We would have to assume that when we get a pet, we would want to do all we can to be responsible pet parents and give them the best care possible. They, just as babies, do not come with instructions, but maybe they should.
This new family member, even though not human, is a living creature that cannot take care of itself and desperately depends on us for all their needs and necessities to be a happy healthy pet. They look to us for their meals, shelter and help when sick. Our devoted ownership surely does not go unrewarded because pets have a way of being loyal with unconditional love.
There actually should be some kind of instructional sheet/pamphlet that needs to go with every adopted pet and/or required reading from your local Vet. When you get a pet, to establish your relationship and respect, begin establishing rules and basic commands. This is directed mostly at dog and cat owners (I know cats do have a mind of their own and you must be honored to live in their home), but life will be a whole lot easier if some sort of rules and restrictions are set from day one with any pet.
There are so many resources for educating you into being a very loyal pet owner. You took that job on when you adopted that pet. Your Vet is usually more than happy to help you with any viable advice. Hopefully you did not purchase your pet from a pet store as the guarantee of actually getting a good healthy pet is not always common knowledge. As a result, once the pet is sold, that pet store is not the most helpful, so our hearts always go out to all those poor animals.
A great resource is the Humane Society. Their number one concern is for the health and happiness of animals, and their proper care. They want you to present any questions to them so that they can help. In fact, they have a resource on line which teaches responsibility of pet owners, the care, safety and true respect between pets and owners. Their information on hsus.org is extensive. Regardless whether you got a pet from them or any other shelter, breeder, pet shop or a friend, hsus.org can answer any question you may have.
Your responsibility is to feed your pet a nutritious pet food and occasional treats (no people foods), plenty of water at all times, provide them shelter including their own “space” such as a bed, blanket or an open crate with bed in it which is their retreat when they need solidarity. Begin early basic training so your pet knows what is expected of them, toys, regular Vet visits which includes all their necessary shots, deworming, heartworm prevention, etc., regular grooming from a reputable groomer, ample exercise and/or walks. Just as important is ample attention to your pet, playing with them and lots and lots of love.
All your efforts will never go unrewarded as most our pets, even when reprimanded, bounce back immediately and love us, unconditionally. Please don’t commit to adding a new pet into the family unit if you are unable to fulfill all the responsibilities that go into giving that devoted pet all the love, care and attention they deserve from you. It is a true reward on their parts and they do have a way of completing our lives.