The old saying goes that a dog is for life and not just for Christmas and if you have just received a new furry friend this Christmas then it is important that you know exactly what a responsible dog owner looks like. The challenge here comes from the fact that dogs appear to be great at looking after themselves, and that is what makes many believe that they don’t need to put much effort in to caring for their dogs. The truth however is that dogs are smart and highly emotional, which is why you have to ensure that you are doing things in the right way. We caught up with the team at the All Creatures Veterinary Center, to give you some tips on how to be the best dog owner you can be.
Dogs will quite literally eat everything, from pancakes to sirloin steak, candies to cereal, but just because they will eat anything, doesn’t mean that they should. When it comes to the diet of your dog you speak to your vet as early as possible to find out what kind of nutrients your dog needs. Now you can buy general dog food for small or large breeds which will be a perfectly fine option, but each breed of dog needs different levels of vitamins and nutrients, so always check with the vet. In terms of extras, avoid the temptation of giving your dog scraps and food off your plate all the time, and always research whether or not certain foods are good for dogs.
Simply taking your dog outside for the bathroom in the morning and the evening is not enough for what these creatures need. Dogs are full of energy and they love to go and about, exploring, running, swimming and getting dirty. Not only is this good from a heath perspective and will ensure that your dog stays in good healthy condition, it is also a great way to keep them mentally sharp. If all a dog knows is the inside of your home then they will never be challenged, and they are also going to put on weight.
There are of course varying levels to which you can train your dog and some people have their dogs trained incredibly well. There is nothing to say that you have to completely commit to training your dogs perfectly, but teaching them a trick or two is good for their brain. Dogs, regardless of their intelligence levels, love to be challenged and they like to be put to work, teaching them to sit, to rollover or even something a little more advanced, will make the smarter and it is also something which has been proven to make them happier.
If you want to be a responsible dog owner then feed them right, train them well and make sure that they get plenty of miles in their legs…oh, and always have a poop bag in your pocket!