No matter what you look for in a pet, you should understand one thing for sure — pets are not accessories and can’t be abandoned or forgotten. Pets come with great responsibility. They need your love and care. Some of them need extra attention and extra effort from humans to be healthy and happy. 

But what exactly does “responsible owner” means? How should humans behave to be responsible owners? We created a list of quick tips and essential rules that work for owners of any pet regardless of size, breed, or kind of animal. 

Realizing that a pet is a part of your family

Yes! Your life will change with a pet. You will consider the pet’s presence in every part of your daily routine, holidays, vacations. It’s a part of your family, and it needs companionship. Especially dogs. They are born to live in packs, so you must understand that you are its pack now. Ask yourself — am I ready for a puppy? 

A woman is hugging a dog

Making your house safe for a pet

Before getting a pet, you should consider that not all things which are safe for humans are completely safe for pets. For instance, loved by almost all people, chocolate can be toxic for dogs. Cacao beans contain theobromine that is as toxic for pets as caffeine. It can cause diarrhea, vomiting, panting or restlessness, increased thirst, urination, and racing heart rate. The darker the chocolate, the more dangerous it is for dogs. Some houseplants, such as Dumb Cane (Dieffenbachia), Elephant Ear (Caladium), Devil’s Ivy (Epipremnum Aureum) contain toxins. Only one bite of a leaf can result in dangerous conditions like swelling of the mouth, difficulties with swallowing, vomiting, breathing problems, and even death. Pet-proof your house before getting a pet.

A cat is sniffing a houseplant

Making regular visits to a vet and groomer

You should visit a vet regularly to prevent some dangerous diseases or conditions. It is vital to get insurance for your pet as well. As a result, you won’t think about medical bills in an emergency situation, and your pet will get the help he needs. As regular as visiting the vet, you should see a groomer, especially if your dog or cat breed needs deshedding, haircuts, cleaning ears, or other procedures that only professionals can do.

A dog is visiting a vet

Sterilizing your pet

Spaying and neutering can make a huge difference not only for your own pet but also for decreasing the amount of euthanasia for millions of homeless dogs, cats, even puppies, and kittens. Responsible owners sterilize pets to prevent the birth of unwanted litter. Simple and safe procedures like spaying and neutering protect pets from serious health problems, prevent behavioral issues, and contribute to your pet’s long and happy life. 

A vet is carrying a dog

Microchipping your pet

Be sure that your cat or dog always has its ID tag on. Consider microchipping your pet as well. A small electronic chip is the size of a grain of rice. It’s fast to implant and no more painful than a standard needle injection. But the advantages of it are huge — your pet will never lose its identification number. 

A vet is scanning a microchipped dog

Training your pet

Know your pet’s body language and some simple directions like “sit” and “stay” will prevent dangerous situations with other pets or people and may even save your pet’s life. 

A dog is giving its paw to an owner

Exercising your pet

Responsible owners should always consider the physical exercise needs that the pet’s kind requires. Daily workouts are crucial for indoor cats and some dogs breeds. Some of them, like Pembroke Welsh Corgis, Dalmatians, Russell Terriers and others, won’t be happy, fit, and healthy without daily energetic exercises. 

A cat is playing with a toy

Feeding your pet at the right time with a right food 

Your veterinarian will tell you what type of food and how much of it your pet should get daily. If you need to change a food brand or its kind, make sure it’s appropriate and safe for your furry best friend. Don’t give your cat or dog more food than it needs. Following vet recommendations will help you prevent pet obesity and health problems. 

A girl is feeding a cat

Loving unconditionally 

All pets are different and have unique features. It’s important to remember that your pet might not match your expectations. You should learn how to love your pet unconditionally, and it will pay you back with its love. 

A young woman is smiling and hugging a cat