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Responsible Pet Ownership
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Be a Responsible Pet Owner

Owning a pet is a privilege, but the benefits of pet ownership come with responsibilities. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is a great resource for both veterinarians and pet owners. Please see their recommendations and published brochure, flyer, and information below. For information on specific pets, visit the dogs, cats, equine, and other pets pages of the website.

  1. Commit
    • 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.
  2. Invest
    • Recognize that pet ownership requires an investment of time and money (see the costs).
    • 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.
  3. Obey
    • 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.
  4. Identify
    • Make sure your pet is properly identified (i.e., tags, microchips, or tattoos) and keep its registration up-to-date.
  5. Limit
    • Don't contribute to our nation's pet overpopulation problem: limit your pet's reproduction through spay/neuter, containment, or managed breeding.
  6. Prepare

    • Prepare for an emergency or disaster, including assembling an evacuation kit.
    • Make alternate arrangements if you can no longer provide care for your pet (surrender).
    • Recognize any decline in your pet's quality of life and make timely decisions in consultation with a veterinarian.

AVMA Pet Ownership Resources

View our Pet Ownership brochure (pdf)

View our Responsible Pet Ownership flyers (pdf)


Other Resources

Helpful Guide for Moving with your Pet


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