Walking Doggies

A lifestyle magazine celebrating the dogs we love

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ADOPTION

75 WAYS TO BE A RESPONSIBLE DOG OWNER (16-42)


Get Ready to Bring Your New Dog Home 

16. Buy the necessities…and toys.

Purchase food, treats, a collar and leash, toys, grooming tools, and other things you’ll need in advance so that your dog or puppy’s transition into your home will be a smooth one.

17. Make a schedule

You and your family members should decide who will be responsible for food, water, walks, exercise, cleanup, and grooming. Post a schedule of tasks to remind everyone of their responsibilities.

18. Dog-proof your house

Prepare your home before your new dog arrives. Move breakables or “chewables” to higher ground. Make electrical cords inaccessible to curious paws and noses. Block off any area of the house that’s off-limits. Block access to any house or garden plants that are toxic to dogs.

19. Set a containment policy

Make sure the yard is securely fenced or that you have a run for your dog. If that’s not possible, keep in mind that your pup will need to be on a leash outdoors.

20. Make a bed

Create a comfortable area — whether a crate, a dog bed, or a pile of blankets — for your dog to go to when he needs rest or privacy.

21. Select a veterinarian

Choose a veterinarian ahead of time, so you’ll be ready for a visit soon after your dog comes home. Give your vet copies of the dog’s health records, and set up a vaccination and check-up schedule.

Bring Your Dog Home

22. Let your dog adjust

He’s bound to feel insecure and frightened by changes in his environment and may be homesick for his mother or littermates. Show him his crate or bed, and where to find food and water. Then leave him alone to explore his new surroundings.

23. Name your dog

Your breeder may have suggestions or even requirements for his AKC-registered name, but his call or informal name is up to you.

24. Make introductions

Introduce your dog to your household slowly. Many pairs of hands petting him at once can be frightening. Later, introduce neighbors, regular visitors, and other family members.

25. Introduce other pets

Family pets should also be properly introduced to your new dog. Don’t expect them to get along right away; give them time to adjust to one another.

26. Housetrain

Whatever method of housetraining you choose, make sure everyone in the family enforces it consistently.

27. Set house rules

Teach your dog from the beginning what is and is not appropriate behavior. If something is “OK” today, your puppy will think it’s OK forever. Make sure every member of the family is aware of the rules you’ve set. Consistency is key to being a responsible dog owner.

Keep Your Dog Healthy

28. Schedule regular check-ups

The AKC provides 30 days of pet insurance coverage from AKC Pet Insurance for newly registered puppies. Details about this complimentary benefit will be sent to you shortly after registration.

29. Feed him a healthy diet

Your breeder or vet can suggest food that is best for your dog’s age, size, and activity level. Keep the diet consistent. Always provide plenty of fresh, clean water.

30. Exercise

Take your dog for walks, play games, run in the yard, throw a ball around — anything to stimulate his mind and body.

31. Vaccinate

Make sure your dog is up-to-date on his vaccinations and keep a copy of his records handy.

32. Prevent disease

Depending on where you live, your dog could be at risk for diseases like heartworm and Lyme disease. Ask your vet for prevention tips.

33. Repel fleas and ticks

Keep your dog, his bedding, and your home free from parasites.

34. Know your dog’s patterns

You will become familiar with your dog’s patterns of eating, drinking, sleeping, and relieving himself. Any major variations in these patterns could indicate illness.

35. Bathe your dog

Wash your dog with shampoo meant for canines. How often you should wash him will depend on his breed and environment. If this task is too overwhelming for you, take him to a groomer or vet.

36. Groom your dog

Some short-coated breeds need just a quick brushing every week, while some longer-coated breeds need daily brushing to prevent matting and reduce shedding.

37. Clip those nails

Learn how to clip your dog’s nails or have the vet or groomer do it.

38. Clean those teeth

To prevent tooth decay and gum disease, clean your dog’s teeth regularly. You can also give him hard biscuits, rope bones, or nylon chews to help keep them clean.

39. Keep your dog fit and trim

Feed him a well-balanced diet and give him plenty of exercise. Don’t overdo it with the treats.

40. Know the breed’s health risks

You should be aware of common health problems, how to prevent them, and how to recognize their onset.

41. Be alert to changing needs

As your dog ages, his needs will change. He may require a different diet, need more sleep, and be less active. You should do everything you can to pamper him in his final years.

42. Know when to let go

If, due to illness or old age, your dog reaches a point where his quality of life is severely compromised, arrange to end his life humanely.

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Courtesy of American Kennel Club