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     While it’s great that a lot of homeless dogs get adopted, some are adopted by people with very little idea of how to care for them properly. Because at the end of the day, it isn’t about getting them enough food and water and leaving a toy out for them to chew on. There are equally important and much more rewarding ways to be a good dog owner.

Take Your Dog On A Daily Walk

     Many leading experts today agree that a daily walk is essential to a dog, no matter its age. Imagine not getting to leave the house all day except a quick trip outside to use the restroom a few times? You wouldn’t want that for yourself, and your dog doesn’t want it either. Just like with humans, a daily walk can have tremendous health benefits for a dog, and the owner gets exercise too. Plus, it’s fun for them. I had a dog who lived to be fifteen who, despite arthritis pain in all four legs, practically jumped into the air with excitement when she saw her leash.

Give Your Dog Time To Run And Play Outside

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     There is little that a dog likes more than being let outside to play. It’s their equivalent of a human’s afternoon off to do something fun. As important as structured exercise is for a dog, a less formal way of getting exercise is equally valuable. Make sure your dog has a good yard or that you live near a dog park so your pet can get the freedom they need.

Let Your Dog Live In Your House With You

     I know many people who have dogs and then leave them to be outside all of the time. And I do understand their reasoning for it sometimes. Their dog might not have the right house manners to be inside, it might prefer to be outside to play all day, or the owner might work long hours and need to leave the dog out so it can go to the bathroom. But dogs are known as man’s best friend for a reason. They crave companionship, and would love nothing more than to feel like a part of your family. If nothing else, let your dog in at night, preferably sleeping in the same room with you, or nearby you in the house. The more the dog becomes part of the household, the happier it will be.

Train Your Dog

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     Dogs are incredibly intelligent animals. I have two, and they know an amazing amount of words. Plus all dogs, over time, can come to understand tones of voice as well. And you need only look at the amount of dogs that are able to be trained to help the disabled or work with the police force to understand their abilities. Why waste such potential? If you have a dog and you haven’t trained it at all, start with simple commands like sit and shake, rewarded immediately with treats. And if you are thinking about getting a dog, start with simple training immediately. They’ll surprise you by how quickly they’ll pick it up.

Play With Your Dog

     In many ways, dogs are like kids. They can be silly and hyper, and a great way to burn off that extra energy is to play. This may be throwing a tennis ball for them to chase, or you chasing them when they pick up a toy, or any other game you can think of. It’s fun for the dog, and you’ll probably enjoy it too. Also, it will only deepen the bond you have with your dog, as they’ll come to enjoy your company that much more.

Keep Your Dog Up To Date On Vaccines/Vet Checkups

     A lot of people get pets without being aware of the continuing care needed for them. It’s extremely important to find a good veterinarian and schedule a yearly checkup for your dog. They will keep you aware of the vaccines needed for your animal, as well as give you general advice on how to keep them happy and healthy. After all, you wouldn’t let your children go their whole lives without visiting a doctor, so why should a pet?

Make Sure Your Dog Has Proper Identification Tags

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     For me, there was never anything scarier than when a dog of ours would dig a hole out of the backyard and run away. Thankfully, we always found our pets, and if I ever see a loose dog now, I always make every effort to return it to its owner. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve found a dog with absolutely no identification whatsoever except their name tag. Remember, your dog may be smart, but it can’t find its way home the way a human can. It also won’t know how to safely navigate our world full of speeding cars, either. Your best bet is to get your dog fitted with tags that have not only its name, but your phone number as well. You might consider putting your address on the tag too. Another option is to get your pet micro-chipped, which is a painless way to get that same information known. The dog can be taken to any vet clinic, scanned for a chip, and the results will come up immediately. This all increases that chances that if your dog does escape, you’ll get it back safely as soon as possible.


     Remember, it’s not enough to just adopt a pet. You have to give it a safe and loving home as well. These animals often become some of our closest companions, and they deserve to be treated as such. Your dog will love you unconditionally. Return the favor.