I have two dogs that a part of my family. I mean just what I said...they are family. When we rescued them from the shelter we made a commitment to those animals that we would be their caregivers and protectors. Too many people these days don't take pet ownership seriously, when the novelty wears off the dogs, cats or whatever become a chore...those folks should SERIOUSLY think before doing something drastic like adopting an animal.
I will speak as a dog owner and outline some things you should do so you and your dogs live a long happy life together and are able to weather any hiccups (read disaster) which may occur.
You store food for yourself, right? Make sure you store adequate food for your dogs. Canned and dry kibble both store very well. If the kibble gets really hard you can always soak it in water to soften it up.
Make sure you account for your dogs when storing water. They drink a lot of water, not as much as a human but it adds up. Depending on how many animals we are talking I would store one gallon extra per day for my two dogs for example. You can adjust according to your dogs drinking habits.
Many people don't take their animals to the vet on a regular basis which is a shame. There are two things you should ALWAYS do for your dogs:
1.) Annual rabies shot - this is a horrible way to die and rabies is on the rise in the US.
2.) Heartworms - Make sure you get and have an adequate supply of heartworm medication on hand for your dogs. This is really important in the southern US where mosquitoes are especially bad. Heartworms are transmitted to your dogs via a mosquito bite.
Just as hygiene is important for good health in humans so is the same for animals. Keep your dogs well groomed and clean...this will help prevent mange and keep the fleas and ticks down as well. During times of crisis when a bath is not an option just wiping them down with a wet towel will help. Keep your dogs nails trimmed for your comfort (ouch) and theirs.
If your dogs go outside a lot or spend any time outside on a regular basis make sure you get some kind of flea and tick treatment for them. Collars don't work well go with a topical like Frontline or something like that, they work extremely well.
Exercise is extremely important for dogs. Take them for walks and play with them often. During time of crisis when you may be confined to a small area...roughhouse with them, get their heart rate up and blood pumping anyway you can. Exercise is not only important to a dogs physical well being but also their mental well being...any dog trainer will tell you that.
These concepts translate to any pets not just dogs...whatever animal you have whether it is a ferret, lizard, bird, cat, pot belly pig or whatever. You have an obligation to do your best to do right by them. If you view them as a chore maybe you should consider finding them a new home with someone who will appreciate them for the value and hapiness they bring to people's lives.
Make sure if you do get a dog or cat and you do not plan on breeding them you get them spayed or neutered. You will not only help control an exploding population of these animals they will be healther and less high strung in the long run.
BTW here are my babies...
...that is all.
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