Being a responsible dog owner entails more than simply adoring and loving your dog (though that’s a crucial part of the job). This is a real commitment consisting of vital aspects that cannot simply be ignored, so before deciding to become a dog owner, you must first commit yourself to acting responsibly. In addition to fulfilling your dog’s bare essentials, here are a few important rules that will ensure you act as a responsible, conscientious dog owner.
Ready for the Long Haul
Once you’ve gotten a dog, it’s not like applying for a loan. When dogs misbehave, you cannot just trade them in. If they get sick, it’s your responsibility to help them get better. If the circumstances of your home life change, always consider what toll it’s going to take on the dog, making every effort possible to help them along.
Bonding isn’t something that’s done once and then finished—your bond with a dog grows during the first couple of weeks and months of being its owner, but maintaining this bond is a lifelong commitment. Remember—while you’re working, with friends, or out running errands, your dog is likely waiting on you to get home.
Dogs should always have a collar with proper identification or even a microchip for extra protection. Current identification can greatly help you reunite with your dog if it becomes lost instead of simply letting it become one more face in an overloaded animal shelter.
Neuter and Spay
Unfortunately, millions of animals are euthanized every year due to pet overpopulation. For those who haven’t neutered or spayed their dog, you should remedy this to avoid contributing to the problem. For those who intend to breed their dog, you should do so responsibly as well by following proper protocol if your dog would be suitable for breeding, which would likely exclude mixed breeds, “purebreds” with unclear genetic histories, and any dogs with substantial health problems.
Canine training benefits not only dogs and dog owners but others as well. A properly socialized, well-behaved dog is far less likely to cause upset in public places and more likely to be welcomed at gatherings. If any misbehavior leads to injury, an accident, or something similar, it’s the dog owner who has to take full responsibility.
Respect Others, Earn Respect
This is likely common sense, but some dog owners exist who simply don’t “get” it. Rather than enforce stigmas against dogs or dog owners, try adhering to a few more rules:
- Keep dogs in fenced-in yards or leashed when outside: Even in places where it’s legal for dogs to be off-leash, always have them under supervision and don’t let them wander your neighborhood.
- Don’t leave barking dogs outside: The incessant barking is unfair to the dog and annoying and rude to neighbors.
- Pick up after dogs: No person on the planet wants to smell or step in the “gift” a dog leaves behind. Pick up their excrement immediately and properly dispose of it, using a bag dispenser for convenience.
Keep Dogs Healthy
To make sure your dog stays healthy, always have fresh water available and the right amount of quality dog food. Exercise as well as a place for comfort and shelter are also essential for a dog’s mental and physical wellness. Due to how their survival instinct has evolved, dogs won’t show illness or pain as outwardly as humans do, so it’s best to pay attention and have supplies on hand, such as gauze, antibiotics, and Manuka honey. Regular veterinarian visits are vital for helping you prevent severe health problems and detecting minor problems before they can become serious.
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