Are You a Responsible Dog Owner?
The puppy is soooo cute. You must have him! You purchase food, a dog bed and lots of cute toys.
But you didn’t think about all the times you have to work late and on the weekend. You’re also out of town a lot and he goes to the kennel. You didn’t mean it to happen, but you spend little quality time with your pet.
This path could make you an irresponsible dog owner.
Cute puppies turn the heads of some people who have no business owning a pet. Dogs are a big responsibility, and owners should be committed to the relationship for the life of the pet.
The American Medical Veterinary Association (AMVA) offers these suggestions on being a responsible dog owner:
• Don’t make impulsive decisions about choosing a pet. Consider your lifestyle and your home. Adopting or purchasing your pet is just the down payment. Food, visits to the vet – owning a dog costs money.
• Your pet should have identification tags or be microchipped in case he should get lost. Make sure information in databases is up to date.
• Follow leash laws in your community.
• Spay or neuter your pet. This helps curb overpopulation problems.
• Find a veterinarian with a great reputation and with whom you have rapport.
Getting your pet spayed or neutered can extend their lifespan and help them live a healthier life, thus giving you less headaches. Spaying and neutering your pet reduces and eliminates uterine infections and breast cancer in females, and prostate problems and testicular cancer in males.
• Make sure your dog receives his vaccinations, parasite control and any medicine he needs.
• Your dog should learn social skills with people and other animals.
• Don’t let your dog become a neighborhood problem. Pick up his waste when he takes a walk, try to control barking, and don’t let him stray.
• It’s important that your dog gets regular exercise. Walks and outings to the dog park also provide mental stimulation. Walking with a leash allows you to establish a bond with your dog.
• If you find you can no longer keep your pet, find him a loving home.
• When your pet’s health declines, be mindful of her quality of life. Don’t wait until your dog is very ill to talk to your vet about geriatric and end of end of life care.