Who said that we can’t strive for perfection, trying to become better dog owners and taking it day by day?
Use the tips below to try and enhance your pet’s quality of life while also improving yours.
If you have ever played a video game The Sims, you’ll remember all kinds of stats bars that show the level of happiness of people and pets under your control.
Switching back to reality, below is a list of 16 ideas on how to be a better dog owner and fill up those bars all the way to be completely green for a 100% happy life.
16 Simple Ways to Be a Better Dog Owner
0. Pick the right dog
Start off your great dog owner’s journey by picking a canine that best fits you and your lifestyle.
Never buy a dog on an impulse – spend enough time contemplating on this decision. Evaluate pros and cons, and examine your lifestyle, work and personal commitments, your experience with other pets, daily physical activity, and, of course, finances. This is a vital first step toward responsible dog ownership.
1. Never hit them
From the training perspective as well as humane perspective, this is never an appropriate thing to do.
Regardless of how mad you get at your dog, hitting him/her, or even just spanking, will never solve your problem. What you will get out of this is a dog who’s afraid of you. Instead, teach them and train them while simultaneously practicing patience and compassion. And the next time you want to hit your little pal, think of how many things they have forgiven you.
2. Take longer walks
Make an effort to take longer walks a few times during the week, and then take your dog(s) for a proper day out on the weekend.
Although oftentimes you are probably just too tired after a day’s work to go out and play fetch with your little pal, just taking longer walks will help you be a better dog owner. Unless your dog is a complete couch potato, they will need to expend their energy daily, which is an important part of every healthy dog’s life. Next time you go for a walk, do spend a few minutes longer outdoors instead of running back home to watch TV after your canine has done their business.
3. Play more with them
Don’t be a couch potato yourself and take them out for a fun game of fetch.
Kill three birds with one stone by combining longer walks, playing games, and meeting other dog owners into one 1-hour session a couple of times a week. Try not to let your dog grow bored. And remember that even older dogs want to have some decent quality time with their owner, even if they’re not as active as they used to be.
4. Supply better dog food
Be honest when evaluating the kind of dog food you give to your pal and if possible, don’t skimp on it, too.
Is your dog getting all the nutrients s/he needs from the kibble or canned food you provide? Does the food meet all the necessary AAFCO health guidelines? Is it suitable for this specific breed and your dog’s lifestyle? If it’s the super cheap stuff and you cannot afford anything more expensive on a daily basis, maybe treat them to a premium quality organic food on certain occasions. And don’t forget about the dog treats, those need to be healthy, too.
5. Be a more understanding dog owner
Having a dog means learning everything about them to develop a deeper and more meaningful relationship.
Dogs might not be as complicated as humans, but they are still the kind of species that you can learn something new about every single day. Observe your pet, learn what they do and how they do it, and try to understand their instinctive reasoning. Best way to approach this is to grab a few dog books and study them. Pick something good and enlightening, a book that will really teach you what this animal, possibly your pet’s breed specifically, is all about.
6. Give them their own space
Dogs love to have their own place, period.
The great thing about dogs is that unlike cats, they won’t mind sleeping anywhere you offer them to, and they won’t complain. However, this should not be an excuse for ignoring their lesser needs. Dogs really like to know there’s always something that belongs to them: it could be just a small mat in the corner of your living room, a cozy dog crate, or a huge dog house somewhere in the backyard. Anything will do.
7. Take them to the vet on a regular basis
Constantly making sure that your dog is 100% healthy will help you be a better dog owner.
Nature has already bamboozled dogs by shortening their average lifespan 7 times compared to humans. Now it’s up to you to extend your canine’s life by checking every lump your dog has, examining changes in the behavior, providing the best dog supplements, and going through a general check-up at the local veterinary clinic once in a while. It’s fast and not as expensive as some dog owners think.
8. Brush their teeth
AVDS reports that 80% of dogs in the United States develop oral diseases by the time they’re 3 years old.
Dental problems in dogs don’t mean just yellow teeth and bad breath. If they develop any kind of oral disease as a result of poor dental hygiene, there’s a chance that your dog’s heart, kidneys, and liver might also become seriously affected. Generally, brushing your dog’s teeth at least once a day would be a good idea. So don’t dilly dally – grab a special dog tooth brush and make that tartar disappear.
9. Spend quality time with your dog
This isn’t about taking longer walks or playing more with your dog, it’s about a lot more than that.
Quality time is all about you introducing your pal to new things. It’s about you, the dog owner, considering your pet as your buddy, your actual loyal friend whom you can trust.
10. Don’t leave them alone in cars
As difficult as it sometimes is, try to plan ahead so as to avoid situations of leaving your pets in a car by themselves. This video shows you why.
Even if for a short period of time, this practice is still too dangerous and unfair to the dog. They can quickly freeze in cold temperature during winter and seriously suffer in summer. Aside from that, you’re also running the risk of your doing being kidnapped. That happens way more often than you’d think!
11. Find them new friends
Dogs are social, pack animals and they love to spend time with the likes of their own species.
If you have a dog park somewhere close by, you’re in luck. There’s probably plenty of other dog owners over there every day, some of whom might also be looking for friends for their little pets. Aside from that, you can research local communities where dog owners usually gather, meet people, and arrange “play dates” with your canines.
12. Always champion for your dog
If your dog is your best friend, why shouldn’t you always have their best interest at heart?
Never trust just one source of information, including veterinarians. Remember to do your research, talk to other dog owners, educate yourself on how to be a better dog owner, and always get a second, or even third, opinion. Your pooch will count on you to make the best decision on his/her behalf, so don’t let them down.
13. Practice grooming
It’s not as difficult as it looks but it’s also not as easy as it seems.
How much trouble will you have with grooming your dog and how often will you have to do this will depend solely on your dog’s breed. Nevertheless, grooming your dog regularly is essential, and that includes baths a few times a month and regular deshedding procedures. If you have some extra cash to spend, you can always take them to a professional and learn the best grooming practices there.
14. Abide the law
Licensing your dogs in 2014 is easy and will put your mind at ease.
In certain states, it’s already the law that requires for you to license your dog, so be a better dog owner by becoming a law-abiding citizen. License tags will have a special number assigned to them, which helps to find the owner when a lost dog is found. Additionally, chips are becoming more affordable, so take advantage of that as well.
15. Embrace the relationship
There are certain kinds of dog owners who are apologetic about their deep and meaningful relationship with their pets – don’t be one of them.
Share your life with your little pal to a full extent, and don’t be afraid or embarrassed to embrace this solid partnership. The bond between the two of you will only grow stronger as you continue through this life together, but not everyone, including your family and friends, will understand it. Don’t worry about it, because what the two of you have is absolutely sacred.
16. Plan ahead
Take a minute to consider your dog’s feelings in case they ever lose contact with YOU. Will there be someone to take care of your best friend when you’re away?
Decided (from comments): If you’re older, please think about providing for your dog should something happen to you. Heck, even if you’re young, have a back-up plan in place for your canine best friend.
What changes are you implementing in your daily routine to be a better dog owner for your pet? Share your tips and ideas in the comments below!
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