Pet parenthood isn’t all fun and games. Adding a dog, cat, or any other animal to your family is a huge responsibility, one that demands time, money, energy, and a lot of emotional fortitude. The work begins before you’ve even selected a pet, let alone brought one home.
Recognize the commitment
Bringing home a new pet is not something to do on a whim. Before you commit to pet parenthood, be sure to make a thorough assessment of your life, budget, and home. Are they all conducive to the responsibilities of owning a pet? What kind of pet will suit you best?
It’s equally important to recognize when you’re no longer capable of providing pet care. Responsible pet owners take the appropriate action when the financial or physical commitments of pet parenthood become too great. They identify trustworthy individuals who can take ownership of their pet and provide the necessary care if needed. While it is rare for owners to outlive their pets, owners should always plan ahead for the possibility.
Prepare your home for a pet
You may not realize it, but your house is probably filled with potential pet hazards. Things you interact with every day may present poisoning or injury risks that you’ve never considered. That’s not to mention all the mischief your pet may get into once they’re home. New dog and cat parents alike should watch out for anything that might inspire biting, chewing, batting, or clawing. These precautions are especially important for anyone bringing home a puppy or kitten. A young pet is more likely to explore every corner of their new living space -- don’t let curiosity get the better of them.
Trust your veterinarian
Pet ownership is hard work, but (thankfully) it’s not typically a one-person job. Choosing a trustworthy veterinarian will mean finding an expert to guide you throughout each stage of your pet’s life. Your vet will ensure your pet is properly vaccinated, that they’re maintaining a healthy weight, and that you’re treating all health conditions effectively.
Crucially, your vet will also guide you through the most turbulent period of pet parenthood: the end of a pet’s life. With your pet’s well-being in mind, they’ll offer objective insights to help you make informed and humane decisions. This won’t make it easy to say goodbye, but it can make it a little less difficult.
Obey the law
Certain counties and states require pet owners to follow specific guidelines. These may include keeping dogs leashed, getting pets microchipped, and more. In addition to these official guidelines, it’s important to follow “unwritten rules.” Whether or not your county has laws relating to cleaning up after your dog, for example, it’s always a responsible and respectful choice. The same goes for socializing pets and keeping excessive noise to a minimum.
Ask about pet insurance
Have you talked to your vet about pet insurance? It won’t keep your pet from getting sick or prevent them from developing chronic conditions, but it can significantly reduce the financial and emotional burden of pet health emergencies. Learn more about what pet insurance coverage could mean for you and your pets.