Dogs are one of the most special species on earth and a valued part of any pet owners family. As such, it is the responsibility of the dog owner to provide the best possible care for their pets that they can. These are 9 things every responsible dog owner does.
Dogs do not necessarily need to be fed the most expensive, fanciest food on the market. In saying this, dog owners should be aware of what they are feeding their dogs and the ingredients in their dog’s food. Selecting a diet with quality, balanced ingredients provides your dog with the best possible nutritional value, which will in turn influence the longevity of your canine.
Feeding the correct portion will also go a long way in ensuring that your dog is living a healthy life. Underfeeding a dog is unacceptable but overfeeding to the point of obesity is also a form of neglect. Feeding table scraps ties into this point as well, since processed human foods are often toxic to dogs and promotes obesity. Providing your dog with two correctly portioned meals of dog food per day will go a long way in ensuring that they will be with you for as long as possible.
Imagine living with heavy matts in your hair all the time. This is how dogs feel when they do not get a regular brush. Especially in long haired breeds, matting can be very painful and once it gets to a certain point, the only method for correction in shaving them.
Furthermore, research the breed and coat type of your dog. Dogs with a double coat, like huskies and pomeranians should not be shaved. While it may seem that a thick coat would be hot during the summer months, shaving a double coated dog will actually promote them over heat. Their coat is naturally designed to cool them down in hot temperatures.
Following the trend of grooming, consistent nail trimming is also important. Overgrown nails are extremely painful and uncomfortable for dogs. Uncooperative dogs can make this a difficult experience but it is important to follow through. If your dog turns into a monster when the nail clippers come out, use treats as positive reinforcement or consult the help of a groomer.
3. Provide clean, fresh water
Dogs should have access to water at all times but ensuring that the water is changed and fresh is also extremely important. Old water may not taste as good to your dog, discouraging them to drink and causing them to become dehydrated. Furthermore, standing water can be a harbor for dangerous bacteria and pathogens that may make your dog sick.
4. Vet visits
Just like your yearly visits to the general practitioner, your dog needs a yearly visit to the vet just to make sure everything is operating properly. One year is the equivalent of seven years of a dog's life. This is especially important as there is potential for a lot to go wrong in that amount of time.
Puppy and annual vaccinations are also extremely important. Fatal diseases like parvovirus, distemper and coronavirus could be detrimental to your dog and are easily avoided through the use of canine vaccines. Vaccines do not have any health consequences for your dog and are effective in ensuring your pet is healthy!
5. Cleaning up after your dog
Everybody poops. As a result, when you are out and about, always have a doggy bad handy to clean up after your dog. Whether it is at the dog park, on the streets or in someone’s yard, it is much appreciated by everyone when you clean up after your dog.
This one is not only imperative for your dog to exhibit good doggy manners but training is also a great cognitive exercise and bonding experience. Training a dog to listen to you and follow your commands can greatly minimize bad behaviours and may also save your dog in a dangerous situation. The best and most effective training is done through positive reinforcement with food, toys and praise.
Dogs are social, pack animals. In order to minimize aggression towards other dogs and people, expose your dog to as many environmental stimuli as you possibly can. If your dog is already a little bit scared of other dogs or people, make it a goal to meet one new dog or person every day in a positive environment. Eventually they will build confidence! If your dog is aggressive however, for the safety of other dogs and people, allow them to interact at a controlled distance.
Arguably one of the most important points on this list, adequate exercise goes a long way for both your dog’s physical and mental health. With over 45% of dogs in North American being overweight, this may be one of the aspects of pet care that needs to be improved upon. Not only does exercise strengthen your dogs muscles and burns energy, it also gets their brain working and strives off boredom and anxiety.
9. Love your dog
Lastly, and maybe the most obvious, is love your dog. Your dog’s favourite person in the world is you. All they crave is your love, attention and affection!