Good Dogs are Raised by Great Owners
Responsible Dog Ownership Means More Than Buying a Flashy Collar
Dogs are a (wo)man’s best friend. They provide unconditional love, loyalty, and companionship.
It’s not a one-way street, though. Sure, you provide your pup with food, shelter, and regular tummy scratches, but as a pet owner, your obligations go far beyond that. Once your puppy walked through your door, becoming a part of your family, it brought with it a host of owner responsibilities. As a pet parent, you must ensure that your dog is well-balanced, provided for, safe, groomed, trained, socially adept, and healthy. Not an easy task. Many compare it to caring for a rambunctious toddler because it’s hands-on almost 24/7.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) shares its owner responsibility guidelines. 1
- Commit to the relationship for your pet’s entire life.
- Select a pet that suits your home and lifestyle and avoid impulsive decisions.
- Recognize that owning a pet(s) requires an investment of time and money.
- Keep only the type and number of pets for which you can provide an appropriate and safe environment.
- Outdoor confinement of an animal should include provisions to minimize distress or discomfort to the animal and assure access to appropriate food, water, and shelter from extreme weather conditions.
- Ensure pets are properly identified (i.e., tags, microchips, or tattoos) and that their registration information in associated databases is kept up to date
- Adhere to local ordinances, including licensing and leash requirements.
- Help to manage overpopulation by controlling your pet(s)’ reproduction through managed breeding, containment, or spaying/neutering. Establish and maintain a veterinarian-client-patient relationship.
- Provide preventive (e.g., vaccinations, parasite control) and therapeutic health care for the life of your pet(s) in consultation with, and as recommended by, your veterinarian.
- Spend time on socialization and appropriate training to facilitate their well-being and the well-being of other animals and people.
- Prevent your pet(s) from negatively impacting other people, animals, and the environment. This includes proper waste disposal, noise control, and not allowing pet(s) to stray or become feral.
- Include your pets in your planning for an emergency or disaster, including assembling an evacuation kit.
- Plan care for your pet when or if you cannot. Recognize declines in your pet(s)’ quality of life and make decisions in consultation with your veterinarian regarding appropriate end-of-life care (e.g., palliative care, hospice, euthanasia)
Jane Marcus, regional manager for The Dog Stop’s corporate stores, completely aligns with the AVMA’s responsible dog ownership guidelines yet offers even more granular advice.”
“All dogs need mental enrichment, physical engagement, and adequate rest,” Marcus advised. “Dogs should spend 3 hours a day being physically active, followed by engaging in 2 hours doing mental enrichment activities, like training sessions or playing with their favorite toy. And don’t forget to ensure they get at least 8 hours of sleep. If they don’t get enough sleep, they will be more likely to be destructive or aggressive.”
She continued, “Walking your dog shouldn’t be just about exercise! Allow them to become engaged with their surroundings. Let them sniff and take their time. Exploring trees, grass, and more is great mental stimulation for your pet and will help them to decompress.”
Not one to ignore the importance of dental and physical health, Marcus tells The Dog Stop customers that they should make brushing their dog’s teeth a daily routine. Not only is it a preventative measure to maintain a healthy mouth, but this everyday habit can potentially save thousands of dollars in dental bills down the road. She is also a huge proponent of giving your dog Glucosamine (Hydrochloride) supplements at an early age.
“Most owners don’t start giving Glucosamine supplements until after their dog develops achy joints. Why wait for a problem to develop? If your vet supports this regimen, start giving it to your dog from 8 weeks old.”
Responsible dog owners must be 100% committed to their pets. Although some of the guidelines might seem overwhelming at first, they will become routine and second nature if put into play.
1 American Veterinary Medical Association. (n.d.). Guidelines for responsible pet ownership. American Veterinary Medical Association. Retrieved August 26, 2022, from https://www.avma.org/resources-tools/avma-policies/guidelines-responsible-pet-ownership