Responsible Pet Ownership by Sarah Phillips, ACA

Being a pet owner is a truly rewarding experience. Our animals’ unremitting loyalty and companionship is something to cherish. However, it is important to remember that owning a pet is not just a privilege; it’s a responsibility. There are many factors to consider before adopting a pet, so you need to think seriously about the lifestyle and financial commitment that ownership entails.


  • Choose a pet that suits your home and lifestyle
  • The decision to become a pet owner should come after extensive research and planning (not as an impulsive purchase)
  • All aspects of your family’s life (hobbies, activities, personalities, schedules) should be evaluated
  • Keep only the number of pets for which you can provide appropriate food, water, shelter, veterinary care and companionship for
  • Ensure that your home is big enough and safe for a pet
  • Make sure that you will have the time to provide proper exercise, socialization, and training for your pet


According to the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA), the annual average cost of puppy ownership in the first year averages around $2,900 and a kitten’s first year can cost $1,850. To be a responsible pet owner, one must consider costs for the following:

  • Food and Treats
  • Veterinary Care:
    • Annual Exams
    • Yearly Vaccinations
    • Nail Trims
    • Micro chipping
    • Heartworm Testing & Prevention
    • Dental Care
    • Neuter or Spay Surgery
    • Unforeseen Emergencies
  • Grooming
  • Training
  • Boarding
  • Crates
  • Toys, leashes, (etc.)

Please remember that ownership is a lifetime commitment. Pets are not just accessories that can be thrown aside and forgotten. They need love, care and devotion. Unfortunately, the animal shelters are full of animals whose families simply decided they did not want to be pet owners anymore, or did not take into account the amount of work that goes into being a pet owner. So, before you adopt or buy an animal, make sure you are aware of your responsibilities as an owner, and prepare for a lifetime of companionship.