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Be a responsible pet owner. Careful research and planning are essential, since being a responsible pet owner requires more than just providing adequate food, water and shelter. 
  • Adoption is a lifelong commitment. 
    Animals are capable of bonding deeply with their families. Adopting a pet means making a life-long commitment, which can easily be 10 to 15 years for dogs and up to 20 years for a cat. 
  • Designate a primary caretaker. 
    One adult in the home should be designated as the primary caretaker so that the pet's daily needs, such as food and water, do not become lost in the shuffle of busy schedules. 
  • Don't banish your dog to the backyard or put your cat outdoors. 
    A dog that is constantly left alone can develop behavior problems. Dogs thrive on several hours of exercise and companionship every day. Cats who live outside face dangers from other animals and people, and may they prey on wildlife. 
  • Protect your pet's health and safety. 
    Owning a dog or cat costs more than the adoption fee. Remember to budget for basic and emergency veterinary care, toys, supplies, and food. Spaying and neutering is essential for the animal's long-term health and happiness, and providing the animal with proper identification will ensure its safety. 
  • Choose the right pet for your home. 
    Dogs and cats are not right for every household. Problems such as allergies, apartment restrictions, or moving issues should be considered before adopting a new pet. Large dogs may be too strong or active for small children. Small pets may be too delicate for children. 
  • Obedience train your dog and understand cat behavior. 
    Basic training helps dog owners communicate better with their pets and strengthens the human-animal bond. Research shows that people who train their dogs are more likely to keep them. Cats behave differently than dogs; negative behavior can communicate displeasure or be a sign of medical problems. Learn what is appropriate behavior and what can be changed with training.
What can I do to give my pet the best chance in life?
  • Medical care-including spay/neutering-is vital! Your pet's long-term health and the prevention of pet overpopulation depends on you.
  • Socialization and training is key! Your pet needs to experience the world and learn how to interact with humans and animals-but she can't do it herself. As a pet parent, you must set your pet up for success and teach her how to live in our world.
  • None of us knows what the future will hold. Invest now in health care, positive reinforcement training and socializing your pet to prepare her for whatever the future may bear.