Have a Long, Healthy and Happy Life with Your Dog

Owning a dog is a big responsibility.   When you decide to bring a dog into your life, you should be making a lifetime commitment.  You should plan on being that dog’s “forever home”.   128704058875757549As a responsible dog owner, you need to be sure to do a few things…

One of the first things you need to do is get your dog an ID tag.  This will have your dog’s name, your address as well as any medical concerns people need to be aware of.  Many places require that you have your dog micro-chipped and/or have a city license.  If you do not have an ID for your dog, you may find yourself having to pay a fine—or worse, your dog may disappear and there will be no way of locating her owner.  Thousands of dogs are euthanized every year because there was no way to find their owner and no one adopted them before their time expired.

Enrolling your dog in a behavior training class is essential.  You will be able to address bad habits before they develop into problems.  Additionally, it will give you and your dog more confidence.  You’ll learn positive ways to interact with your dog and your dog will learn acceptable behavior in a variety of situations.

The best thing you can do, is to have your dog neutered or spayed when they reach the appropriate age.  It is actually much better for your dog’s health if you have the procedure done.  Unaltered animals run away more often and have a far greater risk of certain kinds of cancer.  Many people are under the mistaken belief that it is necessary for a female to go through her first heat before she should be spayed.  It is not necessary and if you allow her to go into heat, you risk accidental impregnation.  If that happens, you will be faced with the termination of the pregnancy or having to deal with a litter of puppies.  If the operation will be a financial burden, there are places that can help.  Go to http://www.spayusa.org or http://www.dogs911.com for more information.

Children should be taught from a very early age how to approach and interact with dogs.  Millions of children are bitten each year because they have not been taught the proper way to interact with dogs.  You can avoid having this occur with your child, with proper training.  If you have children, be sure they are included in your dog’s obedience classes so they learn how to handle the dog. For further information, you can go to http://www.nodogbites.org .

Your dog should be seen by a vet for a checkup at least once per year.  That way, possible problems can be caught early.  There may be some things that appear normal to you that are actually very dangerous to your dog’s health.  A yearly visit to the vet may save you money in the long run.

Be prepared for things that can go wrong in your household. Just like you have an emergency evacuation plan for your family in case of fire, you need to figure out what you would do in case your dog was trapped.  Human safety always comes first, but, it is important that you also have a plan for the safety of your dog.

Finally, it is important to make arrangements for your dog’s care in the unlikely event that you might pass away.  Your dog is part of your family.  Be responsible enough to make arrangements for it, just as you would for your children.  Where will your dog go?  Who will take over her care?  If your dog has a godparent, that is wonderful!  If not, is there a family member that will be willing to take over?  It may even be the person that cares for your dog whenever you go on vacation.  Whoever that person ends up being, make sure that they have agreed to that responsibility.  Life is unpredictable.   You never know what might happen.  It is always better to have a plan.

Dog ownership is a big responsibility.   If you decide to make that commitment, be sure that you are willing to do what is in your dog’s best interest for a long and happy life.    You and your dog will be glad you did!

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