man walking his door outdoors.

Did you know that September is Responsible Dog Ownership Month? Plenty of pet parents find themselves in a paw-sitively sticky situation when they realize how much work it takes to keep a dog happy and healthy. If you’re not sure how to be a responsible pet owner, our compassionate team at Flowers Mill Veterinary Hospital has a short guide to get you started. Here are our best tips and tricks for owning a dog. 

How to Properly Care for My Dog: 3 Tips

1. Find a Veterinarian 

The first thing you should do when you bring a new furry friend home is establish a relationship with a local veterinarian. Puppies and adopted dogs from shelters should both receive a nose-to-tail wellness visit to make sure they’re in good health. 

Most wellness visits cost between $50 and $250. Make sure you’re prepared for this cost. It’s also a good idea to get pet insurance to cover any unexpected health conditions, emergencies, or diagnostic tests. 

That way, you can bring your pup to the vet without worrying about finances when things go sideways. With a good veterinarian and a pet insurance plan, you’ve got the building blocks of how to be a responsible pet owner. 

2. Provide a Nutritious Diet

Depending on the breed, most dogs need to eat one-to-two meals each day. All dog food sold in stores meets the FDA’s minimum requirements for your pup’s nutrition. And unless Fido has a wheat allergy, you don’t need to look for grain-free food. 

That’s because dogs are omnivores. They get their nutrients from animal products, grains, vegetables, and fruits. 

When you’re shopping for food, look for a kibble that matches up with your dog’s age and size. For example, puppy-specific food for younger dogs and senior-appropriate kibble for your elderly fur baby. 

Some dogs also benefit from prescription foods, which can help manage health conditions from dermatitis to obesity. If you’re unsure which food to buy, ask your veterinarian for advice.

3. Lavish Attention and Exercise

Dogs need lots of attention. They love building bonds with their humans, and they’ll need extra attention from you at the beginning of your relationship. Make sure you’re ready to shower your new pup with physical affection, stimulating training sessions, and opportunities for exercise.

Some dogs require at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. Think basset hounds, saint Bernards, and Pugs.  

High-energy breeds like labrador retrievers, German shepherds, and Australian cattle dogs need upwards of two hours of daily exercise. Mismatched lifestyles can cause you and your dog a lot of frustration over the years. 

So choose a low-energy breed or mix if that’s what fits your lifestyle. If you love hiking and jogging, a high-energy mix or breed is great! 

Friends Fur-ever

When you commit to being a responsible dog owner, you can expect many happy years with your furry friend. If you’re looking for a veterinarian in Levittown or Langhorne, Pennsylvania, the caring team at Flowers Mill Veterinary Hospital is here for you. Set up your pet’s first appointment online today.