Owning a pet is a rewarding experience that brings great joy, as well as health and wellbeing benefits to many people. In return pet owners must be prepared for the long-term commitments and responsibilities that caring for a pet brings.
Decision to own a pet should only be undertaken with careful thought and consideration. A prospective owner must be fully aware and prepared for the financial, emotional and time commitments required to care for their cat or dog. It is important that owners seek the right information to ensure they understand the commitments and legal requirements of pet ownership, and should select a cat or dog from a reputable source, that is a good fit with their lifestyle. This increases the likelihood that a pet will stay with their family for their entire life.
Nutrition is the foundation of health and wellbeing for cats and dogs. An owner should take responsibility for providing a complete diet that delivers the right balance of essential nutrients at the appropriate calorie density to enhance cat and dog health and wellbeing. It is also vital to provide continuous access to clean water. Preventive healthcare is a very important part of ensuring pet health. An owner also has responsibility for delivery of a preventive health program, developed in partnership with their veterinarian.
It is owners' duty to train and socialize their pets, so that they behave appropriately around other humans or other animals. Pet owners should assume the responsibility for their pets, including pet owners’ duty to clean up after their dogs in public places. Dog waste should be immediately picked up and it should be taken away for safe and proper disposal in a suitable bin.
Preparing for your pet/ General pet care
Good pets are a reflection of good planning and consistent effort. Before you bring home any pet, you must understand your domestic situation and what kind of pet will be the best fit.
Dogs and cats are by nature social animals. In their natural environment, they form social groups and are stimulated by the constantly changing environment. However, establishing and maintaining a routine is very important as well as setting boundaries and committing to training consistently. Read more in our dedicated factsheet
Prepared pet food - the importance of feeding a balanced diet, avoiding scraps/garbage & storage
Just like their owners, dogs and cats need a balanced diet which contains just the right amount of protein, fat, carbohydrate and essential vitamins and minerals to ensure that they stay in peak condition.
There is a wide range of quality, prepared commercial pet foods now available through supermarkets and mass merchandise outlets, specialist pet supply retailers, veterinary clinics, rural supply outlets and on-line retailers, providing today’s pet owner with many choices and product types. Read more in our dedicated factsheet
Visits to your veterinarian are important for the health of your pet and are a good time for a vaccination and a general check-up.
These visits can also help to identify health issues that may not be obvious before they become a serious issue. Pets have a tendency to try and conceal when they are unwell so remember, you know your pet best. Your veterinarian may also help identify if your pet has any special nutritional needs. Read more in our dedicated factsheet
Exercise, training & behaviour
Proper exercise and training are important steps that will help your dog or cat enjoy a long and healthy life.
These should be a part of every pet’s daily routine to keep them content and in good physical condition and to set them up to succeed with the interactions they have with their environment, other people and other animals. In addition to exercise, mental stimulation of pets is important to encourage them to display their natural behaviours. Read more in our dedicated factsheet