Pets are one of the greatest joys and also one of the greatest responsibilities in life. While sitting on the couch snuggled up to your pet may sound like a dream come true, there is a lot more to pet ownership than unconditional love and companionship.
In fact, pet ownership has many different facets. Owners are of course responsible for providing basic needs and medical attention. However, owners also have training, socialisation and societal responsibilities.
Taking care of such responsibilities does require daily effort, however the reward is well worth it. This is because, thanks to such efforts, you can trust your pet to be just as loving and trusting out in the neighbourhood as they are when they are with you at home.
Being a responsible pet owner
Responsible pet ownership begins the minute you start looking to buy or adopt a pet. This is because it would be cruel to buy a pet that wouldn’t thrive in your living conditions. So, if you live in an apartment, consider a small pet who doesn’t need much space.
If you live in a house, a large pet may be ideal. It’s also important to consider how frequently the pet will be left alone. Certain breeds of dogs get separation anxiety and won’t be suitable for full time in-office workers. While cats are fairly solitary and won’t mind being alone.
From there, the different elements of being a responsible pet owner can be split amongst four categories- basic needs, medical care, training and socialisation and finally, societal responsibilities.
- Keeping animals safe and sound
Just like humans, pets have basic needs. They will need to eat, drink, go to the toilet, exercise and play. As an owner, you are responsible for facilitating these needs. This means buying all the accessories pets need to drink and eat such as bowls and nutritional food and treats.
In terms of going to the toilet, owners need to provide their pets with ample opportunity during the course of the day to go to the toilet. This is especially prudent for those with animals who live inside.
When it comes to facilitating exercise and play, it’s important to remember how active animals are. They love to walk, run, bark or meow. These are natural instincts that need nurturing and can be aided by designated exercise or toy time.
There are also little elements to pet ownership that can be largely overlooked. One of these is microchipping. As a permanent form of electronic identification, microchipping ensures that if your pet is lost, a microchipped scanner can be used to return the pet to your care.
External factors can also wreak havoc on pets, particularly thunderstorms and fireworks. When pets are frightened or feel like they aren’t protected, they run. Therefore, pet owners are responsible for keeping their pets safe and sound during these events.
- Adhering to medical responsibilities
Unlike humans, pets can’t simply take themselves to the doctors. Therefore, in order to receive the best care, owners need to be proactive and watchful with their pet. This way, they can be taken to the vet when sick or injured.
Medical responsibilities also encompass ensuring that the pet is up to date with their vaccinations and parasite treatments. It’s also important to have a teeth cleaning, grooming and nail clipping schedule as these small rituals help animals feel their best.
- Undertaking training and socialisation
All pets need to be trained. This is because, without training, pets won’t be able to understand basic commands such as ‘sit’ and ‘stay’. Without this understanding, it can be irresponsible to send pets out into the world to interact with other humans and animals.
As such, training and socialising a pet is a vital responsibility of pet owners. By taking the time to teach pets commands and what behaviour is and isn’t acceptable, they can be trusted around other well behaved pets and to mingle with humans around the neighbourhood.
- Understanding societal obligations
Pet owners also have a responsibility to broader society. Everyone has the right to walk around their environment safely and without incident. Pet owners help keep this principle intact by understanding their societal obligations.
Put simply, this means keeping pets on lead, obeying rules that state whether pets are or are not allowed in a premises. It also means picking up waste such as poo. This is particularly important when you consider that some forms of stool can contain harmful bacteria.
Responsible pet ownership
When it comes to pet ownership, there are different areas of responsibility to consider. These different areas, ranging from providing basic needs to undertaking training and socialisation can sound overwhelming.
However, it’s important to remember that the key to being a responsible pet owner is trying everyday, in little ways, to keep both your pet and the surrounding environment and people safe and happy.