September means back to school, pumpkins and the fall season. This month is also recognized as National Responsible Dog Ownership Month started by the American Kennel Club (AKC), aimed at helping pet parents raise happy and healthy dogs.
Among companion animals, dogs are unmatched in their devotion, loyalty and friendship to humankind. Anyone who has ever loved a dog can attest to its hundred-fold return. The excitement your dog shows when you come home, the wagging tail at the sound of the leash being taken from its hook, the delight in the tossing of a tennis ball, and the head nestled in your lap-those are only some of the rewards of being a dog owner.
Owning a dog is not just a privilege-it’s a responsibility. These animals depend on us for, at minimum, food and shelter, and deserve much more. If you are considering taking a dog into your life, you need to think seriously about the commitment that dog ownership entails. If you already have a dog, you need to consider if you are fulfilling all your obligations as its owner.
Some of the basics of responsible dog ownership include:
- Regular exams with your veterinarian, addressing issues like dental health, skin allergies and health issues that arise with age
- Keeping your dog up-to-date with vaccinations for diseases like rabies, canine distemper and parvovirus
- Maintaining a healthy weight for your dog by feeding a healthy diet and incorporating exercise into its lifestyle
- Reducing financial stress by putting pet health care in your family’s budget
- Making sure your dog has proper identification – optimally with both a microchip and a collar with your most current contact information
- Ensuring your dog is kept safe from the elements, making sure it is protected during times of extreme cold or heat and always keeping it properly hydrated
- Establishing natural disaster preparation plans in the event of emergencies, including creating an evacuation kit
- Having spay or neuter procedures performed to curb the pet overpopulation problem
- Lots of love and playtime
There will be more to come from Goodnewsforpets all month long on responsible dog ownership and happy, healthy dogs.