CHAH_iStock_000010652668_LargeWhat does it mean to be a responsible pet owner? Certainly, good pet care includes providing food and fresh water, daily exercise, and veterinary care. We would also hope that a responsible pet owner is loving, devoted, and attentive with caring for a pet.

For those pet owners who truly see their pets as part of the family, we want to think about what it really means to be a responsible pet owner who not only meets our pet’s daily needs, but provides the best care and quality of life for our pets.

Caring for a Pet: Your Pet’s Daily Needs

Responsible pet ownership starts with meeting basic day-to-day pet care needs, such as feeding your pet and providing opportunities for daily exercise. Consistency in these areas is the cornerstone to your pet’s lifelong wellbeing.

What other ways should responsible pet owners consider in providing for their pet’s health and happiness?

  • Training & socialization – Your canine friend will benefit from professional obedience training and socialization; both necessary to keeping your dog safe and avoiding behavioral challenges. Your pet also needs social time for emotional wellbeing!
  • Nutrition – That old saying, “you are what you eat” is also true for our pets. Higher quality pet food, formulated for your pet’s age, breed, and state of health, provides your pet with the building blocks of long term wellness and weight management.
  • Exercise and Activity – All pets need exercise, whether feline, canine, or the pocket variety, and benefit from having an appropriate level of exercise incorporated in their daily routines. Our pets also need toys and activities that stimulate their interest with the added benefit that some will also get them moving.
  • Basic grooming – From keeping your pet clean and trimmed, to cleaning ears, trimming nails or expressing anal sacs, grooming is an important part of maintaining your pet’s overall health. Whether you choose to groom your pet yourself, or leave it to professionals, grooming can be a chore or a chance to bond with your pet.
  • Safety at home – As a pet parent, you probably understand how dangerous poisonous substances can be when left in a pet-accessible area. Take the time to pet proof your home, stashing away medications, chemicals, and other hazardous materials.
  • Safety outdoors – Whether you are traveling with your pet or planning on walking your dog to the dog park, make a plan as to how you will reduce risks, such as exposure to the elements, busy streets, aggressive animals, and poisonous plants and chemicals.
  • Emergency plan – What happens to your pet if you are injured while out and can’t make it home? What happens in a hurricane? No one wants to think about an emergency situation with a beloved pet, but realistically it is advantageous for your pet’s safety to establish an emergency plan. You should also maintain an accessible pet first-aid kit and have our 24-hour emergency number and address in your phone.
  • ID tags/microchip – There is quite possibly nothing more frightening than a lost pet. As a responsible pet parent, ensure your pet’s safe return to your family with a microchip, updated microchip database information, and current identification tags.
  • Love & attention – Your pet is a part of your family, and requires your daily attention and affection to feel secure and safe. Being a responsible pet parent means understanding that pets are lifelong commitments and remaining devoted to their overall care.

Wellness Care & Improving Your Pet’s Quality of Life

Now that we’ve covered the day-to-day pet care needs that a responsible pet owner provides, we turn our attention to your pet’s wellness care.

Attending to your pet’s health goes beyond annual exams. In fact, preventive care is just as important to your pet’s health as it is for your own. So, what are some of the ways you can attend to your pet’s wellness care needs?

  • Annual or biannual wellness examsMaking sure your pet is seen by a veterinarian at least once a year helps to keep your pet healthy, and establish a baseline of health and behavior, so that subtle symptoms in disease or aging can be diagnosed and treated more quickly.
  • Vaccinations and preventives – Vaccines and preventives help keep your pet free from contagious diseases and parasite-borne illnesses and health threats. At Carriage Hills Animal Hospital, we tailor your pet’s vaccine and preventive schedule to reduce the risk of over-vaccination while protecting your pet’s health.
  • Spay and neuter surgery – Although each pet is different, we encourage spaying or neutering your pet to prevent unwanted or stray pets and to keep your pet safe and healthy. We offer regular spay and neuter services, as well minimally-invasive laparoscopic spays for faster and less painful recovery time.
  • Dental careDental care is vital to pet health, yet it is often overlooked until periodontal disease or other painful conditions emerge. Daily brushing and teeth cleaning (as needed) help keep your pet from potentially serious infections that can spread to the heart and other organs.
  • Follow up – Along with those important wellness exams, please make time for following up with lab work or other aftercare requirements. Putting them off usually means that we miss potential problems or find them when they are more advanced.

We understand how important your pet is to you and your family, and how much love and care you give him or her each day. We are so grateful for our many responsible pet owners who understand the serious and lifelong commitment you have made to your pet.