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8 Ways To Participate In Responsible Pet Owner Month

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February is Responsible Pet Owners Month, and considering that a recent poll showed 6 in 10 Americans own a pet -- it's a rally in which most people should be participating.

Responsible pet ownership includes proper training, feeding a healthy diet, keeping up with vet visits, regular grooming, providing attention and exercise, and making sure your pet is up-to-date on shots and is wearing a correct identification tag at all times.

Author Eric Letendre offers additional advice on how you can participate in Responsible Pet Owner Month:

1. Make an appointment with your vet or at a clinic to have your dog or cat spayed or neutered, if you haven't already. Spaying and neutering not only helps control animal population, but it can also protect dogs and cats from various diseases, including cancer.

2. Encourage friends and family members to get their dogs and cats spayed and neutered. Make a list of the low-cost clinics and give them to any friends or family members that are struggling financially.

3. Train your dog. The main reason dogs end up in shelters is behavior problems. By training and socializing your dog you can greatly reduce the chances of your dog ever getting lost or ending up in a shelter.

4. Feed your pet a well-balanced and nutritious diet. There are many quality dog and cat food choices on the market today. With a little research you can find a lot of information on food that is best for your pet.

5. Clean up after your dog. Whenever you take your dog for a walk or to play at the park or beach, make sure you bring some bags to pick up after your dog. It's irresponsible and unhealthy not to clean up dog waste -- and against the law.

6. Groom your pet on a regular basis (although some don't require as much grooming as others). A Pit Bull, for instance, has a short coat that does not require any clipping. A Bichon Frise requires grooming on a weekly basis. Keep your pet's coat clean with regular trimmings if he requires it, nails trimmed, ears clean and teeth free from plaque and tartar.

7. Give your pet plenty of exercise and feed a proper diet to protect against various diseases. By feeding a nutritious diet you can boost the immune system, which will help keep your pet healthy and vibrant.

8. Make sure your pet has up-to-date identification tags on his collar. Check them every once in a while, as pets (dogs especially) do have a tendency to lose their tags. It's also important to make sure the information on the tag is up-to-date.

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