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Posted on 09-06-2016
The American Kennel Club has designated September as Responsible Dog Ownership Month -- and rightly so, since dogs depend on their owners for their physical health and emotional wellness. Whether you're adopting your first dog or you just want to get better at caring for your current dog, here are some helpful tips from our Sarasota/Parrish veterinarian.
Choose your dog with care. If you're deciding on a dog, think carefully about what kind of dog will be happiest in your home. If you have a tiny apartment, for example, choose a breed known as a "couch potato." Get a dog that requires a lot of exercise or mental stimulation only if you know you can provide those things on a regular basis.
Get those wellness procedures done. Responsible pet owners schedule regular wellness exams and procedures to preserve their pets' health. Make sure your dog gets the necessary core vaccinations (scheduling booster shots as needed), dental care, parasite prevention and pest control programs.
Spay or neuter your dog. Spay and neuter surgery helps to control the canine population, a major factor in ensuring that dogs don't have to be destroyed or suffer a lack of resources. It also protects your dog against several types of cancer and gives you a happier, less frustrated pet.
Identify your dog. Providing your dog with a combination of microchipping and a standard ID tag is the responsible way to ensure that your pet can be returned to you if he gets lost.
Watch your dog's health at home. Ask our veterinarian about the proper diet and nutrition for your dog. Make your house as "pet friendly" as possible by keeping any poisonous or otherwise dangerous items far out of paw's reach. (This includes many foods safe for humans but toxic to animals.) Bathe your pet periodically, learn the proper procedure for brushing his teeth, and watch out for any unusual physical, mental or behavioral changes.
Train and socialize your dog. Dogs need to know what is expected of them and how to get along with humans and other animals. Take the time and effort to have your dog trained and socialized, and both of you will enjoy a happier life together.
Travel with care. If you must travel for an extended period, consider boarding your dog in a reputable boarding center that you feel good about. If your dog is coming with you, choose ground travel over air travel and schedule any necessary vaccinations beforehand. Make sure your pet gets a comfortable crate, plenty of water and opportunities for potty breaks.
These tips just scratch the surface of responsible dog ownership. Call today to ask our veterinarian for additional advice or schedule necessary services!
How old were you when you got your first pet? How did your learn your pet ownership basics?
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