COMMITMENT IS THE KEY TO RESPONSIBLE PET CARE
National Dog Month is celebrated every September and emphasizes the commitment it takes to have a canine companion. Often caregivers do not understand that dogs are dogs, and many actions that humans consider inappropriate are simply expressions of natural behavior. Caregivers need to acknowledge that dogs do not misbehave out of anger, meanness, or stupidity. They are predators by nature, and even though our dogs no longer hunt for their dinner, they are still capable of predatory behavior. They like to be busy, so if they don’t get enough stimulation will often make up their own games such as “You can’t catch me”, or “the back yard looks much better with all these holes.” Responsible pet caregivers must:
*Recognize that my dog’s welfare is totally dependent on me. I am not a caregiver just on the weekends, or in the afternoon, or when I have spare time. He is mine for life. I made a commitment and I won’t break it.
*Always provide fresh water and quality food. All foods are not equal, and expensive doesn’t necessarily mean the best. I will do my homework, not fall for all the marketing hype, and will choose wisely. To help find out how different foods rate, I will check www.dogfoodadvisor.com
*Socialize my dog by exposing him to new people, places, and other dogs. I will introduce him to different people and settings regularly, by taking him to the park, to the pet store, on a walk through town. The more my dog learns of the world, the more comfortable he will be in it.
*Take pride in my dog’s appearance with regular grooming. All dogs should be groomed regularly for health and best appearance, and if my dog requires clipping or sculpting, I will find a professional groomer.
*Provide basic training so that she is well behaved. I will teach my dog what is and what is not appropriate behavior. I will make sure that every member of the family endorses the same rules. Consistency is the key to having a well-behaved dog.
*Set up a schedule for regular vet care and provide any medical treatment that is needed. Regular check-ups are important to discuss my dog’s diet, behavior, activity level , or other concerns. I will contact the vet at once if she seems ill or in pain.
*Provide adequate amount of exercise and mental stimulation . Dogs love to play, so I will set aside time each day for play sessions. Apart from the obvious benefit of having fun together, play also provides an outlet for my dog’s energy.
*I.D. my dog. My dog will always wear an identification tag with my name, address, and phone number. She will also be micro-chipped as an added safety feature should she become lost.
*Be a canine ambassador. I will set a good example by having a friendly, clean, well-mannered dog. I will respect the laws , and I will also be aware of any legislation developing in my city or state that could compromise the rights of responsible caregivers.
Responsible pet caregivers know that they are the center of their dog’s world. It is important to make him part of your life, and include him in family activities.
Do what you can to keep that tail happily wagging!