Here are our 10 top tips on how to be a responsible pet owner. These tips cover ALL species!
1 – Background research – which pet is best for you?
Make sure you know what you’re getting into! A few simple questions to ask yourself might include…
How much time can you dedicate to the animal? Younger animals often require more attention and training compared to older ones, so which would suit your lifestyle?
Does anyone in your house have any allergies? Avoid all animals that family members are allergic to. People with sensitive skin may be more suited to an animal which doesn’t moult.
Will you be able to provide care for the duration of the animals’ life? If you plan to move house, change job or change your lifestyle in anyway, think of the consequences to the animal. Do you know someone who would be able to take the animal from you if required? A pet is for life.
Will the pet be affected by existing animals or young children? You do not want your pets fighting or your children ‘playing’ inappropriately with the animals as this could put both pet and child into a dangerous situation.
From where should you acquire your pet? The perfect pet can be found anywhere; local shelters, professional breeders, pet shops or from online advertisement, but make sure you know what you are looking for and what price you should be paying prior to purchase. Above all, make sure that you’re buying from a reputable source – puppy farmers are always willing to pull your heart strings.
2 – Prepare for the arrival of your new pet
The animal will need an adequate sized bed/tank/cage, so think about how large they may grow. You should provide a food bowl and a water dish/bottle that the animal can use – think about depth and width as some animals do not like getting their whiskers wet.
Ensure the animal has adequate shelter and cannot escape from its housing arrangement. You should also buy some cleaning equipment for the dishes, floors and for the animal’s habitat.
You should have decided on a diet plan for your animal but be prepared to change it as not all animals enjoy the same foods!
3 – Understand that not everyday is going to be perfect
Pets pass faeces and urinate and sometimes this may be on your favourite carpet, especially when they are young – so be prepared to clean it then quickly get over it as the next episode may occur soon. Furniture may be destroyed, vet bills will arrive, they may be noisy and needy, but this is all part of having a pet so ensure you are prepared for this.
4 – Train the animal
All animals need some level of guidance towards the behaviour expected of them. The level of training needed for different species varies hugely and will be dependant on the owners expectations.
Most pets need to be trained to allow them to be handled. An animal learning the daily routine or specific commands may make them easier to manage too. If the animal can make the owner happy, the environment should be more relaxed for the animal. If you are really struggling to train an animal, we would recommend private lessons or group training classes.
5 – Keep a medical record
Make sure all of your animal’s vaccines are up to date. Prevention is better than cure. Remember there are sometimes legal requirements – for example, it is now illegal to not have your dog microchipped. We would recommend keeping all your animals’ documents (passport, vaccine card, medical notes) all together so you can present them whenever needed. We also strongly recommend seeking advice regarding insurance for your pet.
6 – Give the animal adequate, appropriate attention
Most animals enjoy being handled and you will learn what your pet loves most, allowing you to alter your actions to suit this. Provide the animal with regular exercise at the intensity level needed. For example, for some animals, it would suffice to be let outside, whilst other animals need an accompanied walk (maybe multiple times a day) and some may just want to be moved into a different environment. The animal needs to be able to behave naturally and should not appear to be bored.
7 – Keep hazardous material away from the animal
For example, small toys, moulting rugs. Animals can consume these and get them lodged inside their bodies causing huge amounts of discomfort and choking. Animals may also consume medicines, pesticides or household cleaning products so be sure to securely tidy them away. These can be extremely damaging if they get inside the body.
8 – Learn which foods are toxic and store them well out of reach
If you have a young dog running around it is sensible to keep your chocolates stored high up in a cupboard. DO NOT LEAVE TOXIC FOOD LAYING AROUND. If consumed these foods can cause your pet to be extremely ill. Remember, different species have different problems – so while something may be harmless to one animal, it might be fatal to the next.
9 – Don’t let you pet affect the greater community
Do not leave faeces in public areas. Ensure your animal is not pestering other animals or entering other people’s property. Keep your animals in areas where you can supervise them, for example avoid letting your animal lose in open fields where they may stress farm animals or letting your reptile out of its cage unattended.
10 – Poorly pet? Make a trip to see us
You know your pet the best and because they can’t speak, they show us how they’re feeling by slight changes in behaviour. The sooner the animal is brought in, the sooner professional help will be provided, ensuring the animal remains content throughout its life. We want to help!
For more information on specific species please contact us via the facebook page or by calling the practice.