Topics A-Z Contact IDCU
Caring For Your Pet
Dogs and cats give us companionship, affection, a
sense of responsibility, and protection. They work for us, participate in our
recreational activities, and keep us in contact with nature.
because of irresponsible owners, dogs and cats also give us noise, bites and
other injuries, diseases, unwanted puppies and kittens, and scattered garbage.
Whether pets are enjoyable members of our communities or nuisances
depends almost entirely on our attitudes and sense of responsibility as pet
owners. The following are explanations to popular misconceptions about
"I am a great believer in physical fitness. My dog stays in shape by
running all over town."
Dogs and cats that are not restricted to their
owner's premises are the ones that tip over garbage cans, get into fights, chase
children on bicycles, harass walkers or joggers, and get killed by cars and
trucks. An owner who does not confine his pet is actually saying: I do not care
about my neighbors, and I do not really care about my pet.
"My dog is always sweet to me. He plays with the neighbor kids all of the
time. He would never hurt anyone."
Sometimes we forget that dogs and
cats are not people. They are animals, and animals do bite and scratch. Every
year, pet dogs kill someone in the United States, and the victim is usually a
child. Thousands of children and adults are bitten by dogs and cats each year.
Most of these deaths and injuries could be prevented by responsible pet owners.
"My little dog never bites, and she is not big enough to tip over a
garbage can. Why do I have to keep her on a leash or in my
Usually, your city or county will have ordinances or rules that
require you to restrain your pet. They may also require that you register your
In addition, the average-sized dog will deposit 275 pounds of
manure every year. Dogs and cats like to keep their home territory clean, so
they will usually defecate in a neighbor's yard. This keeps the owner's yard
clean, but certainly shows a lack of consideration by the owner for the other
"Our cat never leaves the yard, so she really does not need a rabies shot
Texas State law requires that you have your dogs and cats
vaccinated against rabies by a veterinarian. Consult with a veterinarian about
the best vaccination schedule for your pet. Rabies is a killer. It is present in
wildlife, especially bats, skunks, foxes, coyotes, and raccoons. Pet dogs and
cats do not have to leave their yards to be exposed to rabies by a wild animal.
Wild animals can easily enter your yard. If a pet develops rabies, the people
most likely to be exposed by them to this fatal disease are the owner's family.
A rabies vaccination is very inexpensive life insurance for the pet and its
"Neuter our pet? That would not be fair. We have almost always been able
to find homes for most of her babies. Besides, I want my children to witness the
miracle of life."
There is an average of 15 million dogs and cats
euthanatized yearly by shelters in the United States. That is not fair! If you
want your children to witness the miracle of life, you need to be prepared to
discuss the reality of death.
Ask your veterinarian: neutered dogs and
cats, both males and females, make better pets, enjoy a healthier life, and are
less likely to stray.
"I got a pet for my children so they could learn
Children need guidance from adults on caring for their
pets. It is a big responsibility to care for another living creature. Do not
take it lightly. Animals need to have fresh water available to them throughout
the day. They also need to be fed at least once a day. They must be provided
with a shaded area if outside, and an area protected from wind and rain. They
also require grooming, exercise, and regular visits to the veterinarian.
Ownership of a pet is a privilege with many obligations. Pet owners are
responsible for the health and well-being of their pets. Just as important, pet
owners must show consideration for the safety and comfort of other citizens.
Stock No. 7-28 3/03
Texas Department of State Health Services - Infectious Disease
1100 West 49th Street, Suite T801, Mail Code: 1960 PO BOX
149347 - Austin, TX 78714-9347
(512) 458-7676 - Fax: (512) 458-7616 -
Topics A-Z / Site Map