A responsible pet owner is someone who helps keep pets - and people - healthy and happy. He or she is taking on a very big, but extremely rewarding, commitment. Owning a pet entails more than just taking an animal home. Proper care must be provided for the animal. This includes: food and water; shelter; veterinary care; love and affection.
Pet Ownership Requirements
- North Carolina Law - "The owner of every dog and cat over four months of age shall have the animal vaccinated against rabies." In Cumberland County, the owners of dogs and cats which have not been vaccinated in accordance with this law are subject to a civil penalty in the amount of $100.
Pet Ownership Tips
- Do not select a pet on impulse -- choose your pet wisely.
- Do your homework -- check out the specific needs and habits of the different breeds and species.
- Know what your responsibilities are -- leash laws, licensing and vaccination laws.
- Have bedding, safe toys, shelter, food and water bowls ready before bringing your pet home.
- Get Summer and Winter Weather Tips.
- Do not expect your pet to be perfect, there will be accidents. Your pet may require a lot or a little time to train. Be patient, and work with your pet to correct any bad habits.
- Make sure you are willing and able to provide the proper care for your pet. Taking care of a pet is a family affair!
- If you rent, make sure your landlord allows pets.
Pets cannot take care of themselves - they rely on you for:
- Food - nutritionally complete, not just "people food" or table scraps.
- Water - make sure your pet has plenty of clean, fresh water. The water should be changed at least twice a day.
- Shelter - your pet needs a place to call "home", especially if they will be outside. Dog houses must have a roof, floor and at least three walls and must be of sound construction. Shade must also be provided for outdoor dogs.
- Exercise - physical activity keeps your pet healthy, happy and trim.
- Grooming - you need to keep your pet clean and looking good.
- Love & affection - pets thrive on attention, just as people do. You will enjoy the companionship also.
- Veterinary care - schedule regular checkups at least once a year for an adult and more often for a baby animal. They also need the appropriate vaccinations and booster shots.
If your unsure about how to care for your pet, ask your veterinarian. They will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.