Happy September! Summer is officially over, but we’re not too upset about that as September 28th is the AKC’s 17th Annual Responsible Dog Ownership Day! Dogs are cute companions that make for some of the best friends in this entire world, but as you most likely know being a dog owner yourself, there is a lot of responsibility and commitment that comes with owning a pet. Therefore, we’re telling you our top 15 tips taken from AKC on how to be a responsible pet owner both in preparation for and once you own a pet!
How to Prepare to be a Responsible Pet Owner:
1. Understand the full commitment of owning a pet: There is a ton of responsibility that comes with owning a dog, so make sure that you are truly financially, emotionally, and temporally ready to care for a dog before you make a commitment to one.
2. Evaluate your personal lifestyle: Dogs come in all different breeds, sizes, and ages, so make sure that you consider which type of dog your lifestyle best supports. Consider your personality, activities, hobbies, and living situation when considering which type of dog is right for you to ensure that you both have a happy life together.
3. Make a list of which traits you want in a pet based on your lifestyle evaluation: Size, temperament, grooming, and health needs should all be considered when selecting which type of dog is right for you. If you rent an apartment or house with pet or breed restrictions, this is also important to consider. It is better to ask yourself these questions now rather than later!
4. Get a copy of your purchase or adoption papers (and make sure to sign that dotted line!): It is important to ensure that the purchase or adoption of your pet is documented so that the terms of the agreement are laid out and understood by both parties involved, and that you have proof of ownership of your pet.
5. Buy the necessities (and some fun items too!): As a new pet parent, you need to be well-equipped to care for your fur baby with all of the essentials (food, collar, leash, brush, shampoo, etc.) and some fun items too such as toys and treats. Purchasing all of the necessities in advance will make the transition smoother for both of you!
6. Ensure that your house is pet-friendly: Before you bring a dog home, make sure that you are bringing them into a space that is both safe and comfortable for them. A couple of important things to consider are that easily breakable or “chewable” items are moved to higher places, electrical cords are safely inaccessible, and “off limits” areas are clearly blocked off.
7. Create a personal space for your pet: Transitions to new places with new people are not always easy on dogs, so it is important that they have a space, whether this be a bed, blanket, or crate, that they know is their own where they can get some rest and privacy.
8. Select a veterinarian ahead of time: This way, you are able to get a copy of your pet’s health records over to them ASAP as well as schedule an appointment for a vaccination and general check-up soon after your dog comes home with you.
9. Name your pet: Well… “duh,” right? It may seem like an obvious necessity but choosing a name for your dog is an important moment in your life together, as well as one of the first steps in establishing a mutual bond.
10. Allow your dog time to adjust: Dogs are some of the happiest, friendliest animals on the planet, but transitional periods can be still be tough on them. Therefore, make sure that you introduce your dog to their new environment slowly, starting with the house and family members before moving onto the neighborhood and neighbors.
How to Be a Responsible Pet Owner:
1. Understand the needs of your dog’s breed: No one dog is made the same, and dog breeds vary drastically from one another in terms of size, temperament, health issues, trainability… pretty much everything. Therefore, it is important that you understand the specific needs of whichever breed you have, and specifically if they are more susceptible to certain health risks.
2. Ensure that your pet is in good health: A healthy pup is a happy pup so make sure that you keep up with your dog’s health through regular vet check-ups, vaccinations, a healthy diet, and consistent exercise.
3. Maintain your pet’s good hygiene: Good hygiene is very important for dogs, so make sure to bathe and groom them regularly, as well as keep up with their teeth cleaning and nail trimming.
4. Guarantee your pet’s safety: There are tons of things you can do to make sure that your pup stays safe, but our top two are to make sure that your dog wears an identification tag at all times with your contact information on it, as well as establish an emergency contact for your dog.
5. Bond with your dog: Debatably the most important part of being a good pet owner is making sure that you spend time with your dog, giving them plenty of love and attention. Whether this be playing together, going on a walk, cuddling, or even talking to your dog, time that you spend actively engaging with them is immensely important. After all, who is more deserving of your time and affection than your dog?!
Bonus: Train your dog! Teaching your dog basic commands and socialization improves a dog’s overall lifestyle immensely. To read more about why we think training is so important, click here.