With September being AKC Responsible Dog Owner Month, we thought we would reiterate what being a good dog owner is all about. Most of us had our first pet as a child, when our parents were trying to teach us responsibility. Chances are, you tried to get out of cleaning up after the dog and quickly realized that having a dog was not all about fun and games. You learned that responsibility is so much more than the basics of food and shelter.
Here we’ll talk about what makes us GOOD dog owners.
- A dog is not short-term. If you’re lucky, he’ll be around for 10 – 16 years or more. You don’t get to discard your dog if your situation changes or he no longer fits into your lifestyle. Dogs should be an integral part of your family, because they need love and companionship. Don’t have a dog if you’re just going to keep him chained up in your back yard. Don’t have more dogs than you can care for.
- Cost. It’s expensive to own a dog. According to the ASPCA, the first year of dog ownership costs $1,000 and $500 every year thereafter for food, veterinary treatment, and toys. Also, research if there is a cost or requirement for local licensing.
- Identification. Make sure your pet has identification, (tags, microchips, or tattoos) and that their registration information in associated databases is kept up-to-date.
- Keep your dog at an optimal weight and take him annually for a trip to the vet (and groomer depending on the breed). As your dog ages, a twice a year trip to the vet is recommended. Make sure they have all their vaccinations and preventative treatments (worms, fleas, ricks, parasites, etc.) Make sure you have a “go” bag packed for yourself and your animals in case of a natural disaster or emergency.
- Spay/neuter. There are many dogs and cats living in shelters who have no home. Don’t increase the pet overpopulation problem – have your pet spayed/neutered. Research shows that pets that are spayed and neutered live healthier, longer lives. Plus, spayed and neutered pets are less likely to develop behavior problems.
- Training. For the sake of your neighbors and the well being of your pet, teach him basic obedience as a start. A dog that knows when to sit, stay and come, is less likely to run into traffic and be a pleasure for your guests.
- Exercise. Every dog needs exercise. A daily walk, jog, swim will keep your dog physically and mentally healthier.
- Socialize. Meeting new people and other pets is good for your dog. There’s nothing like playmates to wear your dog out!
And never forget about love. Love your dog and he will love you a thousand times back.
As responsible pet owners, we want to make sure we are doing everything we can to have healthy, happy and safe dogs!