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Cats and Dogs, Critter Chatter, Quick Tips

Responsible Pet Owner Checklist

The Paw Print

Essential Pet Blog


We continue to live in strange and sometimes difficult times, but as long as your family and friends continue to stay healthy, this can also be a time for exploring new opportunities and experiencing new avenues of distractions. My favorite distraction is my Goldendoodle Charlotte. It seems that many families have become more distracted during the pandemic by dogs and cats as evidenced by the number of shelter animals that have been adopted. But with new pets entering new households comes the responsibility of keeping them healthy and safe. Below are some suggestions for Responsible Pet Owners Month.

Feed a high-quality pet food made without chemicals, by-products and artificial preservatives and flavors. It should meet the nutritional needs of your dog, based on size, age, level of activity and breed. Provide healthful treats– not table scraps- and supplements that may optimize your pets’ joint, skin or digestive health. If you have any doubts about feeds, check with your veterinarian. Always provide fresh drinking water.

Regular exercise helps keep your dog (and you)  in shape and reduces boredom, anxiety and other bad habits. Hiking, walking or swimming is also a time to interact with your animal. In cold winter months, a coat or sweater helps keep short haired dogs warm when walking outside. Boots help prevent salt burn or ice buildup between toes. Exercise also helps prevent a major disease of dogs and cats– obesity.

Brush your pets’ teeth 2-3 times a week and have a regular dental exam by a veterinarian. Older animals and miniature breeds are  especially prone to gum disease that can lead to premature tooth loss and infections of major organs, including heart valves.

Regular grooming especially in long haired dogs helps maintain healthy skin and coat condition as well as provides you a chance to look closely for any unusual lumps or bumps. This is also the time to check ear canals and eyes. Make sure that toe nails are kept short to reduce accidents.

Provide a crate for sleeping as well as a place to go if the world gets too boisterous. Be sure to wash sleeping mats and dog beds monthly with soap and water. Don’t forget to also regularly clean toys as well as discard torn or broken ones.

Spay or neuter your animals. These procedures help reduce the odds of breast cancer and uterine infections in females and prostate disease and testicular cancer in males. Neutering also reduces the number of puppies and kittens from over populating shelters. Have your pet regularly examined by a veterinarian and keep all necessary vaccinations up to date. Early detection of illness can help prevent or cure problems before they become serious. Make sure collar and tag contact information is up to date.

Love them unconditionally. Treat them as family. Talk to them. Give them a special special treat– and enjoy the benefits of being a responsible pet owner.

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a vet and his dogABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dr. Brown holds a Doctorate Degree in Veterinary Medicine (DVM) from the University of California at Davis, a Master of Science Degree in Animal Science and Bachelor of Science Degree in Animal Physiology from the University of California.  Following discharge from the Air Force as a Captain, he owned and operated the largest veterinary hospital on Cape Cod for almost twenty years. Brown is the past President of the Yavapai Humane Society Board of Directors, Branding Committee Chairman for National Animal Supplement Council and member of the American Veterinary Medical Association.  He writes and lectures frequently on the benefits of natural and organic foods and supplements for animals and lives with his wife and a Golden Doodle named Charlotte.

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