Post written by Trish Manche
Pet ownership is definitely a privilege. Are you a responsible pet owner or foster? What does that really mean? There are a lot of schools of thought on this topic. Some feel that if the dog has a home, even outdoors, and gets food and water, that is enough. For those of us more passionate about our pets and fosters, there is so much more. I can’t imagine my dog not being part of the family inside my home and even sleeping on my bed.
Being a responsible pet owner starts with the very basics:
- Giving your dog shelter and a good place to sleep
- Good quality food and fresh water
- Keeping them current on their vaccinations
- Making sure they have a yard or a safe place to walk and do their business,
- Keeping them safe from the dangers to them, like cars and other animals
- And in some cases, training to make them a happier and more well adjusted dog.
Dogs need structure and exercise. Giving your dog these two things can make a huge difference in both your lives. For example, by having a feeding schedule vs. free feeding can help keep them from becoming over weight. Having them lay on a rug outside the kitchen vs under your feet when you are cooking or with big dogs, putting their nose right on your counter. A dog that is well exercised is less likely to get into trouble because the activity helps burn off their energy. A walk and letting them take time to sniff provides them with mental stimulation which burns some of their energy. Sniffing is how dogs learn about their environment.
When you are out walking with your dog, be a responsible citizen. Recently I attended some training courses at a local park. It was really disheartening and annoying to see all the dog waste left around the field where kids play and along the walking/bike trail. Part of being responsible is picking up after your dog. Waste bags are inexpensive, available all over, and a roll is small enough to fit in your pocket. And no matter how well trained your dog is, obey leash laws. It might not be all about your dog. Public parks are for leashed pets and dog parks are for off leash.