What It Means to be a Responsible Pet Owner
By Karin Krisher
I really, really want a dog. It’s not normal want. It’s the whole-lot-so-bad-oh-my-gosh-I-gotta-have-one-puppy-fever-to-the-max type of want. But (there’s always a but) I have a problem.
I don’t drive. It’s a problem because I can’t get a dog to the vet (as much as I would love to take one on the bus). A huge part of being a responsible pet owner is scheduling and keeping regular vet appointments for your animal. I want to be a dog owner, but not badly enough that I will be an irresponsible one.
Many people who already have pets in their homes aren’t aware of what it means to be a responsible pet owner. It’s not easy—that’s for sure. There’s a lot of hard work, thought and actual care that go into the day-to-day.
Dogs and cats, after all, are investments. Yes, they will give you one heck of a return (can anyone put a price on love?) but they’re investments, nonetheless. Therefore, being a responsible pet owner means having and devoting enough time and resources to your pet to make their lives the best they can be.
4 Tips for Responsible Pet Owners
1. Before choosing a pet, be sure you have the financial means to take care of one. According to the ASPCA, the (after adoption) annual cost of owning a large dog is roughly $875, while owning a cat can cost around $670/year. The first year costs, which include spaying or neutering, are much higher: around $1843 and $1035, respectively.
However, these are the minimal costs required for humane care—if any illness or specialty care is involved, including a specialty diet, you can always expect to shell out more.
2. On that note, the causes of those first year costs are important. Part of being a responsible pet owner is doing what’s best for your pet’s health. Almost always, spaying and neutering (if you don’t plan for the pet to breed) is a safe, healthy option, and it helps to control the pet population so we have enough resources to devote to individual animals.
3. One of those resources, of course, is time. To be a responsible owner, simply devote time to your pet.
Cats and dogs need attention and regular care. A dog needs to be let out to the bathroom regularly, lest he experiences serious G.I. and urinary tract issues. Cats and dogs both struggle with separation anxiety. And obesity is a major health issue among today’s pets. Devoting time to your animals can take care of all three of these concerns. By exercising with them, playing with them and being home on time, you’re allowing your pet to be his or her best. Plus, you’ll see some health benefits as well, and solidify the bond you two share.
4. Our final tips are simple, but important. Use a leash or safe harness. Clean up after your pet. Obey your local laws.
And last, but not least, be constantly prepared. You should be aware enough of your pet’s attitude that you’re always prepared with your vet’s phone number when that attitude changes. You can prepare for disaster by putting together an emergency pet care kit. And you can prepare for their unexpected sprints through the neighborhood by purchasing an ID tag or microchip!
We have a ton more tips on how to be a responsible pet owner, but we’ll save them for another post and give your eyes a rest. What are your personal tips on how to be the best guardian you can be? Share them on our Facebook page!