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Top Aspects Of Responsible Pet Ownership 

May 1 2024

Here at Nacogdoches Animal Hospital, one of our goals is to help raise awareness about the do’s and don’ts of responsible pet ownership. When you adopt an animal, you take responsibility for that pet’s life and well-being. That’s a huge responsibility! Having a pet is fun and beneficial, but there’s a lot more to it than filling your furry pal’s bowl and patting them on the head when they do something cute. In this article, a local Nacogdoches, TX vet goes over some of the elements of responsible pet ownership.

What Does A Responsible Pet Owner Do?

There are many aspects of good pet care. Providing good food, suitable shelter, and clean water are just the beginning! We can’t cover everything in this blog, but we can touch on the main ones. 

Here are some of the big ones:

Safety 

Pets are very intuitive, but they don’t know what is and isn’t safe for them. A simple mishap, such as playing with or eating something dangerous, can have deadly consequences. Petproofing is a must. This will look a bit different, depending on what kind of pet you have, so ask your  Nacogdoches, TX vet for more information.

Another element of this would be keeping your pet secured. We advise keeping cats indoors, and keeping dogs either on leashes or in fenced areas at all times.

Comfort

Responsible pet owners make sure that their animal companions are comfortable at all times. That entails providing clean shelter or bedding, climate control, and, in some cases, lap space. (Kitties are skilled at getting comfortable in some very odd places and positions, but that’s beside the point.) 

Grooming

Some pets need more help in this area than others. Cats, for example, usually handle this on their own, while dogs need us to help them out. Keeping up with your pet’s beauty care will not only keep them looking and smelling good, but it will also keep them comfortable and can help ward off things like skin problems and even parasites.

Enrichment

It’s very important for pet owners to understand the importance of enrichment and stimulation. Our animal friend can get quite bored with nothing to do all day but stare at the walls. Keeping your furry friend entertained will go a long way towards keeping them happy. This can also help prevent or reduce many behavioral issues. For instance, bored dogs often amuse themselves by getting into mischief. Fido may chew your cushions or dig up your garden, just for something to do. 

As for our feline pals, well, cats may seem to see boredom as a life goal, rather than a drawback, but they also need to satisfy their urges to pounce, scratch, and investigate things.

Commitment

We really couldn’t talk about responsible ownership without discussing commitment. Adopting a pet means making that animal a forever promise, and being committed to caring for them for their entire life.

What Should A Responsible Pet Owner Avoid?

There are many ‘don’ts’ to being a pet owner. For instance, we always advise against using negative reinforcement, or punishment, to train pets or handle behavioral issues. Another common pitfall is ignoring or dismissing warning signs of illness, such as vomiting, weight loss, bad breath, or skin problems. 

Some other mistakes?

  • Not providing enrichment
  • Feeding an improper diet
  • Ignoring nail and dental care
  • Not spending time with the pet
  • Not providing suitable habitat
  • Lack of petproofing
  • Lack of training/socialization

We’d also add a lack of research. Even just taking a few hours to learn more about your pet can make a world of difference!

Why Is Visiting My  Veterinary Clinic Important?

At the end of the day, good pet care really entails keeping pets healthy and happy. We’ll get to the happy part later, and start with health. 

Proper veterinary care is crucial! Everything your veterinarian does is vital in some way. For instance, vaccinations protect against and prevent the spread of dangerous diseases, such as rabies, while parasite control keeps Fido and Fluffy free of worms, ticks, and other harmful parasites. Spay/neuter surgery helps prevent unwanted litters. It also curbs many behavioral issues: Fido and Fluffy will be much calmer after, and less inclined to acting up, spraying, or trying to escape.

Exams and screenings are also crucial, as they can help you and your vet monitor your pet’s physical condition. Catching something early can make a huge difference, as many illnesses are best treated or managed when they are addressed early on.

What Responsibilities Does A Cat Owner Have?

Kitties are very easy keepers, but to keep that motor going, you’ll need to keep Fluffy entertained and comfortable. Scratching posts allow your pet to indulge her need to keep her claws sharp. This is sometimes seen as bad behavior, but it’s actually an instinctive need that is key to cats’ survival in the wild. 

You’ll also need to provide your feline pal with comfy beds, a clean litterbox, and, of course, plenty of toys to bat under the couch. We also strongly recommend keeping your pet indoors. Catnip, boxes, and lap space will all help you get that motor going. 

What Responsibilities Does A Dog Owner Have?

Fido certainly deserves the title of Man’s Best Friend. He’s loyal, protective, affectionate, smart, and very, very fun. However, dogs do need a lot of care. You’ll need to keep your canine pal fit and active. The ideal doggy workout will depend on what breed your pet is. Some dogs need an hour of vigorous exercise every day. Others get enough activity just running around the house.

Training and socialization are also crucial. For training, we would recommend teaching your pooch at least basic obedience commands.

The most important ones are

  • Sit
  • Stay
  • Come
  • Heel 
  • Lay Down
  • Down
  • Leave It

How Do I Become A More Responsible Pet Owner?

At the end of the day, this would really boil down to knowledge, more than anything else. You don’t need to become a certified animal behaviorist, but it is definitely worth your while to do some research. Even if you’ve had pets all of your life, you’d be surprised at how much more there is to learn! Just taking a few minutes a day to peruse blogs and articles such as this one can make a huge difference in how you see, understand, and interact with your furry friend.

Don’t forget that your  veterinary clinic is also a great resource. In fact, it’s important to consult with your Nacogdoches, TX vet regularly about your pet’s health and care. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about things like diet, entertainment, and exercise.

What’s The Most Important Part Of Responsible Ownership?

We may be cheating a bit with this answer, but we’re going with TLC: tender, loving, care. Your pet’s health and happiness are both important, but you really can’t have one without the other. 

Make sure that your furry best friend knows they are loved and safe. That beautiful bond we create with our furry companions can be life-changing, but it needs to be nourished. Purrs and tail wags are important too!

Make An Appointment With Your Nacogdoches, TX Vet

Do you have questions about your pet’s health or care? Has it been a while since your pet has gone to the vet? Contact us, your local Nacogdoches, TX  animal clinic, today!

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