Pet Awareness in February
You’ve probably noticed that it’s now 2024. 2024! Can you believe it? Sometimes, I have a hard time wrapping my head around that. And it’s already February 2024. February! January is already—whoosh!—gone! And February, even in a leap year, is still the shortest month…this one clocks in with only 29 days. So, it’s interesting to see how many pet awareness days/events are packed into such a short time. To begin with, February is Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month. Yup. So, if you’ve ever considered getting a bunny to share your life, this is an ideal time to do so. Just keep in mind that some rabbits mature very quickly, so get your furball spayed or neutered as quickly as possible. And you might like to know that a healthy, well-cared for bunny can live for more than ten years. That’s a nice chunk of time to enjoy your new pet, even if February does fly by. February is also National Pet Dental Month. The aim is to raise awareness regarding the health of your animal companion’s teeth. Remember, Spike’s bad breath is not a de facto characteristic of being a canine. Foul odors might indicate that foul play is going on in Spike’s mouth. Luckily, there are numerous products on the market to help keep those choppers A-OK. Or, you can bring Spike to us. We’ll check him out, and get those pearly whites…well, pearly white! If you’re on top of your pet’s dental health, chances are you’ll appreciate this next awareness category: February is Responsible Pet Owners Month. This is a perfect time to reflect upon your animal companion’s care. For example, do you get her the shots she needs? Does she get a health check-up at least once a year? What if she accidentally gets out of the house—can she be easily identified and returned to you? Oh, and how’s her food treating her? And how much exercise should she be getting? Checking these boxes will go a long way toward keeping your four-legged bud happily with you for years to come. Of course, February 14 is Valentine’s Day, so what better time could there be for American Heart Month? This is designed to raise awareness regarding your pet’s heart health. Remember, your pet friends can develop heart issues just like we humans, including high blood pressure. Catching these early can help your veterinary practitioner prolong Sheeba’s life. And don’t forget—heartworm can be prevented altogether with the proper treatment. Whew! That seems like a lot of awareness, right? But, no…we’re not done! For example, February 20 is Love Your Pet Day. I know, I know; we should love our pets every day (and, of course, we do). But Love Your Pet Day gives us an excuse to remember to do something nice for Moose. Play a game with him, or take an extra-scenic walk. Maybe give him a special treat or a new toy. Make a special effort to spend extra time with him. You know, some of the stuff you do on Valentine’s Day, only with your pet. As if that weren’t enough, February 22 is National Wildlife Day. Started in 2005 by animal Colleen Paige, the mission is “to help bring awareness of the plight of wild animals around the globe. NWD encourages wildlife lovers to stand up and fight for animals that need a voice, to visit their local zoo and donate what the can to make a difference in the lives of our beloved animal friends” (www.nationalwildlifeday.com). Oh, if you happen to miss it on February 22, have no fear…a second National Wildlife Day occurs on September 4. Okay, there’s always an actual awareness event that people believe I just make up, so here’s the one for February: International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day. No, I’m not kidding. It actually happens February 23. According to www.nationalcalendar.com, there are several things we can do to celebrate the day: You can get Buddy a special biscuit to celebrate. Maybe get him something a little different and see if he likes it. Just don’t let him overeat. And maybe take him for a brisk walk to rid him of the extra calories. You can also share your favorite biscuit recipes with other responsible pet owners. And the organization would love it if we would all use #NationalDogBiscuitDay on social media. Now…are you ready for what’s coming on February 27? I thought you might be. So, here we go… February 27th is International Polar Bear Day! Founded by Polar Bears International, the day was picked “to coincide with the time period when polar bear moms and cubs are snug in their dens” (www.polarbearsinternational.org). The organization is looking to raise funds to help protect polar bear moms and cubs, “while also supporting other conservation efforts across the Arctic.” Their website notes that “only about half of all cubs reach adulthood, with even lower survival rates in the most vulnerable populations.” Now, in general, I don’t publicly endorse—nor discourage participation in—charities. I certainly encourage everyone to do their due diligence and figure out to whom they might like to donate their hard-earned coin. But helping polar bears in general is a good idea. For one, Arctic people strongly identify with them culturally. Then, polar bears are at the top of their food chain; this means that they are crucial to the balance in their ecosystem. And finally, they are just beautiful animals to watch, study, and be entertained by. Whew! There is a lot of interesting stuff going on in such a short month! But remember, we can help you with a lot of it. Need your rescued rabbit checked out? We can do that. Want your pet’s heart and/or teeth evaluated? We’ll do that, too. Want recommendations regarding your animal companion’s diet and/or exercise routine? That’s why we’re here. The only thing we’d ask you not to do is to bring your pet polar bear in. That could get a little messy.
Dr Barbara J Bodolosky