February is Responsible Pet Owners Month

How to be a “pawsome” pet parent in six easy steps

Including a pet in your family can be incredibly rewarding. But leading a happy, healthy pack is also a large responsibility. February is “Responsible Pet Owners Month,” so it’s an opportune time for all of us to brush up on our pet parenting skills.

“It takes lots of love and commitment,” comments Don Tomala, Managing Director of Matrix Partners, a Chicago-based marketing firm that’s been Passionate About PetsSM since 1987. “You’re entering into a lifelong relationship when you bring a pet into your home.”

Fortunately, there are some surprisingly simple steps to becoming a more conscious, caring pet owner. Here are just a few:

1. Spay or neuter your dog, cat, rabbit or ferret. To prevent the companion animal over-population problem from getting worse, spaying or neutering is the most effective means. The ASPCA estimates that five to seven million animals enter shelters nationwide each year… Do your part to save a few – spay or neuter your pet please.

2. Schedule an annual veterinary checkup. Most animals are experts at concealing pain and illness, that’s why it’s so important for your pet to visit the vet each year for a full check-up. Remember, a healthy lifestyle and regular vet visits are the first steps to a long, happy life with your pet. I know plenty of people who say that they have never taken their pet to a vet because he’s never been sick; this may not be the case. PLEASE GET ANNUAL CHECK-UPS AT THE VERY LEAST.

3. ID and/or microchip your pet. Current ID tags on your dog or cat’s collar can help ensure that they get home safe and sound if they should wander out of your sight. Also, talk to your veterinarian about getting a microchip for your pet. If your pet is ever lost, a quick scan will provide rescuers with important phone numbers and addresses to help them reunite you with your pet. God forbid your pet ever gets lost, a microchip can literally be a life-saver.

4. Be prepared. Most first-aid kits can be purchased fully stocked, but no kit is complete without The Company of Animals’ Baskerville Ultra Muzzle. This ultra-comfortable muzzle is perfect for when introducing pets to new situations or when trying to restrain and treat a wounded or hurt pet. The Baskerville Ultra Muzzle is the first of its kind that allows panting, drinking and treating. Plus, it provides two secure attachment points with an optional over-head safety strap for added comfort and security. For more information, check out: www.CompanyOfAnimals.us

5. Travel Safely. You wouldn’t ride without using a seat belt and neither should your pet. Also from The Company of Animals is the CLIXTM CarSafe, a dual-purpose lead and harness that easily clicks into the car’s seat buckle. Besides riding in safety, your pet will enjoy the CLIX’s unique “X-Cross” design made from double-sided adjustable buckles and soft neoprene padding for optimum fit and comfort.

6. Pet proof your home. Dogs and cats are curious by nature, so there’s always the possibility that they’ll get into anything. Because of this, it’s important to avoid bringing potentially hazardous products into your home. Being educated about the dangers of certain houseplants (yes, there are some plants that are lethal to pets) and choosing more “bio-friendly” products are usually a good place to start.

Today’s most advanced, responsible pet products are made from safe, eco-friendly materials – like Swheat Scoop® natural, clumping cat litter. Made from naturally processed wheat, Swheat Scoop is completely biodegradable and a 100% renewable resource. Swheat Scoop is clay and chemical free, unlike other litters on the market that are mined and never decompose. Through Swheat Scoop’s patented process, the wheat’s natural enzymes destroy odors instantly, while the natural starches form firm and fast clumps when exposed to moisture. Swheat Scoop’s granular texture means less dust and tracking around the house, and is recommended by veterinarians for kittens and post-surgical cats. Newly reformulated for even more effective performance, Swheat Scoop is available in Original Formula, Multi-Cat and Lightly Scented varieties at fine pet supply retailers near you. www.SwheatScoop.com

7. Feed your pet right.Today, pet parents have more healthier options than ever when it comes to selecting a proper diet of dinners, treats and supplements for their furry friends.

- Spring NaturalsTM is a fresh approach to nurturing pets, offering a complete line of natural canned and dry dinners for dogs. Real meat, poultry or fish is the first ingredient, plus a balanced blend of whole vegetables and fruits – like spinach, blueberries and carrots. And because their recipes are made with more real meat, poultry and fish instead of rendered meals, no high-glycemic ingredients need to be added such as corn, wheat, soy, tapioca, potato starch or rice. Since launching in January of 2012, Spring Naturals has been recognized by Pet Product News International Magazine, Pet Business Magazine and was added to The Whole Dog Journal’s “Top Recommended” list. Available in Whole Grain and Grain-Free varieties, Spring Naturals products are made by a family-owned company, right here in the USA. Look for them at an independent pet store near you. www.SpringNaturals.com

- Lickety StikTM and Feline Lickety StikTM are liquid treats uniquely packaged in a roller-top dispenser bottle to offer dogs and cats an incredibly tasty reward without all the calories of conventional biscuit treats. Simply remove the cap, give the bottle a shake and get ready to interact with your pet in an entirely new way. Made with 100% all-natural ingredients, Lickety Stik is ideal for treating on the spot, and is a favorite among groomers and trainers. Plus, you can feel good that you’re providing a between-meal treat that won’t pack on excess pounds. Lickety Stik and Feline Lickety Stik serve only one calorie in every 10 canine licks, or 20 feline licks, and are available in a range of savory flavors. Exclusively from PetSafe, purveyor of innovative pet solutions and services since 1991. For details, check out one of my fave pet product sites: www.PetSafe.net

- Wholistic Pet Organics has made it their mission to maximize the health and wellbeing of pets since 1998 with their superior supplements for dogs, cats and horses. Insisting on using only the finest ingredients, the majority of which are not only Certified Organic but also whole, unprocessed foods to retain their potency and taste appeal every step of the way. New Canine CompleteTM Soft Chews are the latest addition to the all-in-one supplement line and provide a complete daily nutritional regimen for Total Body Health™ in an easy-to-serve form. And because each batch of products is blended and packaged in the Phillips’ family-owned and operated New Hampshire facility, pet parents will love serving these healthful chews as much as their pet enjoys snacking on them. www.WholisticPetOrganics.com.

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