Pets are wonderful additions to our lives, however, it’s important to understand the responsibilities of being a pet owner before you adopt an animal. Here are some tips:
There are millions of homeless animals, including many “purebred” – adopt a pet from a shelter or rescue organization.
Avoid impulsive decisions – puppies and kittens are adorable and it can be hard to resist them. Make a considered decision and carefully choose the type of pet that is best suited to your home and your lifestyle.
Once you’re ready to make the commitment, remember it’s a relationship for the life of the pet.
Owning a pet means you must invest your time and money to care for the animal.
Provide a safe and appropriate environment that includes quality food, shelter, and vet care.
Microchip or tattoo your animal/s in addition to providing collar and tags, and remember to keep the registration information up to date.
Become familiar with local ordinances, including licensing and leash requirements, waste disposal, and noise control.
Spay/neuter your pets – it not only helps the animal overpopulation problem, but can also help prevent or modify undesirable behaviors like marking and roaming.
Find a good local veterinary clinic to provide regular care and check ups for your pet/s, including annual vaccinations and preventive care.
Train your pet or engage with a trainer to establish good behavior patterns. Socialization is also important for pets. Regular trips to the local bark park, daily walks and introducing visitors to the home are all good exercises for socialization.
Make sure your pet/s get regular exercise and mental stimulation through toys and play that is appropriate to the age, breed and health of the animal/s.
Be prepared for emergencies or disasters. Assemble an evacuation kit that includes leashes, bowls, food, water, medications and other items to ensure your pet/s well-being. Place an “in case of emergency” sticker on a window or door of your home or apartment to alert emergency workers to the presence, number and type of pet/s inside.
Appoint a designated caregiver that is willing to take care of your pet/s in case you can’t.
All good things must come to an end, as the old saying goes. While it’s never easy to lose a beloved pet, be watchful for signs of declining quality of life. Consult with your vet and make a plan for appropriate end-of-life care (i.e., palliative care, hospice, euthanasia). The time you’ve invested in being a responsible pet owner is well worth it – you can thank your pet for the years of love and laughter by letting them go in a loving, caring and peaceful environment.