Pet ownership can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience but if you are considering adding a pet to your family remember that it’s also a major responsibility that requires time, effort, and money. As a pet owner, you must provide food and shelter for your pet. You must make sure that it gets proper health care. You’ll also be responsible for the animals training and supervision. Beyond all else, you must give a pet the love and attention it needs.

We’ll go through 10 guidelines for responsible pet ownership. Now these are not hard and fast ‘rules’ but some things to think about and keep in mind.

1) Choose the right pet for your lifestyle and environment.

  • Choose The Right Pet – The kind of pet you should choose depends on several factors. First of all, you must be sure you will be able to meet the demands of responsible pet ownership. You should be prepared to care for the animal for it’s lifetime. With a dog or a cat, that could mean 15 years or longer. If you are prepared to make such a commitment, here are several guidelines for choosing the right pet.
  • Choose a pet that fits your lifestyle – If you live in the country, you might have room for a horse or a large dog. If you live in town or in an apartment, a cat, small dog, bird, hamster, or guinea pig might be a better choice. You also should consider the expense of keeping a pet. For example, can you afford to feed and care for a Great Dane or a terrier?
  • Visit dog and cat shows – You can learn about the characteristics of different animals and breeds by attending such shows. While there, talk with breeders and handlers about various animals. This can help you decide on a pet that fits your lifestyle and home environment.
  • Consider an animal’s gender – Generally, male cats and dogs present more behavior problems than females. In both cases, males tend to be more aggressive than females. Males also engage in urine marking (spraying in male cats) which can be unpleasant, to say the least. However, cared for properly, both males and females can make excellent pets.
  • Acquire a puppy or kitten when it’s 6 to 10 weeks old – Younger animals adapt more easily to both people and other animals. This is also the best time to begin an animal’s vaccinations in order to protect it from disease.
  • Choose a pet from a healthy litter – When acquiring a puppy from a reputable breeder, if possible, you should meet the animal’s parents. Has the animal been raised in an environment that has provided good nutrition, kindness and attention?
  • Adopt a pet from an animal shelter – While animal shelters don’t offer a selection of exotic pets, you will find a wonderful selection of mixed breed and pure breed dogs and cats. Such animals can make excellent pets. Many shelters have adoption programs that can enable you to get a pet for free or for a nominal fee. Check out your local shelter and look for an animal that appears well cared for and friendly. Many humane societies have veterinarians on staff at animal shelters to give animals a thorough health exam. If the shelter you visit offers such a service, ask the veterinarian about the health of the animal you’re considering. In many cases, animals at shelters are ‘humanely destroyed’ if not adopted or claimed by their owners. By adopting from an animal shelter, you’ll not only be getting a loving pet, but you could very well be saving the animal’s life.

Keep an eye out for Part 2

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