Your Responsibility as a Pet Owner
Pets can bring all types of joy to us and our family. However, they are also a big responsibility – here are some pointers.
Your Responsibility as a Pet Owner
Pets can bring all types of joy to us and our family. However, they are also a big responsibility – some pet owners do not realise this. Here are some pointers on how you can be a responsible pet owner.
1. Leash them when outside the compound
When outside your compound, dogs must always be leashed. This is the law, and if you let your dog roam freely, the authorities may take it away. It is also dangerous to have an unleashed dog on the street since it represents a threat to pedestrians, bike riders, car drivers etc., as well as to the animal which may get hurt or lost.
2. Keep them safe
Being a responsible pet parent also means providing the best level of safety for your friend. This means taking extra precautions in your home, outside of your home, as well as implementing additional safeguards in case your pet runs away from home. Inside your house, it’s essential to pet-proof any room that they can roam around in. This can mean ensuring that any personal medications are put safely away out of reach, and harmful household products are tucked away. Just as you would if there were a child in the house.
3. Tips if you lose your pet
When your beloved dog or cat strays from home, it can be a traumatic experience for both of you. The first thing is to walk or drive through your neighbourhood several times each day. Ask neighbours, security personnel, letter carriers and delivery people if they have seen your pet. Place advertisements on online platforms about your lost pet – include your pet’s sex, age, weight/size, breed, colour and any special markings. Leave out one identifiable characteristic when describing your pet and ask the person who finds it to describe it. Do not offer a reward because rewards encourage pet nabbing (people will steal pets to get a reward) and scammers (people who say they have the pet and ask for the reward first and they then either don’t hand over the pet or never had it in the first place). If you lose your pet, make sure to call your local council pound and animal shelters and inform them of your loss. Ask if they have any pets that are like yours. Animals who have been missing for months can be reunited with their owners, so don’t give up hope. However, we must always ensure that they wear a collar and an ID tag with your name, address, and phone number the next time. If it’s possible, have your pet microchipped.
4. Microchipping your pet
Unfortunately, because it is not mandatory in Malaysia, only a small percentage of people practice it. A microchip helps identify your pet when it gets lost. A serial number is picked up by a scanner, and this will then generate your contact details when it is run through a centralised pet registry. Most Malaysian veterinarians are qualified to microchip your dogs, the cost of microchipping varies between RM20 and RM30. It’s advisable to wait until your puppy is seven or eight weeks old before microchipping him or her. Once a kitten is five weeks old, it can be microchipped. Before releasing your cat outside, you should have it microchipped in case it strays and gets lost.
5. Spay or neuter
Sadly, there are more animals in shelters than there are loving homes ready and able to accept them. Spaying or neutering your pet can help minimise the number of animals that end up in shelters and are euthanized, as well as provide a variety of health benefits that can help pets live longer, happier lives. We normally encourage spaying (for female animals) at age 6 months for dogs and around 5-6 months for cats. For male dogs and cats, neutering can be done at age 8 months to a year (or even later).
6. Keep your pets indoors during festival period
Animals are always terrified of loud noises, which might be unpleasant for them. Most festivals in Malaysia include fireworks, so try to keep your pets inside. They will feel more protected inside and with you.
7. Give them regular exercise
Some pets will need more exercise than others. Dogs often require plenty of time outdoors, from going on walks, to playing in the park to burn off excess energy. For cats, these furry friends prefer to get their daily exercise by chasing and swatting at cat toys so be sure to provide these for them.
8. Schedule an annual check-up
It is important to take your beloved pet to the vet for an annual wellness visit to keep them healthy. A yearly check-up also allows you to catch any medical problems early on before they become serious. A veterinary specialist will examine your pet carefully to ensure that they are in the greatest possible health. Annual visits to the veterinarian are also required to receive routine vaccinations and drugs such as flea and heartworm preventatives.
9. Socialize your pet
For a happy and healthy furry pet, socializing is important. Many dogs are raised to live in groups. Meeting and getting to know new people can help your pet gain confidence and reduce or even eliminate frightened or anxious behaviour.
10. Feed them properly
A proper, healthy diet is vital to providing your pet with the best level of care. The type of animal you have, along with dozens of other factors, can drastically impact the type of food your pet should be consuming. Age, weight, allergies, and fitness levels are some of the key things to consider. Consult your veterinarian if you’re unsure about what kind of food is best for your cherished pet. They need pet food, not human food.
11. Pick up after your pet
Being a responsible pet owner means also means being respectful to those around you. Whenever your animal goes outside your compound and leaves their “unwanted waste”, be sure to pick it up in a timely matter. Bring some plastic bags with you making it more convenient for the clean up. Not only is it unpleasant to see or worse, step on, faeces also carry germs that could harm other individuals and animals around you.
12. Make sure to obtain dog licenses
As we mentioned in one of our previous articles, dogs beyond the age of three months must be licensed. It proves that our dog is safe and that it is easy to find if it goes missing or is lost. Contact your local council for details.