pet Owner Month. If you’ve been delaying that visit to the veterinarian, the dog trainer, or if you just need to get back on track with general pet care, there is no time like the present.

Here are six tips to help get you on target with your pet.

  • Spay or Neuter your pet. The ASPCA estimates around 4 to 6 million dogs and cats are euthanized each year because there are not enough homes. You can help cut down on pet overpopulation by spaying or neutering your pet. Since February is also National Spay/Neuter Month, there are a lot of low cost options in most communities for you to take advantage of.
  • Visit the veterinarian. If you’ve missed your annual check up or just have been delaying your trip in, now is a good time go call your vet and book your pet in for a check up. Preventative check ups help your vet detect issues before they become critical. Many organizations also offer low-cost vaccination clinics.
  • Register for training classes. Check out a variety of classes to find a trainer and class that is a good fit for both you and your dog. Mix it up from regular training by signing up for agility or nose classes to give your dog extra stimulation.
  • Don’t leave your dog unattended. Dog thefts and coyote attacks are both on the rise lately in our neck of the woods (Chicago-area). Never leave your dog unattended – on a leash or in your yard – to prevent either from happening.
  • Update your pet’s ID. Make sure your pet is microchipped and make sure your microchip company has your updated contact information. Invest in an ID tag for your pet’s collar that includes your phone number and vital information about your pet. Many strays end up in shelters and are never reunited with their families
  • Be prepared for an emergency. Put together a folder with vital information about your pet including a good photo, general and health information. Pack an emergency kit with a week’s worth of food, medications and other items you may need for your pet in the case of an emergency evacuation or situation. Find out where local emergency vet clinics are located in your area.

Have any other tips? Feel free to share them in the comments!

Kathy Mordini is a freelance writer that covers the Chicago animal rescue community and pet trends. She writes daily on Examiner.com. Read her column online and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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