SigMT Vol13 Iss 3

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SiG MT 90 PET HEALTH 101 TEXT BY DAWN MILLIGAN Having been in the veterinary field since 1983, I have had the privilege of working with many pets and their owners. My professional experiences in this line of work have given me valuable insight into what it means to truly be a responsible pet owner. I believe pet ownership is a privilege, not a right, but that is a whole different topic for another time. Sharing your life with a pet, whether it have fur, feathers, or scales, is one of the most rewarding things you can do. A pet will give you love and undying loyalty. e bond between human and a dog can be stronger than any human to human bond. Also, for many people their dog is simply another family member whose needs are equal to its human members. Owning a pet involves a great deal of responsibility and a moral obligation to care for the animal throughout the entirety of its life. All 50 states have laws that protect animals by requiring humane treatment and forbid neglect and/or abuse. Remember, you have a responsibility to care for your pet, but it is also a privilege and should be treated as such. Most people do their research and understand the commitment and responsibility they have for the life of their pets. Unfortunately, there are those who do not give the proper consideration to pet ownership and what all it entails. While there are hundreds of things to consider before owning a pet, these are my top six considerations before you bring one home. Top 6 ings to Consider Before Geing a Pet 1. Can you commit? Owning a pet requires a considerable amount of time and aention. ey need mental as well as physical stimulation to keep them healthy and happy. Some animals need more aention than others, this is especially true for dogs as they are sociable animals and should not be le alone for hours on end. If you cannot devote the time to play and interact with your pet, you should consider a goldfish. 2. Can you afford? Owning a pet not only carries a lifelong commitment of care but it can be costly too. Annual Wellness Exams can spot medical issues before they become significant problems. Aside from the basic routine medical needs such as vaccinations, spay/neutering, flea and heartworm preventatives, microchipping, dental work, etc., it is your responsibility to seek veterinary treatment should your pet fall ill or have an injury. Be sure you can afford any situations that should arise. You do not want to be in a position where you cannot afford the regular or the unexpected vet costs for your pet. 3. Obedience training - All pets need structure, and it is your responsibility to provide it. Dogs should at least understand basic commands like "sit", "stay" and "come", how to behave on a leash and that jumping on people is not an acceptable behavior. 6 Factors to Consider Before Taking on a Lifelong Responsibility The Privilege of Owning a Pet

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