...Quality Companions...

Responsible Pet Ownership

Owning a pet is a privilege and should result in a mutually beneficial relationship. However, the benefits of pet ownership come with obligations and responsibilities. Be a Responsible Pet Owner!

Do you know what a responsible pet owner is? Are you doing everything you can to be a responsible pet owner? There are many, many facets to being a responsible pet owner, but I want to share with you the basics of responsible pet ownership. Here is a list of things a responsible pet owner does.

Responsible pet ownership includes:

  • Committing to the relationship for the LIFE of the pet(s)!!
  • Avoiding impulsive decisions about obtaining pet(s), and carefully selecting pet(s) suited to your home and lifestyle. A basic knowledge of the breed is important for any new owner. You should research common health concerns, diet and exercise requirements, special concerns, and personality traits. This will help you prepare for whatever comes your way as a pet owner. Preferably, you should do this research before adding a pet to your family.
  • Recognizing that ownership of pet(s) requires an investment of time and money!
  • Responsible dog owners make sure their dogs environment is clean. Your home should be clean, your pets crate (if you use one) should be clean, and accidents should be cleaned up immediately.
  • Your home should be a safe place for your pet. Concerns and "pet-proofing" will vary. If your dog likes to chew or you have a puppy, all electric wires should be out of reach. Dangerous areas should be blocked with baby gates, and places your pet can go should be easily accessible.
  • A responsible pet owner takes diet and nutrition into consideration. There are many opinions on the subject, but its important to select a food that meets the AAFCO guidelines for complete and balanced nutrition.
  • Controlling pet(s') reproduction through managed breeding, containment, or spay/neuter, thereby helping to address animal control and overpopulation problems.
  • Establishing and maintaining a veterinarian-client-patient relationship. It is extremely important to have a regular veterinarian. A responsible pet owner knows exactly who to call in case of an emergency and has a veterinarian who already has a history with their pet. If you are moving or have to change vets, get copies of health records to take with you.
  • Providing preventive (e.g., vaccinations, parasite control) and therapeutic health care for the life of your pet(s). It is important to have regular veterinary care. Preventative care should be a top priority for all pet owners. Regular care can help prevent catastrophic illnesses and can keep your pet healthy and happy for many years to come.
  • Keeping only the type and number of pets for which an appropriate and safe environment can be provided, including appropriate food, water, shelter, health care and companionship.
  • Proper grooming is an essential responsibility. Hair needs to be kept clean and free of mats, nails need to be kept trimmed, teeth need to be cleaned, and ears need to be cleaned.
  • Ensuring pets are properly identified.
  • Adherence to local ordinances, including licensing and leash requirements.
  • Socialization and appropriate training for pet(s), which facilitates their well-being and the well-being of other animals and people.
  • Preventing pet(s) from negatively impacting other people, animals and the environment, including proper waste disposal, noise control, and not allowing pet(s) to stray or become feral.
  • Providing exercise and mental stimulation appropriate to the pet(s') age, breed and health status. All dogs require fresh air an exercise. Each pet is different and their exercise requirements depend on age and health. Consider playtime, walks, training, and other activities. Pets need both physical and mental exercise, so be sure that you are engaging your pet's body and mind.
  • Advance preparation to ensure the pet(s') well-being in the case of an emergency or disaster, including assembling an evacuation kit.
  • Making alternative arrangements if caring for the pet is no longer possible.
  • Recognizing declines in the pet(s') quality of life and making decisions in consultation with a veterinarian regarding appropriate end-of-life care (e.g., palliative care, hospice, euthanasia).

AVMA Guidelines for Responsible Pet Ownership
Oversight CHAB; EB approved 11/2011