If you’ve researched getting a new pet, you’ve probably heard the phrase “owning a pet is a big responsibility.” But what exactly does that mean? Each year, Responsible Pet Owners Month takes place during February, and it helps educate and inform all pet owners about caring for their pets and being considerate of their community. In this article, we’ll tell you when Responsible Pet Owners Month is celebrated and offer some tips for responsible pet ownership.
When Is Responsible Pet Owners Month 2023?
Responsible Pet Owners Month takes place in February. It is recognized each year during this month, so don’t fret if you missed the chance to commemorate it this year. While responsible pet ownership is a year-round task, dedicating a month to educating and informing pet owners about what this looks like in practice is very helpful.
What Does It Mean to Be a Responsible Pet Owner?
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) developed these guidelines for responsible pet ownership, whether your pet has fur, fins, scales, or hooves.
Know What You’re Getting Into
Before you bring home a new pet, research the animal you’re interested in. If you’re choosing a dog or cat, ensure their personality and care needs fit your lifestyle and experience level. For exotic pets, make sure you know the diet, habitat, and care they need to stay healthy.
Don’t choose a pet because you saw a cute picture on Instagram or your favorite celebrity owns one. Responsible pet owners know what they’re getting into first.
Make a Commitment
Responsible pet owners understand that pets are not disposable objects. They are prepared to care for their pet for their entire lifetime. That also means accepting the financial commitment of proper pet care. Part of your research should include determining how much it will cost to care for your new pet and how long their average lifespan will be.
Provide Proper Care
Whether your pet lives indoors or out, they need food, water, shelter, and the opportunity for socialization and exercise. Don’t collect more pets than you can care for, even if you have the best intentions.
Provide proper medical care for your pet, including preventative care like shots and parasite control. Spay or neuter your pet if you don’t plan to breed them, and take steps to prevent accidental breeding if you don’t.
Be Considerate of Others
Responsible pet owners don’t let their animals become a nuisance or a threat to other people or animals. Follow local leash laws and keep your pet confined as required. Train and socialize your pet so they interact calmly with other people and pets.
Don’t let your pet be too noisy or destroy public property, and always pick up after them. Properly identify your pet with a microchip and ID tag in case they get lost.
Responsible pet owners have a plan to provide care for their pets if they can’t do it themselves. They prepare for unexpected veterinary costs by having a savings account or pet insurance. When planning for emergencies or natural disasters, they also consider what their pets might need in an evacuation kit.
Every February, Responsible Pet Owners Month gives vets, animal shelters, and others the chance to remind current and potential pet owners about caring for their animals. Owning a pet is a privilege and not one to be taken lightly. Our pets deserve a safe and secure home and an owner who loves and cares for them.
Featured Image Credit: Monika Wisniewska, Shutterstock