Having a pet is fun. They take your mind off worries and problems, provide companionship, and create a bond that lasts a lifetime. But of course, owning one has caveats, too. Keep in mind that pets are living beings that require care and attention, just like us humans.
So what are our responsibilities as pet owners? They say owning a dog is like having a baby, and owning a cat is like having a teen. Before all that, though, let’s get to the nitty-gritty of pet ownership.
All pets need to have a proper place to do their deed. If you just let them drop a dookie randomly, it is unhygienic for them but also for you. Imagine having to clean poo from different parts of your house. Not to mention the hazard of you accidentally stepping on one, too!
It’s best to train your pet where to poop so that cleaning is more efficient. A litter box for cats is a prerequisite, even if you let them roam your yard outside. When cleaning, be knowledgeable of which products are harmful to them, such as bleach and ammonia. You can ask your vet to find out which cleaning products are safe for pets.
It’s common knowledge that chocolates are poisonous to dogs. Aside from that, there are other foods that you have to avoid, depending on the pet you will have. For example, contrary to popular belief, cats shouldn’t drink milk because they don’t digest lactose very well. Even if they seem to enjoy drinking milk, it should be avoided so that they don’t get an upset stomach.
If you have plants at home, you should also be aware that some plants can be harmful to your pets. Lilies, aloe vera, and ivy are dangerous for both cats and dogs. If you plan to own a tortoise, there are also some food that they cannot eat, like citrus fruits. Knowing your pet’s diet is important so you can help keep them healthy.
Many pet breeds are very social and can feel pretty lonely if left alone at home for long periods, so learn about your pet’s temperament to know if they fit your lifestyle or not. Greyhounds and Maltese dogs are okay staying home alone while you’re gone, but on the other hand, toy poodles have separation anxiety, and it’s not advisable to leave them unattended for more than 8 hours.
Anxiety does not only extend to socializing but also in traveling. If you plan to own a pet but have plans to move, you might want to hold off getting a pet until you’ve moved. But let’s say you have found a pet that you want to adopt or rescue, you can hire a reliable pet-moving service so that you can have them shipped safely and humanely to you.
Pets require vaccines to ensure their health and safety. You need to know about core vaccines, as these are medically essential to protect them from fatal diseases like distemper for dogs and kidney disease for cats. It will also help protect you, as pet vaccination can lower the risk of spreading diseases from animals to humans.
Another thing you should consider is microchipping. This will give your pet identification and provide contact information and address that will lead to you if your pet gets lost. A common misconception about microchips is that it helps you track your pet if they are lost, but a microchip is not a GPS tracking device; it’s only a way to identify your pet should someone else pick them up. Nevertheless, having this piece of identification will be very useful for you in the future, so it’s a good preemptive measure.
Spaying / Neutering Your Pet
As a pet owner, you will have to right to choose whether you will spay or neuter (sterilize) your pet. Current studies are being held to understand the long-term effects of sterilizing pet dogs, so discuss it with your vet and work on the best possible solution.
It’s best to sterilize cats to avoid unwanted pregnancies and to prevent future health issues linked to reproduction. Cats can be pretty loud and aggressive when in heat, and female ones can give birth to as many as five litters in just one year. Sterilizing cats can spare you the trouble of having to take care of too many kittens, finding fosters or adopters for them, not to mention the expenses of keeping a lot of pets.