“What makes you think you’re ready for that kind of responsibility?”
It’s probably the first thing that most parents will say when their kids ask for a family pet, especially a dog? Most of us with dogs in the family have either said it, or can recall it being said to us some time ago. But it’s safe to say that question isn’t just for kids. Any dog owner, or a potential canine parent, should ask this of themselves. The thing is, even though the World Wide Web is a great tool for researching “all things doggy”, oftentimes too much information can be overwhelming. You’ve probably come across lists of 100 (or more) tips for responsible dog ownership.
As dog lovers, we think the abundance of resources on doggy ownership is great, but we also come from the school of keeping it simple. Because even though there are definitely some standards of care to uphold, many issues relating to dog care are relative and depend on breed and preference (yours and your dog’s). So for the sake of this article, we’ll focus on three simple points to remember when asking yourself, “am I being a responsible dog owner?”
Protect your pet from sickness and injury:
This includes annual check-ups at the veterinarian, and making sure that your dog has a healthy diet. If you notice anything out of the ordinary with his coat, weight, or waste, consider changing his diet and contact his vet if it persists. Other things to watch out for are fleas, ticks, and poisonous household items and plants within your pet’s reach.
Consider your neighbors:
More than just keeping more intimidating breeds out of your neighbors’ way for their safety and peace of mind, considering your neighbors and community means, cleaning up behind your pet. Also, prevent or manage incessant barking. Generally speaking, teach your dog obedience, and clean up after them-always. Your pet is your responsibility and should not be other people’s burden.
Avoid Unwanted Litters:
By avoid we don’t mean wait until your dog is pregnant and ignore the situation. Take care of a problem before it exists by keeping female dogs in heat properly protected. That way she won’t be vulnerable to other dogs, and you won’t end up with an unwanted litter. So, check with the vet for birth control methods. And this goes for your male dogs too. You don’t want to add to the overcrowded population of unwanted dogs, so think carefully before you breed. It shouldn’t be an accident. However, if it happens, have a plan.
Overall, a responsible pet owner protects their dogs, considers others, and breeds (or not breeds) responsibly to avoid unwanted litters. There are a hundred plus choices to make within each one of these points, but with all things, do what works best for you and your dog’s situation. Consult the veterinarian when unsure (and sometimes when you think you are sure), and lastly consider others around you. With that, you then can consider yourself a responsible dog owner.