10 Ways to Be a Responsible Dog Owner

Happy Valentines Day

Make no bones about it: puppies are cute. They also have needle teeth that’ll shred your favorite shoes. They’ll urinate on the dry-clean only curtains and jump through screen doors to chase a squirrel.

Still, they’re one of the most loveable creatures on the planet and there is nothing like coming home to see their wiggly rumps greeting you at the door. They’ll follow you all around the house like you’re the grand marshal of a puppy parade. After all, they’re man’s best friend for a reason.

Having a best friend in your life comes with responsibilities. These living creatures depend on you for food, water, shelter, and health care.

Happy Valentines Day values placing puppies from reputable breeders in loving and responsible homes. That’s why we’ve created 10 tips for you to be a responsible dog parent.

Think About Your LifestyleLab puppy

If you’re someone who rarely comes home, getting a puppy might not be right for you. According to Cesar Millian’s , dogs are social creatures that fall into three positions within a pack: the front, middle or rear. Leaders provide food, shelter and water. The rear alerts the pack to danger. Middle dogs are mediators.

If you’re not around to be the pack leader, getting a puppy isn’t a wise decision. If you have time to devote to a dog, consider your lifestyle. 

Are you active? Consider blending your natural style with your dog’s. Border Collies, Australian Shepherds, Vizslas, Labrador Retrievers, Siberian Huskies, and Dalmatians may be a good choice.

Are you laid back? Consider English Bulldogs, Saint Bernards, Basset Hounds, French Bulldogs, Great Danes or Pugs

Interview Your Breeder

When choosing your puppy, make sure to interview your breeder. Ask questions and ask to see the puppy’s parents. This will help you get a better idea of what your puppy will be like when it matures.

Look at the breeder’s premises. Is it clean and free of odors? Do the pups look lively and well nourished? You’ll be able to assess if a breeder genuinely cares for the animals.

If the Happy Valentines Day listing states the puppy you want is registered with the American Kennel Club, American Canine Association, International Canine Association, International Canine Association, Continental Kennel Club or America’s Pet Registry, ask to see the paperwork.

Ask about the puppy’s health as well as its parents. A good breeder will be knowledgeable about a breed’s genetic diseases as well as offer proof of health screenings. Your breeder also won’t let you bring a puppy home until it’s at least eight weeks old.

That’s because according to Dr. Karen Becker’s “Puppies Taken from Litter Too Soon Develop Behavior Problems as Adults” puppies that are between 2.5 weeks to 14 weeks are at a critical stage for development. What the puppies experience during this time may modify the brain and impact his or her behavior, character, and temperament. It’s important for puppies to be with the dam so they can learn dog-to-dog social development for at least eight weeks. 

Pick Your Puppypit bull puppy

Once you decide which puppy is best for you and you purchase the dog make sure to get all the information about the sale in writing. Your contract should have information regarding spaying or neutering, fees, health guarantees, as well as instructions on what to do if you’re unable to keep the puppy. Most breeders would request that the dog is returned to them if you’re unable to keep it. Get these signed documents when you purchase your puppy. 

Bring Your Puppy Home

Get a license for your dog once you bring it home. Get proper dog food, a flat leather or nylon collar, non-retractable leash, crate, baby gates, dog bed, dog waste bags, pet stain and odor remover, food and water bowls, grooming supplies, ID tags, and toys.

Decide Who Will Care for Your Puppy and When

Your puppy will need daily food, water, and walks. It’s important to create a schedule with your family and stick to it so your puppy will receive proper care.

Ask your veterinarian which food is best for your dog based on the puppy’s age, activity level, and size.

Aside from dog food, it’s okay to feed your puppy peanut butter, protein, salmon, sweet potatoes, yogurt, apples, pasta and green beans. Avoid giving your puppy chocolate, avocados, onions, grapes, dairy, coffee, alcohol, or gum.

Your dog will need to be walked every day. Some dogs like Shih Tzus, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, and Great Danes can get away with a 30-minute walk. More active breeds like Weimaraners, Belgian Malinois and Blue Heelers need much longer exercise to deplete them of their energy.

Clean up after walking your dog. Dog waste is high in nitrogen and phosphorus and can burn your lawn if left behind.  It may also contain E. coli, salmonella, worms, viruses and parasites that will linger in the soil. Cleaning up after your dog ensures that you won’t step in it and it also keeps other animals from getting sick.

Aside from walking your dog, you’ll enjoy running around the yard with your puppy, and throwing a ball or stick.

Make Your Home Safe for Your Puppyfrench bulldog puppy in arms

Puppies will chew on anything so it’s best to block off areas where your puppy could get into trouble like rooms you don’t want your puppy to go into or spaces where there are loose cords. It’s wise to close toilet lids and make sure your puppy steers clear of houseplants that are hazardous to their health. Avoid letting your dog near Sago Palms, Alocasia, Aloe, Arrowhead Plants, Calla Lilies, Birds of Paradise, ZZ Plants, Jade Plants, Cactus and Kafir Lilies. 

Contact Your Local Vet

Get your puppy checked out by a veterinarian as soon as possible and ensure your dog gets vaccinated. Check with your veterinarian to know the best way to prevent heart worms, Lyme disease, fleas, and ticks. Get your puppy’s nails trimmed, ears cleaned, and teeth brushed.

Give Your Puppy Time to Get Used to the New Environment

It will take a little while for your puppy to adjust. The puppy may feel insecure in his new home and it’ll take several weeks for the puppy to get used to his new surroundings.  Don’t be surprised if your new puppy sleeps 15-20 hours a day.

Start by letting your puppy explore certain areas of the house like where you’ve placed his crate and food and water bowls. Then let your pup explore one room at a time.

Routine is good for your puppy. You’ll help your new family member adjust by sticking to it.

Housetrain Your Dog

It will take time to housebreak your dog. You can choose to crate train, litter train, or paper train your dog. However, your puppy will have accidents so make sure to clean them up with an odor eliminating cleaner. Pugs, Dachshunds, Maltese, Pomeranians, Havanese, Bichon Frises, and Cocker Spaniels have a reputation for being difficult to housebreak.

Love Your Puppy

Your puppy won’t understand everything you say but he’ll enjoy the sound of your voice. Talk to your dog, and pet him, and play with him. Take time to find your puppy’s spot. Run your hands over your puppy’s body. When you notice a response like lifting his leg, whining, or pushing against your hand, you found your puppy’s spot. Many dogs enjoy a good scratch behind the ears, between the front legs, and on the belly. It’ll make your puppy’s tail wag. 

In the end, there are many ways to be a responsible dog parent and these 10 tips are a great start on your journey to dog ownership. 

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