Understanding Pet Ownership Responsibilities

By Matt Morello, Pet Supplies Plus

Each year around the holiday season, we see an influx of new pet parents. Everyone in the pet community loves seeing dogs and cats get adopted out of rescues and fosters into happy and loving homes. The holidays are often followed by a period of dogs and cats reentering shelters and rescues, as people realize they cannot take care of their new addition for various reasons.  We always look to educate prospective pet parents on the responsibilities of their ownership when they are in my Pet Supplies Plus stores asking questions.  

First and foremost, animals need attention. They need to feel companionship with their owner. If you travel a lot for work or leave early in the morning and don’t return until late at night, please be aware that dogs need to be walked several times a day. These animals need to feel companionship with their owners. Thoughtfully considering your lifestyle and understanding the level of commitment a pet requires is very important.  

Cats are a bit different than dogs in terms of the need for constant attention. They allow for much more flexibility with their use of litter boxes and the ability to put out food for more extended periods. Even though cats are more independent than dogs, they still require physical and mental stimulation to keep them sharp. Similar to people, physical exercise will keep their weight in check.  

Consider adopting an older dog, as older dogs tend to be left in shelters as most families go for younger and more active dogs or cats. Instead of going through a breeder, please consider visiting a local shelter for your new addition to the family. Most rescue dogs have been spayed/neutered and screened for temperament or any health issues. 

Animals need play toys to occupy their time. For dogs, like cats, mental stimulation is key to keeping their natural instincts. Depending on their level of chew aggression, there are endless options. For those that chew through plush toys in seconds, I always suggest antlers. Antlers are great for aggressive chewers, as they are very durable. A pro hack is to boil antlers in chicken or bone broth to provide an additional incentive for the pet. Kong toys are a great option, as you can reuse them over a period of time.  

Once you’ve assessed your lifestyle and realized the commitment, you can make an educated decision on adding a pet to your home. The team at Pet Supplies Plus in Woodlyn is ready to help guide you through food selection and answer any questions you may have about your new addition.