If you are a pet owner or pet sitter, you are an pet caretaker.
A pet caretaker is such an easy and rewarding job. Unfortunately, not everyone is a responsible caretaker.
Caring for any animal is an important job because animals depend on their caretakers to meet their needs.
Owning an animal and caring for an animal are two different things.
Anyone can own a pet.
You may or may not know which type you are. Even irresponsible caretakers may think they are making the right decisions with their pets, when clearly, they are not.
Free range chickens next to the road.
I know many people believe in raising free range chickens. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Here’s what makes them irresponsible caretakers: The chickens run onto the road. What would happen if someone would be driving down the road and hit one?
Responsible caretakers would make boundaries for their chickens, making sure the chickens stayed on the property. This might mean putting up a fence, which still allows for the chickens to be free-range.
It’s important to keep pets healthy and safe. Pets depend on their caretakers to care for them. Knowledge, routine and habit is what designates an irresponsible or a responsible pet caretaker.
Here are 5 habits of the responsible pet caretaker
- Check animals’ body condition regularlyKnow and understand the signs your animal might be sick or not eating or drinking. Does the animal look or feel thin?
- Know and acknowledge your animal’s most important needs
Nutrition, safety and exercise are the most important needs of all animals to survive.
Do you know your pet’s nutrient requirements? Are they getting enough sustenance? Do they feel safe and comfortable in their environment?
- A good relationship with a veterinarian AND mentorFind a veterinarian you can trust. The one thing I appreciate about my vet is that she explains everything in a way I can understand. This helps me to learn things as well.
Sometimes a veterinarian is unavailable for various reasons. In this situation, a good mentor comes in handy in tough and questionable situations.
- Keep track of your animal’s whereaboutsIf your livestock or pets tend to escape their boundaries, it’s very important to locate them as soon as possible and bring them home.
But more importantly, keep them home and safe.
Several years ago, I had a beagle named Scout who loved to roam and hunt for bunny rabbits out in our pasture. He had a lot of room to run out there, so I wasn’t worried.
But one day, Scout didn’t come home. We searched high and low for him, but no sign of him.
After searching the railroad tracks across the road from home, we finally found him. He had been ran over by a train.
We should have kept him home. It could’ve been prevented, but we let him go. And now, he’s gone forever.
See? I’m not a perfect pet owner, but I sure did learn a lesson.
- Provide preventative care for animalsMany illnesses and situations can be prevented.
Take your pets to the vet for their yearly check up. Keep meds and preventatives stocked up in a safe and secure place in your home.
Deworm your pets regularly depending on the parasites you are targeting.
Now, here are 5 habits of an IRRESPONSIBLE pet caretaker. This type of caretaker just makes me cringe.
- Seeing animals right next to a road or highway.Free range chickens right next to the highway. Or on the highway?
What about the dog that sits by the side of the road waiting to chase the next vehicle?
This practice is asking for your animal to be ran over. If your animal is too close to a road or highway, they need to be placed in a safer location.
There’s nothing more devastating than finding one of your pets lying next to the road. This can be prevented.
- Asking on a forum how to treat an animal.
This is a big NO NO for me. I see this all the time on social media forums. A desparate person trying to save a pet.
Then, I read the comments and shake my head.
I shake my head because I’ve done it as well. I have posted to a forum.
Never again will I do that. The main problem is too many different replies.
It is best to have one or two people to ask your questions. I now have mentors I ask my questions to directly.
My vet is also great to work with, too. We have a great relationship with our vet office, who always put us first.
- Caretakers who can’t and don’t handle their petsWhy do some caretakers purchase cute little puppies that turn into huge dogs? Or animals they cannot handle?
So, they get neglected. Or abandoned to fend for themselves.
I’ve seen hundreds of cases of abandoned and neglected animals. Here’s one example that comes to mind:
One day, my dog and I were walking in the park when we came across a HUGE Boa Constrictor laying in the grass. It was clearly dead.
I don’t know the whole situation, but my guess was that the snake had gotten too large for the living space.
The owner clearly thought the Boa was not his or her problem anymore. It could be someone else’s problem now. Surely the owner knew the snake would not be able to survive without heat.
It’s not right, but it happens. We can’t prevent it, either. It’s going to keep happening as time goes on.
- Not controlling reproduction Animal reproduction should be controlled by spaying and neutering them. It sure does not hurt the animal and prevents a lot of problems.
Controlling reproductive practices controls abandonment or death of babies.
If you don’t want to have to deal with a bunch of puppies or kittens, you should definitely consider spaying or neutering.
- Not meeting the pet’s physical needs. The signs of undernourished and neglected animals are very easy to spot.
If the pet does not act like itself, there’s clearly something wrong.
You should love your pet as much as it loves you.
How can you be a more responsible animal caretaker?
~ Much Love ~