Tips for Responsible Pet Ownership

Article Series for Dunes Living Magazine – July 2019

Dr. Amanda Thomas

With the New Year now in full swing, many of us find ourselves responsible for another family member, like a newly adopted shelter pet or a found kitten.

We support the American Veterinary Medical Association’s comments on how to be a responsible pet parent. There are many things to know when it comes to proper veterinary care, feeding and nutrition, how to keep your pets safe, and what to do in order to help your pet live a long, full, healthy life as an integral part of your family. So, here are some helpful tips and thoughts on the subject.

COMMIT to the relationship once you choose this new family member and realize that this will be a long-term relationship! Learn how to properly socialize and train your pet. Provide appropriate exercise and mental stimulation on a daily basis.

You should commit to only the number of animals that you can reasonably and financially care for.

INVEST in the time and money it takes to care for your pet (regardless of what type of pet you have chosen).

Be sure they receive preventative healthcare from your veterinarian – puppies and kittens require several sets of vaccinations and deworming in the first few months of life, so expect to be a “frequent-flyer” at your veterinary clinic until your pet is 4-5 months old.

Budget for potential emergency situations for your pet, just like you do for your other family members.

UNDERSTAND and obey all ordinances, including licensing, vaccinating, leash rules and regulations, noise control, and in Myrtle Beach, where and when your pet is allowed on the beach or in Dog Friendly areas.

Do not allow your pet to stray from home or wander off-leash or out of your yard. Always clean up after your pet by carrying poop bags at all times!

IDENTIFY your pet with proper tags – a Rabies tag and an I.D. tag. We can’t stress enough the importance of Microchip identification. This permanent identification chip costs less than $50. and will save your dog or cat’s life one day. Please provide your pet with a Microchip and update your contact information with the microchip company regularly.

Keep any and all required registrations up to date for all of your pets.

STOP breeding pets. Please do not contribute to this nation’s pet overpopulation problem: Spay and neuter your pets. They will live longer, healthier lives and be much better companions to you and to your other family members.

PREPARE for an emergency or a disaster and assemble an evacuation kit which needs to include all preparations for your pets!

If you can no longer provide care for a pet, seek the advice and help of your veterinary clinic for alternative care.

If your pet’s health is failing and you have concerns about their quality of life, consult with your veterinary team who will help you through this difficult time.

KNOW that your veterinarian and veterinary team are public servants who are very knowledgeable about the proper care of companion animals and well versed in human and animal health care issues. Please call upon them this year, and always.