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Are You A Responsible Pet Owner?
Owning a Pet is a Privilege with Responsibilities for Care, Love, and Health of Your Pet. Whitworth Animal Clinic Can Help with Your Pet Care Needs

Owning a Pet is a Privilege with Responsibilities for Care, Love, and Health of Your Pet. Whitworth Animal Clinic Provides Veterinary Services for  Your Pet’s Needs

We all too often fall victim to a puppy’s soulful eyes or a kitten’s playful attitude and before we know it, we’re a pet owner!! But being a pet owner is considered by the AKC both a privilege and a responsibility. Animals give us love, companionship and wonderful memories, and in turn we need to protect them, provide for them and keep them healthy. Impulse purchases are the number one reason pets are abandoned, neglected or given to shelters, and in a large proportion of cases, the animal falls victim to euthanasia.There are a number of obligations a pet owner must be willing to meet before simply bringing home a pet on a whim.

Responsible Pet Ownership Guidelines

Commitment: First and foremost, responsible pet ownership means, barring extraordinary circumstances, being committed to your relationship with your pet for their entire life.

  1. •  Avoid impulsive decisions when selecting a pet.
  2. •  Select a pet that’s suited to your home, lifestyle, work schedule and ability to exercise them.
  3. •  Keep only the type and number of pets for which you can provide appropriate food, water, shelter, health care and companionship.
  4. •  Provide appropriate exercise for the breed, as well as mental stimulation.
  5. •  Properly socialize your pet to interact with both humans and other animals.
  6. •  Obedience train your pet – understanding just “sit” and “stay” can keep them out of trouble, make them nice to guests, and save their life in emergency situations.


Invest: Recognize that pet ownership requires an investment of time and money.

  • •  Make sure your pet receives all necessary preventive health care (vaccinations, parasite control, etc.), as well as care for any illnesses or injuries.
  • •  Keep them clean and groomed – check them periodically for pests, hidden wounds, tooth decay, or other abnormal conditions.
  • •  Your time is an investment – pets, especially dogs, need the companionship, warmth and love associated with living with their family
  • •  Budget for potential emergencies – take out a pet insurance policy.


Obey: Observe all local ordinances

  • •  Submit proper licensing fees and paperwork annually
  • •  Follow leash laws and noise control regulations
  • •  Clean up after your pet.
  • •  Don’t allow your pet to stray or become feral
  • •  Do not exceed permitted number of animals per swelling unit in accordance with your City’s Zoning Code.


Identify:  Make sure your pet has proper identification, including tags on collar, microchips, or tattoos, and keep registration current.

Limit: Manage your pet’s reproduction potential through spay or neutering, yard containment or managed breeding. The world already has a pet overpopulation problem – do your part to control that which is within your control.

  • •  Additional benefit – a fixed pet is less likely to develop behavior or aggression issues.
  • •  Limit your pet’s food intake with a regular, portion controlled diet -weight management helps prevent weight related health problems.


Be Prepared:  Pet proof your house- keep household products and foods that can harm your pet in secure locations so your pet cannot get into them.

  • •  Prepare for an emergency or disaster, including assembling an evacuation bag with food, pet meds, extra collar and leash, copy of vaccines.
  • •  If circumstances develop where you can no longer take care of your pet, make alternate arrangements (ahead of time).
  • •  Make difficult decisions in consultation with Dr. Whitworth  in a timely manner when it is evident that your pet’s quality of life has declined beyond recovery.


Again, the privilege of owning a pet means willingness and ability to assume many responsibilities. They are not a plaything that entertains the family for a while and are then to be discarded like an old toy. They require lifelong love, attention and care, and in exchange, your pet gives you loyal companionship and affection. Whitworth Animal Clinic, delivering care to pets from Madison, Huntsville, and the surrounding Madison County areas in north Alabama, can provide your pet wellness services.