Whether you already have a pet of your own or are considering adoption, the assumption that pet ownership is easy is a common misconception. Caring for a pet is not cut and dry, and there is more to pet ownership than providing the bare essentials like food, water and shelter. As a responsible pet owner, it’s important to understand that your pet deserves to be taken care of like a lifelong family member and we’re here to give you some advice on being the best owner you can be.
Don’t Be Impulsive
It’s easy to see photos of dogs or cats posted by local shelters and rescue organizations and feel like you want to adopt each one you see. They tug at your heartstrings and you know they need loving forever homes, but you shouldn’t rush out and adopt any animal based on those feelings alone. You need to assess your lifestyle and living situation and be sure that a pet will fit in. Think about how much time you have to give for exercise and attention, and if you can really afford to care for them. If you’re not committed to your pet 100%, you run this risk of having to give up or rehome them and put them through the adoption process with a new family all over again.
Prepare for a Long-term Commitment
On average, dogs live to be around 12 years old and cats live to be around 15, with some even making it to 20 years old. You need to be prepared to care for your pet for many years to come, and that means being financially prepared. Make sure that you are setting aside funds for an unexpected illness, accidents or emergencies that may come up with your animal. It’s also important to have savings set aside for boarding or pet sitting fees if you need to take a trip without your pet. All too often loving and caring animals are given up because the owners could not or did not want to handle the financial responsibility, so make sure that you’re considering those needs.
Be Proactive with Their Health
Preventative health care is of the utmost importance for every pet. It will save you money in the long run and ensures that your pet leads a long and healthy life. Make sure that you’re taking them to their annual vet check-ups and scheduling an appointment when there is any sign of disease or illness. Providing them with proper parasite prevention, vaccinations, spaying or neutering, and dental care are an essential part of pet ownership, so be sure never to neglect these aspects of your animal’s well-being.
Love and Companionship
Dogs and cats (yes, it’s true!) are very social animals. While they don’t need 24/7 attention and physical contact, they do need regular interaction. Pets feel best when they are close to their family, even the grumpy cat who may turn his nose up when you’re asking for him to sit on your lap. You should never isolate your pet by leaving them outside, chained up, confined to a single room, or left in a kennel. Your pet is a member of your family and needs to be an active part of your life.
If you are going to be gone for a long time, hire a Yorktown, VA pet sitter to walk your dog or play with your cat. We can give them the love and attention when you can’t be there.