Dog ownership is said to give many benefits related to health and disposition. Dog owners are found to have lower blood pressure and less stress as a result of their regular interaction with their dogs. Other people value their dog’s company and friendship. As man’s best friend, dogs are known for their loyalty and ability to keep their owners on their toes as most require regular exercise and play.

Children who keep dogs are also known to grow into responsible adults. This is because keeping a dog entails responsibility that even young children can perform on a regular basis. This includes feeding, bathing and grooming and keeping the dog entertained through various activities.

But dog ownership requires certain responsibility. It is expected that dog owners will keep their dogs from hurting other people. This article aims to provide readers the scope of the responsibility that is inherent in owning a dog.

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Some basic things that every owner needs to be aware of:

  1. Keep your dog’s vaccinations up to date.Over-vaccination can and should be a concern for pet owners. The American Animal Hospital Association has changed its vaccine requirement from annually to every three years, but many vets still practice yearly and vaccination, and often give unnecessary vaccines. This can have long term health effects on your dog. Some owners only have their dogs vaccinated against rabies, and routinely tested for viruses such as lime disease and parvo. However, distemper and parvo vaccines are viewed as necessary by some holistic vets. Check with your vet about which vaccines are necessary, but remember that many vets just want to sell you the vaccine, or may be stuck with dated information regarding vaccines.
  2. Prevent your dog from injuring any person, property or other animal.
    Train your dog properly and give him plenty of daily exercise to release any pent-up anxiety or tension. It is not fair to expect your dog to behave if he hasn’t been exercised daily and properly trained. Even dogs with the sweetest and most submissive temperament will become frustrated and even bite if ignored or caged for too long.
  3. Keep your dog leashed when off your property unless you are within the off-leash exercise areas in parks where dogs are allowed.
    Not keeping your dog leashed can result in fines for you or worse. If a fight occurs while your dog is off-leash, your dog is most likely to be blamed and could potentially be taken away from you, even if your dog wasn’t at fault. This is especially true if you own a bully breed or guarding breed. Unfortunately public fear of these breeds will not be on your side if your bully is off leash, no matter how friendly he is.
  4. Clean up after your dog
    Always carry a bag with you when you have your dog out.
  5. Do not confine your dog in a vehicle in extreme (hot or cold) weather.
    Your dog could easily die of heat stroke in a car that is too hot within ten short minutes. Do not leave your dog in the car when the weather is extreme.
  6. Keep the doghouse in the shade in the summer and provide the house with straw in the winter.
    Many dog owners now allow their dogs to live in the house with them. However, if this is not possible, and you must keep your dog outside in extreme weather you must take responsibility. If your dog is short-haired winter outside can be a miserable experience. In the summer, the doghouse needs to be in the shade, and in the winter straw in the doghouse is essential for your pet’s warmth. Straw keeps the heat inside and keeps the dog dry and warm. Do not use blankets as they can become damp, wet, and make your dog even colder.

The list above can help you take care of your dog well. Of course, you need to consult a licensed veterinarian for important concerns like vaccination and health. Dog training can be done using many instructional videos and articles online. Dog can be trained to follow simple but vital commands such as “come”, “sit”, and “stop” among others. Leash training is also important such that the dog will not fight the leash when in public places. It is also important to train the dog to behave well in the presence of other people. Dogs exposed to socialization will not act aggressively against other animals or people. Dogs will behave accordingly if dog owners had communicated to them early on the expected behavior.

We can always assume that a well-kept and well-loved dog will not be a threat to others. After all, the owner can be held legally liable for his/her dog’s behavior. By taking proper care of your pet dog, you can  avoid some safety issues and legal threats.

Ken Christensen
Partner, Founder at Christensen & Hymas
Ken Christensen is the founding partner of Christensen & Hymas. He is an avid cyclist, loves baseball, and enjoys spending time with his family in the outdoors.

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