Owning a pet is a massive responsibility but there are many health benefits of owning a pet. Pets really can make us physically and mentally healthier. Studies have shown that the bond between people and their pets can increase fitness, lower stress, and bring happiness to their owners.
Pets make great caregivers, and keep us company when we’re sick, feeling down or living alone. They can make us feel safe while we’re home alone.
Pick the Right Pet
It is your responsibility as a pet owner to thoroughly research the basic requirements of your chosen pet, and it’s important to do this before bringing your pet home so that you are well informed about the specific needs of your new pet. It’s also important to understand that owning a pet is a lifelong commitment. Depending on the breed, health and lifestyle, cats can live for 15-20 years, dogs for 10-20 years and birds for up to 80 years. Companion animals thrive on human company and will always depend on you. You should also consider:
- your working hours
- your social life
- the time you spend away from home, including holidays
- whether you are prepared to walk a dog every day
- whether you are home often enough to keep a cat company
- who will care for your pet when you are away from home
Pets also need to be:
- fed and watered
- given access to appropriate shelter when in the yard
- groomed and bathed
- played with and entertained
- walked and exercised
Before adopting or buying a new pet, make sure that it is the right one for you and your family. Do some research beforehand about the specific needs of the animal. Ask yourself these questions before getting a pet:
- How long will this animal live?
- What are the ongoing costs?
- What does the pet eat?
- How much exercise does the pet need?
- How large will it become?
- How much will it cost for veterinary care?
- Do I have enough time to properly care for and clean up after the pet?
- What type of habitat does this pet need to be healthy?
- What type of exercise does this pet need?
- If you are a tenant, are pets allowed in the house, apartment, etc?
Keep Your Pet Healthy
Whether you have a dog, cat, horse, bird, small mammal (rodent, rabbit etc), bearded dragon, or other pets, providing regular life-long veterinary care is important for keeping your pet and family healthy. Regular veterinary visits are essential to good pet health. Talk to your pet’s veterinarian about how to keep your pet healthy.
Provide your pet with a good diet, fresh water, clean bedding, and plenty of exercise. Keep up with your pet’s vaccines, de-worming, and flea and tick control.
By keeping your pet healthy, you help to keep yourself and your family healthy. Contact your veterinarian if you have any questions about your pet’s health or if you think your pet may be sick.
Teach Children How to Interact with Animals
Pets can teach children compassion and responsibility. However, children should be supervised while interacting with animals to ensure the safety of the child and the pet. Teach children to wash their hands right after playing with animals or anything in the animals’ environment (cages, beds, food or water dishes). Don’t let children kiss pets or put their hands or other objects in their mouths after handling animals.
Most of all:
- Be a responsible buyer
- Make an educated choice
- Be a responsible pet owner