Dogs. They’re part of the family. They keep us company and are there for us when we feel the loneliest. But, are you doing all you can to ensure your faithful, furry companion is enjoying the best life possible? Here are a few tips on how to be a great dog owner.

Do your research up front — Whether you choose to buy from a breeder or adopt from a shelter or breed-specific rescue, think about your family and the activities you enjoy. Are you active and outdoorsy? Homebodies? Workaholics? Different dogs have different needs, and your lifestyle should complement the needs of your new dog. Research the common traits of the breeds you’re considering so you can find the best fit.

Get the house ready — Be sure to puppy proof your house before your new dog arrives. Don’t leave your favorite shoes out for puppy teeth to chew. Invest in pet gates and a dog crate to keep your pup in safe spaces. Don’t leave potentially toxic foods, medications, or other substances within reach of your dog.

Take him to the vet regularly — Bring your dog to our office at least once every year for a preventive care exam (that’s equivalent to you visiting a doctor once every 7 years!) to keep him healthy. Have your dog microchipped at his first appointment with us.

Think about insurance — Pet insurance is a great investment, especially for owners of young, healthy dogs. You’ll pay a little each month, but you’ll have a lot of peace of mind when it comes to paying for your dog’s medical care.

Stay active — Keep your canine active through regular play and exercise. Not only will it benefit him, but you’ll be more likely to be healthy, too.

Feed him a high-quality diet — The plethora of pet food options can make choosing the best one for your dog overwhelming and confusing. Call our office if you have questions about what you should be feeding your dog.

Teach him to use his manners — Nobody likes a dog that’s aggressive on a leash or jumps on them when they walk into your home. Using positive reinforcement training methods, teach your dog—the younger, the better—how to behave so everyone will enjoy being around him.

Bringing a new dog into the family? Contact our office to set up your first appointment!