If you have a dog, you probably look at it as a member of your family. Being a family, it’s your responsibility to make sure that you are taking the absolute best care of your dog. While we all want to, knowing what to do is another matter.
To help, the American Kennel Club holds an annual Responsible Dog Ownership Day. Events are held around the country to promote taking care of dogs the best we can. In the spirit of the day, here are some tips that you can follow in taking care of your own dog.
Take Your Dog to the Vet Regularly
Our dogs enter our lives in different ways. Maybe your neighbor’s dog had puppies and allowed you to adopt one. Possibly you found a friendly stray dog and confirmed with the animal shelter that it didn’t belong to anyone. However a dog comes into your life, one stable fact is that you need to take it to a veterinarian right away.
The vet can examine your dog to ensure that he’s healthy. The vet will also make sure that your dog is up to date on all of her shots. After your first visit, make sure to follow your vet’s instructions on how often you should bring your dog back for check-ups.
Invest in Humane Obedience Training
No matter how much fun the idea of a dog is at first, it can turn into a nightmare quickly if your dog isn’t well-behaved. The best way to make sure that your new dog integrates well with your family is to quickly begin obedience training.
You want to make sure to find the right type, however. Humane obedience training will focus on rewarding your dog for following your instructions and acting properly, whereas inhumane obedience training focuses on punishments. Talk to your vet or your local Humane Society in order to get recommendations for successful and humane obedience classes in your area.
Get an ID Chip
Even the best-behaved dogs can get out of the yard or house occasionally. Despite your best efforts, they can be master escape artists. One quick way to help your dog find his way home is to make sure that she has a properly-fitting collar and tags that identify her and include your contact information.
Another solution is to have an ID chip embedded beneath your dog’s skin. Veterinarians and animal shelters can use this chip to contact you the moment your dog is found, even if she has slipped out of her collar.
Make Time to Play
We’re all busy, but our dogs don’t know that. They need a lot of love, affection and play time. Even if you have an outside dog that has plenty of fenced yard to run in, you should still make time to play with him every day. For indoor dogs, this means doing more than just going on required walks for your dog to do his business. It means dedicated play time where you don’t have your attention on your phone or anything else! This will keep him happy, fit and healthy.
Find the Right Food
It can be attractive to just buy the cheapest dog food at the store, but the cheapest food isn’t necessarily the healthiest. Many lower-tier dog food brands use lots of filler ingredients that aren’t good for your dog’s health. Take the time to research what kind of ingredients your dog’s food should have and how much are in each brand of dog food.
While this information isn’t always available on the bag itself, you can usually find it with some research online. It can take some time to find, but your dog’s health and happiness are worth it.