Opening your home to an animal is a life-changing decision to make and entails a huge responsibility.

Recently, a Reddit user u/mrktx21 asked on the platform, “What is one thing you wish people would know/understand about their pet?”

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) is eager to share useful tips to pet owners to keep their animal companions healthy with Valentine’s Day fast approaching. Last year’s Valentine’s Day saw a 30% increase on the ASPCA Animal Poison Control.

The Reddit post went viral and has already over 31,000 up votes and nearly 7,000 comments. There were veterinarians who commented on the post and here are some of them.

1. ” I am a vet. Do not get a cat and then expect me to amputate its toes because you don’t want it scratching the furniture. I refuse to perform declaws on cats because most of the time it is a mutilation for the cosmetics of a couch. There is no medical benefit to the animal.”

Declawing cat’s claws is known as onychectomy. It is a surgical process in which the front knuckles of the cat’s toes are amputated so they could no longer use claws to scratch household items, defend itself from other aggressive animals outdoors, or ever climb a fence or a tree.

Declawing is illegal in many countries, as it has the potential to result in chronic, lifelong pain, and a change in the animal’s gait.

2. “Dogs prefer their ears and tails intact.”

Ear cropping and tail docking among dogs was first introduced in the Roman Times. It was said during that time that it prevent tail injury and ear infections, however there is little evidence to support it.

The American Veterinary Medical Association says the procedures can cause dogs pain and distress, “therefore veterinarians should counsel dog owners about these matters before aggreing to perform these surgeries.”

3. “You have your life, your job, your friends, your family to provide your social interaction per day. Your dog only has YOU. Interact with your dog for more than five minutes per day and maybe your dog will not go out barking every five seconds.”

Your animal companions will experience less mental stress and better physical health if you bond with them even just a few minutes of your time a day. In return, they also help increase your oxytocin levels in the brain, and keep you happy as well!

4. “Don’t leave your pets to be euthanized without you. It’s hard to be there and it’s hard to watch, but if you leave them they will die scared and looking for you.”

This says it all. No matter how hard it is watching them slip away and get over the rainbow bridge, make sure to be at the very end with them so they would not feel scared and alone.

5. “Your dog doesn’t ‘want to be a mom’ or experience the ‘joys of motherhood.'”

There are no evidence that dogs have the same instinct as humans on being a parent. But it is safe to say that female dogs would not want to sign up for months delivering a litter of puppies. We cannot even imagine the puppy farms who take female animals for granted and keep them breeding to the maximum extent.

This is why it is also important to spay and neuter, and give homeless and stray animals a chance to find loving homes.

You might want to read:
– At-home pet grooming tips for furparents
– Tips 101: How to manage heatstroke in pets
– Tips for first time pet owners during the pandemic