Rene’ Littlehawk: Care for your dogs | CraigDailyPress.com

Rene’ Littlehawk: Care for your dogs

Rene' Littlehawk/For the Craig Daily Press

Rene' Littlehawk

Let’s talk dogs. Big dogs, little dogs, hairy dogs, not-so-hairy dogs … you get the idea. Most of us either have one or more, or are planning on getting one at some point.

They are our friends, our confidants, our exercise partners and cuddlers on lonely, cold days.

They give us so much: unlimited love and devotion, companionship, forgiveness and understanding. They put up with our bad moods when no one else wants to tolerate us.

We need to make sure that we are returning at least what they give to us — not just food, water and shelter. They need to feel that love and devotion and care in return. How? Care for all their needs. Here are a few ideas to consider.

Spring has arrived, and that means summer is just around the corner, at least we hope so.

Summer means heat. One thing we have to always be aware of is the danger of leaving our four-legged friends in a vehicle, cold or hot. The temperature inside a vehicle can climb to a critical point so fast that many animals are lost each year. So please don't leave your pet in a parked car, even for a quick run into the store. It could have devastating results.

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The leash protects everyone. Most dogs, some more so than others, have a strong predator instinct. That means they will be tempted to chase things, including wildlife. We have to prevent them from endangering themselves. Not only is it against the law, but they can be seriously injured, or worse. Allowing it or ignoring it not only endangers the pet but also the wildlife.

Another thing we can do to care for our pets is pay a regular visit to their favorite veterinarian. They will get a simple checkup and update to any vaccinations that may be needed. The visit may reveal something that you, as the owner, may miss because you see your pet all the time and because we don’t always recognize what a professional will. This 30-minute visit could make a world of difference and possibly lead to a longer life for your pet.

While you are there, don't be shy about questions and concerns you have. Ask about parasite control, weight, feed, whatever you think may benefit your pet. Ask about spaying or neutering your pet. Pet populations are a real concern. We all need to be aware of this and do what we can to help.

City licenses can be purchased at your veterinarian’s office, as well. Keeping these up to date helps you know that if your animal is lost, the tags can help get him home to you. Microchipping is also a good idea. Talk to your vet about it, as well, and get details about how beneficial and easy it is to help assure your dog or cat can be identified.

Let’s all try to be considerate pet owners. Clean up after them, keep them controlled and safe. If your pet’s behavior causes you to stumble, don’t give up on them. Talk to one of our local trainers and get some help so you and your pet can have a long and happy life together.

They are more than just the family dog — they are family. Love them, care for them and, most of all, enjoy all the happy times you can with them!