RAISING a child is not everyone’s goal. For some, having a dog is enough to be called mom and dad. But just like some families, not every parent is responsible enough to care for their dogs.
Belgium-based canine organization Federation Cynologique Internationale reported that some 11.6 million Filipinos owned approximately 10.8 million dogs in 2020. That means that in the Asia-Pacific region, the Philippines has the highest dog ownership ratio, with 67 percent or roughly two-thirds of all households owning one or more dogs.
However, the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) said in 2019 that there were about 12 million stray dogs (and cats, too) roaming the streets of the country.
And that speaks a lot about the lack of owner accountability in raising their fur babies.
Veterinary doctor John Lawrence Sunga said that pets are also “beings who need food, water, air, shelter, care, and love.”
What can we do to be responsible dog parents?
“Know your pets”
Dr. Sunga said in an interview that “having a pet is a 10 to 20 years commitment,” and raising a dog means knowing their needs to survive and be healthy.
Here are some advice from Dr. Sunga on how to be a responsible pet owner:
1. Seek out the nearest veterinary clinic within your area.
Pets live longer, healthier, and happier lives with frequent veterinary checkups. Your veterinarian can treat an illness early on and control it with medication or lifestyle modifications, Dr. Sunga said. Your vet can also offer advice on how to keep your pet healthy.
2. Vaccinate your pets.
According to Dr. Sunga, every fur parent must complete the vaccination of their pets to increase their immunity to diseases, including canine distemper, canine hepatitis, canine leptospirosis, canine parainfluenza, canine parvovirus, and canine coronavirus.
3. Do an annual or yearly checkup with your veterinarian.
By having your dog checked annually, veterinarians can keep track of your dog’s health condition. “If you are planning to raise a dog, you should have a budget,” Dr. Sunga said in Filipino.
He also emphasized that owners should refrain from consulting “Dr. Google” or providing home remedies to avoid giving improper medications to their pets.
4. If you’re not planning to breed your pets, have them neutered or spayed.
PAWS has been advocating for dog owners to spay or neuter their pets if they are not planning to breed them since it helps curb the overpopulation of stray animals in the country. The animal welfare group said the benefits of spaying and neutering include reduced risk of breast, uterine, and testicular cancer. Also, dogs will no longer experience heat cycles or behavioral shifts which will result to a happier and well-adjusted temperament.
Treating your pets as part of your family.
Dogs are naturally loyal, protective, and intelligent. While dogs don’t speak like normal humans, they can recognize if their owner is taking care of them. With how they behave, guard, and regardless of how you feel about them, pets will love you like a priceless family member.
So why not treat your dogs like normal family members?