Pet professionals play an important role in promoting responsible pet ownership and discussing the myriad factors involved.
Firstly, it’s essential that your clients know what ‘responsible pet parenting’ actually means. After all, there’s more to it than simply smothering an animal with affection.
Pet owners must be willing and able to care for their animal’s basic needs. This includes providing appropriate food, clean water, shelter and addressing its physical needs.
Of course, responsible pet parenting means different things to different people. No doubt you have your own perception of what it means.
However, pet owners should be aware that being a responsible owner is about the health and wellbeing of their animal — but it also incorporates the wider community, such as neighbours and local wildlife.
Considering the broader community might mean putting a dog on a leash. It may mean exercising a curfew for cats. It’s also about being aware of whether or not a dog barks at night or when left alone.
Promoting responsible pet parenting
As pet professionals, you are in an ideal position to discuss what it means to be a responsible pet owner. Here are a few factors you can encourage your clients to consider.
A pet is for life
It is important potential pet owners know that responsible pet parenting means committing to caring for their pet for its entire life. As such, you can educate on the need to select a pet that’s suited to their lifestyle, physical ability and personal situation.
If you encounter a would-be pet parent that you feel is making an impulsive decision, talk to them about the needs of a pet. Help them to understand what pet ownership really entails.
Pet ownership requires time and money
Potential pet owners must recognise that responsible pet parenting requires time and money. Having a love of animals isn’t enough. After all, what would happen if their pet became ill? Do they have the funds to seek appropriate veterinary care? What about the physical needs of their pet? Do they have the time to give it the exercise it needs?
Pet owners must ensure their pets are properly identified and won’t negatively impact other pets or local wildlife. This might mean having them microchipped, neutered and vaccinated — all of which cost money!
Potential pet owners should also consider the health measures required to keep their pet well. This includes paying for regular vet checks, parasite control and even considering pet insurance, to protect against accident or illness.
There are rules to adhere to
Responsible pet parenting requires pet owners to be up to date on the local rules and regulations regarding pets. This means knowing how many pets they are allowed to keep in their home, as well as recognising when their pet needs to be kept on a leash.
Preparation is paramount
Responsible pet parenting means being prepared in ALL situations. Following the recent bush fires in Australia, there’s no time like the present to discuss having a pet disaster plan. Knowing what actions need to be taken in the event of an emergency can be the difference between life and death.
Encourage pet owners to find out whether their local disaster centre accepts pets. Urge them to create a pet emergency kit to store somewhere safe and make certain they have considered every potential instance that could affect their pet.
Certainly, pet professionals play an essential role in not only promoting the benefits of pet ownership, but in also educating on the responsibilities.
As frontline troops, those who work in the pet industry have continued conversations with existing owners and potential pet parents. This places you in an ideal position to help people make the right decision with regards to choosing a pet and caring for it.
If you happen to have a client that’s rowing witha neighbour because their dog is barking at night or pooping in the wrong place, help them to see it from both sides.
Indeed, pet owners can become very protective of their fur babies but just because they love them, this doesn’t mean everyone else will. As a trusted pet professional you can help calm the situation or be the voice of reason.
Ultimately, by promoting the importance of responsible pet parenting, you can help people to recognise that being a pet owner is a privilege!