September is “Responsible Dog Ownership Month,” according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). It serves as an effort to help educate and excite people about the responsibilities of dog ownership for those that do not yet have a dog. And for those who are lucky enough to have a dog, it also serves as a reminder to continue enhancing relationships with your dog throughout all stages of life.
Here at our office, we are not sure if WE own OUR dogs, or if OUR dogs OWN us… so we will call this month being a "Responsible Dog Mom or Dad." Obviously, if you visit our Pet Health blog often, you are already a responsible dog parent, because you want to know about how to keep your dog healthy! But as a refresher, here are a few tips to be sure we’re on our best dog behavior for both our fur-baby and the relationships we have with our beauties!
9 TIPS FOR BEING A RESPONSIBLE DOG Mom or dad
Check out this list to make sure you are doing all you can do to be a responsible pet parent as well as have a great long-lasting relationship with your pets, your family, their caretakers and the environment. We’ve provided helpful links to give you some more information at your fingertips.
1. Love your dog unconditionally.
Most of us do this already. Just remember to do it on all occasions, even when they knock over the trash and rummage through it... and eat too much and vomit on the floor... or chew up your favorite pair of shoes. Yes, this is just what WE have heard dogs do, not like WE have had any experience like this with OUR dogs. But we as dog moms and dads know it's times like these as you are looking at your favorite shoes now unwearable, that you also remember how our dogs have added to our quality of life. Remember how they are the ones most excited to see you when you walk through the door after being at work all day (those of us with kiddos know this to be true) And remember how they make you get out the door to get the exercise you both need! So to this, we say THANK YOU DOG!
2. Spay and neuter your dog.
According to statistics, it is estimated that 10 million animals enter animal shelters every year. The reason: a lot of unwanted pets. A big part of the solution is being sure your dogs are spayed and neutered. According to some reports, 79% of people do NOT know when to spay their pets. Check out this link from the ASPCA to answer all of your spay and neutering questions.
3. Visit your veterinarian for a yearly check-up.
The general rule of thumb is like humans: all dogs should have a complete physical check-up at least once per year. Think of it as routine maintenance for your dog. Preventative is different and may require more visits. Also, do not let things go if you notice something. Sometimes we put things off then forget about it. Call for a well check at any time if you see different behavior in your dog. Remember, they can't talk, so you have to talk for them!
4. Take the arthritis quiz.
Why take the Arthritis Quiz? Every year we all get a little older, and sometimes move a little slower too. Just as we said our dogs can't talk to us and tell us if they aren't feeling well, this quick assessment will help you think about their mobility and how they are doing with it. The same is true with our beloved fur-babies. As dogs age, the painful signs of arthritis start to show. If you aren’t sure what arthritis in dogs is and what it means for your pet, feel free to read up on it.
Take the quiz! See how your dog is doing with this short quiz.
5. Properly identify your dog.
Your primary ID tags are the ones your dog wears on its collar. It should have your dog’s name, and a primary phone number in case it gets lost. Another option is to include a secondary message such as “rub my belly” to indicate a friendly dog or simply, “call my mom.” You can let them know if your dog is micro-chipped by telling them with a message saying: “I’m micro-chipped.” Microchips are a common secondary identification if your dog has been lost without a collar.
6. Clean up after your pet.
This should go without saying but yet, it needs to be said: It’s important for many reasons.
7. Travel safely with your dogs.
We wrote an an article on what to do when you leave town with your pet.
8. Plan for emergencies.
No one expects emergencies, but they do happen. If you plan, you will be more prepared.
9. Check into pet insurance options.
September is also National Pet Health Insurance Month. There is no doubt that our pets are part of the family. It makes sense that we would have health coverage for them so we could pay for the unexpected bill that may come up in their health. Just like health insurance for people, pet health insurance should unforeseen veterinary fees and expenses related to an accident, illness and routine, preventative care.
There are so many options now, it’s best to check into what you may want. Check out the Pet Health Insurance Buying Guide from the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA). You can also talk to your veterinarian to discuss what insurance they take and support. Often, there will be a team member in your clinic who serves as the pet insurance specialist.
Do you have some additional ideas of being a great dog Mom or dad? What does being a "Responsible Pet Owner" mean to you? Feel free to comment on our Facebook page! Share this post with your fellow fur-moms and dads that are all responsible pet parents!