You want to be a damn good dog parent? It’s not as easy as 1, 2, 3. Being a good dog mom or dad takes effort, thought and planning. Adopting a dog only to tie him up in the backyard does a huge disservice to him, to your and your family.
Check out our list of 10 things you can do to be a damn good dog parent…
1. Take your dog for a daily walk.
Keeping your dog confined to your home, whether that home is a 3000 sq foot palace on a golf course or it’s a 600 sq ft 10th floor apartment, is a big no-no. Dogs need to explore, to smell, to investigate their world. By walking with you (correctly) you build a bond with your dog and he learns correct behavior. Without this outside interaction, your dog will wilt like a flower needing water.
2. Always provide adequate food for his growing body.
As your dog ages, his nutrition level changes. Younger, active puppies and dogs require food that helps their bodies develop appropriately. Older dogs might require food enhanced with glucosamine and different minerals and vitamins to help their aging bodies and arthritic bones. Overweight dogs often require food that’s less dense in calories.
3. Always provide a safe and loving home, indoors or outdoors.
Having a home that’s full of stress, arguments and slamming doors isn’t a safe place for your dog (or kids for that matter). We’d like Fido to have a comfy spot to sleep in, fresh water at all times, food, and love from his humans. If your canine buddy needs to stay outside, then at least get that crickety old dog house out of your yard. It doesn’t say love to me. Your rowdy kids that pick, pull, prod and pester your dog doesn’t say love either. To be a rock star dog parent you should provide a safe, durable, weather protecting and clean dog house for your outside dog. Also, a good size yard that your dog has access to would be another positive thing you can do for your canine friend. Keeping his poop picked up is an extra special add-on bonus! Do you want to walk outside and step in dog crap? I imagine not and your dog will often step around and over his waste to avoid it. He’s not stupid. If your kids don’t know boundaries and they think Fido is a bean bag or pull toy, can you do us all a favor and teach them that dogs have feelings and pestering, poking, pulling and prodding isn’t nice.
4. Train your dog basic obedience.
Who’s ever gone to a friend’s house and their dog is, for lack of a better term, ahem…PSYCHO? I have and it’s annoying. I hate to admit it but my dogs lack in some areas of basic obedience and when visitors come over, I’m embarrassed. My dogs act like the person entering our house is manna from heaven. Oh my gosh, a visitor, a visitor!!!! But seriously, teaching your dog basic commands such as sit, stay, come, down and off goes a long way in curbing their excitement and negative behaviors.
Another way to be a damn good dog parent can be done by taking your dog around skinny people, chubby people, short people, loud people, bearded people (men or women), blind, elderly and any other type of person you can think of all the time. Why all the time? Dogs can develop phobias and fears we might not understand. By opening up his world and introducing him to hundreds of different people, he becomes more comfortable and confidant. Visits shouldn’t just be once a year when they go to the vet either. These interactions should always be positive. Have you ever met someone you got creeped out by or got bad vibes from? Dogs are capable of that same thing so pay attention. Don’t force him into a situation with a person where he feels unsafe. He looks to you to prevent bad things from happening. If you don’t take this leadership role, he’ll take it from you for sure.
6. Provide regular veterinary care.
Loving dog parents know that taking their dog to the vet is mandatory but some think that if they aren’t sick, they don’t need to go. Regular veterinary visits are important for many reasons and some include: record of weight gain/loss, records of other medical conditions, i.e., worms, parasitic issues, dental issues. If your vet doesn’t have a good base line or average of your dogs weight, how would he know if he’s lost or gained? By keeping things like this recorded it’s easier to go back and track problems or head problems off before they get worse.
7. Keep your dog treated for fleas.
Flea dermatitis is a common ailment in dogs. Basically they’re allergic to fleas. Evidence of this could be bald patches/hair loss, extreme itching, red skin. Watching a dog suffer from a flea infestation is awful and being a good dog parent means keeping these nasty little things from making your dog home.
8. Get your dog on heartworm prevention.
When you take your dog to the vet, ask him to check for heartworm. This simple blood test is usually done in the office and you’ll find out results immediately. By giving your dog his monthly heartworm treatment, you’re saying, “I don’t want you to die, I don’t want you to get sick.”
9. Provide a safe place for your dog when he feels stressed or when he just wants to be alone.
Having a crate, a table he can get under or a room he can go into says to your dog, “I value your space.” Dogs are pack animals. They enjoy dens or quiet places where they can be alone. An open crate with a comfy mat or blanket inside is a prime place for escape although some dogs are afraid of crates, probably because of an improper introduction. A safe spot for him to run to would be ideal in example #3 from able. When a dog goes to his ‘safe spot’ it should be off limits to children.
10. Don’t spoil with love.
Love, love, love. Yes we want your dog to feel love but if your love is suffocating or hindering him from being a dog, then take a step back. Exercise, discipline then affection, just like Cesar Millan says, is the best way to go. A tired dog is more willing to train and a trained dog is more apt to receive your affection at the right time. Rewarding your anxious, nervous dog with love at the wrong time is insanely bad and thousands of dog parents do this on a daily basis because they don’t know any better.
In closing, being a damn good dog parent involves many things, many people, hours and dedication.
I’d like to add one more thing that didn’t make our list but we think is hugely important is keeping your dog for life. We mean keep him for his entire life. Don’t take him to the shelter if he starts peeing on the floor. Don’t drop him off out in the country if he jumps your fence repeatedly. And for the love of God, please don’t abandon him in his old age. Senior dogs often are left by their owners and that’s heartbreaking. Seniors should live out their golden years in the home they lived in prior to getting sick and old. When he gets to the end of his life, his suffering outweighs the positive, we as good dog parents need to make that hard decision. Humane euthanasia doesn’t have to be a horrible event. Holding your dog as he crosses over and drifts off to sleep is love at its finest. You were a damn good dog parent in life, and you can also be one as your dog says his final goodbye.
Here’s to being a damn good dog mom & pet sitter,
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