If you own a dog today – do you consider yourself a responsible dog owner? Or if you are looking to become a dog owner, are you clear about all the areas of responsibility that dog ownership entails?
We at Muttz with Mannerz™ know that owning and caring for a dog is a very big responsibility. We want to support you to have your dog for life and to be able to enjoy all the wonderful benefits of having a dog in your life.
What are the keys to responsible dog ownership? Here are some suggestions to assist you.
Do Your Research!
If you are currently considering getting a dog, the first thing we suggest is to think about your life, the environment they’ll live in and the dog you want. Make sure you honestly think through each of these questions and discuss them with your family.
- What is your activity level – are you a stay-at-home person or an active outdoor person who wants their dog involved in those activities?
- Are you at home or away from the house a lot – do you do a lot of travelling, are you quite socially active, or do you work out of the house?
- Who will be in regular contact with the dog: family, friends, colleagues? What are their ages and physical abilities; (i.e.: children, adults, or seniors), and how involved will they be with your dog?
The environment your new dog will live in:
- Do you live in a city or in the country?
- Do you live in a condo or apartment with elevators?
- Do you live in a house with a backyard and is it fenced in? Is it a single-level or a multi-level dwelling with stairs?
- Do you like everything clean or are you okay with some mess? A new dog while they are learning to live in your space may have accidents or chew the wrong thing. Do you have other pets your dog will need to respect and play with?
Since dogs come in all different sizes, shapes, and energy levels, choosing the dog you want will also require research about the characteristics of the individual breeds. Avoid making an impulse decision about your new family member. Find the right dog that fits your family, lifestyle, and environment. If you do the upfront work, adding a dog will go so much smoother, and they will stay with you for your life.
All though no app is perfect, here are a couple that we can recommend you use as part of your research.
- Perfect Dog – find in the Apple Store. It will help you learn more about breed history and temperaments.
- Meet your Match® – find on the OSPCA website. It helps you pick your dog based on personality and lifestyle.
Investment of Time & Money
Being a responsible pet owner involves investing both time and money into your pet.
When you are bringing a dog into your family you need to think about what time will be involved in things like walking, feeding, vet appointments, playtime, training, and regular grooming.
Cost is a major consideration as most of the things you do for your dog will also cost money. Regular day-to-day expenses would be for items such as: food, treats, bedding, crates, collars, leashes, seat belts, grooming equipment, and maybe even clothing. There are also expenses throughout the life of your dog such as vaccinations and other medical expenses, professional grooming, yearly licenses and tags, training classes, and daycare or kenneling costs.
These investments of time and money can be very different depending on the dog and breed you choose, but it is important to factor in the costs of owning a dog to ensure you can provide them a home for life.
Key Things a Responsible Pet Owner Does for Their Dog
Part of our passion for pups at Muttz with Mannerz™ is to assist you as a dog owner to provide the best possible environment for your dog and educate dog owners on some important things your pet needs to thrive in your family. A few key things we feel a responsible owner does for their dog are:
Socialize and train them.
Proper socialization and training are both very important to the health and happiness of your dog and it’s a great way to bond and gain trust. For more information on socialization visit our blog or listen to our podcast episode on socialization here. We at Muttz with Mannerz™ offer a variety of training opportunities for your dog as well – visit our website for class description and our current schedule
Basic everyday care.
Your dog will need you every day for all its basic needs such as: food & water, shelter, attention and exercise, and regular grooming (including nail trims).
Medical care is important as your dog will need this from the day they arrive to join your family. It is important to find a vet you and your dog are comfortable with and can trust. Many people go the route of traditional medicine but be aware that there are also holistic vets that can potentially offer solutions for you.
Regular vaccinations and parasite control are important to not only keep your dog healthy but are usually required to abide by local bylaws.
Consider what you will do if your dog gets hurt or ill and will need first aid. Have some first aid knowledge yourself or have your vet or an emergency vet’s number handy so that you can contact them immediately.
Should you get pet insurance? Unexpected veterinarian costs can add up to thousands of dollars. There are a number of options available to explore for more information visit our blog on Pet Insurance.
Prepare for vacation time, and emergencies.
What happens when you need to leave your dog alone for an extended time or you are going away – how will your dog be properly cared for? It could be for a short time, such as your dog needing a walk or potty break when you are at work, or for longer-term such as if you are going on a dog-free vacation.
There are a number of possible solutions for short-term help in the form of a neighbour, a dog walker, or daycare. For extended absences, there are boarding facilities, a trusted family member or friend, or maybe you can find a live-in pet sitter. Whatever you decide is best for you we encourage you to research and make sure all options are trusted, trained, and experienced so that you can be away with peace of mind that they are in good hands.
Wherever you live it is your responsibility as a dog owner to know and understand the legal requirements in your jurisdiction to own and care for your dog. They will typically cover things like licensing, vaccinations (rabies), off-leash rules, and poop and scoop. In addition, there is likely an act covering the standard of care for your pet (food, shelter, and care). As an example, the government of Ontario has the OSPCA Standards of Care Act, which outlines in detail the minimum requirements of a dog owner for their pet to keep them healthy, happy, and safe.
Pet Population Control
Please have your dog spayed or neutered. By doing this you will be doing your part to prevent the birth of unwanted puppies in the world and spaying and neutering is also good for your dog’s health over its lifetime. By making this effort and promoting spaying and neutering in your community, you do your part in making sure that every dog gets a good home.
Tune in to the Muttz with Mannerz™ Podcast in October for more information on being a responsible pet owner.
We at Muttz with Mannerz™ are here to support you and your pet build a life together, we offer education, training, canine academy daycare, and professional grooming services. If you have any questions or for more information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org