It’s Responsible Pet Owners Month, the month of February. Everyone knows that the 14th is a time to think of love, yes. But for the whole month, and every minute, who really loves you more than your dog, cat, or other furry or feathered friend? We’ve read books and watched movies where dogs or cats are lost, hundreds, even thousands of miles away, only to be guided back home by pure instinct, through many travails to a heartbreakingly beautiful reunion. Heck, even if your pet only leaves the house to go to the yard for a pit stop, you couldn’t do without them in general, and their nuzzles and purrs tell you the feeling is mutual.
But, like everything that is worth having, there is work involved. Since nearly 10,000 years ago when humans first started keeping pets, our animals have had needs like ours: shelter, food and water, robust health, and most importantly, love. It is up to the owner (or “pet parent”) to provide these things at a level beyond reproach. Too many pets are neglected and abused in the U.S. and around the world, so this month, outdo yourself in being a force to reverse that trend.
History of Responsible Pet Owners Month
The exact start date of Responsible Pet Owners Month eludes our research, but a look at the organizations connected to similar observances makes us confident that “our” February covers a lot of sub-categories that may be a little on the overspecialized side elsewhere. For example, the American Kennel Club sponsors a Responsible Dog Ownership Month, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has a Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month, and perhaps not so coincidentally, each February the American Veterinary Medical Association advertises Pet Dental Health Month.
We like to think that Responsible Pet Owners Month is a big enough umbrella to stretch over all that and more.
The macro breakdown is simple: for this month, take a close look at how you meet your animal friend’s needs. Is the food you give them high quality, and given in portions that are optimally healthy? Does your pet get enough exercise? If they don’t always stay in the house, can they be properly identified if lost, then discovered by a neighbor or other kind soul? How is the amount of exercise and socialization your pet gets? And finally, are you in the habit of bringing your non-human “child” to the veterinarian, not just for emergencies but at least once a year for a check-up?
These are the key components of responsibility when it comes to pet ownership. Do your due diligence for a small portion of your joint life with your pet, and the rest (cover your dog’s ears) is gravy. Together, with everyone observing Responsible Pet Owners Month, the vast majority of owner-and-pet teams will be happy and serene.
Responsible Pet Owners Month timeline
“Finally, something good!”
Recognizing the need for canines to be fed according to their biology, not a human’s, businessman James Spratt develops the first commercially available dog food.
- 1000 A.D.
While emperors had pugs in their sleeves
Pet ownership becomes common among wealthy Europeans and the word “pet” (taken from “petty,” or small) is introduced into everyday vocabulary.
- 1000 A.D.
Pharoah’s feline friend
The ancient Egyptians begin welcoming cats into their homes to hunt mice to protect their stored food.
- 10,000 to 6,000 B.C.
“There’s nowhere I wouldn’t go with you …”
The first recorded burials of humans with their canine or feline companions take place in the Middle East.
Responsible Pet Owners Month FAQs
What does responsible pet ownership mean?
Responsible pet ownership means not only making sure your pet is fed and uses the bathroom, but also giving them the love and attention they require, not overfeeding them, making sure they get exercise, and keeping them safe both when you’re home and away at work.
How do you promote responsible pet ownership?
You can promote responsible pet ownership by leading by example for your friends, family, and online followers as well as calling out when you witness maltreatment of pets.
What must pet owners do?
Pet owners are responsible for the well-being of their pet, that means researching the type of care your pet requiresquires, keeping up with their vet appointments, training, giving them love and attention, and feeding them on time.
HOW TO OBSERVE RESPONSIBLE PET OWNERS MONTH
Take your pet to the vet
It is very important to take your pet to visit the vet at least once a year. Besides treating your pet for illnesses, your vet can also provide you with all of the information you will need on your pets needs regarding diet, exercise, and living environment. If you haven’t brought your furry friend to see the doctor in a while, its time!
Feed your pet a well-balanced and nutritious diet
Different pets need different diets, and it is essential that you know what type of food and portions your pet needs. A regular, portion controlled diet can help your pet live the best possible life. This is a great topic to bring up during your visit to the vet.
Pet-proof your home
A common mistake that many pet owners make is failing to realize all of the hidden dangers for their pet right inside their own home. Responsible Pet Owners Month is a perfect occasion to pet-proof your home. Research household products, foods, houseplants, and objects that are potential hazards for your pet. Dogs and cats are naturally curious, so be sure to place these items in a place they absolutely cannot reach.
5 AMAZING, ACCESSIBLE STORIES ABOUT PETS
“Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey”
Two dogs (Chance and Shadow) and a cat (Sassy) are separated from their original owners by a marriage in the human family, and in an act of amazing instinct, willpower and luck, the three return over great distances to find their people again.
The word “yeller” does not refer to the dog in the story’s barking or any other vocalization, but to his color, yellow, as pronounced by the old country folks he lives with.
“The Call of the Wild”
Written by real-life mid-19th century explorer Jack London, this is the story of Buck, a mixed-breed Husky who’s sold by his estate-owning master into a much rougher life of sled-dogging, until he’s conflicted between the new owner he loves and his primordial urge to join the wild wolves of the Pacific Northwest.
Based on Rudyard Kipling’s novel of the same name, “Jungle Book” is of course the story of Mowgli, who grows up in the presence of animal friends.
“The Hound of the Baskervilles”
This early-20th-century novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle calls Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick Dr. Watson to the moors of West England to solve the legend of a ghostly and gigantic hound believed to be the perpetrator of a murder in the misty, chilly countryside.
Why Responsible Pet Owners Month is Important
Our pets deserve the best
We all want our pets to live happy and healthy lives. Responsible Pet Owners Month is a great reminder that there are always new ways to help our animal counterparts enjoy a more comfortable life. It is important to know your pet and what needs he or she may have. If you don’t already know what your pets optimal diet and exercise routine should be, this month is a great time to learn.
No amount of knowledge is too much
Responsible Pet Owners Month is an opportunity to celebrate responsible pet owners, but it was also created to spread awareness for the countless animals that aren’t so lucky. Every day dogs and cats are abused or mistreated in their own homes. It is important to spread awareness so that this injustice can be stopped.
Our pets have feelings too
Since our animals can’t speak to us in words, it can be easy to forget that they have the same emotions we do. They feel not only hunger but betrayal when they are not fed, sadness when we leave for too long, and joy and peace when they are loved. Responsible Pet Owners Month reminds us that our pets are not just toys or accessories; we have an obligation and responsibility to take excellent care of them.
Responsible Pet Owners Month dates