As we have now hit the New Year and many of us may have brought a new furry friend into the family, it’s worth taking some time to consider “what is responsible pet ownership”. It’s hard to believe, but the holidays are not only the time when families welcome more pets into the home, but also it’s the time when “owners” simply dump their pet rather than going to the expense of finding a kennel, or a friend to look after the pet whilst they are on holiday.
The following has been adapted from guidelines from the Bureau of Animal Welfare, Victoria:
- Ensure your pet has an appropriate and adequate balanced diet.
- Clean, cool water should be available 24/7.
- Provide a comfortable, clean and dry sleeping area.
- Regular (ie daily) exercise is vital for socialisation and health. Make sure you pet has plenty of contact with the family. A lonely pet is a sad pet.
- Take precautionary measures – vaccinate, worm control (heartworm for dogs), and don’t let fleas and ticks get the better of your pet.
- Register your pet. Make sure your pet has a tag on the collar. Microchips provide permanent id increases the chances of finding your pet if it should stray (or is stolen).
- Make sure your pet is confined to your property. Cats should be kept inside overnight. Not only is it safer for them, but also for local wildlife.
- Make sure your dog is trained and not a nuisance. Barking and crying can be very distressing for neighbours, so be considerate. If you have to leave your dog alone for long periods of time, consider “doggy day care”.
- If your dog or cat is not going to be used for breeding, get it de-sexed. If your female dog is not de-sexed they need a fully enclosed pen, including a roof. Dogs are in season for 3 weeks, generally two times a year. Female cats that are not de-sexed should also be kept indoors when in season. Cats can come in season every two weeks between Spring and Autumn.
- If you go away on holiday, ensure your cat or dog is cared for properly. Preferably at a reputable boarding kennel or cattery.
Not only does pet ownership require consideration of the pet and others, but it can also be costly when you factor in vaccinations and the possibility of accidents and illness that require attention at the vet. This is where you may want to consider pet insurance that can help with the cost of the inevitable vet’s bills, and in some plans you can get assistance with routine care items such as vaccinations and flea treatments.
Do you pass the test? My next door neighbour certainly does not. His poor little dog is left on the balcony alone and crying day in and day out. That’s not what I call responsible pet ownership.
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