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Learn about the responsibilities of being a pet owner.

Owning a Pet

Pets really can make us physically and mentally healthier. They make for great caregivers, and keep us company when we’re sick or feeling down. Plus, they can make us feel safe while we’re home alone, and keep an eye on the house while we’re out.

It is your responsibility as a pet owner to thoroughly research the basic requirements of your chosen pet. And it’s important to do this before bringing your pet home so that you are well informed about the specific needs of your new pet. RSPCA NSW highly recommends looking for a comprehensive book about your chosen species or breed, and consulting with an animal health professional.

It’s also important to understand that owning a pet is a lifelong commitment. Depending on breed, health and lifestyle, cats can live for 15-20 years, dogs for 10-20 years and birds for up to 80 years.

Companion animals thrive on human company and will always depend on you. You should also consider:

  • your working hours
  • your social life
  • the time you spend away from home, including holidays
  • whether you are prepared to walk a dog every day
  • whether you are home often enough to keep a cat company
  • who will care for your pet when you are away from home

Pets also need to be:

  • fed and watered
  • given access to appropriate shelter when in the yard
  • groomed and bathed
  • played with and entertained
  • walked and exercised