Article by Stephanie Perkins | Photography by John Morin | Owl Staff

For just about all of us who watch too much television, especially late at night, we’ve seen the commercial about donating to the SPCA. For those who haven’t, it’s basically a sad song set to pictures of rescued animals that have been abused. While many of the portrayed animals have been beaten, malnourished, and overall neglected, there are other ways people mistreat their pets that are not necessarily considered abuse.

You know that really cute Border Collie puppy you saw? Unless you’re a very experienced dog owner, you will have a hard time training this dog among others according to Many animals, while they may be cute, have different needs from breed to breed.

Once that puppy grows up, it’s not going to have enough room to exercise and let out its natural energy if you’re living in an apartment. Domesticated animals that don’t have the tools to let out their energy, whether it’s a scratching post or an active owner, can develop behavioral problems that will destroy your property and sanity. For the sake of all animals, please do your research before bringing a pet home and realizing you cannot take care of it.

Socialites love dressing up their dog like it’s a large, furry Barbie. While this isn’t necessarily abuse, it isn’t right for most animals. I say most because if you have a small or hairless pet, it will need to be dressed for extreme weather to prevent sickness, including skin conditions.

Otherwise, please don’t dress up your pet. It is possible that animals wearing clothes can have allergic reactions to the fabrics or enough friction from the clothes rubbing up against their skin to cause irritation. Also, if the animal has to adjust the way they naturally walk while wearing outfits, over time, they can develop hip or back injuries.

“If you need to leave your house and do things like go grocery shopping or to a doctor’s appointment, your pet is usually better off at home.”

When driving out to my favorite restaurant, I’m not thinking to bring my dog along so she can stay in the car while I stuff my face. Unfortunately, I have seen this happen. When I worked at a restaurant, I was coming onto my shift when I realized there was a dog barking inside of a car. I was able to keep an eye on the dog from my counter, and its owners didn’t return to the car until an hour and a half after I arrived.

If you need to leave your house and do things like go grocery shopping or to a doctor’s appointment, your pet is usually better off at home. While some argue that they don’t want to leave them alone, at least when they are in the house it is a familiar, climate-controlled environment.

These sorts of things happen all the time. You don’t have to buy your pet expensive food or schedule them an acupuncture appointment, but every animal deserves to be treated with decency.

As a general rule of thumb, treat any of your pets like your best friend. You wouldn’t leave your best friend locked inside of your car while you go shopping, would you?

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