Pet Parenting

How to Be a Responsible Dog Owner

Friday, August 26, 2011


Before taking on the responsibility of owning a dog, it’s important to recognize that owning a pet is a long-term commitment. Be prepared to dedicate time, finances, energy as well as a good amount of patience to your new dog over his or her lifetime. Being a responsible dog owner involves more than providing your pup with basic needs such as food and shelter.


Keeping her safe

After house training, leash training is one of the first things you’ll want to work on with your new dog. Getting your dog used to being on a leash while you and your dog are outside of a fenced-in yard will help you keep your dog safe from becoming lost, wandering into traffic and other potential hazards. In addition, leashes help control your dog and allow you to reinforce her obedience training. Choose a well-fitting collar which is neither too snug, nor too loose. Your leash should not be too long, allowing your dog to get away from your control, and it should not be so short to where she is constantly tugging and pulling. In many places, leashes are required by law and should be part of all dog safety plans.


Losing your pet may not be the first thing on your mind as you are getting settled into your new living arrangement, but part of keeping your new dog safe is planning for the unexpected. Start by purchasing identification tags to help ensure her safe return in the event that your dog is lost. Your companion’s new I.D tag should include her name, your home address and phone number. For additional peace of mind, talk to your veterinarian about implanting a permanent identification microchip, such as resQ®.


As a new dog owner, you should also consider where to send your furry friend if you need to leave town or are away from home for extended periods during the day. If choosing a dog sitter, ensure your dog is comfortable with them, and they are comfortable with your dog. If you opt to use a boarding facility or “doggie daycare”, you should visit the facility with your dog prior to leaving her behind. Ask for recommendations from trusted friends or your veterinarian. Taking these steps will soothe the anxieties of both you and your dog.


Keeping her healthy

Preventative care is vital to ensuring a long life for your dog. You should start by choosing a veterinarian. Your veterinarian will advise you on the proper vaccinations and discuss regimens for external and internal parasite prevention. Your veterinarian will advise you on the proper diet for your dog, health concerns and recommendations for grooming her.


Exercise is also an important part of keeping your new dog healthy and happy. Some dog breeds require more activity than others, so ensure you’ve done your research and choose a pet whose lifestyle matches your own.


Keeping her happy

Although safety and physical health are two significant aspects to keep in mind when considering bringing a dog into your home, you should also consider your future pet’s emotional well-being. Although you have a job, friends and activities—a whole life away from home—your home will be the center of your dog’s world. Ensure that you have room in your life for the significant time commitment that your pet will require. Keep her active to reduce boredom and provide safe toys which will stimulate her curiosity and playful nature. Since you can’t always be home, consider leaving a radio or television on while you’re not home to prevent loneliness.


Owning a dog isn’t for everyone. Pets come with additional work and responsibility which can bring its own stress. For those who are ready, adopting a pet may be a rewarding, nurturing lifestyle for both you and your new dog.     

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