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AVMA Guidelines for Responsible Pet Ownership

March 19, 2012 | 6,706 views
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By Dr. Becker

Late last year, the executive board of the American Veterinary Medical Association published a set of guidelines for responsible pet ownership.

I’m republishing the guidelines here at Mercola Healthy Pets because I believe we can never be reminded enough of the tremendous privilege we enjoy as guardians of the non-human creatures in our care.

To whom much has been given, much is expected.

Guidelines for Responsible Pet Ownership

Owning a pet is a privilege and should result in a mutually beneficial relationship.

However, the benefits of pet ownership come with obligations.

Responsible pet ownership includes:

  • Committing to the relationship for the life of the pet(s).
  • Avoiding impulsive decisions about obtaining pet(s), and carefully selecting pet(s) suited to your home and lifestyle.
  • Recognizing that ownership of pet(s) requires an investment of time and money.
  • Keeping only the type and number of pets for which an appropriate and safe environment can be provided, including appropriate food, water, shelter, health care and companionship.
  • Ensuring pets are properly identified (i.e., tags, microchips, or tattoos) and that registration information in associated databases is kept up-to-date.
  • Adherence to local ordinances, including licensing and leash requirements.
  • Controlling pet(s)' reproduction through managed breeding, containment, or spay/neuter thereby helping to address animal control and overpopulation problems.
  • Establishing and maintaining a veterinarian-client-patient relationship.
  • Providing preventive (e.g., vaccinations, parasite control) and therapeutic health care for the life of pet(s) in consultation with, and as recommended by, its veterinarian.
  • Socialization and appropriate training for pet(s), which facilitates their well-being and the well-being of other animals and people.
  • Preventing pet(s) from negatively impacting other people, animals and the environment, including proper waste disposal, noise control, and not allowing pet(s) to stray or become feral.
  • Providing exercise and mental stimulation appropriate to the pet(s)' age, breed, and health status.
  • Advance preparation to ensure the pet(s)' well-being in the case of an emergency or disaster, including assembling an evacuation kit.
  • Making alternative arrangements if caring for the pet is no longer possible.
  • Recognizing declines in the pet(s)' quality of life and making decisions in consultation with a veterinarian regarding appropriate end-of-life care (e.g., palliative care, hospice, euthanasia).

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