With Saturday September 21st being Responsible Dog Ownership Day, we decided that we would celebrate. We're doing this by helping to make sure that everyone is being as responsible a pet owner as possible! The following is a checklist to help you make sure you are being a responsible pet owner. Whether you own a dog yet or not, this list can help make sure you are making informed decisions.

#1 Make Sure Your Lifestyle Matches the Dogs Needs 

The first thing to consider when you are thinking about adding any dog to your family is, are you up to the call? A pet, especially dogs, are a lot of responsibility. Are you ready to dedicate the time, money and energy bringing a new pet into the family? Even if you've decided that a dog is right for you, are you fully researched on what kind of dog is best for your lifestyle? Are you living in an apartment, do you have a backyard? These decisions matter! The first step to being a responsible dog owner is making sure you have what it takes to fulfill an animals needs fully. 

#2 Train Your Dog

Ok, so you've chosen a dog that fits your lifestyle, and who's needs you are able to fill. Now what? Well, a good first step is training. Training a new dog can be a daunting task. Luckily, there are classes, personal trainers, and an abundance of books and articles that can help with this task. Keep in mind, an untrained pup isn't just a nuisance in the house, but it can be dangerous for other people as well. Not to mention embarrassing when your exuberant pup jumps on a not so exuberant stranger. Training is one of the most important aspects of being a responsible pet owner. 

#3 Socialize! 

Socialization could technically fall under the umbrella of training, but it is important enough to be its own category. If you have a puppy, it is important you socialize your dog from an early age. Lack of socialization early in life can lead to issues later such as aggression. It is important that socialization occurs in a controlled environment where the puppy does not feel threatened or intimidated. Ease them into meeting new dogs, and as they get bigger, older and more confident the reigns can come off a little. But early on, it is essential to introduce your puppy to new dogs. 

#4 Exercise!

This is an easy one. If you own a dog, you must exercise them. No matter the size or breed, every dog requires at least some amount of exercise. While the exercise needs of various breeds varies, and that is part of your pre-adoption preparation, understand that this is a basic part of responsible pet ownership. Be sure you are aware of the exercise needs of your dog, and take care of them. Dogs need the stimulation to be both happy and healthy. This is one of the most important parts!

#5 Clean Up!

Another easy one, no one likes seeing dog poop everywhere. Doesn't matter rain or shine, cold or warm, pick up after your dog. Once again, this is an easy one. 

#6 Go to the Vet 

Yes, most pet owners know that is important to take pets to the vet for shots, medications and things like that. But much like humans, dogs need to go to the vet regularly. Vets can spot and treat serious issues before they become serious. It is important to get your pet checked regularly even if nothing seems wrong. Just like human doctors, it is important to maintain a good relationship with your vet and visit them regularly. 

#7 Microchip 

Microchipping your dog can sometimes be the last line of defense in an emergency. You never know when your pet could potentially go missing, and there is no worse feeling in the world. But having your dog microchipped can provide peace of mind in these tense situations, and make that much easier to have your pet returned when they have gone missing. Many adoption centers will do this for free as part of the adoption process, but it is important to check and make sure this is done right away. 

#8 Love 

Finally, make sure you love your dog. Having a dog can be one of the most rewarding experiences one can have, but that is especially if you give it your all. Make sure you can give your dog the attention and love they deserve, and you will have a long and happy relationship with your furry friend. 

These are just a few things that go into being a responsible pet owner. In order to have the best relationship possible with your pet make sure you are following these steps, and making your pet as happy as they make you.  

The Green Pet Shop sells essential and eco-friendly products for any owner looking to treat their pet to celebrate on Saturday! 

 

Feature Photo Credit: The City of Red Deer