After numerous times hanging out on the humane society's website, I figured since it's summer, I should compose a list of pet tips that may seem obvious to me, but are not so obvious to many others. Every summer, I see far too many people leaving their dogs in the car. NO NO NO NO NO! How stupid can you be!? If you don't like being locked in a hot car without the A/C, what makes you think an animal covered in fur will!? Anyway, I do not want to end up ranting, so here's my list, plain and simple...
1. NEVER leave a pet unattended in a hot car...or how about just NEVER LEAVE YOUR PET UNATTENDED WHERE THERE IS NOT THE SAFETY OF HOME/INDOORS IN GENERAL. Far too many people leave their dogs outdoors with no supervision. I volunteer at a shelter, and I see the results of careless, selfish owners first-hand. Disgusts me!
2. Keep your pet up-to-date on his/her vaccinations and FLEA/TICK/HEARTWORM MEDS! People don't understand this, but these medications are slightly expensive for a reason. THEY CAN SAVE YOUR PET'S LIFE! If your dog or cat become infested with ticks, they can have the blood sucked right out of them and die. Be a responsible owner and take the time to put a drop of flea/tick medication on your pets once a month. They will be grateful, I promise. One of my dogs was afraid of the medicine for some odd reason, but I'm sure she would have thanked me if she only knew what it was for.
3. Be aware of the chemicals/products you use around the house and in the yard. "Cocoa mulch can be deadly if ingested and has an appetizing scent to some animals. Pesticides, fertilizers and other harsh chemicals can also be quickly fatal if ingested."-The Humane Society of The United States. In order to make life easier for you, CLICK HERE for a list of other household items to keep away from your pets at all times.
4.When walking a dog on a hot day, try to avoid walking them midday when it's hottest. Also, if possible, walk them in the grass, because hot sidewalks can burn their paws. However, if you're one of the few people that actually walk your dog regularly (LIKE EVERYONE SHOULD!), major kudos to you, buddy.
5.When driving, keep your pets properly restrained. Do not allow them to fly out the windows like crazy. Do you let your kids hang out the windows like madmen? I sure hope not. A cracked window for a little air is fine, but their entire bodies do not need to hang out. Also, cats and other small animals should be kept in a carrier. Otherwise, they can and certainly WILL crawl into a space that is big enough for them, but not for a human. Secure your carriers and buy your doggies special dog seatbelts.
6. Train your dog gently and humanely, teach it to socialize properly, and NEVER leave him/her unattended around strangers and other animals. There is a chance fear will arise...and with most dogs, fear and aggression work together.
7. If you find your dogs harassing wild animals outside, such as squirrels, birds, bunnies, etc., take them inside and make sure no one is hurt. This is a safety precaution for both your pet and your outdoor fur and feather-clad neighbors. Make sure your dog does not have any bites, scratches, etc., if an encounter does occur. If he/she does, call a vet immediately. Also, if the wild animal seems unable to move or hurt in any way, call your local wildlife organization. This may be different in certain areas, therefore, it's up to you to find out who exactly to contact.
8. DO NOT LEAVE BUNNIES IN OUTDOOR HUTCHES!!!!!!!!!!! How many times do I have to say this to people!? It is beyond irresponsible to house rabbits outdoors. They are not an animal that, once domesticated, does well in extreme weather conditions. Bunnies are susceptible to MANY illnesses. Especially when facing sever heat/cold and/or wind. Also, many predators can easily hurt your cotton-tailed friend while outdoors. Bunnies are not easy pets. They need room to run and have A LOT of expenses. DO NOT GIFT THEM TO LITTLE KIDS! They need gentle hands and LOTS of patience! I have a bunny, and no matter how sassy and temperamental she can be, I wouldn't trade her for even total world domination. She has so much personality and always makes me happy when I'm down...as long as I rub her cheeks. haha.
9. If you can, before adopting a pet, keep a "rainy day fund". Honestly this will come in handy. Just like people, pets can fall ill without warning and vet bills are not always cheap. Fluffy and Spot cannot just swallow some Ibuprofen either. They NEED medical attention as soon as you notice something's just not right.
10. SPAY AND NEUTER, DAMNIT! The reason there are so many homeless pets is purely due to irresponsible breeders and owners. If you do not have a lot of money, you can actually receive a coupon-like thing to get your pets spayed/neutered for cheap or even at no cost at all. BE RESPONSIBLE, PLEASE!
Alright, those are my top ten tips for summer and even all year around pet care.
Please, once again, please be a responsible pet owner.
If you are not yet a pet owner and are thinking about becoming one, adopt. Steer clear of breeders and puppy mills and be proud. Adopted pets DO know what you did for them, and they will be more than grateful. If they were humans, they'd simply be the wise ones with more stories to tell...