Being a pet owner is a fun and rewarding experience. But it is a big commitment that comes with a lot of responsibilities.

February is Responsible Pet Owner’s Month, a holiday that encourages responsible pet ownership that keeps our furry friends healthy, safe, and happy. Not sure how to celebrate the occasion? Here are 7 ways that you can be a responsible pet owner!

  1. Spay or neuter your pet. Approximately 6.5 million homeless animals end up in U.S. shelters every year. You can help keep the animal population down in shelters and reduce the number of homeless pets by spaying or neutering your pet.

    The American Veterinary Medical Association points out that spaying or neutering does more than simply prevent unwanted litters. It can also help protect your pet against health issues in the future, and sometimes it even helps reduce behavioral problems in pets.
  1. Make sure your pet has proper identification. Nobody likes to think about their pet becoming lost, but unfortunately, it happens! The American Humane Association estimates that over 10 million dogs and cats are lost or stolen in the U.S. every year. Making sure your pet has proper identification helps increase the likelihood of being reunited with your pet if he becomes lost.

    If your pet isn’t microchipped, consider the benefits of microchipping! It’s a simple, inexpensive, and permanent form of identification. Plus, microchips are more reliable than a collar with an ID tag. If your pet is already microchipped, you’re responsible for making sure the registration information is up to date.
  1. Schedule your pet’s annual veterinarian checkup. Going to the veterinarian probably isn’t your pet’s idea of a good time, but annual checkups are important. Routine checkups help protect your pet from preventable illnesses, and it helps your vet detect diseases earlier when they are often easier to manage and treat. Even though shots aren’t much fun, they help keep your pet safe!
  1. Make sure your pet is getting enough exercise. We know we’ve mentioned this one before, but it’s really important that your pet is getting enough exercise. Just a few extra pounds can put significant stress on your pet’s body and put him at an increased risk of health issues. Plus, overweight pets have a shorter life expectancy. There are so many benefits of exercising, both for you and your pet, so make sure this is a part of your daily routine!
  1. Feed your pet a nutritious diet. Your pet’s nutritional needs will change during different stages of his life. Your veterinarian or a veterinary nutritionist can help you determine the best diet for your pet. Making sure your pet is getting enough essential nutrients like minerals, vitamins, and protein is important for his overall health. A healthy diet can help keep your pet at a healthy weight and prevent various health problems.
  1. Pet-proof your home. Our pets are curious, which can get them into trouble if we aren’t careful. As a pet owner, you’re responsible for knowing what items in your home could be potentially hazardous to your pet. Potentially hazardous items include household cleaners, different foods, houseplants, holiday decor, and more. Do your research and then make sure these items are far out of your pet’s reach!
  1. Improve your pet’s quality of life. There are so many things that you can do to improve your pet’s quality of life. Spending quality time with your pet is a good start! Spending time with your pet gives you the chance to notice small changes in his health and routine. Is your pet’s skin looking a little drier than normal? Is the cold weather causing your pet to slow down a little? These are things that you should mention to your vet!

There are a wide variety of pet care products that can help improve your pet’s overall health. Maybe your pet could benefit from a multivitamin, digestive supplement, or new skin and coat product.

Being a responsible pet owner can be a lot of work, but our pets deserve the best!