As a vet, we see the best and worst of dog ownership. We see people take on pets with major medical or behavioural issues and work hard to resolve them, while other owners fail to provide basic care for their dog.
When it comes to responsible dog ownership, there are a few points I feel everyone should follow.
- Train and socialise your dog. You wouldn’t let your kids grow up with no discipline and no exposure to other kids, then send them to high school and expect them to get along with other people. Dogs are the same. They need to learn how to behave.
- Keep your dog under control in public. If exercising your dog off-lead, make sure you can call it back reliably. If not, keep it on lead until you can. Remember that your dog may be friendly, but the dog it runs up to may not.
- Pick up after your dog. If dog owners don’t pick up their dog’s poo, the areas where dogs can be exercised will be reduced.
- Keep you dog on a lead except in designated off-lead exercise areas.
- Feed your dog well. This means feeding good quality food as well as the right amount. Just like in people, dogs’ waist lines are expanding. Obesity can reduce a dog’s life span by up to three years, which for some dogs is 25% of their life expectancy. The food you choose doesn’t have to be the most expensive around, but it is important to understand that cheap food is normally made using cheap, inferior ingredients.
- Vaccinate your dog. Not only does it protect your own dog, herd immunity also helps protect other dogs and reduces the overall disease levels.
- Desex your pet. It helps prevent unwanted pregnancies, reduces roaming behaviours, and eliminates the risk of some cancers such as uterine, mammary, ovarian and testicular cancer.
- Keep your pet’s parasite control up to date. Flea, worm and heartworm prevention will help your dog live a more comfortable and healthier life.
- Microchip and register your pet with the council. That way if your pet escapes, it can be returned to you as quickly as possible.
Responsible pet ownership is fairly straight forward with the right advice. Remember we are always just a phone call away if you need some help.