Responsible Pet Ownership Rocks!7 min read
RESPONSIBLE PET OWNERSHIP
Getting a new pet for yourself or your family is an exciting proposition. Looking forward to long walks in the woods and other thoughts start to dance around in your head. People get pets for multiple reasons. The important thing to remember is that responsible pet ownership takes a lot of work and financial resources to ensure a dog or cat has the best possible life. Regardless of where you purchase your puppy or kitten realize that this is a minimum 10 year plus commitment to an animal. Puppies and kittens take a lot of work to get to adulthood in one piece. On a lighter note, puppies and kittens are a 1000 times easier to raise than children. I had young married couples, without children, tell me how annoyed they were about getting their puppy toilet trained. Someday they would realize how easy puppy care was compared to raising a human infant. Let’s see what responsible pet ownership is all about!
THE TIME COMMITMENT
- Toilet training- Getting a young puppy or kitten is a true thrill for the family! It does take a lot of time to get a puppy toilet trained or to use a pee pad. Most larger breeds of dogs are trained at 12 weeks of age but little breeds or their crosses can take much longer. Kittens have it made. There is no training required! They will go to a litter box even before their eyes open at 14 days of age.
- Feeding- Most puppies need to be fed anywhere from 3-4 times per day plus be ensured a clean supply of fresh water. Someone has to be around to do these duties plus cleaning and disinfecting the water and food bowls.
- Veterinary visits- Puppies and kittens require frequent visits to your veterinarian for regular vaccinations and dewormings. Young animals have an immature immune system and often pick up respiratory or digestive infections that require medical care. All of this takes time.
- Exercise- All dogs need some form of exercise for enjoyment and maintenance of muscle tone. Many older dogs are on a diet and need an increased amount of exercise to burn more calories for weight loss. Although walking with your pet is enjoyable, it does take time each day.
- Grooming- Dogs need to look their best so many are taken to groomers for frequent clipping and shampoo treatments. This layers the coat and makes them feel much cooler in hot weather. In cold weather a well groomed dog will stay warmer due to the insulating effects of layered hairs. This takes time in your busy schedule.
- Obedience training- Dogs that are about 12 weeks of age are at just the right age to commence obedience training. This education makes it much easier to handle a large dog and prevent it from jumping up on people plus other benefits. This is literally school for your dog and education takes a lot of time!
VACATIONS AND EMERGENCIES
Responsible pet ownership is more than just the time needed to accomplish the many tasks necessary for raising a puppy or kitten. I have reminded people over the years that owning dogs and cats is like taking care of a perpetual toddler. Most children grow up but dogs and cats need an adult to do everything for them. They are totally dependent on their owners. Owner a pet is a great opportunity for children to learn about personal responsibility. Giving them chores such as taking the pet outside to void or to give it it’s food at the appropriate time teaches children that they have to be responsible for an animal that is totally dependent on them. Lessons learned for life.
Pets are important members of a family. What are you going to do with your dogs or cats when you go away for vacation? This is all about responsible pet ownership. You have several choices. Either you can take the animals on vacation with you or you can board them at an appropriate facility such as a veterinary office. Vacationing with pets is to be taken seriously! If you decide to take the pets along with you be sure to read car safety for pets.
Someone in the household must be responsible taking the pet to an emergency clinic when the time warrants. Hopefully that is never necessary but decisions have to be made rapidly to take or not take the animal to an emergency clinic for medical care. The best thing to do is contact the emergency care facility. They will be able to figure out whether the pet should be brought in immediately or not.
RESPONSIBLE PET OWNERSHIP ALSO MEANS…
- Financial responsibility- Pet ownership provides a tremendous amount of joy for most people but to do it right costs a fair amount of financial resources. It is just not the purchase price of the dog or cat but everything from veterinary care to food for the animal to eat and everything else in between.
- Neutering- Unless you are a breeder all dogs and cats should be neutered between 5-6 months of age. There is a tremendous overpopulation of pets in this country and part of responsible pet ownership is getting your pet neutered.
- Legal- As a parent is legally responsible for anything that a child under 18 does, a pet owner is responsible for any damage that an animal does to someone’s property. If your pet is involved in a dog fight that your dog instigated you may be asked to pay the veterinary medical bills to fix the other animal. Problems also may arise when your pet bites a stranger or someone’s child. I bring these items up because I have seen them all in medical practice.
- THE WORST RESPONSIBILITY– There will come a time when a dog or cat is too ill to live any longer. Most loving, pet owners never want their pet to suffer. Most people understand this the day they pick up that new puppy or kitten. Animals age way too fast. Responsible pet ownership means that in due time the animal must be put down humanely. In time, those tears can turn to smiles when a new puppy or kitten enters your life.
RESPONSIBILITY BREEDS HAPPINESS
A lot of the work involved in taking care of a dog or cat is well worth it! The fun that we have with our pets over the years is priceless. These things are called fond memories. Taking care of a pet and watching it grow into a healthy adult dog or cat is not just responsibility but a job well done!