Parents especially are struck with the “I wanna’s” on an almost constant basis. Children are almost always begging for a pet of some sort, and there are always considerations that must be considered. How do you determine whether you should add another pet? How do you decide who takes care of the pet? What happens if the person responsible slacks and neglects the pet, then what happens? These are just a very small part of the questions that potential pet owners should consider.
While it is not just parents who are struck with the “I wanna’s” they are in the largest majority, most adults do not have to deal with their spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend giving the pouty face because they were told to the newest animal request. Even simpler, if you live on your own, who is going to tell you no? However, even the adults without children should still stop and consider whether they can be a responsible pet owner prior to making the decision to get another pet.
I am going to help outline some of the various aspects that should be considered for a responsible pet owner, as well as what that truly means, for both the single adult, and the adult with loads of kids running around the house. You should always carefully consider any and all breeds or species you are considering before bringing a pet home to make sure it is a good fit with your lifestyle.
Tip #1. Responsible pet ownership does not mean giving the animal food and water and nothing else. This is the type of theory that most children have, they believe typically that food and water alone are enough to be considered responsible, and do not realize without being educated that pets need so much more to be happy and healthy. It does not matter that you are buying the best pet food on the market that still is not enough, and will never be enough to be responsible.
Tip #2. Vet check-ups are not optional. Even if your pet is extremely healthy, they will need additional shots to help them stay healthy, as well as a good check-up to ensure they are not overweight or underweight, and make sure their blood sugar levels are acceptable. As well as checking their skin, heart, fur coat and so much more. A responsible pet owner never considers a trip to the vet to be a luxury, just as a responsible parent does not consider the well child check-ups as a luxury for their child. Consider your pet a child in this case, just as kids need a check-up to make sure they are growing and healthy, so does your pet, who cannot actually speak and tell you what if anything is wrong with them.
Tip #3. Obeying the law is necessary no matter what. Many states are requiring that certain types of pets be registered in the county in which you live. This mostly applies to dogs; however, some do require cats and exotic animals. They want to know who is responsible for the pets, and want to know who is taking care of them, plus having the pets registered and a way to track down who they belong to helps in the case of a beloved family pet getting lost being returned to the family that loves them dearly. This is even more likely to occur if your pet has a microchip especially. Many shelters will not kill a homeless animals if it has a microchip, since 99% of animals with microchips are beloved pets who are desperately missed, the shelters know the owner will likely come get their pet.
Tip #4. It is not okay for Fido to walk the kids. This is bad for several reasons. First, your dog should never drag anyone around on the leash. No matter what you think, it is not cute to see a huge Great Dane dragging a small 3 year old behind them, the child especially in this case can be badly injured. As well as allowing the dog to walk, the child teaches the dog that they are the leader of your “pack” with your pack being your family. Most people will agree it is never okay for the dog to think they run the house, allowing the dog to control walks is a form of relinquishing control to your pet; this is never good and can potentially lead to behavior problems.
Tip #5. Realize that your pet walking on other people’s car, barking at all hours of the night, or using the bathroom in other people’s yard is just not funny, cute, or acceptable. Be willing to do something to help resolve the issues so that your neighbors do not become your enemy because your pet is free to do as they please, and you have no control. Most people have lived at one point or another close to someone with an unruly dog, which these dogs are the ones that give dogs a bad name, the dogs that roam the neighborhood tearing up trash, barking at all hours of the night, chasing children, and their owner is never around to monitor their behavior or even see what they are doing, ensure your pet is not out with the pack roaming the neighborhood, and is instead either in your house or secured inside your yard safe from the hazards of the road and other pets.
Tip #6. Unless you are a breeder of some sort, you should never attempt to breed your pet, no matter what species it is. Leave pet breeding to those who have the time and money for it, most breeders never make much money off their litters of pets. Much time and effort is spent feeding the babies, bathing them, the check-ups they need, as well as shots, worming medicine and everything else. Breeding is not something that should ever be attempted lightly. Have your pet spayed or neutered to help cut down on the population of pets who have no homes.
Tip #7. Take care of their nails. Most animals have nails or claws on their feet, these are very important for helping protect their feet as they interact in the general course of a day, take great care to keep their claws in great shape. If your pet’s claws are too long, especially in dogs, it can cause them problems walking, which can cause hip and knee problems. Trimming their nails takes only a couple of minutes, and greatly increases their health. For rodent pets, a simple wheel can be placed in their cage that has a sandpaper type surface that as they run, it trims their nails. Cats can simply use a scratching post or some sort of surface to sharpen and trim their nails.
Tip #8. Teach your pet not to attack. Whether it is a dog who growls and bites, or a cat who has an attitude, which is never a good sign. When I go to my mother’s house she has a cat who hisses every time she see’s me. Not a good idea, however since the cat has an attitude, she is kept in the house away from strangers who may not realize that as cute as she is, that she has a major attitude to her. This is the best, remember that as a pet owner you are responsible for your pet, if they injure someone, you will likely be held responsible, teaching your pet good manners will greatly reduce this risk to your finances as well as much a much more enjoyable pet to live with.
Tip #9. Realize that many pets are for life, not a matter of a few weeks or months. While some fish and reptiles only life a few weeks or months, remember that cats and dogs especially can live a great many years. Dogs can live to be 15+ years quite often, as well as I had a friend who had a 17 year old cat! This means that you need to make sure the pet you choose is a good fit for your family as it changes, as you can imagine your life will change a great deal over 10 or 15 years, you do not want to cast aside an animals that you are attached to and is attached to you, just because your lifestyle has changed.
Tip #10. Social interaction is always key, dogs especially are pack animals, they do not like to be by themselves. While there, will be the occasional loner dog, most are very social, and want to be with their family. Do not constantly banish your dog to a life of loneliness and sorrow; if you are unable to give your pet time and attention, then you do not need one. Instead perhaps volunteer at a shelter or pet store or rescue group to help assist with the animals. You cannot expect a very social creature to do well in isolation without experiencing problems. Be fair to your pet as well as yourself.
As you can see, there are numerous aspects to pet ownership that must be considered, each person must decide for themselves if this is a task they can reasonably take on when they think they want a pet. While one time may not be appropriate, with some work you can take an inappropriate situation and make some changes to make a pet fit perfectly. You also need to carefully consider if you do not own your own home whether your landlord will allow a pet, and if they do, what if any additional amount will be charged due to pet fees.
With some work and effort, pet ownership is a very rewarding experience that everyone can learn to love and enjoy. A pet will give years of companionship under the right circumstances and will allow everyone plenty of love and affection to share. As well as a great excuse for exercise when the dog needs to be walked.