Being a Responsible Pet owner and welcoming a pet into your family comes with commitments not only to your pet but also to the community at large and environment around you. Keeping your pet safe is paramount but you also need to ensure that your pet doesn’t become an unnecessary nuisance to others, thus tarnishing pet owners as a whole and creating a divide with those who have yet to experience the great relationships and experiences a pet brings.
Unless you are planning on breeding you should get you cat or dog de-sexed. In general, dogs and cats can safely be de-sexed from three months of age. De-sexing at a younger age can be less stressful for puppies and kittens than it would be for older animals, and they may recover from the procedure more quickly.
Along with helping to prevent overpopulation of cats and dogs, there are many other benefits of de-sexing your pet. De-sexed pets can be better behaved and less likely to roam. De-sexing pets can also prevent them from getting certain types of cancer.
Registration and micro chipping
All dogs and cats over the age of 3 months, are to be registered with your local council. This registration will help you, and your pet, to be reunited if for some reason your pet becomes lost or injured.
Microchipping is another important form of registration and is a permanent form of identification for your pet. An identification number is programmed into a tiny microchip about the size of a grain of rice. This microchip is careful injected underneath the skin between the shoulder blades. A scanner can be passed over the chip to read the identification number and provide details of pet ownership.
While some responsibilities of cat or dog ownership overlap, there are a few that are specifically apply to cats.
Responsible pet care – Cats
Cats have a natural instinct to explore the world around them but need the help of their owners to keep them safe.
Many Australian councils have imposed a cat curfew, which means that cats must be confined on their owners’ premises overnight, between sunset and sunrise. Your cat will need to stay in your house, shed, garage or an enclosure to ensure that it does not leave your property. Our diverse Australian Wildlife depends on us being vigilant and following these guidelines.
Cats that are kept inside at night generally live much longer than cats that are allowed outside. Keeping your cat contained overnight helps to keep them safe from traffic and other animals that are moving about overnight. Around 80% of accidents involving cats occur at night. Confining your cat at night will minimize the risk of injury and prevent it from fighting and wandering onto neighboring properties where it may be a nuisance. Importantly, it also ensures your cat cannot kill or injure native wildlife. Cats will hunt wildlife whether they are hungry or not. Day or night, ensuring that your cat always wears a bell, will help to warn our beautiful Australian wildlife that a cat is approaching.
Confinement is also beneficial to your cat, as wandering cats are vulnerable to fights with other cats or dogs. One such consequence of fighting is feline aids, which is ultimately fatal for a cat and is transmitted from cat to cat.
Like cats, dogs also come with a specific set of responsible pet care recommendations.
Responsible pet care – Dogs
Dogs relish the opportunity to explore the neighborhood beyond their own yard. So to ensure that the exploring is done with you by their side it is essential that your dog is kept in a secure yard or enclosure with sturdy fencing and lockable gates. A dog on the loose can be a neighborhood menace, terrorizing other people, animals and property. A dog on the loose is also at risk of being involved in a traffic accident.
Dogs have very sensitive hearing and can become distressed by loud sounds such as thunder and fireworks. During storms or local fireworks displays your dog many show signs of anxiety, become restless, pant, pace around and whine. If your dog is prone to having this kind of response it is advisable to bring your dog indoors and put him into a safe space such as a small room or crate (for those who are crate trained). This will help your dog to feel safe and secure and prevent them from running away and becoming lost or injured.
When out and about with your dog safeguard the two of you by using a suitable restraint such as a collar and leash or a harness. As the owner, you know your dog’s temperament best, such as whether you can trust your dog to run and return when called if not on a leash. If you don’t feel that your dog will reliably return it is advisable to keep them restrained. Some dogs can have aggressive tendencies when unfamiliar people and dogs are around, so in these instances a muzzle might be worth considering.
Another thing to consider when out and about is dog waste. Dog waste can carry many diseases so it is important to reduce your dog’s impact on the community by helping to keep the streets, parks and waterways clean. Always collect and dispose of your dog’s waste responsibly using a biodegradable plastic bag or a pooper scooper. Many councils now offer reduced prices on pet waste compositors that can be installed in your garden bed. This is a great way to keep your yard clean and properly dispose of pet waste.
By being a responsible pet owner you can look forward to many happy times ahead at home and out and about in the with your furry friend.