How to Be A Better Pet-Owner: Finalist 21

    A close friend of mine recently adopted his first pet, a husky. Poor guy had no idea how much time, energy, and money went into owning a pet, regardless of what people told him. This idea that pet owning is easy is a common mistake that many people make. I believe to become a better pet owner the owner should review basic information about their animal; make sure they have the expenses to continue caring for their animal; and still have the ability to handle their pet. These three criteria will make the owner and pet happy.

    Every breed and animal has different characteristics. It’s impossible for an owner to learn and retain everything about their animal. Reviewing basic information about your animal will help further your knowledge about the different aspects of your pet. My friend that recently adopted his first pet didn’t do any research about his breed of dog. He didn’t have any prior knowledge of owning a pet either. He quickly found out how stubborn and wild huskies are. He knows that I am going to college to become a veterinarian and that I love animals. So he used to call me all the time to ask questions of what he should do in certain situations. After about a month of these calls, I told him to look it up or ask his veterinarian, because he needs to learn about his pet. Using the Internet is very helpful with giving tips and information about your pet. It’s also a great place to find out about groups and seminars that meet for your type of animal. Groups and seminars help you meet people that have the same animal as you. The people that you meet can be extremely useful resources when you have questions or trying to solve a behavioral issue. They might have experienced the same issue with their pet and can offer tips on how to solve the issue or answer your questions.

    Books are great resources for basic information and tips. I bought my friend the Siberian Huskies for Dummies book. He has thanked me ever since I bought that book for him. I also have the Golden Retrievers for Dummies book along with other helpful books that helped me learn about my animal. Books are great to refer to when training or reviewing basic characteristics about your pet. However, books do become dated, which is why the Internet is a good resource especially when looking up information about medical issues.

    Talking to your veterinarian is a great resource as well. Veterinarians often have their own pets and meet with patients that have the same animal as you everyday. They have resources that can answer your questions and help you solve your pet’s issues. However, knowing your pet and knowing background about your animal will help your vet help you more efficiently. Your vet doesn’t know your animal’s personality so some methods of training or medicine won’t work, but if you know this information you can solve the issue faster. Veterinarians can also give you information about helpful groups and seminars. Veterinarians are here to make you and your pet happy, so don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for advice. Many times they are the best people to ask advice from, because they see patients with similar questions and issues everyday. They have a wide variety of suggestions that may help you solve your pet’s issue or answer your questions. The vet told my friend of all the necessary care that his new husky needs. He also, learned that owning a pet isn’t easy or cheap.

    To become a better owner make sure you can still afford you pet. Pets are expensive. You might have been able to afford your pet at the time of adoption, but over time life happens. Some people get very attached to their animals and won’t give them up for any reason, because they are family. I understand this connection because I had it with my first pet. However, realizing what’s best for you animal will make you a better owner. Surrendering your animal is a better choice than making them suffer. Your pet will suffer because they are completely dependent on you for everything. If you can’t afford their basic needs (food, shelter, care etc.) then your animal goes without it, and therefore suffers. Surrendering your animal because of financial issues will relieve your stress and guilt and will relieve your animal from suffering. Realizing what’s best for you and your animal will make you a better pet owner and will make both of you happy.

    Being able to handle your pet is important for your safety and the publics’ safety. Properly training your pet will make your life and your pet’s life less stressful. If you can handle your pet then you are able to control them when necessary. If your pet isn’t trained properly then you’re putting everyone that meets your pet in danger. For example, when I first met my friends husky, he jumped on me and tried to bite my face, he also consistently tried to chew my sleeves. By the end of the night his husky ruined my shirt. Even though I tried to stop his dog I had little effect because I’m not his owner. As an owner you have a big role in enforcing proper behavior towards strangers and yourself. I told my friend that he needed to train his dog because his bad behavior will escalate. He said that he tried but it his dog was too stubborn. Many people fail to address their animal’s behavior issues and simply live with it because they don’t know how to address it. Luckily, I knew of training places that were accepting puppies. My friend also got lucky that his dog was still young enough to easily retain the new training. If you don’t handle behavior issues your animal will become more uncontrollable as they get older. It’s also harder to retrain them when they are older because they are set in their ways and often stronger than you. Consequences for your pet’s behavior can be mild to extreme. You can lose some friends because of the bad behavior; or your dog can even be euthanized if their behavior is considered a danger to the public. Owners don’t want any of those things to happen. Having a pet should be enjoyable and social. You shouldn’t lose friends or your pet because of a behavior issue. Address the bad behavior through proper training. Training will lessen the chances of an attack and give you more control over you animal. Being able to control your pet will let both of you live happy and worry-free.

    All in all, to be a better pet owner you need to go back to the basics and make sure you are fulfilling your pet’s basic needs. Reviewing basic background information, having the expenses to care for them, and being able to handle your pet will ensure that their basics needs are being fulfilled. Many people forget that pets are animals and they need care and discipline, similar to children, or they act out and do what they want. Unfortunately, an animal that acts out can seriously hurt you and others around you. Fulfilling your pets basic needs will make you a better pet owner and make your life and your pet’s life happy and balanced.

A. McCoy

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