Protect Your Pets Health with Some Simple Reminders

The City of St. Louis Department of Health reminds pet owners of ways to protect their pet's health and safety.

May 26, 2021 | 2 min reading time

Summer months bring welcome opportunities to get out with your pet for exercise. The Physical Activity Guide for Americans recommends adults spend between one and three hours of physical activity each week. Walking is a wonderful option, and taking your pet along allows them also to exercise. Still, owners must remember to follow specific steps to protect their pet and the community around them. 

Dog owners in the City of St. Louis must leash their dog when off of its property, per city ordinance #66384. The only exceptions are if a dog owner uses an approved fenced dog park or the pet is in a vehicle. Leashes are not allowed to be longer than six feet and must be held by a person who can control the dog. 

Dogs and cats should be vaccinated regularly against rabies to prevent the spread of the virus. Rabies vaccinations are available through local veterinarians and low-cost clinics. Rabies vaccinations are repeated every one or three years. Many veterinarians in the city and some county veterinarians will register your pet with the Department of Health once your pet receives their vaccination. This registration comes with a tag your pet must wear on its collar and is required under city ordinance #66384. During a veterinarian visit, ask about microchipping, which better provides Animal Control officers and shelter staff the opportunity to reunite pets with their owners faster.

As temperatures increase this summer, remember to provide proper water and food and adequate shelter to outside pets. In addition, consider refreshing a pet’s water bowl often with cool water to help them stay hydrated and not overheat.

It is highly recommended to spay or neuter a pet for several reasons; including, helping to control the pet population, reducing the pet’s interest in roaming away from its home and preventing certain types of cancers in pets. Spaying and neutering are surgical procedures done by a veterinarian to prevent the pet from stopping its ability to breed. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the traditional age for a dog to be spayed or neutered is six to nine months. At the same time, cats as young as eight weeks may undergo the procedure. 

In the event of an emergency, it’s essential to keep your pet included in your family’s emergency plan. Some examples of necessary items include extra food, bottled water, bowls, a pet carrier, and litter. Also, including treats and toys may help the pet handle the situation better. 

City of St. Louis Animal Care and Control, a Department of Health division, asks if you witness an animal in distress on business days between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., please call the Citizens’ Service Bureau at (314) 622-4800. For cases outside of regular business days/hours, contact the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department at (314) 231-1212. 

If you or someone you know is interested in fostering or adopting a pet, the City of St. Louis Department of Health partners with the Center for Animal Rescue and Enrichment of St. Louis (C.A.R.E. STL) for its shelter operations. The C.A.R.E. STL team has many dogs and cats waiting for a forever home and wants to hear from community members interested in helping these pets find their way. If you are unable to provide a home for a pet, there are volunteer opportunities as well. Please visit for additional information on how to foster, adopt, or volunteer.

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