by Mark Moeller
Think about the responsibility before you adopt a pet. Adopting a pet is a big decision. Dogs and cats require lots of time, money and commitment. Pet ownership can be rewarding, but only if you think through your decision before you adopt a companion. Don’t get a high energetic dog, if you don’t have the time to exercise him/her. Don’t make your dog a “backyard dog”. Dogs thrive on companionship and need to be with their human pack. Make a lifetime commitment to the needs of your pet, even when your lifestyle changes. Make sure that your pet is a true member of the family by supplying lots of love, attention and tolerance. Be kind to your pet, show him/her love and remember you are their world. Take special care of your pet during their senior years.
Provide your pet with nutritious food and an ample supply of fresh water each day. Furnish your pet with both shelter and privacy, to include an appropriately warm and/or cool, quiet, dry place to sleep and to retreat to when desired. Spend time with your pet each day exercising and playing. Provide for your pet’s needs when you go on vacation or have to work late. Provide your pet with the proper diet. Obesity can be as deadly as malnutrition. Be aware that some foods can be deadly, such as chocolate and fatty foods can cause pancreatitis.
Take the time and patience to train your pet, by using positive reinforcement, attending dog training classes and learning about other pet training. Attend to the grooming needs of your pet. If you can’t afford grooming or can’t do the grooming yourself, pick a low maintenance dog.
Ensure your animal receives proper and prompt health care, including regular checkups, vaccinations and treatment for diseases or illnesses. Get your pet spayed or neutered. Place a collar and an identification tag on your pet that includes a clearly written name, address and phone number. Both dogs and cats need id’s. Micro chipping is good, too, but external tags are essential and they could mean the difference of your neighbor returning your pet to you, or turning them in to the animal shelter. Abide by local pet laws, such as licensing, rabies vaccinations and leash laws and ensure your pet is under your supervision, especially around children and new people. Take extra precautions during the holidays like July 4 and December 31. It is the scariest time for your pets, so make sure they are secure indoors.
Mark W. Moeller is a retired Animal Services Officer II of the Georgetown Police Dept. Send questions or inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org