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Taking on the responsibility of having a pet is no small job, regardless of how big or small your new furry friend may be. Nearly anyone can decide to adopt or purchase a pet, but there is a big difference between being a responsible pet owner and someone who just coexists in a household with animals.
Here are some ways that you can practice responsible pet ownership and be the very best pet parent that you can possibly be.
Take Time to Work on Skills and Behavior
A new pet needs to learn boundaries and have human companions that are committed to sticking to those boundaries. No matter how cute and cuddly your dog or cat is, certain behaviors, such as scratching furniture, peeing inside, or jumping up on people should not be tolerated.
It’s important to socialize pets early on so that good habits become second nature while you strengthen your bond as a pet parent. Dedicate enough time to training and exercise, and don’t leave pets alone for long periods of time. These are all examples of how to be a good pet parent and prioritize the needs of your beloved pet.
Pay Attention to Pet Physical and Mental Health
Preventative care is important for pets, just as it is for humans too. For dogs and cats, this means keeping up with yearly vet checkups, getting the recommended vaccinations, and monitoring potential medical issues before they become major problems.
Other ways to be proactive about your pet’s health include administrating heartworm and flea/tick medications, brushing teeth daily, keeping pets hydrated with fresh water, and choosing a high-quality dog food or cat food that does not contain unnecessary additives or fillers. It’s also a good idea to always keep an ID tag on your pet and to spay or neuter your pet to be a responsible pet parent.
Plan Ahead for the Costs of Pet Care
Between the food, vet visits, grooming, beds, toys, and other expenses, it typically costs several hundred dollars per year to care for a pet. This can really add up if you are on a fixed income or have a limited budget. To get assistance with future vet bills, one of the best things you can do is sign up for pet health insurance. Healthy Paws pet insurance plans offer vet bill assistance for new accidents and illnesses that your pup or kitty encounters. When you have a pet health insurance plan, you can focus on taking the best care of your pet with less worry about how much that care will cost.
Socialization: Consider Your Pets and Other People
Unless you keep your pet at home 100 percent of the time and they never interact with anyone but you (which is typically not recommended!), you’ll need to think about how your pet interacts with other family members, friends, and even strangers. This is an important part of being a responsible pet parent because pets need to be able to get along with new romantic partners, visiting guests, and people that you meet on pet-friendly restaurant patios and in dog parks.
Find Good Care While You Are Away
Many people love to take their pets along on vacation but this is not always possible as a pet owner, especially on business trips and flights. Establish good relationships with trusted people who can care for your pets while you are away, whether it’s family members, nearby friends, or a local pet sitter that you find online and meet with in advance of your trip. To be a responsible pet parent while you are away from your pet, provide the caregiver with ample food, treats, toys, medications, care instructions, and emergency contact information for your preferred veterinarian and animal hospital.
Signs That You’re a Great Pet Parent
Fortunately, there are certain signs that you are already a wonderful pet parent and that your pet is already happy living with you. These signs include pets being playful with you, tail wagging, and exposing their bellies to you. Your pet is the true judge of responsible pet ownership, and you can often tell how you’re doing through your pet’s behaviors, moods, and overall health.
So, keep up the great work, make small improvements where possible, and show your pet the type of unconditional love that you receive in return!