There are lots of great reasons to get a pet – companionship, exercise, play, the mere fact they’re cute! For people that grew up with pets, a house doesn’t feel like a home until it’s hosting a cat, a dog, a rabbit – or even an exotic bird or aquarium full of fish. All those advantages come with responsibilities however, and if you’re not a responsible pet owner, you could end up having a difficult, unhappy time, you might end up with annoyed or even scared neighbours, and most importantly, your pet. Your chosen pet can only look to you for its health and happiness, and for all the joy then bring you, your end of the bargain is to care for them in the way they need.
The Right Environment
The most important thing you can do is provide the right environment for your pets – somewhere they can feel comfortable, safe and secure. For some animals – mostly more exotic pets – this might involve heat lamps and specialist terrariums! For cats and dogs, making sure they have somewhere warm to sleep – an area that feels like ‘theirs’ in your home is very important.
A big part of being a responsible pet owner is knowing you can take care of your pets when they’re suffering from common health problems, and know when the problem requires a visit to the vet. Do you know what to do when faced with cat vomiting and diarrhea? How serious is it if your dog eats a piece of chocolate?
Reading up on the most frequent health problems your chosen pet is prey to, which ones are serious and what is dangerous for them if eaten will help you keep your pet safe and provide the care that they need when they need it. It might also be worth looking into pet insurance: sometimes the vet’s bill can be pricey, and insurance helps you afford the care your pet needs.
If Your Pet Goes Missing
When you have a cat or a dog, there’s always an underlying risk that they could go missing. Cats that roam outside sometimes don’t come home – they can get trapped in neighbour’s sheds, lost on an exploration or even find someone who’s willing to feed them and move in! Dogs have been known to bolt, to wander away during a walk off the lead and get lost, or even wander out of the house if you leave the door open!
The most important thing you can do is register your pet at a vet, and get it microchipped! That means if anyone finds your lost pet, it can easily be identified, and you can be contacted. It can even be a helpful tool if there is a (fortunately, very rare) case of disputed ownership. Remember to keep your registered contact details up to date on the microchip database too!