Owning a pet is a privilege that brings us great rewards. Because our pets can’t speak for themselves, we each take on a responsibility as owners to advocate for them and provide the support and resources they need to live healthy, happy lives. Providing that support begins even before we bring a pet home.
- Avoid impulsive decisions when selecting a pet.
- Select a pet that's suited to your home and lifestyle.
- Keep only the type and number of pets for which you can provide appropriate food, water, shelter, health care and companionship.
- Commit to the relationship for the life of your pet(s).
- Provide appropriate exercise and mental stimulation.
- Properly socialize and train your pet.
- Recognize that pet ownership requires an investment of time and money.
- Make sure your pet receives preventive health care (vaccinations, parasite control, etc.), as well as care for any illnesses or injuries.
- Budget for potential emergencies.
- Clean up after your pet.
- Obey all local ordinances, including licensing, leash requirements and noise control.
- Don't allow your pet to stray or become feral.
- Make sure your pet is properly identified (i.e., tags, microchips, or tattoos) and keep its registration up-to-date.
- Don't contribute to our nation's pet overpopulation problem: limit your pet's reproduction through spay/neuter, containment or managed breeding.
- Prepare for an emergency or disaster, including assembling an evacuation kit.
- Make alternate arrangements if you can no longer provide care for your pet.
- Recognize any decline in your pet's quality of life and make timely decisions in consultation with a veterinarian.
Veterinary clinic resources
Client brochure: Pet ownership
Client handout: Pet ownership and you (PDF)
Wall poster: Pet ownership and you