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Choices for responsible pet ownership

Zoo Atlanta is an advocate of responsible pet ownership and care. In many of our educational programs, signage and presentations, we provide messaging on this important issue that impacts not only pets, but wildlife around the world. Choosing a new pet is really adding a new member of the family. It’s so important to choose wisely and make sure that you choose the right type of pet that can thrive in your home, as well as the right individual, for each animal has its own personality, just like humans. The first thing to know is that wild animals do not make good pets.  Animals that are not domesticated may seem cute or cool, but they are not accustomed to living with humans or in human conditions, so stick to domesticated animals as a responsible pet owner. Here are a few tips on how to find just the right furry, scaly or feathery new addition to your family.

Choosing the right type of pet
The first thing to do when choosing a new pet is to do your research on different types of pets. Today there are many options, from dogs and cats to birds and fish, and you need to understand what the animal’s basic needs are regarding space, attention, food, short and long-term care, etc.  Using sources such as the American Veterinary Medical Association Responsible Pet Ownership Guidelines will help guide you during the decision-making and planning process.

Responsibly sourced pets
Once you have done your research and know what type of pet you want to get, now you need to decide where to go to get it. The best choice for pet adoption is always your local shelter or rescue, as these animals need a good home and often these organizations can tell you about the personalities of the animals. Some of these personality traits can answer important questions for you, such as is the individual good with kids or other pets, are they potty trained, have they been crate trained, or even do they have any medical conditions. This information can be so important as you make this long-term commitment.   

Building the relationship
Once you get your new family member home, remember that there will be a transition time for them and for you to get to know each other. During this time, patience will be important as you adapt your habits and lifestyle. Training is essential, as well as excellent veterinary care for your new family member. Find a reputable veterinarian and make sure your pet has an initial well check visit. If you need help finding a trainer or training resources, veterinarians are always willing to provide recommendations.

In the end, your life will be enriched by the addition of a new pet. Animals can bring great joy to your life if you are responsible and do your research before you select the type of animal, source them smartly, and take the time to build your relationship. For more information on responsible pet ownership check our your local human society such at the Atlanta Humane Society.

Want to learn more about how Zoo Atlanta cares for their wild and domesticated animal ambassadors?  Explore our website or visit our social media channels to see regular updates from our teammates.
Michelle Kolar
Vice President of Education

Connect With Your Wild Side #onlyzooatl