How to Be a Responsible Pet Owner

There’s a joke on the British comedy series Absolutely Fabulous where a dopey character aptly named “Bubble” is asked to get her employer a laptop but she mistakenly hears it as lapdog. So she happily takes a dog out of her purse and the other character orders her to return it. Bubble replies, “Oh! But I’ve grown so fond. And it’s so cute. And… it’s not just for life! It’s for Christmas!” Now that’s clever, comedic wordplay, since the typical, realistic phrase would be something like, “It’s not just for Christmas, it’s for life.”

Did you ever wonder how many people buy a dog as a Christmas present only to come to discover they or the person they gifted the dog to came to realize that owning a dog is a long-term commitment? After the novelty of owning a new dog wears off, that dog is still going to need love and care for years to come. How can a person know if they’re likely to be a responsible pet owner before actually making that kind of commitment?

For starters, to be a responsible dog owner you’ve got to truly want the dog around and have both the time and space for the dog to live comfortably. Consider this: will you be able to give it adequate food and water daily for years to come? Are you financially able to provide proper health care for your pet? Are you willing to take your dog to the vet for check-ups? Are you or someone else going to walk the dog, pet the dog, play with the dog, and scoop their poop?

Owning a dog is like taking on a new member of your family. The dog really, truly relies on you for so much, and if the commitment is “not there” on your part, you shouldn’t own a dog. If, however, you’re willing to treat your dog like you would a small child, then you’re headed in the right direction and dog ownership makes sense.

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