Responsible Pet Owners Month: 7 Ways To Keep Dogs Safe And Happy

February is Responsible Pet Owners Month, and it’s a great time to go over some of the basic steps you can take to be responsible for your furry companion. 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 can reduce the risk of 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 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 Identification

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 their 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 shouldn’t eat the amount of carbs like corn or sugars in many commercial dog foods. These are known as “fillers” because they fill your dog up without providing much of what they need nutritionally. Look for foods with meat as the number one ingredient. Beware of unnamed animal by-products, because they could be anything. Same with “crude” protein. You want the top ingredient to be the meat itself. Also, stay on top of dog-food recalls. Better yet, talk to your vet or nutritionist and learn more about making your own dog food so you know what’s in it.

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 concerning dogs. Is there a lost dog in the neighborhood? Have there been dog-snatchings or poisonings nearby? 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 dog owner community. 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 almost 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, dog flu, or canine influenza H3N2, has been reported 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 your pup’s poops. Dog feces is filled with parasites and bacteria that can spread disease throughout the canine community–eek! Don’t make the doggy DNA police come after you. Just keep those plastic bags on hand. Attach them to your leash. Keep the streets not-so-poopy for other people and dogs.

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!

Are you planning to take special care of your dog during Responsible Pet Owners Month? What other ways can dog owners be more responsible? Let us know in the comments below!

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