I personally can’t even fathom how someone couldn’t be a great owner to their pets, but there are a lot of shitty people out there, as I’m sure you already know.
But here are the signs that people ARE great pet owners, straight from the mouths of veterinarians.
Here are the responses from AskReddit users.
1. Relative to each situation.
“Being a responsible owner is completely relative to each situation. Yes, make your preventative care appointments on time and follow all vaccine/diet/annual recommendations. But also how you treat your pet (and your vet) in less routine checkups and sick visits says a lot.
People can have all the money in the world and be terrible owners. On the other hand, the way people behave and make decisions in the face of financial limitations is also really telling. Owners that are willing to listen to me and make reasonable and informed decisions in the interest of their pet (even if we can’t reach a gold standard plan) are good pet parents.
You don’t have to be a millionaire to be a good pet parent. Be nice to your vet and know that the health and wellbeing of your little buddy is always top priority!”
2. All good points.
“The biggest thing is really do you think of things from your pets point of view. I don’t care if you look up things on the internet and ask about them. You should. There are lots of different ways for pets to die/be euthanized and we do recommend a “hospice” idea that makes their end as comfortable as possible and that a lot depends on the pet and you and the pet’s condition. (Maybe they’d like to be outside, for example.)
But if people think from their pets point of view, and if they spend a lot of time with them, it’s a good sign. For example, if someone asks “Will my puppy get bored in their crate all day while I’m at work?” (Yes.) I feel a lot better about them than if they say, “He peed in his crate again!” without thinking “maybe he couldn’t wait that long.”
If people go on walks with them, describe activities they like, have games with them, just ENJOY each other, that’s a sign there is a real relationship there, and not just some random being lurking around your house that you’re not paying attention to.
I don’t mind if you treat your dog like a “person.” I don’t even know what that means. Should you respect them? Yes. Think about their happiness (which you are solely responsible for)? Yes. If you have in your mind that your pet, like you, gets bored, needs exercise, needs attention, likes to have fun, doesn’t like feeling itchy or sick or lonely, and you are attentive to those things and getting help when necessary, that’s all good!”
3. When to say goodbye.
“A vet tech. Maybe a controversial one, but being ready to let go when the time comes. We see it all the time; pet parents who are too scared to say goodbye and keep paying for expensive treatments which can make a pet live longer, but doesn’t improve their quality of life. I’m 100% behind putting up a fight and doing anything you can to save a pet’s life, but living in pain is very hard and a lot to ask of an animal who can’t accurately describe their pain to you.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that some people love by hanging on, and others love by letting go. It’s hard, but it’s usually the right thing to do.”
4. Look at the coat.
“My vet mentioned once that he can tell by the condition of their coat.
He said that my dog was well loved, cared for and petted often due to the smooth coat.
Miss that doggy so much.”
5. Read this whole entry.
“Small animal veterinarian here.
A willingness to listen to, and gasp maybe even follow, the recommendations I make for care, especially for routine things like vaccines, individualized dietary needs, or preventative health. I can tell when owners think they know more than I do and don’t bother trying to inform and educate some who are stuck in their ways…e.g. that feeding raw meat is superior to cooked, that vaccines do more harm than good, or that Dogsnaturally.com is a reputable source of information. I love when my owners want to talk about health matters – if you have an open mind, I am a wealth of information!
Putting in the effort at home to care for your pet. Dogs and cats are not house ornaments. Both require socialization, interaction, some grooming, and attention. Not every pet is happy to come to see me, and I understand that, but if you don’t pay attention to whether or not your pet is eating (or even what they are eating), never know what their stool looks like, and don’t know what medications they are on, it makes my job a lot harder. Knowing these answers to the questions I ask shows you care!
Being willing to actually come see me and put in some effort when your pet is sick. Look, I’m sorry, guys. Medical care costs money. Treating your pet for free takes money away from the hospital and the people who work there. Veterinarians aren’t rich, and most clinics operate on thin margins. That being said, I will do everything I can to help within your individual limits, even if it’s not the best approach medically.
Yes, sometimes that means in the worst cases, euthanasia for a problem that is too costly to fix but would cause nothing but pain suffering if left untreated. I understand we all have limits, and you can be a great caregiver without endless disposable income. But if you expect me to magically fix your ailing pet with no exam, no diagnostics, and get angry that we have to charge for these things to keep our doors open, you lose sympathy in my eyes.
In short, look after your pets’ health, put in the effort to care for them, and try to listen to your doctor.”
6. All the signs.
“Good weight, clean coat, brings in for regular vaccine (even if it’s an indoor pet or “doesn’t leave the house”), nails aren’t too long, can answer basic questions about patients history “eating normal? Attitude normal? Drinking okay? Peeing/pooping okay?”.
Brings in for annual exams, has all puppies vaccines by age 1 at least (pets need vaccines every 1-3 years). Spayed and/or neutered if it’s a mutt and the pet isn’t intended to be breed by a breeder who is knowledgeable. Doesn’t come in “concerned” about their pet and wants to know what’s wrong but refuses to do any diagnostics.
Well socialized, owners correct bad behavior.”
7. Especially the last point…
“Vet assistant here. Good owners usually do the following.
Pay for recommend tests and meds when the pet is sick.
Have a well groomed and clean yorkie, shih tzu, cocker spaniel, ect
Stay up to date on preventative care, like vaccines and flea and heartworm prevention.
Follow the doctors diet advice (not feeding grain free, uneducated raw diets, or shit kibble).
Stay with their pet when it is euthanized. No animal should die without their beloved owner around.”
8. Heart = Melted.
“I’ll never forget a big biker dude (tats, glasses, beard, sour expression the whole thing!) Kneeling down besides his cat who was getting his temperature checked, cupping its head in his hands and whispering “Oh baby, I know… Oh my little flower petal, I wouldn’t like that too… Don’t cry, it will be over soon”
And I absolutely melted for him!
Dude was scary to look at before that but after that I saw a whole different kind of person.
9. Needs to be well kept.”
“We have dogs come in all the time with their toe nails curling over into their paw pads and mats all up in their fur.
If a pet seems to be well kept it’s usually a good sign.”
10. Weight is important.
“I’m a long time dog trainer and vet tech/assistant.
Good pet parents keep their dog at a healthy weight. Obese pets are not cute, they are incredibly unhealthy. Dogs are dogs, not people, you don’t have to feed them when they “act hungry” and just because they could eat more doesn’t mean they should.
Most pets I see these days (especially corgis and goldens, popular dogs du jour) are wildly overweight. It is much better for a dog to be too skinny than for him to be even a little overweight. People who listen when I tell them their pet could lose a few pounds – those are good pet parents.
For reference, dogs should have palpable ribs and hips covered with a thin (roughly <1cm thick) fat pad AND a noticeable abdominal tuck. Some dogs will have visible ribs and hips at a healthy weight, namely sight hounds and some working dogs.”
11. Tell the truth!
“Vet nurse here! It’s so simple but…admitting you were wrong, or simply telling the truth even if you fear it’ll get you in trouble. Cut your cat with scissors while trying to removed a matted clump? Don’t lie to us and say he must’ve gotten stuck under a fence, just tell us you made a mistake so we don’t have to attempt to check for other injuries on your agitated, long-haired cat.
Dog drooling excessively and clearly high as a kite? Just tell us it ate your pot brownie, it’s fine, we aren’t the police and we need to know ASAP that your dog has ingested a chocolate product more-so than the weed.
We have seen it ALL, and we won’t judge you. Even if you’ve been neglecting your pet/caring for them improperly, TELL US THAT, and tell us that you’re sorry and really want to change. It means we can set you on the right path and give you a chance to change and help your pet rather than having to consider contacting the authorities.”
12. Good vibes.
“I’m a surgeon for both small animals and people, but if the pet has a good vibe and the owner stays in the room, talks to the pet, ect, it’s a good sign.
Like ppl who don’t care, usually leave the room and just ask “how much is the bill”.”
13. From some veterans.
“My dad, who’s a vet for 20 years, says “When the animal’s a healthy weight and isn’t scared of the worker”
My mom, who’s a vet for 20 years says “it’s usually never one thing that determines it”
As someone who did grunt work in a vet, I say when they dont feed the animal before surgery just like we tell them not to
When you’re the one cleaning the throw up from dogs that get anesthesia and are the night before, that’s what I love the most. Following the professional’s instructions.”
14. Have mercy.
“I used to work at a vet.
The amount of pet owners who allowed their pets to deteriorate and suffer because they “love” the pet so much was overwhelming.
I always ask the question of: Would I want to live like this? No? Then the pet probably wouldn’t either.”
Our pets are family and they should be treated as such!
Okay, now we want to hear from you!
Share some pics and stories about your furry kiddos in the comments!