If you’re thinking about getting a pet dog, then you should know that there are responsibilities to go along with the many pleasures and advantages. If you want to enjoy walks, games and even naps with man’s best friend, then you need to know what your responsibilities are – to your dog, to the law and to other people around you.
Today we’re taking a look at your responsibilities as a dog owner, so you can feel confident you’ve ticked every box, and are being the best owner you can be to your dog.
Sickness and Health
Like any other animal (including humans!) dogs are prey to their fair share of diseases and health conditions. It’s worth doing your research on both large and small scale problems, so you know what to do in the moment when your dog has diarrhea and vomiting, also about the more serious health conditions that can affect the breed as they age, and what you can do about them. From dietary changes, to budgeting for medical treatments, or simply planning walks so they get the right kind of exercise, if you know how to care for your dog responsibly, they’ll enjoy a healthier life, and you’ll be a happier owner!
Training your dog is an important responsibility, and improves life for you, your dog and the people you’ll encounter on walks.
Dogs derive a feeling of safety and security from having simple expectations they can fulfil – knowing their role in the family. Training – both to follow commands like sit, stay, drop and come, and behavioural training like walking to heel, and not jumping up at people – create those expectations, a role they can fulfil. This makes your dog feel more secure and happy, makes caring for a dog a more manageable experience for you, and also means your dog is less intimidating for passers by. Even if you know your dog isn’t aggressive and means well, helping to curb their more unpredictable behaviour means other people can have a better relationship with them too!
Before you get a dog, you need to look at the legal situation surrounding it where you live. Different countries have different restrictions from banned breeds to permits and licensing. If you don’t check in advance what your legal responsibilities are you could find yourself subject to fines, or even have your dog seized by the authorities!
In the UK, dog licensing was abolished in 1987, but there are some breeds which are deemed too dangerous for the public to own, and you are required to get your pet microchipped . This is well worth doing, as (as long as you keep your details up to date on the database) if your dog ever gets lost, that microchip can help to reunite you and identify you as the owner!
You also have a legal obligation to provide your dog with a healthy, safe environment, so make sure you do your research about what your dog needs to eat, how much exercise the breed needs, and how to create a secure environment for it to sleep before you bring your dog home.