Guidelines for Responsible Pet Ownership

Comment on this policy Owning a pet is a privilege and should result in a mutually beneficial relationship. The benefits of pet ownership come with responsibilities. These include:
  • Lifelong care of the pet. This means committing to the relationship for your pet’s entire life.
  • Selecting a pet that is suited to your home and lifestyle and avoiding impulsive decisions.
  • Recognizing that owning a pet(s) requires an investment of time and money.
  • Keeping only the type and number of pets for which you can provide an appropriate and safe environment. This includes appropriate food, water, shelter, health care and companionship.
  • Ensuring pets are properly identified (i.e., tags, microchips, or tattoos) and that their registration information in associated databases is kept up-to-date
  • Adhering to local ordinances, including licensing and leash requirements.
  • Helping to manage overpopulation by controlling your pet(s)' reproduction through managed breeding, containment, or spay/neuter. Establishing and maintaining a veterinarian-client-patient relationship.
  • Providing preventive (e.g., vaccinations, parasite control) and therapeutic health care for the life of your pet(s) in consultation with, and as recommended by, your veterinarian.
  • Socialization and appropriate training for your pet(s) to facilitate their well-being and the well-being of other animals and people.
  • Preventing your pet(s) from negatively impacting other people, animals and the environment. This includes proper waste disposal, noise control, and not allowing pet(s) to stray or become feral.
  • Providing exercise and mental stimulation appropriate to your pet(s)' age, breed, and health status.
  • Include your pets in your planning for an emergency or disaster, including assembling an evacuation kit.
  • Making arrangements for the care of your pet when or if you are unable to do so.
  • Recognizing declines in your pet(s)' quality of life and making decisions in consultation with your veterinarian regarding appropriate end-of-life care (e.g., palliative care, hospice, euthanasia).

Additional Resources:

Pet Care

Pet Ownership brochure

Responsible Pet Ownership flyers (pdf)

Responsible Pet Ownership poster