10 Ways To Be A Responsible Pet Parent

Kate Barrington
by Kate Barrington
It’s not all licks and wags. If you can handle these 10 responsibilities that come along with dogs and cats, then you’re ready to be a pet parent.

Pets are a huge responsibility – but it can be one of the more rewarding experiences of your life. Think about it – you’re responsible for another life (one that just happens to be furry. Being a responsible pet parent is more than just feeding and walking your pooch. Here’s our list of the top 10 ways for you to be a responsible pet parent. (Photo credit: HalfPoint/Bigstock)

Commit for Life: A pet isn’t something you should bring home on a whim and you shouldn’t view him as something you can get rid of if you get tired of it. Millions of pets are abandoned in shelters each year and they may spend weeks, months or even years waiting for a new home. If you can’t commit to caring for another for the rest of its life, a pet is not for you. (Photo credit: michaeljung/iStockphoto)

Choose Wisely: If you are thinking about getting a pet, think carefully about the decision to make sure you get the pet that is right for you. If you work long hours and can’t be home very often, a dog may not be the right choice. If you are looking for a pet that is somewhat independent, think about a cat instead. (Photo credit: Brusnikaphoto/Bigstock)

Spay and Neuter: With so many homeless pets out there you should be responsible by having your pet spayed or neutered so he doesn’t contribute to the unwanted pet population. Check with your local shelter or vet clinic for affordable spay/neuter surgery. (Photo credit: aphoto/Bigstock)

Use a Leash: When you take your dog outside for a walk or for some playtime, make sure to keep him on a leash if you aren’t in a fenced area. Not only could your dog run off and put himself in danger, but he could damage someone else’s property or cause problems with another pet. (Photo credit: budabar/Bigstock)

Clean Up: One of the most basic (and most important) rules of pet ownership is to clean up after your pet. Whether you are at the dog park or hiking a trail through the woods, clean up after your dog each and every time. (Photo credit: Olga Maslov/Bigstock)

Use Proper Identification: Always make sure that your pet wears his collar with an ID tag that is updated with your contact information. You should also have your pet microchipped in case you are separated and he doesn’t have collar on. (Photo credit: ots-photo/Bigstock)

Visit the Vet: Part of caring for your pet means taking him to the vet for routine checkups. Not only will your pet need routine vaccinations, but regular vet check-ups will help you to spot health problems while they are still treatable. (Photo credit: Monkey Business Images/iStockphoto)

Exercise and Play: Different kinds of pet have different needs for exercise. For cats, some active play time is usually enough to fulfill daily exercise requirements but dogs need a daily walk. Some breeds need more exercise than others so do your research before you pick a pet. (Photo credit: Lobke Peers/iStockphoto)

Provide Proper Nutrition: Do not just go to the pet store and buy the first bag of pet food you see – take the time to look at the ingredients list to make sure that the food is formulated for the life stage your pet is in and that it is made with healthy ingredients. The healthier your pet’s diet, the healthier he will be and the longer you’ll enjoy his company. (Photo credit: dogboxstudio/iStockphoto)

Prepare for the Worst: You never know when a disaster might strike, so make sure your pet will be properly cared for by compiling an emergency supply kit. You should also speak to a friend or neighbor about caring for your pet in an emergency if you are not at home or if you become incapacitated. (Photo credit: Javier Brosch/Bigstock)

Kate Barrington
Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.

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