Owning a dog, or being a pet parent, is not only a joy but a privilege and a responsibility. Before you consider bringing a pet into your home, think seriously about the responsibilities of being a dog owner. Some of these include:
- Commit to your dog for his entire life. As a dog ages, his needs change and can require specialized care or medications.
- Make sure you find a dog that fits your lifestyle as well as your home, and avoid impulsive decisions.
- Understand that being a responsible dog owner requires both time and money.
- Make sure you can afford taking care of more than one dog if your bring another one home. This includes appropriate dog food, water, shelter, health care and enrichment (dog toys).
- Make sure your dog(s) are properly identified (i.e., tags, microchips, etc.) and that their information is kept up-to-date.
- Provide exercise and mental stimulation appropriate to your dog(s) age, breed and health status.
Well-Being of The Dog and Others
- Be sure that your dog(s) don’t negatively impact other people, animals or the environment. This includes proper waste disposal, not allowing them to run loose, and noise control as well.
- Socialize and train your dog(s) to ensure their well-being and the well-being of other animals and people.
- Be sure that your pets are part of your emergency or disaster plan, including an evacuation kit.
- Know and adhere to local ordinances, including licensing, vaccinations and leash requirements.
- Establish and maintain a relationship with your vet, to include spay/neuter. If you choose to not spay or neuter, help control your pets’ reproduction through planned and managed breeding and/or containment.
- Be certain to provide preventive healthcare (e.g., vaccinations, parasite control) for the life of your dog.
- Plan for the care of your dog(s) when or if you are no long able to care for them.
- Recognize declines in your dog(s) quality of life. Consult with your veterinarian regarding appropriate end-of-life care (i.e., pain relief, hospice and euthanasia).
Being a responsible dog owner allows you and your dog to get the most out of life. By being responsible and taking proper care of your dog(s) you can truly enjoy all the perks of owning a pet.
Renee Jones-Lewis is a certified professional dog trainer, having received instruction from canine behaviorist Dr. Pamela Reid, plus nationally acclaimed trainers: Patricia McConnell, Pia Silvani, and Jean Donaldson, to name a few. She serves as a Pet Marketing and Canine Specialist for JeffersPet and JeffersPet.com. Questions about this article, training or non-emergent health concerns are welcome.
Renee can be reached most days from 9am – 5pm Central Time (Mon-Fri) at 1-800-JEFFERS (533-3377) ext 381 or by email rsjones@jefferspet. com.
Information given here is meant to be helpful and/or educational. It is, in no way, intended to supersede, challenge or supplant the diagnosis, treatment or advice of a licensed veterinarian.