As we all know, having a pet is a big responsibility. Pets, depending on the species, can live anywhere from 1 or 2 years for pet rats, to up to 100 years for certain species of parrots! With many dog and cat species can living up to 20 years, it really is a long-term commitment when acquiring a pet.
When you adopt a pet, you are undertaking the welfare of an animal who will be solely dependent on you. Responsible pet ownership has many aspects that should not be overlooked when bringing a pet into your home and life.
The basics, such as food, water, and shelter are obvious. Your pet depends on you to provide these basic necessities of life. That means a healthy diet appropriate to your pet’s age and lifestyle, access to fresh clean water at all times, and a warm and comfy place to sleep. But this is only the beginning. There are many more aspects that your pet needs to provide him or her with the best, fullest life possible. Regular veterinary care, exercise, training, and affection are part of the responsible pet ownership.
Veterinary Care. Providing good health care for your pet is essential to their health and well-being, just as it is for you. This means preventive care, as well as care when unexpected health issues come up. Preventive care includes regular veterinary check-ups (once or twice a year depending on the health status of your pet), vaccinations, dental care, and preventive treatments for parasites such as fleas, heartworm, and ticks. The other aspect of health care is dealing with unexpected events: an accident, injury, or illness. Being able to provide your pet with good veterinary care when the unexpected happens is something responsible pet owners need to plan for. One of the best ways you can prepare for the cost of your pet’s health care is to consider pet health insurance from a young age. Pet health insurance can ensure that no matter what happens to your pet, you can provide them with the best care without worrying about the associated costs.
Exercise. We all know that exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle for us and it’s truly no different for your pet, no matter what species you have. Daily exercise is important both physically and mentally for your pet. Exercise helps maintain bone and muscle integrity and provides mental stimulation. It can also help deter unwanted behaviors such as chewing, improper elimination, and vocalization. Set a time to exercise your pet each day and soon it will become part of your daily routine.
Training. A big part of being a responsible pet owner is making sure your pet is properly trained. No one likes a large dog that jumps up on people, or a cat that hisses and swipes at guests. Pets need to learn what behaviors are acceptable and which are not, as well as good manners, control, and obedience. This includes proper socialization to a wide range of people, places, and other animals. It is up to you to teach them, set clear expectations, and provide consistent feedback to reinforce lessons. Training also provides great mental stimulation for your pet.
Affection. You’ve fed your pet, exercised him, spent time training him, brushed his teeth, he’s up to date on his vaccinations, and you gave him his monthly preventive. The to-do list is done. But don’t forget to give your pet some affection! The things your pet wants the most (after his meal and treats of course) is affection and attention. Most pets are highly social creatures and crave human contact. YOU are their favorite person! They want to be around you, they want to be spoken to, and they want to snuggle with you! The amount and type of attention and affection you give you pet will affect their emotional and mental state. Responsible pet owners know they need to devote time every day to their pets and make it a priority to do so.
Having a pet is a big responsibility, but not one that should feel unpleasant or obligatory. With all the wonderful things pets bring to our lives, including unconditional love and affection, company, and entertainment on Zoom calls, the least we can do as responsible owners is to make sure they are well looked after in all aspects of their lives. This February show your pet your love!