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How to Be a Responsible Dog Owner

by Coach Lilly

On September 22nd dog owners around the country will be celebrating the American Kennel Club Responsible Dog Ownership Day. Every year, local chapters of the American Kennel Club host community events including sports demonstrations, breed showcases, and informative workshops on important health and safety topics, with the goal of educating people on how and why to be a responsible dog owner. In honor of this day, let’s take a minute to review some of the top tips for being a responsible dog owner.

Be committed to your dog. Owning a dog means taking on some important responsibilities, but it is also a great privilege and joy. For many people, a dog is considered a real member of the family. Carefully consider if you are prepared for the time, money, and emotional investment that owning a dog requires.

Provide clean water and healthy food for your dog. This may seem super obvious, but it’s just too important not to mention. Do your research to find out what kind of food you need for your dog. The healthiest food for your dog will depend on his size, breed, and age. Set aside two dedicated bowls just for your dog, one for food and one for water. Whenever possible, check food and water levels throughout the day. On hot days, your dog will need extra water. And after use, don’t forget to wash your dog’s dishes with hot water and a mild dish detergent or wash them in a dishwasher. Many experts recommend washing your dog bowls at least once a day.

Groom your dog. Whether you wash and groom your dog at home or trust the job to a professional, grooming is essential to your dog’s comfort and health. Different breeds require different levels of maintenance, and that’s something to take into account when you are thinking of getting a dog.

Train your dog. It’s OK if your dog can’t do spectacular tricks, but a level of basic training is important. Some basic commands, according the AKC, include sit, stay, come, and down. Knowing that your dog will obey these basic commands will also give you peace of mind when taking your dog out into social situations. You can have confidence that your dog will be well-behaved around other dogs and humans.

Make sure your dog is socialized and exercised. Take your dogs for walks, introduce him to other dogs and people, take him outside, and just generally help him to get the fresh air and sunshine he needs to feel his best.

Make sure your dog wears appropriate identification. You will be so grateful you did if you ever become separated from your dog. Whether it’s an ID tag or a microchip, make sure there is a way to identify your dog so that you can be reunited.

There are a lot of other ways to be a responsible dog owner and give your pet all the love and care that he deserves! What are your top tips?

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