Among companion animals, dogs are unmatched in their devotion, loyalty and friendship to humankind. Anyone who has ever loved a dog can attest to its hundred-fold return. The excitement your dog shows when you come home, the wagging tail at the sound of the leash being taken from its hook, the delight in the tossing of a tennis ball, and the head nestled in your lap-those are only some of the rewards of being a dog owner.

Responsible Dog Owner

Responsible Dog Owner

Owning a dog is not just a privilege-it’s a responsibility. These animals depend on us for, at minimum, food and shelter, and deserve much more. If you are considering taking a dog into your life, you need to think seriously about the commitment that dog ownership entails. If you already have a dog, you need to consider if you are fulfilling all your obligations as its owner.

Owning a pet is a privilege, but the benefits of pet ownership come with responsibilities.
Be a Responsible Pet Owner:

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.