Responsible Pet Owners Clinic by gabyion


									Responsible Pet Owner’s Clinic

Welcome to the responsible pet owner’s clinic! We are happy that you are here and hope we can
provide some valuable information on being an owner; whether it is by helping you decide if a pet is
right for you or to help you determine the proper steps to take once you have a pet. This clinic is
brought to you by the Illinois Humane of Springfield, Illinois. We are a non-for-profit organization
working to rescue, re-home, and provide better lives for abandoned, abused, and neglected companion

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Several topics will be discussed during this presentation. The first half of the discussion will be about
Deciding if a Pet is Right for You.          We will review commitment, budgeting, animal selection,
veterinarians, trainers, where to find that perfect pet, as well as rescue dog considerations. The second
half of the discussion will be about Pet Ownership. Topics to be discussed will include wellness,
nutrition, training, multiple pets, pet safety, pet laws, and pet custody.

Finally, we’ll provide you with resources so you’ll have an opportunity to reach out on your own or how
to find additional help for your questions.

Again, we are glad you are here and hope you find this information helpful in your start of this new
opportunity in being a pet owner. It’s a wonderful feeling to have a pet and to be able to care for and
nurture during its life. We want to help you be the best owner you can be and help you find the perfect
pet for you and your family.

PART 1 – Deciding if a Pet is Right for You
(Slide 4)

While there are many decisions to make before deciding on a pet, the main one that must be made is
deciding if you are ready to make a lifelong commitment; lifelong being defined in this case as the life of
the animal. They will need to be cared for, fed, exercised and loved. While you may have the desire,
you must be realistic in what you can truly offer.

What kind of relationship do you desire with your pet? Do you want a social companion, do you want
them to be a part of the family, or will it be used strictly for protection?

You also need to know a time commitment you are willing to give your pet. Is your lifestyle conducive?
Do you travel much or do you participate in work or activities that keep you from being at home most of
the time? Will you have time for training, exercise, and playing? Will you have time to give attention

and affection? You don’t want to put yourself and your pet in a situation where you are not available. If
you have a pet…you must make time for them.

Another question you need to ask of yourself is if there are any physical limitations which could come
into play when deciding about a pet. Do you or any of your family have allergies? Are there any chronic
health conditions that could prevent you from caring for your animal?

All these questions can not only help you decide if you are ready to own a pet, but also the type of pet
you are able to care for. Will it be a dog, cat, bird or something else? Only you can decide what’s right
for you.

(Slide 5)

One of the biggest issues you need to think about when considering owning a pet, besides it being a
lifelong commitment, is the cost or budgeting for your pet.

Depending on where you decide to get your pet, there could be adoption fees or simply a cost to
purchase. While this maybe a one-time cost, there are other types of costs you will need to budget for
throughout the life of the animal. Such costs include the veterinarian costs, which consist of
preventative care, spaying or neutering, diagnosed care, accidents, and even death.

Other costs include food and treats. Depending on the kind of animal you select, you may need a collar,
leash, and of course you must have toys! For dogs, you will need to have a pooper scooper or
disposable bags to pick up the doggy waste when you are out on walks or even in your own yard.

(Slide 6)

Also, you will need to budget for grooming, in which costs will also correspond to the specific breed.
Things like shampoo, brushes, and nail clippers must be considered in your budget or you may need to
consider a groomer instead of doing it yourself.

Housing can be another cost, and again, this will depend on where this animal will live (outside or
inside). You might need a crate, bedding, fencing or a dog run. You also need to have a plan for when
you go out of town, considering the cost of kennel care or other means for care while you are away.
Do you own your own home or do you rent? If you rent, do they allow pets and how much of a deposit
will you pay?

Lastly….some final costs you need to think about are training and insurance. Training costs can include
obedience training or on-going training for specific competitions. Also, you may consider insurance, as
more and more companies are offering pet insurance for medical expenses.

(Slide 7)

Now that we’ve discussed the commitment it takes to own a pet and the associated costs, the next step
is to decide on the animal selection. What animal or breed is best for your needs and preferences?

Do you want a puppy or kitten versus an adult dog or cat? Think about your time commitment and
training for a younger animal. Does it matter to you if the animal is male or female?
Do you prefer a pure-bred animal or would a mixed breed be suitable? Before making this decision, you
need to understand all characteristics of the animal if you are selecting.
What size of animal do you prefer? Big, small, medium? Think about where they will live and with
whom. Will size matter?
What’s their temperament? What kind of personality traits do they carry? Are they affectionate and
how much attention will they need? Some animals are independent while others demand your
attention at all times. Which trait are you better-equipped to handle?
You should also consider the genetic issues or health concerns with various breeds. If it’s a pure-bred,
are there health issues associated with the specific breed? Do you or your family members have
allergies that will not be cohesive with certain breeds?

(Slide 8)

Another consideration when choosing a pet is the location of where you live.                Is it an urban
environment or do you live in a suburban area? Do you own your home or do you rent? Do you plan
to have your pet live indoors with you or will they be outdoors? Is there a yard and is it fenced? These
are all questions that you need to think about when you decide which animal is right for you.

Do you have children or other animals at home? You need to determine if the new pet is kid-friendly or
if they will get along with other animals. A point to consider is that if you do have kids and are looking
for a new pet, it may be best to leave the kids at home when you first go looking for that special pet. It
will be harder if the child finds a pet that is not conducive to your family needs. Find the pet first and
then introduce them to your kids.

If you have other animals, see if you can have a trial period where they will have time to meet so you
can see how they respond and interact with each other. With a trial period, there is an understanding
with everyone if it doesn’t work out the animal can be returned.

When selecting your animal, how much does the grooming needs matter to you? Will it be acceptable
if the dog requires to be groomed a lot or do you prefer one that needs little to no grooming at all? Will
you do the grooming or will you need to hire a groomer to do it for you?

Lastly….where will you find your new pet? Will you find it through local areas such as advertisements in
the newspaper, or maybe through friends or family? Will you use a breeder or maybe even a shelter?
Costs will vary for your new pet depending on where you go and what type of breed you choose. You
also need to research several breeders and make sure they are reputable. Ask your local veterinarian
and get their opinion as well.
(Slide 9)

Besides selecting your animal, you also need to think about a veterinarian who is appropriate for you.
How close is the veterinarian to your home? Do you prefer a male or female vet? Are you comfortable
with a large vet clinic and have you considered how it will affect your costs? A smaller clinic may offer
lower rates because they typically will not have as much overhead. A bigger clinic usually has more
veterinarians to choose from yet veterinarians at smaller clinics may be more accessible. What aspect is
most important to you? You need to be comfortable with your vet and be able to have open
conversations about your pet. They should provide you with information on preventative care, medical
conditions and/or selecting food products and treats that are right for your pet.

You will also need to think about finding a trainer for your pet. Where are they located and how much
do they charge? Obedience training is important for all dogs and you need to make sure to find a
qualified trainer. Will you need help on housebreaking? While some people decide to train on their
own, if you’ve never handled a dog before it is imperative that you take your dog to a trainer. They will
be able to help you develop that bond with your dog and provide the discipline it takes to keep your dog

For some, they may want to have their dogs be in competitions and therefore need specialized trainers
to help with that kind of competition training.

(Slide 10)

We’ve briefly discussed your options on where to best find your new pet. There are many different
avenues and you need to make sure you are dealing with someone who is reputable.

Many people use local shelters or rescue organizations to find their pet which are great places to find a
pet since those animals are the ones who need a loving home. Just remember before walking into a
shelter that you have exactly the kind of animal in mind you would like since it can be very hard to see
those faces and not want to take each and everyone home as your own.

If you choose a breeder, make sure you get information on their history and ask for references to be
sure they are reputable and their animals are healthy.

You might also consider utilizing your local vet clinics. They sometimes know of specific breeders or
possibly other clients that have litters that are looking for homes.

More and more, people are using online forums like to notify clients when they have an
animal to find a home. While it is a good way to locate a specific animal, be careful and open when
dealing with someone online.

(Slide 11)

Some considerations to think about if you do want to get your pet through a rescue organization. Some
shelter animals may have been abused, neglected, or abandoned and all are in need of being re-homed.
This could lead to behavior or medical conditions and you must be willing to take on those issues. Your
time commitment could be greater and you may need more training. This could also lead to additional
costs with special diets or possible medical conditions that require more attention.

While we don’t want to dissuade you from going to a rescue organization such as ours (IL Humane), we
want to be up front with you so you are aware that rescue dogs/cats need homes desperately but they
also will most likely need more from you. You will need to be compatible with your animal. Always
request a trial period before taking on a rescue animal. Most organizations, including Illinois Humane,
allows trial periods and have found the system to work well. This allows proper placement of the animal
with the right owner.

I hope this information is useful in making that decision of having a pet and then which pet is right for
you. While it is a lifelong commitment, having a pet can be the most wonderful commitment you ever
make in your life.

(Slide 12)

PART 2 – Pet Ownership
Congratulations on making an educated decision to have a pet! In order to be a responsible pet
owner, it is important to be aware of all facets of this commitment. This will allow you and your
pet to have a happy, healthy, and meaningful relationship.

(Slide 13)

Let's begin with the importance of proper nutrition. Choosing an appropriate quality food for
your pet is essential. At this point your pet should have seen a veterinarian for health
evaluation and vaccinations, if needed. This is a great time to get input from your veterinarian
on proper nutrition practices. Pets may eat once a day or twice a day. The amount needed is
usually provided on the food container. It obviously will depend on the size and type of pet you
own. It is important to limit treats. Avoid table scraps which can cause weight issues and have
an adverse affect on their health. Always make sure your pet has access to fresh water and
strive to keep a consistent diet for them.

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Your pet's wellness depends on both physical and psychological issues. Keeping your pet a
healthy weight is important. To help do this follow previously discussed nutrition guidelines. In
addition, provide adequate exercise for your pet. Taking walks and allowing enough playtime
will help with weight control and also give your pet the undivided time with you that it
deserves. Don't forget pets are social creatures.

Most pets ideally need 1-2 hours of exercise each day. Always take into account the weather.
Avoid extremely hot times during the day as well as the very cold. Never leave your pet in a car
unattended. Cars heat up very quickly and this can adversely affect your pet's health even
leading to death. The same is true of certain foods and household products. Make yourself
aware of what is harmful and keep out of the animal's reach.

(Slide 15)

Training your pet has a multitude of benefits. Seek out a basic training class in your area.
Remember, a pet wants you to tell it what you want, because they want to make you happy. A
trained animal is safer and respects you as the leader. This will allow you to discipline your pet
in a positive and effective manner.

(Slide 16)

If you have other pets at home and introducing a new pet, introduce them to each other in a
neutral place outside the house. Allow them time to get to know the other's scent and
demeanor. When brought into the home, give them extra treats and attention when they are
together so they associate the other pet with positively. Always provide complete supervision
when the pet is newly introduced.

(Slide 17)

In order to keep your pet safe you must make sure that you take certain measures. You may
decide to have your animal micro chipped in case it would get lost or stolen. Always have a
collar on with a tag including the pet's name and your contact information. When outdoors, be
sure you keep your pet on a leash unless it is in a secured fenced yard. Never tie an animal
outside unattended, the pet could harm itself, get loose or be stolen.

(Slide 18)

It is your responsibility to the pet and the community to follow local pet laws. Make sure your
pet is licensed. Keep all vaccinations up to date. Obey leash laws. Always clean up after your
pet. Even if this is not a law in your area, it's common courtesy to your neighbors and

(Slide 19)

Please formulate a plan in case a situation would occur that would prevent you to continue
caring for your pet. This will ensure your pet will have good care at a time when it is already
under stress. Pet custody is typically not considered by new pet owners, yet can be a very
significant issue that someday may need to be addressed.

(Slide 20)

There are numerous resources available to tap into for more information on becoming a
responsible pet owner. The Illinois Humane website contains valuable information on pet
adoption, laws, abuse reporting, and numerous other useful links.

We hope that this has been helpful as you begin your responsibilities as a pet owner. We hope
you have many years of happiness together.

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The Responsible Pet Owner’s Clinic - This informational video has been brought to you by
Illinois Humane of Springfield, IL, in an effort to educate potential new pet owners on the joys
and responsibilities of pet ownership.

For additional information, please visit our website at


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