woman cuddles senior retriever

Top 10 Tips for Responsible Dog Ownership

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When you decide to adopt a new dog, it’s very exciting! There are so many fun things you can do with your new dog and they are so very cute at any age. It is easy to imagine all of the adventures you will have with your new companion, and it can be just as easy to forget all of the responsibilities that come along with dog ownership.

September is Responsible Dog Ownership Month, so make the time to take a look at yourself this month and make sure you are doing the very best for your fur babies!

1. Life-Long Commitment

An older border collie with a stick in it's mouth.

The first and most important thing you must realize to be a responsible dog owner is that you must commit to loving and caring for your dog for his entire life. It does not matter what health problems may come up, it does not matter what new people may come into your life, and it does not matter if you move out of your house and into an apartment. Dogs are living, breathing, feeling animals who form emotional attachments and can feel depression and abandonment thoroughly. If you cannot handle the cost and care of a dog for his entire life, then do not get a dog. It’s that simple.

2. Good Nutrition

Feeding your dog good food is the most important step to lifelong health and happiness in your dog! Talk to your local Hollywood Feed store associate about which food is right for your dog. They are trained by experts like veterinarians and nutritionists so they can meet your dog’s specific needs.

3. Lots of Water

A chocolate lab playing with a sprinkler.

Hydration is very important! Make sure that your dog always has a clean full bowl of water, whether he is indoors or out. Here are some fun ways to keep your dog hydrated!

4. Identification

Always keep a well-fitting collar with ID tags on your pet at all times and check regularly to make sure the fit of the collar is good, it has not become frayed, and that you can read your phone number on the ID tag. Microchipping is also very important and I highly recommend it. If anything ever happens to separate your dog from you, these are the best ways to ensure a safe return. Check out more information here.

5. Spay and Neuter

The most important thing we can do as pet-parents to help prevent homeless and unwanted animals is to spay and neuter our pets. Please take this important step, which also has added health benefits for our dogs like reducing the risk of uterine infections, certain types of cancer!

6. Exercise and Preventing Obesity

A Pomeranian kissing a woman doing yoga.

Exercising with your pet is a real bonding experience. Whether you are more relaxed and like to go for walks around the neighborhood together or if you like to camp, hike and be more adventurous with your dog, he will love it and it will help to keep him healthy. Exercise has cardiovascular benefits and will keep your dog’s waistline trim. Obesity causes so many preventable health problems in our pets just like it does in humans. Learn more about combating obesity here.

7. Training

A well-trained dog is a happy dog! Besides knowing what you expect of him and being able to fulfill it, training your dog is also important for safety and mental stimulation. Check out some of our great training blogs here: Surviving K9 Adolescence and 10 Training Secrets Every Pet Parent Should Know.

8. Regular Check-Ups

A yorkie getting it's teeth brushed.

Your dog should go to his veterinarian at least once a year for a full physical exam. A head-to-tail check-up may find a health concern that you didn’t know about before it starts to cause visible symptoms in your dog. This is especially important the older your dog gets! Making sure your dog’s teeth are in good shape is also very important to his overall health!

9. Be Prepared for Emergencies

Make sure that you have a first aid kit, emergency evacuation or quarantine plans, and know some basic CPR and first aid techniques. We have the blogs to help you with this!

10. Affection

A basenji laying in bed with a woman.

Every dog needs affection and approval from his owner. This is very important! Learn your dog’s love language! Does he like to be petted calmly? Does he like to play fetch with you? Does he love having his back scratched? Does your dog’s ultimate happiness lie in that special canned food for dinner instead of his regular kibble? Reward your dog for good behavior and love your dog every day.

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This Post Has One Comment


    It’s also good to have a plan for your pet in case you are unable to take care of them any longer. It’s so sad to me when pets end up in high kill shelters because their owner passed away.

    Even asking someone that you trust to make sure they find a good home (rescues and shelters can be of great help!) is a good plan. It can be devastating to a pet to lose their person so it’s important to ensure that their grief isn’t compounded.

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