5 Steps to Becoming a Responsible Pet Owner

The decision to own a pet should not be made lightly. Just like people, animals require love and attention, stimulation, medical care, an appropriate diet, and more. National Pet Care Month is a time to spread the word about responsible pet ownership and adoption. In that spirit, here are some important tips for proper pet care that all new pet owners should read.

Consider your Decision Carefully:

Deliberate carefully before adopting a pet; pet ownership should not be taken lightly. You and others in your household must be willing to commit to responsible pet ownership before getting a pet. Make certain you can afford to properly feed and care for an animal, that you have time available each day to devote to your new pet, that you have adequate space for an animal to play and exercise, and that you are otherwise willing and able to care for a pet.

Research Before You Adopt:

Research any species you are considering adopting to ensure you are able to provide the necessities for that animal. Different animals have different needs. Learn about any potential medical issues associated with your pet's breed, and research nutritional needs to make certain you feed your pet properly to prevent deficiencies or other problems. Some animal breeds require more room for exercise than other breeds. Consider all of this before adopting a pet.

Find a Veterinarian Before Bringing Your Pet Home:

Find a veterinarian before you need one, and schedule the first appointment for your pet as soon as possible after the adoption. Get your pet regular well checks, spay or neuter, and bring your pet to the veterinarian when he is sick or otherwise requires professional care. Worm your pet regularly if applicable, get vaccinations, take other steps to prevent disease, and follow all the other care guidelines your veterinarian provides.

Learn About Training and Socialization:

Many new pet owners quickly become overwhelmed by hyperactive puppies or misbehaving cats. You will have an easier time litter training, housebreaking, and training your animal if you read up on the basics before bringing your new pet home. Always reward positive behavior. Also, encourage your pet to become a social creature by introducing him to other animals and humans starting early in life.

Prepare Your Home in Advance:

See to it that your pet has appropriate and comfortable bedding, a suitable play area, and a safe and clean environment before introducing him to your home. Your veterinarian may be able to recommend suitable toys, bedding, and other items. Keep your pet's areas clean, and follow all proper grooming and hygienic procedures to ensure your pet remains healthy and happy.

Dogs should be fenced in or kept on a leash. Other animals are generally better off if kept indoors. Learn about the household hazards that can threaten pets and take appropriate steps to safeguard against them. Keep food and pet medications out of reach.

Keeping animals in the home requires taking responsibility for their happiness and welfare. With love, attention, and your commitment to providing the necessities and the extras, your pet will benefit as much as you will from the companionship.