May is Responsible Animal Guardian Month, an event started in 2017 by animal welfare organization In Defense of Animals (IDA). The aim of the event is to encourage those who share their lives with animals to be responsible and loving guardians. This means making a lifetime commitment to our pets and taking care of their physical and emotional needs.

For more information about Responsible Animal Guardian Month, head on over to IDA's website. In today's article, we'll show our support for this worthy event by sharing 5 ways to be a responsible animal guardian.

CocoTherapy woman hugging black and white siberian husky

1) Feed Your Pets a Healthy Diet

Feeding a healthy diet is an important part of being a responsible animal guardian. The best foods to feed your pet are living, raw, fresh, and species-appropriate. These foods support your pet's health throughout their lifetime, and protect them from illness and disease.

A good diet should consist of ingredients such as muscle and organ meats, raw eggs, and fresh fruits and vegetables. It should also be nutritionally balanced and complete, and contain all the necessary vitamins and minerals your pet needs to stay healthy.

It's important to note that raw feeding doesn't need to be complicated. In fact, rather than sticking strictly to any one type of raw food diet model, we recommend feeding a wide variety of raw foods. It's also worth experimenting to find out which raw food ratio best fits your pet. For more information about choosing a species-appropriate diet for your pet, check out our previous post.

2) Provide Regular Exercise

Regular exercise provides a range of mental and physical benefits that help pets live longer, happier, and healthier lives. Benefits of exercise include weight control, improved digestive health, increased metabolism, and prevention of behavioral problems. Exercise also removes toxins from the body and prevents premature aging.

The amount of exercise your pet needs will depend on several factors, including their age, breed, size, and overall health. As a general rule, cats should engage in some form of exercise for at least 10-15 minutes several times a day. Similarly, most dogs should be exercised for a minimum of 30 minutes once or twice a day.

3) Find a Great Veterinarian

Look for a qualified veterinarian who will provide your pet with a high level of care. We recommend finding a veterinarian whose beliefs align with yours. Ask the vet questions about their vaccination protocols, their views on alternative medicine, and any other health concerns you many have about your pet. You’ll build a long relationship with your vet, and it’s important that you find one you trust and who’ll be an advocate for the life of your pet. Here at CocoTherapy, we're believers of holistic medicine. Because of this, it's important for us to take our pets to a holistic veterinarian. The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Association can help you find an integrative or holistic vet near you.

We also suggest reading online reviews of veterinary practices in your area and asking friends with pets which vets they trust. Found a veterinarian who looks like a good fit? Schedule an appointment to speak with them and look around the practice. A good veterinary practice should have modern, well-organized facilities and friendly, knowledgeable staff.

4) Put up Pet Alert Stickers

Pet alert stickers are inexpensive decals that can be placed on doors or windows. They are designed to alert rescue personnel that there are pets inside your home in the event of an emergency. The stickers have a simple design with space to enter details about the type and number of pets in your home.

If you don't yet have pet alert stickers on your doors or windows, we recommend getting your hands on some. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) offers free Pet Safety Packs that include a pet alert window decal. If you need additional stickers, affordable multi-packs are readily available from online retailers. When using pet alert stickers, always remember to keep the alert information up to date.

5) Include Your Pet in Your Will

Most of us expect to outlive our pets, but if the worst were to happen would your furry friends be protected? Our final tip for being a responsible animal guardian is to include your pets in your will. We recommend identifying at least two close friends or relatives who'll agree to look after your pets in your absence. It's also important to set aside an emergency fund to help with the financial burden of caring for your pets.

For more information about including your pets in your will, check out this excellent article from Rover.com. It includes tips on identifying emergency caregivers, consulting with an attorney to make changes to your will, setting up a trust for your pet, and creating end-of-life documents.

That's it for today's post. We hope you found these tips on being a responsible animal guardian useful. Know anyone who could benefit from this post? We'd appreciate it if you could share on social media.

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