September marks the beginning of responsible dog ownership month! While we certainly all like to believe that we are responsible pet parents, the truth of the matter is that we all make mistakes, we are human after-all. Unfortunately, the severity and degree of those mistakes can often permanently hinder your relationship with your best friend! Since we want to make sure that you and your pets have the happiest, healthiest relationship possible, here are a few tips on how to be the best dog parent you can possibly be!
1. Choose The Right Dog Breed
While sometimes life can throw changes at us, it’s important to assess your lifestyle accurately enough to know the breed that would be the best fit for you. If you’re an active person, Collies, Corgis and Huskies might be a great fit for you! However, if you live in an apartment, a smaller dog might need to be part of this equation as well. Ensuring that sure you pick the right breed will mean a happy dog, and a happy dog makes for a happy pet parent! If you’re rescuing a dog even better, the rescue will know the personality of your potential best friend and will happily match you with a pup to fit your lifestyle.
2. Stay Up To Date On Vaccinations Or Titer Test Your Dog
This is easily one of the most important parts of responsible dog ownership. Vaccines will protect your dog from a plethora of environmental strains of disease that can often prove fatal to canines. Be sure to check with your veterinarian to ensure that your dog has all of the vaccinations required, as they can vary from state to state and even county to county and titer test your dog to see when vaccines are actually due.
3. Dog Proof Your House
Just like with kids, it’s vital to make sure that your dog can’t get into anything that could potentially harm them. This includes keeping all chemicals and cleaners locked up and out of reach, keeping the trash can closed, and making sure any and all small items cannot be eaten or swallowed. Some dogs may be less inclined to seek these items out than others depending on how curious of a canine you have, but it never hurts to err on the side of caution just in case. All it takes is for a usually lazy hound to become curious enough to investigate, only to later ingest something that sends them to the vet.
Even if you don’t have a very active dog, exercise is still very important. Whether this comes in the form of walks, play, or both, exercise keeps your dog both physically and mentally fit. Preventing obesity in your dog will also ensure they live a longer life, and who doesn’t want that? It’s also a wonderful time to bond with your dog, and it likely helps you burn a few extra calories too!
5. Healthy Eating
This is equally if not more important than exercise, and with all of the information out there on dog food there’s almost no excuse to be careless with your dog’s dietary habits. No one is saying you have to buy the very best food, or even make your own, but it’s imperative that you make sure your dog is getting all of their nutrients. Even if you only splurge every once in a while on those organic, all natural treats, take the time to do so! Simple veggies from the grocery store make a great supplement… broccoli, green beans, spinach… and they cost almost nothing compared to processed treats. Adding a simple raw egg to your pups food now and then will do wonders. Your pet’s life depends on making sure they always get what’s best for them.
6. Maintain Your Dog’s Hygiene
Dogs may not love bathtime, but sometimes you don’t have a choice. Baths, nail clippings, and especially dental hygiene are very important to ensure your dog is living their best life. Dental hygiene is especially important, as dental disease can and has been known to be a major cause of pet death in the past. It may not be the most glamours aspect of being a pet parent, but that doesn’t make it any less crucial to their well being.
7. Train Your Dog
Dogs are pack animals and social by nature, but that doesn’t mean they always know the best way to behave. Training your dog is an extremely important factor in keeping both you and your dog safe and happy, as it ensures that you can communicate easily and without interference from outside sources. It also helps them know how to better behave around strangers, be they humans or other animals, and who doesn’t want that?
We all do the best we can as pet parents. Responsible dog ownership is something we can all work on to better the lives of our pups.