The BSAVA believes that owning a pet is a privilege which should not be undertaken lightly. Pet ownership is associated with many benefits however it comes with a duty to provide for the welfare needs of the pet and obligations to society to ensure that the pet is kept in good health and under control.
In the United Kingdom the Animal Welfare Acts [i] have introduced a positive duty of care making it the responsibility of the owner to ensure that their animal’s welfare needs are met.
These include the need:
- For a suitable environment (place to live)
- For a suitable diet
- To exhibit normal behaviour patterns
- To be housed with or apart from other animals (if applicable)
- To be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease
 The Animal Welfare Act 2006 (which applies in England and Wales), the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 and the Welfare of Animals (Northern Ireland) Act 2011
The BSAVA are aware that the costs of veterinary care can be a surprise to many owners. Before taking on a pet it is important to understand the likely costs of owning an animal for its whole lifetime, which includes routine veterinary care and making provision for unexpected healthcare costs. The financial impact of owning a pet may be mitigated by (for example) taking out pet insurance or making regular payments into an allocated savings account.