Albany Blog

Responsible pet ownership

By February 8, 2023No Comments

Pet ownership is a privilege accompanied by huge responsibility, therefore careful consideration should be given before making such a commitment. Potential pet owners should be confident in their ability to ensure that they can meet all welfare needs for the duration of the pet’s lifetime.

Things to consider:

The financial commitment – this can be substantial and is dependent on different factors, including the size and breed of pet. Some factors are beyond control, for example unforeseen health issues, with some diagnoses requiring lifelong treatment. Regular expenses incurred as a pet owner include food, parasite control, insurance and healthcare (including unexpected vet bills).

Do you have the time?  Some pets require a lot more time than others, but all need to be well cared for. Consider your existing commitments; is there room for more? Training, grooming, feeding, socialising, play/enrichment and exercising all require your investment in time.

Avoid impulsive decisions – give yourself and your family members time to really think about the decisions you’re making.

Select your pet carefully – are you thinking about a pet that is suited to your home, lifestyle and family members? The PDSA have put together a quiz that you may find helpful.

Pets should be obtained from reputable sources – ensure the health and welfare of the animal being supplied has been safeguarded.

Ensure you have the relevant knowledge and resources – different species and breeds have different requirements, are you confident you can fulfil these needs?

Veterinary care – registering with a veterinary practice, attending for regular health checks and following advice regarding your pet’s healthcare requirements are all part of responsible pet ownership. You will be responsible for protecting your pet from pain, suffering, injury and disease.

The requirement to ensure that pets are kept in accordance with all relevant legislation. For example, the Animal Welfare Act 2006 states

(1) A person commits an offence if he does not take such steps as are reasonable in all the circumstances to ensure that the needs of an animal for which he is responsible are met to the extent required by good practice.

(2) For the purposes of this Act, an animal’s needs shall be taken to include—

(a) its need for a suitable environment,

(b) its need for a suitable diet,

(c) its need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns,

(d) any need it has to be housed with, or apart from, other animals, and

(e) its need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.

The need for a pet to be well socialised and trained – to ensure its health and welfare and to prevent its behaviour having a negative impact on other people or animals. Are you prepared for consistent poop-scooping?

The legal requirement to ensure pets are properly identified (microchipped) – and to ensure they are registered on a recognised database and that all details are kept up to date. For dogs this is already in force, it will soon be a legal requirement for cats too. Microchipping provides permanent identification and provides the best chance of being reunited should a pet go missing.

The need to manage a pet’s reproduction – to avoid unplanned breeding.

Arrangements for the provision of care for a pet in the event you are not able to provide the care yourself – for example if you are away, unwell, or in case of emergency.

Being prepared for difficult decisions – pet welfare should always be paramount and it’s important to be able to recognise the signs of a decline in quality of life and to take action to prevent suffering.

The potential benefits of pet ownership are immeasurable. Pets can bring love, joy, purpose, comfort and companionship. In return, we owe it to them to be the best caregivers possible.