Bringing a pet home from the humane society is a huge responsibility that requires a 10+ year commitment. New pet owners learned how to train pets during January's Train Your Dog Month; and now they will learn what makes a responsible pet owner. (It's more than just setting out fresh water and healthy dog foods.)
Being a responsible pet owner means being nurturing and patient. The experience of dog ownership can be overwhelming for both dog owner and new pet. The dog will need to learn its new surroundings and may cause damage to furniture from teething and bathroom mistakes. Remain calm and do not yell at the dog. Do not hit the dog. The dog will eventually learn its way around the house.
Train the dog to go to the bathroom outside with pee pads or fake grass. Then, take the dog outside a few times a day to teach the dog. Teaching the dog to go outside goes beyond bathroom breaks. It will give the dog a chance to play outside with friends (dog play dates) and bond with pet owners. Being outside will allow dogs to run around, getting fresh air and exercise - increasingly important as dogs age. Being outside comes with its challenges, though. Wildlife may scout around home perimeters in search of food and choose to challenge small dogs. To keep wild animals away from companion animals, it's best to fence out wild animals and fence in dogs. During cold months, dogs will need shelter, blankets and warmth. During hot months, dogs will need lots of water - even a kiddie swimming pool area to splash around in.
Pets will also need to go to a local veterinarian on a regular basis. Be sure to get dogs shots and other vaccinations to maintain their health. Tell a dog doctor about abnormalities in animal behavior or diet, if any. Dogs will also need proper dental care and may be worth investing in mint gummies for dogs to chew on. As dogs get older, trips to the vet will become more frequent.
Being a responsible pet owner will require pet owners to care for pets by providing them with love and attention. Pets will need healthy dog treats; socialization with other domestic animals; exercise and toys galore. This February, go beyond being a pet owner and be a responsible pet owner this Responsible Pet Ownership Month.