This week is National Pet Week! Now this is a celebration we pet lovers can get excited about that! Whether reptiles or birds make you happy, or you’re more of a dog or cat person, there are plenty of ways to celebrate. The goals of National Pet Week are to promote responsible pet ownership, celebrate the human-animal bond, and promote public awareness of veterinary medicine. We’re going to explore these ideas through the blog this week.
Take this quiz to see how you measure up as a responsible pet owner!
1. When selecting a pet, what best describes you?
- My child/spouse often wears me down until I give in and allow a new pet in our home.
- Researching a potential animal to bring home is so invigorating! I love knowing what I’m going to get, how long the commitment will be, and have all the products they will need ready and waiting.
- I will know what will work for me when I see it. I’m very intuitive.
Okay, folks. We all know the correct answer is “b”. But honestly, I can tell you that I have been the victim of persuasive children and, I must confess, I have a bit of a zoo because of it. But I also believe pets provide a layer of richness to our lives, showing us how to love and take care of a creature dependent on us. I do give those little obligatory speeches about resources (time, money, and energy) required for taking good care of an animal. And I have even been known to require a written report about the requirements and statistics about a desired pet.
But sometimes, it really does come down to chemistry, and when the right animal becomes available, you have to seize the moment. But as much as you can be prepared, do so! Put that smart phone to work when you’re presented with a charming critter and do some research right then and there! And should you take the plunge, follow through on your commitment with continued education for yourself, pet training, and for those who will interact with your pet.
2. When considering obtaining a pet do you:
- Scour the paper?
- Go to a pet store?
- Find a breeder?
- Go to a shelter/rescue?
- Get one from a friend who is offering?
- Troll the internet?
There are a lot of choices out there these days. It can seem confusing at times. Pet stores are often vilified for supporting puppy mills, but I have known of a locally owned one that had responsible practices (refusing to sell pets to unqualified owners, educating prospective buyers) and the owner was instrumental in helping to shut down a puppy mill. Do your research on the pet sources. It is just as important as the research on the pet itself. If something doesn’t feel right, or the seller seems more interested in your money than for the life of the animal, go elsewhere.
3. When selecting a veterinarian, what are your criteria?
- Recommendation from a friend.
- Experience/expertise for your type of pet, especially if it is something exotic.
- Reasonable pricing and/or payment options.
- How your vet treats you and your pet.
All of these things are important. Don’t feel guilty for shopping around if you feel uncomfortable for financial reasons. If you feel gouged every time you go to the vet, you are less likely to invest in preventative care, which could save you more costly treatments in the future. Having a good working relationship with your vet will help you and your pet to have many healthy years together. Other pet owners can give you helpful information for finding a good veterinary match for your family. We will discuss the importance of veterinary care more this week.
4. What are your thoughts on pet reproduction?
- I will spay/neuter my pet to ensure that there are no associated reproductive health or behavioral issues from having an unaltered pet.
- It is important to allow my children to witness the wonder of life by allowing a litter.
- I am dedicated to the cause of developing and promoting a particular breed, and am fine losing sleep and money towards this endeavor.
- I find the thought of thousands of unwanted pets being euthanized yearly to be unbearable. I will not contribute to that number by sterilizing my own pets and contributing to low-cost spay/neuter programs.
My guess is that you can figure out that each answer is worth pondering, including “b.” There are plenty of ways to expose young people to many wonderful life experiences, however, and this does not necessarily have to include exposure to pet reproduction, particularly in light of the other issues discussed above. Do your homework and be informed to the risks and issues before deciding to engage in pet reproduction.
As you can see, responsible pet ownership requires a lot of thought and often quite a bit of work. Most pet lovers would agree that the obstacles are worth overcoming because of the richness of the human/pet bond.
Are there other things you think are important to the goal of being a responsible pet owner?
Featured photo by normanack.