Being a responsible dog owner is being responsible for anything related to your dog’s health and safety. It is not only about feeding and exercising your dog daily, taking it to the vet if it is sick or injured, but also includes making sure it wears a collar and ID tag, is microchipped (and your contact details are kept up to date). and properly vaccinated annually.
A good rule of thumb is to imagine how you would feel if you were your pet. For example, how would you like your breakfast added to last night’s stale supper, or your bed being in the noisiest room in the house? Most of the behavioral and veterinary problems we encounter are due to owners not looking after their pets properly.
Their basic needs are simple: to feel secure pets need to have a daily routine and be loved.
Both you and your dog will be happier if he is socialized with people and other animals, and is easy to control. Dog training classes allow your dog to meet others in a controlled environment, and enable you to learn correct handling techniques. This will strengthen the bond between you and your dog. Socializing from an early age helps to prevent behavioural problems. Regular walks provide your dog with a change of scene and the chance to meet other dogs. Remember, your dog needs a social life, too.
In urban areas keep your dog on a lead at all times as he could easily be startled by a noise and run off and get hurt or killed by a vehicle. Before letting him off in a safe area for the first time, be confident he will come back when you want him to. Do not let your dog out on his own as he will classed as a stray and could be impounded. Never leave your pet tied up outside a shop alone as he may be taken for a lost dog or stolen. Always ensure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date before allowing him outside.
Most owners assume their pet will never go missing. The number of strays we receive shows they are mistaken. Identification is important for dogs and it is a legal requirement that they wear a collar and identity disc. Micro-chipping is a widely recognized method of permanent identification. Your vet can provide this service.
Dogs need to be exercised regularly, usually twice a day, in all weathers. You should carry poo bags with you to clean up after your dog. These should be available from our vet. Both tinned and dried pet food can provide a balanced, nutritious diet. Remember to provide extra water with dried food. Water must always be clean and fresh. Feeding animals human food is not recommended. Chocolate is poisonous to dogs, for example, and can be fatal in large quantities. Your pet’s bed should be in a quiet, draught-free place out of direct sunlight. Vacuuming or laundering the bedding will help keep smells and fleas at bay.
When planning a trip away, ensure you make proper arrangements for your pets. You should only consider friends or neighbours if they can be trusted to care for your pet properly. If necessary, take time to introduce your dog to his carer before you go away. Explain his daily routine and leave contact numbers for yourself and your vet in case of emergencies. Put a new identity disc on your pet’s collar with the contact details of his temporary carer and if your pet is micro-chipped, let the company who manages the database know the temporary carer’s contact details. If you are traveling with your dog, contact your microchip provider and inform them where you will be staying. If your dog goes missing, you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing that if he’s found the microchip company will be able to contact you.
If you are considering boarding kennels, visit the facility beforehand to check whether it is suitable. Ask lots of questions, like how many daily walks the dogs get. Word of mouth is the best recommendation and you’ll need to book well in advance, especially at peak holiday times, as the best kennels are always fully booked.