Guest Blog: How To Be A Responsible Dog Owner
This was a new life that I was responsible for. So I promised myself, I was going to be the best craziest dog mom that I could be.
Hello friends, this is Wendy and I am the Founder of PetnPals and the crazy dog mom of Mr. Big (Our C.M.O).
I would like to tell you that I did the right thing and went to our local shelter to adopt Mr. Big. But I didn’t. Had I known then what I know now about the pet industry, then I would have taken more time to adopt through a shelter or organization. But eyes wide shut, we searched online and found Mr. Big (whose name back then was “Carlton”).
“Carlton” was 6 weeks old at the time and he was born in Sumter, Texas. Looking back, I don’t know why we didn’t find a French bulldog breeder closer to NY. But no regrets, because I love my little boy. Carlton grew up in a family house with other French bulldogs, mastiffs, and cats (I saw the photos).
Back in 2014, my life completely changed… by becoming a first time dog mom, and not just any dog mum. I became a Frenchie mom.
Most people know that a French Bulldog is not the easiest or low maintenance dog to take care of. So for me to go head first into this title as Frenchie mom, was quite an achievement for me.
Never did I think I was the “maternal type.” Although things have changed now being the mother to a 2 year old, and a 4 year old Frenchie.
I knew NOTHING about taking care of a dog, let alone the additional care that goes into owning a Frenchie. But I had to learn… and learn fast. This was a new life that I was responsible for. So I promised myself, I was going to be the best craziest dog mom that I could be.
Here are my tips on how to be the best craziest dog mom that I was capable of being:
1. Understand that having a dog requires an investment of time and money from yourself.
Dogs are living creatures and are not a toy that can be disposed of when:
a- They don’t fit your lifestyle.
b- They get older and don’t look as “cute” to you anymore.
c- You move house
They are a long term commitment. So it is important to take your time to see if you have not only the love, but the time and money it takes to care for a dog.
2. Ensure that your pet has had his or her primary vaccinations.
All puppies need to have the basic vaccinations before socializing with any other dogs. Immune systems are very low at this age and they are more susceptible to catching diseases.
According to the Kennel Club, the core vaccinations typically are:
3. Feed your pet the best quality food you can afford (everyone has a different financial situation).
Just because you feed your dog kibble, does mean that you are a bad dog pawrent. But what I would suggest is if you are feeding kibble, then add some veggies in there for nutrition. There are many different ways to feed your dog- kibble, freeze dried, home cooked, and raw. I would recommend you do your research and see what is the best for your lifestyle and financial situation.
4. Regular Grooming and medical attention.
Every breed has a different need when it comes to grooming, and even medical needs. Basic grooming involves bathing (I give Big a shower every 2 weeks), regular nail clipping / trimming (Big hates this with a vengeance), ear cleaning (every week), teeth brushing (ideally once a day but we are not this good!) and if you have a long haired dog then a visit to the groomers every month is pretty normal too. Big doesn’t need his to get his fur chopped. But he does have facial wrinkles that I clean daily before he goes to bed. We live in a tropical country so his paws tend to get dry, which means I have to moisturize his paws so they don’t crack, as well as give him his preventatives for parasites and ticks. We also supplement teeth brushing with a good Benebone for him to chew on.
What worries me is when I see too many dog owners post photos of their pets on a Facebook group, and ask the advice of group members. There are mild issues that perhaps, members can advise you on. But when there is blood, vomiting, diarrhea, or if your pet just isn’t acting like his or her normal self, two words – VET ASAP! Please do not any time for assumptions.
5. Spay or neuter your pet if you do not plan on breeding.
I should not have to say too much on this. But come on everyone, let’s all help control the pet population! Too many dogs and cats are born from the result on lack or neutering or spaying, and end up homeless, abused, in the shelter, and sadly many are then euthanized.
Plus, neutering and spaying helps prevent cancer and allows them to live longer. We want this right???
6. Pick up after your pet
This is not just a form of good manners. But it is also being considerate for your community. Dog poop:
· Contains bacteria and parasites like Salmonella, Coccidia, Roundworms, Tapeworms, Parvo, Giardia and E. coli. These can all make other dogs VERY SICK.
· Cannot be broken down and is toxic. Unlike fertilizer, it contains Phosphorus and Nitrogen, and it will damage grass and any plants it is on.
The reason why many restaurants, cafes and hotels do not allow pets is simply because of this. People who do not pick up or who are in control of their pets. If more of us can show that we are a responsible pet community, more establishments will open their doors to us!
7. Obey local laws
Laws for pet owners will be different depending on where you live. A common one is keeping your dog leashed. I’ve heard of far too many accidents involving an owner who was confident their dog would not cause harm off leash, attack another dog. Let’s obey the law guys, and prevent these accidents from happening. Let’s be good citizens, guys!
8. Socialize your dog and spend some time nurturing your relationship with him or her.
You are everything to your dog, so spend some time bonding over regular walks, feeding them, and even a little playtime indoors.
Ever wonder why some dogs always barking at other dogs? More than likely they are stressed or scared. Think of it as social anxiety for dogs. This is why it is so important to have your dog mingle with other dogs from an early age.
9. Take him or her out for regular walks.
Let’s be honest, it’s not like we can never have too much exercise right? Plus, a tired dog… is a happy dog.
10. Make sure your dog is properly ID’ed or is microchipped.
Ideally I would suggest both. But microchipping is not as recognised in non- Western countries. A dog tag that includes YOUR name and contact number. If you really want to be a pawsome dog pawrent, include the name and phone number of your vet. So if you are not able to be found, they can take your furbaby to his or her vet and be in safe hands.
So that’s it friends. It might sound like a lot. But it really isn’t once you get into a routine and make it part of your lifestyle. I’m sure most of you are just like me right? Personally, I couldn’t wait to come home from work, so that i could spend time with Bigs walking. Being Big’s crazy dog momma gives me purpose in life because I know he solely depends on me and his human father for everything.
What are your thoughts? Are you a crazy dog pawrent? Would you rather spend time with your dog than going out with friends?
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