What does it mean to be a responsible pet owner

Owning a pet is a hugely rewarding experience but it comes with responsibilities as well.

Deciding to take on a puppy or a kitten is a responsibility for at least 15 or more years, and one needs to be totally clear in making this decision because it is a commitment for that pet’s lifetime.

The first responsibility which has to be assumed is choosing the correct pet for your lifestyle. Clearly if you are live in a one bedroom flat and work from 7am till 19h00, a husky is not going to be the right mix for you, in fact, you may rather feel comfortable getting a goldfish who is not demanding, or maybe a cat who prefers to be alone to snooze 22 out of 24 hours a day!! However, if you live in a house with a garden, and you work from home, then maybe a husky is the right mix for you provided of course you have double fencing and 2m high walls since huskies are known to be escape artists. Then again, maybe a Labrador, or a great Africanis mix may be the right one for you!! So the point is: decide on what kind of lifestyle you have, how many hours a day you can devote to your pet, are you able to go for walks with your dog, or maybe a cat is better suited to you as you want a companion on your lap to watch tv with you, and you don’t see yourself going for walks etc!

So now you have recognised that owning a pet takes a commitment as well as a financial investment as well!! What’s next?

As a responsible pet owner, we need to not only make sure that our pets have access to clean water and to good healthy food, but it also means that we have to take responsibility for their health as well.

Sterilisation is a huge issue all over the world, and an unsterilized pet runs the risk of not only bringing more and more pets into the world but it means that your pet’s health is at risk each and every time that they have to bring puppies or kittens into the world.

Animal Welfare organisations throughout the world are faced with the results of an unsterilized pet on a daily basis, having to find homes for those unwanted puppies and kittens.

One also needs to recognise that preventative care is equally important, and by this one needs to make sure that the pet has annual vaccinations and that parasites are controlled as well with a quarterly worm tablet!!

Proper socialisation and training will also ensure that your vets bills are reduced as your pet will listen to your command and not just go dashing off, possibly getting run over, or into a dog fight!

Providing mental stimulation for your dog or cat is equally important. Not only does this stop your dog from endlessly destroying your furniture out of sheer boredom but it can create a tighter bond between you and your dog when you play together!!

Stay tuned for more pet related articles from your KAWS team!


Approaching the Xmas season with your pet.

We are about to enter the silly season , and that means that if you are going away, please make sure that your dog or cat has been booked into a suitable kennel or cattery. If you decide to leave your pet at home with a neighbour or pet sitter looking after your pet, please also make sure that the person you are entrusting your animal too, is somebody who is responsible and not somebody who is going to forget to feed and provide fresh water for your pet. A responsible pet sitter will ensure that your pet has company during the day, and that your dog is walked at least twice a day, and that the littler box for your cat is also cleaned on a daily basis. Pets need to have companionship too, so it’s not about just rushing in and feeding and watering, it’s about providing that loving touch, patting your dog, throwing a ball for him, and spending some time playing with your cat as well. Provide your pet sitter with the name and telephone number of your vet so that in the event that your pet takes ill, your pet sitter will know how to contact your vet.

Prior to going away, make sure that your pet sitter and your pet are well acquainted with each other. Get your pet sitter to join you prior to you going away, on walks with your dog, so that your dog and your pet sitter get used to each other. Don’t just assume that all pet sitters will be compatible with your dog! Make sure that not only are you happy with your pet sitter but that your pet is happy with his or her sitter as well. The last thing you want is to receive a distraught call from your pet sitter refusing to continue to look after your pet when you are 500 km’s away enjoying your hard earned break!

A little bit of home work before hand will make for an enjoyable holiday for you and for a happy pet as well.

There are many organisations out there who offer professional pet sitting services.

Here are a few links which may assist you in your search:



Stay tuned for more pet related articles from your KAWS team!




KAWS Cadets programme

On Tuesdays we visit the Gr. 3’s and 4’s from the KidsCan! aftercare centre, a youth development project located in Kleinmond. The children can’t wait for their pet care lessons which form part of developing their Life Orientation Skills. They even have to write exams and pass at the end of the year to qualify as KAWS cadets.