6 Things to Consider for Responsible Pet Ownership Wednesday 08 June 2016 @ 13:04

Guest Blog: Anna Johnson - Petplan

Dog in Blanket

When it comes to pet ownership, it’s a subject that should never be taken lightly. Every week hundreds of dogs (and cats for that matter) end up on the streets and in shelters. I have seen a few friends take on a pet without completely thinking it through and ultimately these poor little guys have ended up being rehomed through no fault of their own. Owning a pet is a commitment you need to be prepared to take on for the life the pet. There is no test you have to pass to become a pet parent but there are a few things you should do before you should consider yourself a responsible pet owner.


Selecting the right dog for your lifestyle.

One of the first and biggest decisions when getting a dog is choosing a breed that will fit in with your lifestyle. Consider your living arrangements, do you have a sizeable yard? Do you have children? Do you work long hours?

Most dogs need at least one walk per day and the energy level and amount of attention your dog will need will vary between breeds so take this into account before you set your heart on something specific. It will be no fun for anyone if you choose a high energy dog that ends up couped up in a kennel or is left home alone all day while you’re at work. They will likely end up getting bored, barking all day, digging up your garden and all sorts of mischief.


Spay or Neuter Your Pets

Pets that are de-sexed generally tend to live longer healthier lives and de-sexing your pet should be one of the first things you do when it comes into your care. Not only does de-sexing help to keep the overall pet population down, it can also reduce health issues that are frequent with entire pets, such as cancers and other diseases of the reproductive organs.

De-sexed pets are less likely to develop territorial issues and also eliminates heat cycles in females, which can attract all sorts of neighbourhood visitors, and the male urge of mounting everything in sight.


Dog on SofaProper care and maintenance

Ensure you are prepared to give your dog the care it needs and this doesn’t just include a daily walk. The cost of owning a pet can soon mount up when you factor in everything that is needed for essential care.

It is important for the health of your pet that it is kept up to date with any vaccinations and parasite control medications. Do your research on the local area, however, your vet should be able to inform you of what vaccinations your pet will need and other things you need to guard against.

Feeding your pet a quality diet will not come cheap however it is the best option to keep them in optimum health and can end up saving you dollars down the track from diet related issues such as tooth decay, obesity and skin allergies. Always opt for vet recommended brands which are packed with all the ingredients and nutrients tailored for a dog’s specific needs.

Grooming can be quite time-consuming if you choose a pet with high grooming needs. Take this into consideration when choosing a breed. Things you need to do to keep your dog healthy include brushing their teeth, regular bathing and brushing and clipping their hair and nails.


To Insure or Not to Insure

No pet owner can know just when their pets will need emergency or unplanned vet care so it’s important to consider taking out pet insurance for this reason. When deciding to take out pet insurance or not, the first thing you would want to ask yourself is whether you are able to fund an emergency vet visit. If the answer is no then pet insurance can offer peace of mind knowing you are able to provide the best care for your pets in their time of need. Many pet insurance policies also now include options for cover for lost or stolen pets. Whilst this doesn’t substitute the return of your beloved pets, it can go some way to covering the costs with things such as advertising and rewards. All pet insurance providers will offer varying policies so do your research and seek the best fit for your needs.


Training and socialisation

Running With Dog

Dog’s need training to learn basic skills like walking on the leash, coming when called, learning not to bite, bark at or threaten other animals as well as a myriad of other skills.

Proper training helps build a relationship between pet and owner based on mutual trust and respect. Training your pet is an ongoing process and is something that will be high on a responsible dog owner’s priority list. If you are investing in a puppy you can set a good foundation for training by involving them in puppy classes from an early age. Training will help ensure your pet gets much-needed socialisation and is able to act acceptably in public.


Not Contributing to Overpopulation and Unethical Practices

With so many pets ending up in shelters each week, it is important to recognise the need to avoid pet overpopulation. Australia has many pet rescue organisations that are full of adorable dogs and cats of all ages and pedigrees waiting to find their fur-ever homes so adoption should be high on your list as an option when looking for a new pet.

Another factor is considering where your pet comes from. Puppy farms and ill-treatment of breeding dogs is a big problem and nobody wants to find themselves contributing to such unethical practices. Make sure you research any breeders carefully as many inhumane ‘puppy farms’ lurk on the internet. If the breeder doesn’t allow you to visit or view where your dog is coming from you should beware.

But let’s not forget, it’s not all hard work being a pet owner. It will also be one of the most rewarding journeys you take and in return for the care you give, your pets will give you unconditional love and cuddles. Being a responsible pet owner is all about doing a bit of research and first ensuring you have the time, energy and dedication to care for a pet.


Author bio: Anna Johnson works as part of the team at Petplan one of Australia’s leading pet insurance providers. She is passionate about animal welfare and responsible pet ownership and enjoys blogging on these topics.