Bringing an animal into your life is an exciting time whether it is a dog, cat, horse, sheep or calf. Many times it is a life long dream come true. There are many reasons for acquiring animals on your acreage. Reasons vary from needing a pet, an animal to compete in a specific sport, or raising the animal for profit.
As soon as you acquire an animal, the responsibility is yours to provide a plan to care for that animal. Not everyone should have an animal if they don’t take this responsibility seriously.
There are four main types of care that should be provided by every responsible animal owner.
Safe, Healthy Environment
A safe healthy environment may be a windbreak in cold wintery conditions for cattle and horses while smaller animals require more protection from cold or hot weather. Fencing and shelters should be strong enough to contain animals and prevent injuries. Fences that allow animals to escape can cause injuries to the animal, people, and property.
Nutrition and Water
Feeding and watering to provide adequate nutrition can be confusing and difficult. Each stage of life requires different nutritional requirements based on age, exercise, or stage of reproduction. Overfeeding can be as unhealthy as underfeeding. Most veterinarians would agree that many horses, dogs, and cats are too obese for their good health.
The most important nutrient, water, is often neglected especially in the winter when many water sources are frozen. Animals that switch from lush pastures to dry hay may need more water in the winter than in the summer.
As animals are confined to smaller areas, the chance of internal parasite infestation is increased. Signs of internal parasites includes poor condition, rough hair coat, or possibly death. Dewormers is just one part of parasite control. Other control practices include manure management, avoid overgrazing pastures, and keeping feed and water containers clean.
All animals need vaccinations to stay healthy by being protected from infectious diseases. These diseases may affect the respiratory, digestive, or nervous systems.
If you are new to animal ownership, you should consult with a veterinarian or experienced animal owner to learn how to be a responsible animal owner.