Responsible Dog Ownership Month
Ask any loving dog owner, and they will say that they love their dog like a child. This awesome responsibility involves late night snuggling, belly scratches and squeaky toys galore. Dogs bring out the best in people, and in return they should be loved and taken care of responsibly. September, Responsible Dog Ownership Month, reminds new and experienced pet parents that having a dog that depends on them for care should not be taken lightly.
While the benefits of dog ownership far outweigh the bad, there are obligations that must be considered before adding a pet to the family. A dog is a lifelong commitment! Lots of them are given a second chance at a loving home, but millions more are given up or euthanized because people don’t understand the full responsibility of caring for them. Looking at cute animals through a pet store window is tempting, but people must think before impulse buying a dog. Doing research for a breed will help a pet parent in the long run by finding a dog that best suits their lifestyle. And as new pet parents very quickly find out, dogs are a big investment of time and money.
Preventative measures to keep a pet healthy, like vaccinations and immunizations, are not cheap during the life of a pet. They must be given proper id tags or microchips. Essentials for a dog’s wellness include good, quality food, water and bedding or shelter. Controlling a dogs reproductive ability needs to be taken into account, whether they are spayed/neutered, or going to be bred. If a pet is adopted, sometimes shelters insist on training and socialization, for the good of the dog and the people it will meet along the way. Through all of this, finding and maintaining a relationship with a trusted vet is vital. Through the years, there will come a time when pet parents will start to notice a decline in their dog’s health and need to consult with a vet to discuss end of life options.
Responsible dog owners can’t forget about following local ordinances, including licensing and leash requirements. Exercise and mental stimulation need to be provided to dogs depending on their age, breed and health status or else they can cause havoc in the house or develop behavioral issues if not given the proper outlets to let out some energy. If an emergency happens, dog owners need to be prepared with a plan that includes the dog, as well as an assembled evacuation kit. And while it might be hard to think of, a plan should be put in place to make alternative arrangements if caring for the pet is no longer possible.
Being a responsible dog owner comes with many details, but there is no denying the studies that have shown that having a pet in a household does wonders for a person’s mental and physical health. Unfortunately, there are plenty of examples in the media featuring irresponsible and cruel dog owners, so remember that being a responsible dog owner does not only reflect on you, but will give other responsible dog owners a good name as well.
Consider a NAPPS Pet Parent Membership. While NAPPS offers unparalleled resources and educational opportunities for professional pet sitters, we also offer great information for pet parents as well. Take the time to look around NAPPS’ website, and check out the section especially for pet parents!