Moab Happenings Archive
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Pet Happenings April 2011

Responsible Dog Ownership
by Kaye Davis

Adding a dog to your family is often an emotional experience, in which you look at the ball of fur that you might take home and melt. As adorable as puppies and dogs can be, it is essential that you remember how much work taking care of a dog is before you adopt one! If you are a prepared, responsible dog owner, you and your pet will co-exist happily.
Dog Picture
Did you think about this?
Dog ownership should always be premeditated; a dog is not something to get on a whim. Sadly, many dogs are abandoned or relinquished each year after they were given as gifts or purchased out of the back of a truck at a grocery store and their novelty wore off. If you decide you can not keep the dog and not return the dog to the organization you got them from (almost all rescue organizations will make you do this though) make sure that the next owner is prepared to accept the responsibilities of owning the dog.

Can you afford a dog?
The reality is that very few people have any idea how much owning a dog costs and grossly underestimate it. It is important to understand what owning a dog costs so you can take the ownership and responsibility much more seriously. Most people would not dream of investing $10,000 on car they know nothing about, had no warranty, had not driven, and was completely unsuitable for their use. Yet people do this way too often when they get a dog without researching its breed characteristics, medical history, parental history, let alone the financial costs that are going to be incurred.

Besides the price of purchasing or adopting the dog, you need to make sure that you can pay for vet care, pet food, supplies, training, and the gear your dog will need. Without taking in to account any special needs, injuries, allergies and extra deposits on homes if you rent, the average cost of having a dog can cost up to over a $1000.00 per year. It all adds up, so make sure you can fit it all into your budget!

Do you have the time for a dog?

You may have all the love in the world, but dogs need time and attention more. The amount of time and attention a dog needs depends upon its breed and age, but you will need to determine if you have the time to take the dog out for exercise (being left in the yard to amuse themselves IS NOT exercise) , and be around it at home. Most dogs will survive if left home during a workday, but if you work really long hours, every day in a week, travel a lot, or just are hardly ever home, think twice about dog ownership. Remember that while you are at work, out with friends or running errands, your dog is usually just waiting for you to come home.

Spay and Neuter
Millions of pets are euthanized each year because of pet overpopulation. If you do not have your dog spayed or neutered you may be contributing to this problem. If your dog is suitable for breeding, be a responsible breeder and follow the proper protocols. Your dog should be a quality, healthy purebred with no congenital or hereditary problems. Breeding dogs is not just a hobby, it is a way of life and if you can not afford to ensure the health and well-being of all of the animals in the process then you should not be breeding. You can help save lives – please sterilize your pets!
Provide proper identification.

Quite often when people have lost their dog the first question I will ask is if they had tags and the second will be if they are micro-chipped and more often than not the answer is no. Your dog should wear a collar at all times with current identification. Consider micro-chipping your dog for an added layer of protection. Proper identification can help you become reunited with your dog if lost rather than letting your dog become one more homeless pet in an overcrowded shelter.

Keep your dog healthy.
Proper nutrition is a fundamental for keeping all dogs healthy. Diet directly affects your dog’s skin and coat, weight, energy level and most importantly gastrointestinal function. If a problem occurs in one of these areas, it is almost always linked to an inappropriate or deficient diet. Choose a high-quality dog food free of corn, wheat, soy, by-products and “mystery meat ingredients” and feed it in an appropriate portion. Always provide plenty of fresh water. A place of shelter and comfort is also important for your dog’s physical and mental wellness, and exercise is a must. Because of their survival instincts, dogs are not as likely to show pain or illness like we do. Regular vet visits can help prevent serious health problems and detect minor issues before they become chronic.

Train Your Dog.
No one enjoys being around an unruly, disobedient dog. Obedience training, proper socialization, housebreaking and training them to follow basic commands will actually strengthen the bond between you and your dog, leading to a happier and less stressful life together. If your dog’s misbehavior results in any sort of accident, injury or similar incident, you must take full responsibility for that behavior.

Respect Others, Be Respected.
This may seem like common sense to most of us, but there are still dog owners out there who do not “get” it. Please help give dog owners a good name by following these rules…

• Keep your dog on a leash or in a fenced-in yard when outdoors. Even where it is legal to allow your dog off-leash, you should supervise them at all times and have recall. Even if you are convinced your dog won’t do anything at the dog park, on a hike or at the dog store; you do not know how someone else’s dog will react when they meet your good dog.

• Do not leave a barking dog outdoors. Continuous barking is not only unfair to your dog; it is rude and annoying to neighbors. A bark collar is rarely the solution as the barking is often a symptom of a greater problem such as separation anxiety and so the dog is only being punished for something they are already anxious about.

• Pick up after your dog. No one wants to step in or smell that “gift” your dog left behind. Please pick it up right away and dispose of it properly. Or if you need to think of it this way, all of that dog poop you leave on the ground will eventually end up in your drinking water so clean it up!

Owning a dog is not just a privilege, it is a responsibility. Our dogs depend on us for, at minimum, food and shelter, and deserve much more. If you are considering bringing a dog into your life, you need to think seriously about the commitment that dog ownership entails. If you already have a dog, you need to consider if you are fulfilling all of your responsibilities as its owner.

This page sponsored by:

Moab Barkery

Holistic Pet Grooming

Holistic Pet Grooming Studio
25 Years Grooming Experience
Animal Reiki Offered (Certified in levels 1 and 2)
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B.S. in Biology in Animal Behavior
Specializing in special needs animals and large breeds

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Monday thru Saturday - Call for an appointment (435) 260-2949

Holistic Pet Grooming

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To see past articles about animals, pets and their care check our archives.

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