Pet Ownership

February is Responsible Pet Owners’ Month. It’s an interesting designation, really, as I’m not entirely clear as to whether we’re supposed to be celebrating Responsible Pet Owners, or making pet owners feel guilty about not being as responsible as they should be.

On one hand, I’m getting plenty of notices to remind my readers to take their pets in for check-ups (if they haven’t done so already), get their vaccinations up to date and basically work harder at keeping pets healthy and happy. On the other hand, I’m getting plenty of press releases about scads (that’s right, scads) of products that apparently are absolute must-haves in order to be a truly responsible pet owner.

To me, it’s all a bit weird. Isn’t responsible pet ownership a year-round activity? Has it suddenly become OK to just condense our responsibility to our pets into the shortest month of the year? Is responsible pet ownership really being promoted, or is this just another way for marketers to convince pet owners that they have to have the latest, most expensive tooth-brushing devices to keep their dogs’ teeth from just falling out?

Not that there aren’t good products being touted. Safety harnesses to keep your pet in place while traveling in the car — good idea. Better, safer chew toys for dogs — another good idea.

What I’m getting at is this: Designating a month for responsible pet ownership is a well-intentioned move, but truly responsible

consider it a year-round occupation. Why not celebrate responsible pet owners for who they truly are — compassionate people who see their pets as part of the family and make sure they get the care and love they deserve, all the time?

Send your pet questions and tips to, or write to Paw’s Corner, c/o King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475. © 2011 King Features Synd., Inc.

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