It may be the shortest month of the year–but February is PACKED with great observances for celebrating with your furry friend. It’s Responsible Pet Ownership month once again, along with Spay/Neuter Awareness Month –a good time to remind ourselves of what we should be doing to give our four-legged friends the best care possible. In honor of Pet Dental Health Month, schedule your canine to get his pearly whites cleaned!
Making the decision to become a dog owner comes with responsibility. Following these basic but important tips will help your canine companion live a long, healthy and happy life.”
- Get your dog spayed or neutered. Spayed/neutered pets not only live longer and healthier lives, but they also make better companions. The best age to spay/neuter a dog is around five to six months old, at the beginning of puberty. Talk to your vet about the right time for your dog.
- Provide proper identification. Your dog should always wear an I.D. tag with your name, address and phone number. Getting your dog micro chipped gives an added layer of protection and increases the chances that he will be returned to you if he is lost or runs away.
- Get training to help you understand your dog. Knowing your dog’s unique temperament and tendencies will help you to better control how he behaves. A well-behaved dog is less likely to upset people and other pets in public places, will be more welcome at gatherings, and will enjoy a better relationship with everyone he meets. Plus, his good manners will reflect positively on you, his responsible owner.
- Schedule regular check-ups with your veterinarian. Choose a veterinarian who shares your medical philosophies and beliefs; then follow his/her recommendations for vaccinations, diet, spaying/neutering, annual check-ups, and other care.
- Make time for your dog. Owning a dog is a big responsibility that takes time and discipline. Make time daily to pet, play with, take on walks, or do other activities with your dog that are fun for both of you.
- Provide regular exercise appropriate for your dog’s breed, age, size, and other unique characteristics. Whether it’s a short walk or a rousing game of fetch, exercise is essential to your dog’s physical and behavioral health.
- Provide shelter for your dog. A crate or doghouse is an ideal place for your dog to rest, sleep, and feel safe. The enclosure should be large enough for your dog to sit, stand and turn around comfortably, but small enough to retain his body heat inside the shelter.
- Travel safely. Keep your dog safe in the car by using a crate or by attaching the dog to a seat belt with a harness. Never let your dog ride free in the back of a pickup truck (he could be thrown into traffic) or allow him to hang his head out of the car window (a danger to his eyes).
- Watch for temperature extremes. Never leave your dog in the car if it is extremely hot or cold outside. Your car is like an oven under the blazing sun and a freezer in the bitter cold.
Jeri Wagner is a canine behavioral therapist and master trainer. Jeri uses a natural training system leveraging the same communication methods – body language and voice control – that dogs follow as part of their instinctive pack mentality. Training takes place in the home where the problems generally occur. Jeri trains in western Montgomery County, northern Chester County and eastern Berks County. For more information, call 1-877-500 BARK (2275) or visit www.barkbusters.com.
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