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February is Responsible Pet Owners Month | 3 ways to be a responsible pet owner

Here are 3 ways you can show extra love to your pet by being a responsible pet owner, according to the Humane Society and its Animal Medical Center of Mid-America.

ST. LOUIS — February is the month of love, and it is also Responsible Pet Owners Month. Pets have a special place in our hearts, but owning a pet comes with great responsibility.

Here are three ways you can show extra love to your pet by being a responsible pet owner, according to the Humane Society and its Animal Medical Center of Mid-America.

  • Schedule your pet’s routine checkup and bring them in as soon as you notice they are sick.

“I would say routine checkups are very important, especially since cats can really hide disease easily. And you may not hear certain things if you don't have a stethoscope or be able to feel things that the vet knew and could feel. So, an annual checkup is always a good idea just to be proactive and prevent problems down the road,” said Dr. Nicole Fulcher of Animal Medical Center of Mid-America.

“I always tell people to bring in your pet as soon as possible, not to delay. And that's really being responsible only because you're going to catch and treat earlier if they do have any type of. So, a lot of times we hope that the patient or pet may get better and sometimes they don't and we delay it.”

  • Get your pets spayed and neutered.

“If you're not going to breed them, they're going to be a healthier and easier pet in terms of behavior and disease. A lot of the female hormones are related to certain cancers, mammary or breast cancer, also uterine cancer and infections. And with male dogs, same thing - they can have, unfortunately, prostate diseases, just like people, prostatic hyperplasia and testicular cancers. Also, it's just responsible because of, unfortunately, the overpopulation of pets. So, if you don't plan on breeding your pet, you don't want to have any accidental pregnancies and litters where we have to find homes for those pets.”

  • Do not neglect your pet’s dental health (February is also National Pet Dental Health Month).

“I think a lot of people are proactive with dental treats and being able to handle their pet’s mouth at an early age so they're able to examine the mouth if there's any disease. Most dogs and cats need a dental cleaning or procedure by a vet nearing their first three to five years of age. In the meantime, you can brush your dog's teeth with a finger brush or regular brush and dog or cat toothpaste, as well as using rinses, gels or even water additives just to keep the plaque from building up.”

Remember those tips to keep your animals healthy and happy.

Throughout February, the Humane Society of Missouri is offering free shipping on product and supplement orders over $30, placed on meds4pets.org.

To schedule an appointment with a veterinarian at one of the Animal Medical Center of Mid-America locations in Maryland Heights or St. Louis City, visit amcma.org.

This year, Purina will be hosting a virtual costume contest. ST. LOUIS - An annual Soulard Mardi Gras event is going virtual this year - the Purina Pet Parade. It's St. Louis' largest annual pet event. This year, Purina will be hosting a virtual costume contest.