Responsible pet ownership

Many people keep pets as companions. But in Canada and around the world, many pets suffer from inadequate care, neglect or even abandonment.

World Animal Protection works to promote responsible pet ownership around the world. This includes programs in developing countries, where access to animal welfare information and veterinary care can be scarce or unavailable.

Caring for animals begins at home

Most people in Canada have good access to veterinary care but the best way to keep pets healthy is by consistently meeting their needs ourselves, every day. Animal welfare groups use the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare checklist to ensure animals are happy and healthy, and you can too. All five freedoms need to be met to prevent suffering.

Your pet should be:

  • Free from hunger and thirst.
  • Free from discomfort.
  • Free from pain, injury and disease.
  • Free from fear and distress.
  • Free to express normal behaviour.

This final point means that we should be able to understand our pets’ behavioural needs and give them the opportunity to express them. For example, rather than trying to stop a cat scratching indoors, provide them with something to scratch on, like a scratching post.

Before choosing to own a pet, please make sure that you have the resources, knowledge and ability to care for them properly.

Caring for animals is everyone’s responsibility

Whether or not you have a pet, there are everyday actions you can take to ensure their welfare:

  • Report animal cruelty 
    Learn to recognize signs of abuse or neglect. Report any abuse immediately to your local SPCA. Things to look out for include: untreated injuries or signs of disease; lack of shelter or space; lack of food or water; matted or patchy fur or overgrown or neglected nails, claws or hooves; physical abuse such as hitting or kicking; visible rib or hip bones.
  • Help reduce animal overpopulation
    There are millions of unwanted and stray dogs and cats in the world. Make sure your pet is neutered and microchipped if possible. By adopting your next animal companion from a local rescue shelter, and encouraging others to do so too, you will not only be providing a happy home to an animal in need of care and affection, but you'll also be helping to reduce the demand for animals bred for pet stores.

Recognizing that cruelty can stem from ignorance, World Animal Protection works to improve the welfare of owned animals through education. 

Please help us continue to educate animal owners by spreading the word about how to care for pets.

Tell the world: