7 Ways To Keep Your Dog Safe And Happy

February is Responsible Pet Owner Month, and it’s a great time to go over some of the basic steps you can take to be responsible for your fur baby. Even experienced dog owners could use a refresher sometimes. Here are seven ways you can make sure your pup is safe, healthy, and happy.

1. Spay Or Neuter Your Pet

A dog has a cone collar around his neck.

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Bob Barker kept saying it for a reason. It’s much healthier for dogs to be spayed or neutered as it limits their aggression and need to roam or fight other animals, and it protects them from certain cancers. There are low-cost options. The ASPCA has a mobile unit in my neighborhood, for example. Get it done!

2. Go Back To Dog School

Is your dog still greeting friends and strangers alike by jumping up on them, or maybe barking at every single living and non-living thing out there? Consider taking a training class and addressing these issues once and for all. Classes are a fun place to meet other dogs and their owners. And you can strengthen your bond with your dog. Also, there are all kinds of free instructional training videos on YouTube, like the one above.

3. Renew Your Dog License

A Labrador lies on a park bench wearing a blue collar with big tags.

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Make sure your dog has the correct and most up-to-date information on his tags and microchip. Did you move recently? Change phone numbers? Maybe your now-ex is the primary contact and that’s not a good thing? You might have a hard time reclaiming your lost dog if you don’t have the right information.

4. Check Dog Food Labels

A dog looks up next to a bowl of food.

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Dogs don’t need carbs like corn or sugars. Look for grain-free food. Beware of animal by-products, because they could be anything, probably something gross like hooves. Same with “crude” protein. You want the top ingredient to be the meat itself. Also, stay on top of dog-food recalls.

5. Join A Local Dog Group

A group of kids sit with their arms around each other and three dogs.

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This could be for fun and exercise, or just to stay informed about local situations. Is there a lost dog? Have there been dog-snatchings or poisonings? Or maybe there’s something fun like a dog walk-a-thon for a local shelter or a  dog jacket knitting circle. Whatever the case may be, get involved with your local dogs. Look around Facebook or other social media sites for active groups.

6. Vaccinate

A Samoyed gets a vaccination at the vet.

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You may think: “What are the odds of my dog getting rabies?” Probably really low. But still, it is FATAL to all mammals who get it and there is no cure. Parvo and Distemper are more prevalent, so it’s definitely essential to get your dog protected. Also, there has been a dog flu going around. Canine Influenza H3N2 has been detected across the country. Ask your vet if your area has been affected.

7. Curb Your Enthusiastic Dog

A dog sits and waits while his owner gets bags from a dispenser next to a trash can.

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It’s important to clean up after your pup’s poops. It’s filled with parasites and bacteria, eek! Don’t make the Doggie DNA police come after you. Just keep those plastic bags on hand. Attach them to your leash. Keep the streets not-so-poopy for our future generations!

February is also Pet Dental Month, so why not be a responsible dog owner and get those teeth checked? That way, you can celebrate Pet Dental Month and Responsible Pet Owner Month all at the same time!