How to Be a Better Dog Owner

There are some things you can do to be a better dog owner. As a benefit, you most likely will have a happier and healthier dog!

1. Spend more time with your dog – Just spending some quiet time before work, after work or midday, will make a big difference. Dogs love to be talked to and made to feel important.

2. Groom – Most dogs like to be groomed or brushed. – This also stimulates the skin and gets rid of dead hair. Regular grooming will also help keep your house cleaner from less shedding hair.

3. Play – Play is good for both you and your dog!

4. Understand your dog – Know his or her favorite type of play and their favorite time of day to play versus rest.

5. Feed a consistent diet – Use a high quality food with AAFCO approval formulated for your dogs life stage. Supplement with healthy treats only in moderation.

6. Supply plenty of fresh water at all times. Clean the water bowl once daily and make sure it is always full.

7. Provide a comfortable place to sleep – Whether inside or out, your dog should have a comfortable place to sleep.

8. Carefully choose toys for safety – Not just any toy will do. You really need to consider safety issues when choosing toys for your dog. For example, are there any parts that can be torn off and swallowed? Is it something he or she might "eat" thus causing a possible intestinal foreign body that could require surgery? Will it please your dog? Choose toys that cannot be chewed or swallowed. If you aren't sure how your dog will interact with a toy, observe him. For dogs, the Kong is a great choice.

9. Supervise – Always keep a watchful eye on your dog for dangerous or destructive behaviors.

10. Exercise – Daily exercise will keep your dog fit. Additional exercise can help with some behavior problems as well.

11. Don't let your dog get fat – Adjust food intake for body type, provide healthy treats, and exercise regularly to avoid extra weight gain.

12. Be observant – Monitor absolutely everything your dog does. For example, did he eat all his food today? Has he been drinking? Was his urine and bowel movement normal? Is his activity level the same? How does he look? Is his hair coat okay? If you dog him, do you feel any abnormal lumps? Have you seen any coughing or vomiting? Early recognition of symptoms can save your dogs life.

13. Visit your veterinarian regularly – Be sure maintain an appropriate schedule of wellness and recheck appointments. Your dog's needs may continue to change depending on their life stage or health conditions.