Dogs have been loyal companions to us for as long as 15,000 years ago. They are cute, cuddly, entertaining and most of all loving. But how can we reciprocate the same loyal compassion that our dogs give us? Since dog’s are almost completely reliant on their owners, knowing what responsible dog ownership looks like is vital to giving your dog the life they deserve.
“A responsible dog owner is someone who gives the best care to their pet. This includes veterinary care, proper nutrition, attention and affection,” a volunteer at the Erath County Humane Society, Caroline Dean said.
Spaying, neutering and giving heart-worm prevention to your pets is very important. Providing this care to your pets is an essential part of being a pet owner.
“A responsible dog owner is someone who provides necessities but also enrichment and a fulfilling environment,” Taylor Nations, a volunteer at ECHS said. “They are animals first and pets second, they need to be treated with respect.”
Many college students decide to take the plunge and get a pet of their own once living on their own. Preparing for a dog and gathering the necessities before hand is important when thinking about getting a dog.
“If they know the breed, they should do research on the breed,” Dean said.
Different dogs have different temperaments, so it is important to get a dog that will thrive in your household environment.
“Plan for the dog’s arrival and have a back-up plan if things fall through,” Nations said.
If in college, make sure you can have either a roommate or friend who is willing to let the dog out to use the bathroom if you are at work or class for an extended period of time. What is also important is understanding what living with a dog is like.
“When you get a dog, they are going to act like a dog,” Dean said.
A lot of people get dogs expecting them to be cute, fun and even-tempered. However, dogs are still animals and will not be perfect.
“They are dogs, they are not people. They do not speak your language and you must be patient with them,” Nations said.
A lot of people will be quick to jump at the opportunity to get a dog, especially young adults who are moving out.
“Moving out is a huge freedom, but make sure you are prepared for a dog. They are a life-long commitment,” Dean said.
Dogs are hard-work and a huge responsibility. Making sure you are prepared for the commitment is imperative to ensure the dog’s well being.
“Realize that you are living with something that is not going to do everything you say. It’s kind of like having a 4-legged roommate,” Nations said.
There are lots of resources for current and perspective dog owners to learn about what responsible dog ownership means. Places like a veterinary office, the humane society, and even reliable internet sources.