Do you call yourself a dog mom, dog dad, pet parent or dog owner? No matter the title, you are sharing your life with a furry companion. September is Responsible Dog Owner Month. Our dog-centric company has tips on how to be a responsible dog owner.

Our dogs make our lives complete. Dogs are happy to see us, snuggle with us and offer comfort by their mere presence. Your excited-to-see-you dog greeting you after a long, hard day at work or stressful commute melts the stresses away.

Dogs don’t care if we have bed head or are in a mad or sad mood. Dogs offer unconditional love and ask so little in return. As a responsible pet parent, you want to do what you can to make your dog’s life as happy and healthy as possible for the seemingly brief time we have with them.

How To Be A Responsible Dog Owner

adorable-animal-bull-160846 (1)If you want to be a better human, or remain the best human, for your dog here are some things he will appreciate!

Take him to the veterinarian. Vet visits are crucial to your dog’s health for a lifetime. Owning a dog means budgeting for frequent vet visits (especially with a puppy and a senior). Annual veterinarian visits for a physical examination and for vaccinations are part of being a responsible dog owner.

Feed your dog right. Processed foods, fried foods and fast foods are not healthy for humans, nor are they healthy for our dogs. Avoid feeding your dog table scraps. She doesn’t need potato chips or ice cream. Feed your dog a healthy dog food (look for one that lists three proteins as the top ingredients). Give her healthy treats. Many dogs enjoy fruits and vegetables; if yours don’t- try feeding them treats that are low in calories and that are high in healthy ingredients.

Dog-proof your house. If your dog likes to chew shoes, don’t leave shoes where he can get them. Tuck away electrical cords and keep cupboards closed. Use pet-friendly cleaning products. Take care of items your dog could chew on — plants, small objects — so he doesn’t ingest them.

Even more responsible dog owner ideasHow To Be A Responsible Dog Owner

Keep teaching your dog tricks. Old, young, big, or small! Keeping your dog’s mind nice and sharp is key to a long, happy dog life. This is a fun way to show off your pup to friends and family, but also have a dog who is more pleasant to be around. Spend at least 15 minutes each day trying to teach your dog a new trick.

Tale a hike! No, really, take a hike! Dogs love to exercise; even senior dogs enjoy a daily walk. When you have a dog you never have to walk, hike or camp alone and that is a gift. You should walk your dog every day. A walk or a rousing game of fetch or swimming will keep your dog healthier and happier than if he was a couch potato. Gauge the length of your walk on your dog’s health, age and ability.

Take time to snuggle. Our daily lives are hectic and seem to be getting even more so every day. Taking time to snuggle your dog is scientifically proven to lower your blood pressure and reduce your stress. Whether you’re gone for five minutes or five hours, it may feel like a lifetime to your dog. There’s a phrase that holds a lot of truth: “Your dog may only be here for part of your life, but to him you are his whole life.” Never miss a chance to slow down and enjoy the world with your dog.

Robbi Hess, Woman In The Pet Industry Solopreneur Finalist and award-winning author, is multi-petual. When not caring for her pets or taking them on walks, she is a speaker, efficiency and effectiveness guru, content creator, social media manager and blogger. She writes at All Words MatterMy Divas Dish, and is the story editor and chief cat herder at Positively Woof/Crimeless Cat.