As a pet owner, what does “responsible pet ownership” mean to you? Is it your ability to properly care for your pet? Or the extra mile you are willing to go to in order to improve your pet’s well-being? Either way, both are correct as they illustrate good pet ownership. However, to be a responsible pet owner means making hard decisions that might not always result in what you want but is best for your pet.
68 per cent of New Zealand households have at least one pet. This number has made it the highest ranked country in terms of pet ownership. However, even with such a high number, there is no guarantee that all of these households are responsible pet owners.
A large part of responsible pet ownership is providing your animal with the right environment for their growth and development. As the debate regarding indoor and outdoor habitats for pets continues on around the world, consider assessing your situation at home. Is it better to keep your pet indoors or outdoors?
What happens when you keep your pet indoors?
Reduce Some of Your Stress
For years, animals have been believed to have healing abilities. As studies have shown, animal therapy works in helping the body create oxytocin, a hormone that is responsible for making you feel happy. The hormone is also helpful in ridding the body of stress. With stress classified as a contributor to heart disease, having a pet at home allows you a convenient way of helping feel less stressful after a hectic day.
Improve Your Home’s Safety
A pet provides a sense of safety and security. For centuries, dogs have been trusted to guard homes. Animals have an innate sense for danger which helps them keep alert for anything suspicious.
Lessen Risks of Parasites and Illnesses
Keeping your pet indoors lessens the risk of exposure to parasites such as fleas and ticks. Aside from being an itchy nuisance and hygiene problem for your pet, these blood-sucking parasites often carry vector-borne diseases that are harmful to your pet and yourself.
Why should you consider letting your pet live outdoors?
Sensitivity to New Environments
Keeping your pet solely indoors creates a predictable and stagnant environment that will affect their ability to adapt to new places. This also increases the risk of your pet getting distressed when they interact with other humans and animals when they are taken outside. This then poses the risk of aggressive behaviour developing as it is usually triggered by fear and distress.
Lowers Property Value
As a pet owner, you know just how much fur a cat or dog can shed. Even with regular grooming and brushing, fur can still get stuck on carpets and in your HVAC system. In New Zealand’s competitive property market, damaged furniture or appliances can severely lower your home’s value. Strong odours from pet waste can also permeate walls, making them part of your home’s natural smell. While there is the option of getting them fixed or replaced before you put your home on the market, this is often expensive and time-consuming.
Increased Risk of Health Problems
Not allowing your pet to go outside to burn off their excess energy increases the risk of boredom and even health problems. Pet obesity is a serious problem that often occurs because the animal lacks the appropriate amount of exercise. With obesity, your pet is at risk of other illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes.
Every pet deserves a responsible owner. In adopting your pet, you took on the responsibility of providing them with the love and care they will need in order to grow in a safe and healthy environment. While there is nothing wrong with keeping them indoors for the majority of the time, allowing them to run around outside provides them with a balanced home life that works towards the betterment of their physical and emotional health.