National Pet Week ( May 6-11th) is a campaign from the American Veterinary medical association that aims to foster responsible pet ownership, recognize the human-animal bond, and increase public awareness of veterinary medicine. Although it seems that commercialization of every holiday and establishment of many new consumer-driven traditions are at a high point, I do like the idea of dedicating a whole week to bolster proper pet care.
Other than love, shelter, and food, what else are your pet owner responsibilities? Well, I came up with 3 absolute commandments of pet ownership including the following:
1- You shall make sure that your pet has pet insurance Veterinary healthcare costs keep rising yet there is a great buffer against that trend: pet insurance. Imagine that your healthy dog or cat gets into trouble that requires emergency surgery or a prolonged stay at a veterinary hospital. This unexpected situation can wreck your budget and can result in delayed treatment or in hasty decisions made out of the concern for mounting expenses. If you get a policy for your pet, most companies ( Trupanion and Embrace) will cover up to 90% of the healthcare. Don't skimp on proper pet care, if you dislike the pet insurance model there are also other options like customized wellness plans from private clinics. Another option is setting a pet health savings account, just automatically deduct and transfer from your paycheck, only use it for pet-related emergencies.
2-You shall socialize your pet and provide enrichment activities that foster good mental health Keeping your dog in a crate while you work 10 -12 hours is not a good set up for your pet! You must try to hire a dog walker or better yet, enroll your pet in a pet daycare program. Take your pet with you and spend time outdoors or just chilling inside while offering your attention. Dogs need physical exercise to burn excess energy, this results in a calmer dog. It also avoids naughty accidents caused by a bored dog because the brain also needs new smells and situations to be stimulated. A short drive around your neighborhood can be a very stimulating activity for your dog's health. Cats are solitary animals and they can handle long work days with absentee owners a lot better than pack animals like dogs. Consider your working situation and lifestyle before adding a pet to your life.
3-You shall visit your veterinarian at least twice a year Dogs and cats age at a faster rate than their humans. That means that for an adult medium sized dog one year is roughly equivalent to 4 of our years. That also means that their bodies deteriorate faster and significant changes could happen and become chronic if you only take your pets to their veterinarian just once a year. If I had a penny for every "new" murmur, diabetes or kidney disease case that had a perfect blood panel or physical the previous yearly examination, I would be rich! It really matters to get an early diagnosis, it can save your pet's life!