Vets Share Signs Someone’s A Good Pet Parent (20 Stories)

As our civilization has evolved, we’ve put more emphasis on being pet parents. There’s an entire market out there just for “Dog Mom” and “Dog Dad” apparel, and “cat lady” is now something to take pride in. Yep, we take our pets seriously, because they are part of our family. Really. In the United States, 72 percent of people view their pet as part of their family.

But that doesn’t make everyone a good pet parent. Just like parenting children, styles run the gamut, from nurturing to straight-up abusive.

Recently, someone on Reddit wanted to better understand signs that someone is a good pet parent. So they asked veterinarians to share.

Below are 20 examples Redditors gave.


“I’ll never forget (as an assistant) 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.” – ammabarnes


“I’ll never forget when a vet complimented my pet parenting abilities.

I have a very anxious cat, who obviously hated going to the vet. He would meow and hiss and tensed up whenever they touched him. I’m sure he wasn’t the meanest cat they’d ever dealt with, but he was clearly scared and unhappy.

I don’t think I did anything special that day, I just stood with him, petting him as they checked his temperature and gave him shots. I scratched his head and pet his back. Normal cat owner things.

While doing the check up, the vet turns to me and so casually says. “You’re so good with him, he trusts you so much.”

This was over five years ago and it still makes my heart warm.” – DramaBrat


“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!” – jessw44


“Not a vet but 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.” – SuperSlickZ


“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!” – cloud_watcher


“Not a vet but 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.” – Royal-Light


“On the flip side, a person is generally a bad pet owner if, when frightened in the vet office, their pet goes to a staff member for comfort and reassurance instead of to their owner.” – foodfighter


“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 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.” – missy


“Not a vet, but ours has complimented us many times on the way our dogs respond to being touched. From very early on, we wanted our dogs to be comfortable having their ears cleaned, teeth brushed, nails trimmed, being checked for ticks, groomed, etc. So we went through a nightly ritual of doing all these things (even if not needed) and as a result, our dogs are very easy-going and non-reactive to touch. Our vet has said that too many people do their dogs a disservice by not getting into these habits from the very beginning, when/if possible (i.e. it’s understood that if you rescue a dog, you may not be able to do this).” – OrneryYesterday7


“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.

Vet tech.” – GalacticWolf87