responsible pet ownership

Preparing for a New Furry Friend – Are you Ready?

Pets are a beloved part of their owner’s and family’s life. Responsible pet ownership is an important part of a pet’s life and well-being. Pets bring joy into our lives, and it is equally as important that pet owners take care of a pet’s needs and keep them safe and healthy. This is a big responsibility and requires thoughtful consideration.

What is Responsible Pet Ownership?

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) defines responsible pet ownership through a series of qualities: committed, invested, compliant and prepared. They also provide a comprehensive set of guidelines for what these responsibilities entail. These qualities point to the types of actions and behaviors pet owners need to have to be attentive to their pet’s wellness and survival.


At the top of the list is commitment. This should come as no surprise because committing to take care of another life is a serious thing. These animals are in your care and they do need your love and attention. Even in the wild, animals depend on one another for survival. The commitment to welcome a pet into your family is a lifetime commitment. Specifically, this means that you are committing to care for this pet for its lifetime. The best part is that pets will thank you for your commitment and shower you with love, affection and maybe some wet kisses. Healthy, well cared for pets will share lots of love with their owners. And studies have shown that pets bring wonderful health benefits to their owners and families. It’s a win-win!

This commitment also includes making sure your pet is properly identified and wears tags or is chipped at all times in case of an emergency or if the pet becomes lost. In addition, committing to responsibility attend to the reproductive health of your pet for its lifetime is also a core tenant of the AVMA’s guidelines. Pet overpopulation is real in American and around the world. Luckily, pet owners always have the easy option of having their pets spayed or neutered to help with this.  


Any pet owner can tell you that having a pet is definitely an investment. Some people do purchase their pets and that can cost a lot of money. But that is not the investment the AMVA is referring to. Just like humans, care for a pet requires money. Food, veterinarian visits, accessories and emergencies are all reasonable and general costs associated with pet ownership. Anyone considering becoming a pet owner should do a little research and understand these expenses and prepare for them.

And yes, there are some pets that are more expensive to care for than others. It would not be surprising to think that a horse may cost more to care for than a dog, but what about birds or fish or hamsters?  Before taking on a pet, make sure to become familiar with the needs of the pet you plan to adopt into your family. There are many online resources filled with helpful information but don’t stop there. Also, consider reaching out to friends or family who have similar types of pets for advice. There are even online groups for specific types of pet owners that can offer additional support and answer specific questions as well.

Responsibility and Compliance

There are specific rules and laws for pets just as there are rules and laws for cutting down trees, driving a car or building houses. Life is filled with rules to learn and to follow. The same is true for pet owners. Once your family has chosen a pet, find out what types of rules and laws exist for your pet. One very important thing to do before you get a pet is to find out if your house or apartment has rules about pets. This is super important! Pet deposits may be required or your complex or neighborhood may not allow pets at all. Find out before adopting a pet.

Specific pet rules and guidelines can vary from city to city and state to state as well. Leash laws for dog owners are an example of a rule that can vary depending on the location. To be a responsible pet owner, always find out what the laws are for your living spaces and in your surrounding areas.  


The best thing for a pet is for their owner to be prepared to welcome them into their lives. Having a pet can change your life. Will a goldfish change your life like a puppy or a baby goat? No. Each pet is unique and has its own set of needs. As a responsible pet owner, it is your job to prepare to meet those needs. Human babies need diapers, food, clothes, a place to sleep and someone to care for them. What does your new pet need?

Prepare to succeed as a pet owner and embrace the responsibility. Many families like to introduce pets into a home to help children with responsibility too. This can work if everyone is informed, clear and aware of what the needs of the pet are and what it means to be truly responsible. Over prepare to welcome your new pet into your home.

Providing a healthy, safe, loving and fun home for your pet is a privilege and a responsibility. And if you need support, you can always talk to your veterinarian.

Contact the Longview Animal Hospital for any questions about adopting a new pet or how to better care for an existing pet: or 903-758-2082.

And enjoy this new client coupon for 50% off your pet’s first exam (for new clients):