Responsible Pet Ownership: A Few Basic Rules
We all dream at one time or another of having a pet companion in our lives. It may be anything from a dog or cat to a parrot or bearded dragon but there are a few basic rules to follow when owning any pet. Any domestic pet relies on their human owners 100% for everything and it is vitally important that for their health and well being we get it right! A pet is a lifetime commitment not to be undertaken lightly. So many homeless animals in shelters all over the UK testify to the fact that many people do not understand this undertaking.
Firstly, it is crucial to make sure that you are getting the right pet for you! There are so many things to consider when choosing the pet that is suited to your lifestyle. One of the most important considerations is the amount of time that you are able to devote to your new family member. And family member they should become! Your new pet will require certain amounts of time from you and if you can't provide it on a daily basis then they will suffer. The time you can give your pet is also part of the joy of pet ownership. It may be that you have to exercise and play with them on a regular basis. Dogs, in particular, will need adequate daily exercise and training. It may be that you just need to spend quiet time interacting with them, talking to them and stroking them. Even birds need plenty of attention! Lack of time and attention will lead to stress for both you and your pet.
Another important consideration when choosing the right pet is to ensure that you can afford to keep them. This means not just being able to afford the proper food to ensure they have the correct diet but also considering what happens if they become ill. Having pet insurance and being able to afford prospective vets bills is also a large part of being a responsible owner. They may need regular vaccinations, worming and flea and tick treatment and these won't be covered by pet insurance policies, so another thing to budget for! Pet insurance for unexpected illnesses is a good protection for them and your wallet and means you won't need to worry if they do fall ill. Pet insurance can cover all pets, from lizards and snakes to cats and dogs.
The size of your home is also important. A pet that is too large for your home will mean that life will become stressful for both of you. If they are to live in a stationery position, such as a cage or tank, ensure that the place they are sited is good for them. Like children, our pets need to live in a safe environment and house and garden safety are something you will need to consider. In the house, ensure that all chemicals, medications and other possible harmful substances are out of their reach. In the garden, consider removing any harmful plants that may be digested by your pet.
Another important consideration is to have your pet microchipped. This is especially important if they are allowed out alone (such as a cat) or there is a chance of them becoming lost whilst out with you. In addition, valuable pets run the risk of being stolen and a microchip is another way of protecting them. Cats and dogs should also have a collar with an ID tag if they are outdoors.
Spaying or neutering your pet is also a good idea and is part of being a responsible pet owner. There are so many unwanted cats and dogs already in the country.
In addition to their needs, you should also consider the needs of others. One of the golden rules of being a responsible pet owner also means being aware of the environment around you so, when you let your dog outside, be careful that its barking may not upset the neighbours. Make sure that you always poop and scoop when walking your dog and understand that many people do not like cats to mess in their newly planted flower beds! Whilst that can be hard to control, ensuring your dog has proper training so that it is well behaved at all times, especially off a lead, is an important rule of being a responsible pet owner.
Being a responsible pet owner is an easy thing to achieve if all the above 'rules' are considered. Pet ownership should be fun too but is not something to be considered lightly. But follow the rules and it should be a joyful experience!
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