What’s Best for Our Pets

Listen 49:09
A border collie dog with a stethoscope and dressed in doctor costume

(Luljo/Big Stock)

Owning a pet means making decisions that affect their health — from what they eat, to whether and how much they exercise, to how they spend their days. Some of those decisions are easy — should we get our yowling cat fixed? — but others are wrenchingly tough — how much is too much for lifesaving surgery?

On this episode, we explore some of the emotional, financial, and ethical dilemmas that come with owning a pet. Among the conundrums we explore: Should cats be let outside? When is it OK to crate your dog — and is there science that supports the practice? When do you know that it’s time to let your fur-baby go — and what’s the kindest way to do it?

Also heard on this week’s episode:

  • Bioethicist and writer Jessica Pierce weighs in on some of the complicated ethics of owning pets — from whether goldfish and geckos are in solitary confinement, to the humane way of walking dogs. Her latest book is called “Unleashing Your Dog: A Field Guide to Giving Your Canine Companion the Best Life Possible.”
  • We chat with Mariea Ross-Estrada, a veterinarian and professor at North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine, about dos and don’ts for keeping pets.

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