Adding a furry family member is exciting, but if you’ve never had a dog before, it’s important to have a full understanding of what responsible dog ownership entails. Dogs require a substantial time, financial, physical, and emotional commitment, so do not rush into it.
When you are ready to welcome a new dog into your home, the following tips from Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital can help you enjoy a long, happy, healthy relationship with your canine companion.
First: Pick the Right Pooch
Dogs come in all sizes and temperaments, and it’s imperative to choose a dog that fits your lifestyle. Do you need a dog that’s good with children? A dog that will enjoy being your jogging partner? Consider the amount of space you have, the activity level you can accommodate, the presence of other pets, and any other factors that will impact your dog’s day-to-day life.
Pet Proof Your House
Dogs aren’t known for being discerning about what they’ll eat, so keep potentially dangerous items (small children’s toys, wires, strings) off the floor and out of paw’s reach. Some other quick tips: keep toilet lids closed, use trash cans with lids, store cleaners and chemicals up high or in secured cabinets, and remove or place up high houseplants that may be poisonous.
Provide Mental and Physical Stimulation
Your dog needs physical activity every day, so take him for a walk, play fetch, or head to the dog park. Exercise is great for his health and helps curb unwanted behaviors that can surface when dogs get bored. Mental stimulation is also critical, especially if your dog spends a chunk of time home alone. Make sure he has plenty of safe toys and bones to keep him company.
Train Him Properly
Dog training does more than teach good manners; it contributes to his health and safety. A well-trained dog is far less likely to run off or display behavior that could frighten or cause harm to other people or their pets. Well-behaved canine sidekicks are also much more welcome at family barbecues!
Provide Routine Healthcare
Your dog needs proper identification that includes your name and contact information. As an added measure of protection, have your dog microchipped. This tiny implant provides a permanent form of identification and offers you the best chance of being reunited with your dog if he should stray.
A Word on Poop
Responsible dog ownership means scooping the poop. When your dog does his business, promptly pick it up and dispose of it properly. You’ll be the hero of your neighborhood’s Nextdoor news feed!
If you need more tips on being a responsible dog owner, we are here to help! Give us a call at (210) 681-1391.