Pet ownership is a mixture of fun, excitement, responsibility, commitment, expense, and learning. Besides providing a window into the animal world, owning pets gives us opportunities to participate in activities that strengthen the human-animal bond. Pet ownership teaches us about the responsibility we have to the other living beings on this planet, and pets can be just plain fun.


  1. Present evidence that you have cared for a pet for four months. Get approval before you start.*
  2. Write in 200 words or more about the care, feeding, and housing of your pet. Tell some interesting facts about it. Tell why you have this kind of pet. Give local laws, if any, relating to the pet you keep.
  3. Show that you have read a book or pamphlet, approved by your counselor, about your kind of pet.
  4. Do any ONE of the following:
    • Show your pet in some pet show.
    • Start a friend raising a pet like yours. Help your friend get a good start.
    • Train a pet in three or more tricks or special abilities.
* Work done for other merit badges cannot be used for this requirement.


Scouting Literature

Animal Science, Bird Study, Dog Care, Fish and Wildlife Management, Horsemanship, Mammal Study, Reptile and Amphibian Study, and Veterinary Medicine merit badge pamphlets


    • Anderson, Jane, et al. Pet's Best Friend: What Animals Say About Their Kids. Tallfellow Press, 2001.
    • Chrystie, Frances N. Pets. 4th ed. Little, Brown, and Co., 1995.
    • Stein, Sara. Great Pets: An Extraordinary Guide to Usual and Unusual Family Pets. Workman Publishing, 1974.
  • Birds
    • Rach, Julie, and Gary A. Gallerstein. First Aid for Birds: An Owner's Guide to a Happy Healthy Pet. Hungry Minds, 1998.
    • Spadafori, Gina, and Brian L. Speer. Birds for Dummies. John Wiley and Sons, 2001.
    • Wolter, Annette, et al. Parakeets: Everything About Purchase, Care, Nutrition, Breeding, and Behavior. Barrons Educational Series, 1999.
  • Cats
    • Fogle, Bruce. The New Encyclopedia of the Cat. DK Publishing, 2001.
    • Smith, Carin A. 101 Training Tips for Your Cat. Dell Publishing, 1994.
    • Spadafori, Gina, and Paul D. Pion. Cats for Dummies. Hungry Minds, 1997.
  • Dogs
    • Baer, Ted. How to Teach Your Old Dog New Tricks. Barrons Educational Series, 1991.
    • Kilcommons, Brian, and Sarah Wilson. Good Owners Great Dogs. Warner Books, 1999.
    • Rutherford, Clarice, and David H. Neil. How to Raise a Puppy You Can Live With. Alpine Publications, 1999.
  • Fish
    • Axelrod, Herbert, et al. Dr. Axelrod's Mini-Atlas of Freshwater Aquarium Fishes. TFH Publications, 1996.
    • Boruchowitz, David E. The Simple Guide to Fresh Water Aquariums. TFH Publications, 2001.
    • Fairfield, Terry. A Commonsense Guide to Fish Health. Barrons Educational Series, 2000.
    • Sandford, Gina. An Essential Guide to Choosing Your Tropical Fresh- water Fish. Barrons Educational Series, 2000.
  • Small Animals
    • Curran, Wanda L. Your Guinea Pig: A Kid's Guide to Raising and Showing. Storey Books, 1995.
    • Von Frisch, Otto. Hamsters. Barrons Educational Series, 1998.
    • Vanderlip, Sharon L. Mice. Barrons Educational Series, 2001.
  • Other Pets
    • Bartlett, Richard D., and Patricia P. Bartlett. Lizard Care from A to Z. Barrons Educational Series, 1997.
    • Kanable, Ann. Raising Rabbits. Rodale Press, 1981.
    • Palika, Liz. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians. Alpha Books, 1998.
    • Searle, Nancy, and Gwen Steege. Your Rabbit: A Kid's Guide to Raising and Showing. Storey Books, 1992.