How To Be a Responsible Pet Owner
Problems and Solutions
Of the more than 30 million puppies and kittens born in the United States each year, only one in 10 finds a permanent home. The rest die of accidents, starvation, disease, or end up in a shelter.
Right in our own community, dogs and cats are abandoned and euthanized every day at shelters. Spaying and neutering pets - so that they cannot have puppies and kittens - will help save lives. In fact, it costs taxpayers much more to keep an animal in a shelter for a day or two than it costs to spay or neuter the animal. Another way to save animals is to "adopt for life." Encourage people to train and care for their companion animals, so they won't give them up.
Be a Responsible Pet Owner and...
- Take care of your companion animals, because they cannot take care of themselves.
- Spay and neuter your companion animals (this can be done as early as four months of age). It will keep them from creating unwanted babies, plus sterilized pets are healthier, live longer and behave better.
- Treat pets like family members. Let them live indoors. Keep a dog in a puppy-proofed, warm, safe room in the house if he is not yet trained.
- Always keep an ID tag on your pet.
- Stay with your animal when she or he is outdoors. Make sure your pets have water and shelter when they're out in the yard.
- Remember: Don't keep dogs outside when you're not home, because they can escape, get hurt or disturb your neighbors. Don't chain up a pet; that is cruel and leads to aggressive behavior. Never be rough or teach dogs to be aggressive. Please don't let cats roam outdoors; indoor cats live nearly 3 times as long as outdoor cats. Keep animals away from antifreeze - it's poison. And don't leave pets in a parked car, because they can die from the heat.
- Keep a leash on your dog when you're not in a fenced area. You'll avoid bites and fights. And clean up after your dog - it's easy.
- Train your pets so that they will be good in the house - and good with people. Children rely on teachers, and so do pets! Read books about training and talk to experts. After overpopulation, the second biggest reason pets wind up in shelters is that people don't take the time to train them. One study showed that 96% of people who gave up dogs had no obedience training.
- Exercise your pets every day; they need to work off their energy just like kids. Get safe toys for them. And spend time with them!
- Keep your furry family members healthy. Have them vaccinated against rabies and other diseases. Go to the vet every year - preventing illness costs less than treating it! Plus illness can cause behavioral problems.
- Watch your furry friends - if they seem scared or angry, take them to a quiet place. Dogs don't know how to cry, so a frightened dog's instinct is to bite. Never leave a young child alone with a dog.
- Feed your pets good, healthy food. Always make sure they have clean water to drink.
- Keep your companion animals for life.