Sunday, September 14, 2008

September: Senior Dog's Month & Responsible Pet Ownership Month

Someone at some point in time someone decided that September was going to be Senior Dog Month. I don’t know who, why and when, and to be quite frank, I am really not to keen about spending a lot of time on finding it out. I believe I have a logical explanation for the “Why” part. It’s probably just a marketing gig. I don’t know if it works though. After all, any senior dog needs attention all year round and not just during the month of September, right? Anyway, there are way more important things for me to worry about. Actually, it’s not bad for me, it gives me a reason to focus our advertising on senior dog related products, kind of gives me a good way in, provides an opportunity to talk about something in all my publications, what else could I wish for? So, initially I decided to put the burning issue on the back burner and save it for the day when I have nothing else to say anymore. And for me it was only logical at the same time there’s got to be a Senior Dog Owner's Month. Wouldn’t that make sense to you?
Guess what? Wrong! September is not Senior Dog Owner’s month, it’s Responsible Dog Ownership Month. Yep, it was reported on the Internet the other day and it is so important that they even had a doctor commenting on it.
Ok, I back off already. Responsible ownership is important and something what needs to be talked about. Maybe even more than about senior dogs. And we need to get into pet owner’s faces to make sure they understand what this responsibility entails. Because it looks to me like the number of pet owners (or as a matter of fact, people in general) using common sense seems to be dwindling.
So here is a list of what you, as a responsible pet owner have to pay attention to:
Make sure there is enough food, water and plenty of love. And shelter too. This by the way is where, according to the doctor, the list for a great majority of pet owners already ends. Not everybody has immediately in mind vaccinations, preventative care, identity tags, licenses and microchips, treatment for chronic conditions, behavioral training, exercise and grooming.
It sounds to me like the doctor was a vet, ‘cause he said: “Responsible Dog Ownership Month,… is an opportunity to celebrate your pet and check your care routines against your veterinarian's recommendations. Regular veterinary care and annual wellness exams that include lab tests, vaccinations, parasite screening and prevention, and dental care. Adequate nutrition and weight management discussed with your veterinarian based on your pet's age and activity level.”
Other items he listed don’t seem to require your vet’s approval and input, like exercising your pet’s mind and body, obedience training, socialization, safety like keeping your dog on a leash or in an enclosed area when necessary and rewarding your dog’s unconditional love with returning to him love and affection. I guess you are allowed to provide these items without your vet’s approval because he doesn’t carry them in his service and product assortment.
All together great and real life, practical advise. Now, I for my part didn’t need such a list, I’m sure our community members don’t need it, we really didn't learn anything new here, but unfortunately there is certainly a need for it. Hey, the doctor must know, at the end of the article it said he’s even a professor. And the Responsible Ownership Month, created by the AKC is now celebrating its 6th birthday. Plus, the AKC’s intention was great: To remind people about the commitment they make when they choose to get a dog or any other pet.
I have nothing to add to that. Except, as a pet food fanatic and all of this coming from a professor, I would have loved to see a sound statement about the food. To make sure pet owners understand that food is not food and only they can decide what’s good for their pets. Even if that means they may have to go on collision course with their vet. To make sure they don’t feed a recall plagued brand. Or a food that’s appropriate for a rabbit. Because our cats and dogs are carnivores and need meat, not a 60% plant based ingredient containing formula. Thinking about these not so minor details is what I call being responsible.

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