What is Responsible Pet Ownership?

There are many pet owners who believe their life would be incomplete without the addition of another animal to their family, but does owning a pet automatically make them responsible pet owners?

Before bringing home that new addition, especially as a first-time pet owner, there are many factors to consider before finalizing your decision.  Being a responsible pet parent means more than just loving your pet. It is a serious lifelong dedication that requires time, money & close attention. Prior to getting a pet, are you ready to commit?

Try not to adopt or purchase a pet on a whim or inspiration. That cute kitten in the box in front of the supermarket may not be so cute when you take it home or that puppy ends up being more work than you understood. Being responsible means you’ve made a deliberate, well thought-out decision that isn’t impulsive.

Basic pet expenses can range from $700-$1,000 per year including basic medical care, food, and other necessities.  For many, there are extras to splurge on for your furry family member, from doggie doors for outside access to luxurious sleeping quarters. If your pet suffers from a health condition, you could be spending much more money per year. Can you afford it? Pet insurance is an alternative because a large percentage of the expenses may be covered. Make sure you have a monthly budget that includes your pet.

Pet-proofing your home is not the same as child-proofing it. Our four-legged companions can be craftier than children when it comes to off-limit areas (especially those with edible components). You can’t expect your pet to be fully trained on arrival, so there is some need for confinement and restraint. If you rent your home, you may need to check with your landlord before adding a pet.

If you work long hours or travel frequently, your lifestyle may not be appropriate for a dog; and while cats are a little more independent, it doesn’t mean they are self-sustaining. Consider whether or not you are willing to make adjustments to your lifestyle to accommodate a pet in your life. If not, now is probably not a good time to get a pet; but, if you are willing to make some changes, consider the time it will take to provide training, grooming, exercise and veterinary care. Once you weigh these factors, you can then make a rational decision whether pet ownership is for you.

If you have a health condition or an injury that makes it difficult to care for a pet, be sure you have someone else who can help when necessary. Are there young children in the house? Remember, owning a pet and forcing a young child to care for it does not instill responsibility and can put you and your pet in jeopardy; with small children you need to be prepared to provide supervision and most likely all of the needed animial care.

The Human/Animal Bond is vital. A daily activity such as petting, playing with, grooming and talking to your pet strengthens and preserves this bond.  The best feeling in the world is coming home to an animal that loves you, and we encourage that relationship for every person.  Just remember that your pet loves you unconditionally and is depending on you for its health and care – only you can be a Responsible Pet Owner and provide that need for your dependant little furry friend!


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