Every so often, I’ll learn that a friend wants to get a dog. Initially, I am extremely excited for them, but the other half of me has to be real with them.

Dogs are a lot of responsibility. Dogs depend on you and rely on you for their safety, comfort, and basic care. With this responsibility, one needs to be aware that you cannot make plans to be somewhere before first going home from work and feeding, walking your dogs and playing with them for a little bit. Providing basic care is just the beginning. Understanding your dog’s need for interaction, play, and mental stimulation are critical to daily living.

It’s not enough to just physically be there, sometimes you need a reminder to get off your phone. I think it’s something we are all guilty of. When I get home from work, I use our daily walks as a chance for me to unwind and connect with my dogs. To let them go out into the world and explore and smell all the different scents throughout the neighborhood.  These are incredibly relaxing and rewarding moments.

Providing proper health care is also critical throughout their lifetime. You need to take into consideration the costs involved and ensure that you keep up with it. Regular check ups are needed to make sure that the health of your dog is good throughout their many years. This includes taking them to their vet the moment you suspect something might be wrong. Waiting could be a life or death situation. Additionally, grooming needs must be maintained. Ensuring nails are clipped, teeth are cleaned, and regular bathing occurs is very important.

Everyday I remind myself to check in with my dogs, TRULY check in with them and see how they’re doing. To give them the love and attention that they deserve. If I noticed that I spaced out for an hour lurking around on my phone, I make it a point to put it down and love on my dog, walk my dog, give my dog a treat, or at least engage them in some kind of interaction between the two of us.

Having a pet first aid kit is another important thing to have as a pet owner. Even an emergency plan in case of flooding, earthquakes, tornados, fires… or if your pet gets lost.

Is your Dog microchipped? Do you use proper pet identification tags?  If not, what is stopping you?

Take these things into consideration when celebrating #ResponsibleDogOwnershipDay ..