The 12 Steps of Responsible Pet Ownership
1. Take your pet to the veterinarian for annual checkups and vaccines.
Animals should be tested for heartworms and take year round preventative.
Protect your pets from fleas and ticks and deworm them regularly; these parasites can make pets and humans seriously ill.
2. Make an appointment with your veterinarian, low-cost clinic or animal shelter to have your pet fixed. Encourage friends and family members to get their dogs and cats spayed or neutered. In Richmond County, it costs $20 to $77 to have your animal fixed - contact the Humane Society at 895-0335.
3. Train your dog; this is extremely important. The Number One reason for dogs ending up in shelters is behavior problems.
4. Feed your pet a well-balanced and nutritious diet. Feed the correct amount based on their age, breed, activity level and time of the year. Some animals have poor skin condition due to poor diet; use of quality food and vitamin supplements usually improves skin/coat quality.
5. Clean up after your animal. Animal waste can make spread diseases and make humans sick.
6. Groom your pet on a regular basis. Keep your pet's coat clean with regular trimmings if required, nails trimmed, ears clean and teeth free from plaque.
7. Give your pet plenty of exercise and have plenty of clean water available at all times.
8. Let your dog live in the house with you if possible. It is unfair to get a dog and then banish to a backyard kennel or stake it out on the end of a chain. Animals outside should always have adequate shelter from the weather.
9. Make sure your pet has up-to-date identification tags on its collar - this includes the rabies tag. ID tags can save your animal's life. Microchip your pet if possible; microchips are available for $20 through the Humane Society.
10. If your pet is sick or injured, do not delay....take it to your veterinarian or closest emergency clinic (Highway #1, Vass, 910-246-0405) as soon as possible.
11. Do not allow your animal to run at large. It is dangerous and violates local animal control ordinances or rules as well as North Carolina General Statutes. By law, all animal bites must be reported to the Health Department.
12. Support your local animal shelter and 4-H group. Contact the Humane Society of Richmond County at 895-0335 if you have questions or need assistance.