Every pet owner knows that there are many things to remember when taking care of a living thing – much less one of his best and probably his most loyal friends. What some pet owners do not realize is the importance of little details here and there that can make a world of difference. If a dog owner is responsible, here are just a FEW things (in no particular order of importance) that they know and practice.
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1. Responsible dog owners clip their dog’s nails.
Grooming dogs’ nails is a very important task. It requires regularity and much care. Some prefer to take their dog to grooming places where the cutting of nails is done for them, but it is very easy to do it at home. The important thing, if doing it at home, is to not cut the nails too short. This would result in bleeding and pain. Dogs who are actively walking outside on harder surfaces do not need their nails cut as frequently as dogs who mostly stay inside with carpet to walk on. Veterinarians warn that unhealthy nails can cause pain and, in rare instances, trigger irreversible damage to your dog.
2. Responsible dog owners use a form of identification for their dog.
It is important to identify one’s pet so that if a dog is lost, it will be easier to find him and bring him home. Tagging a dog on his collar is a very effective and easy way to identify him. It is a good idea to have a phone number on the tag for someone who may find the dog to contact the owner. Some use another form of identification called microchipping. A microchip is inserted just underneath the skin. It is inserted by a veterinarian and contains necessary contact information. If the microchipped dog is found on the streets, a vet can look for the chip and scan for any contact information.
3. Responsible dog owners watch out for dangerous plants and toxins.
There are many household plants that are extremely poisonous to pets. An owner should research and find out what plants are dangerous, and what to keep out/out of reach of any animals.
4. Responsible dog owners know what foods are dangerous for their animals.
There are more foods that are toxic to animals than many think. A responsible pet owner has done his research to ensure his pets’ safety.
5. Responsible dog owners register their pet.
It is important to register dogs, especially because it is illegal in some areas. Not only is registering important because of the law, but it is also a useful tool in finding a lost dog, if no other identification was used. It is a good backup to have. Licensing lets people know that your dog is up to date on its rabies vaccinations. A dog cannot be licensed unless it is properly vaccinated. Animal control or a Good Samaritan will be much more likely to want to handle and care for your missing pup if they know that it is healthy and sans rabies
6. Responsible dog owners vaccinate their pet.
Vaccinations are extremely necessary to have for a pet, especially if they are just puppies. There are many diseases out there, those which will be more likely to be caught by puppies with weaker immune systems. It is important to keep pets safe from diseases that could not only do a lot of harm to their bodies, but potentially cut their life span drastically.
7. Responsible dog owners train their pet.
Training takes a lot of time and patience, but the result is completely worth it. Dogs need to be taught to behave in obedience and trust, not only for the safety of others, but also for their own safety. Training is an important part of any dog’s life, and is important for several reasons. It provides mental stimulation which helps to keep your dog happy, and if combined with morning exercise your dog will be mentally and physically tired at the end and far more likely to sleep during the day.
8. Responsible dog owners do not allow their dogs to walk or roam off-leash.
ARRRGH! One of our biggest pet peeves when dog walking is dog owners who allow their dogs to run or walk with them in ANY environment off-leash. Dogs love to run, play, and explore the world without the hindrance of a leash. However, letting your dog off the leash can be dangerous for your dog and disrespectful to your community. In general, it is not recommended to let your dog off-leash unless you are in an enclosed, off-leash area.
9. Responsible dog owners do not allow their children to pounce all over them or pull ears, tails, etc.
Repeat with me: MY DOG IS NOT A JUNGLE GYM. Dog bites occur because humans, especially children, are extremely rude. Parents may view their kid’s behaviors as cute and assume that because their dog is tolerating the behavior now, he will have an endless fuse and always put up with it, rather than eventually exploding. In other words, parents expect dogs to behave like saints, even when they are pestered to the point that would try the average human’s patience and cause her to blow up! The key is to teach both the dog and the children to be polite. Make sure your children interact with your dog the same way you want them to interact with you.
10. Responsible dog owners commit to a LIFETIME relationship with their pet.
Dogs love you unconditionally, rely on you completely, and trust you with their lives. It’s so important to maintain and deserve that trust. Being a responsible dog owner means providing your dog with the essentials they need to live a happy and comfortable life. It also means consistently learning and asking questions, so you know what’s best for your dog.
Owners who are responsible simply do their best to know what is best for their pets, and simply do it. With good intuition, some research, and much love, any pet owner can be the responsible owner they should be!
By Staff Writer Erika Smith