When you’re a parent, you’re automatically incredibly busy. This busy-ness is compounded if you also work, or if you’re a single parent, and, if you also have dogs to take care of. It can all feel very overwhelming at times. This can lead to problems, and sometimes something has to give. Because taking care of the kids and going to work cannot be minimized (although help can be sought), often it’s the dogs that get the short end of the stick, no pun intended!
I had my two adorable dogs years before I had my kids. They were the center of my universe, revolving my day around their needs. Despite all my efforts, when I became a new mom, after being exhausted while juggling all new parenting and work responsibilities, our dogs sadly became the least important members of the household. Despite friends telling me that this is what happens when you have kids and normal, I felt so guilty and had to figure out a way to make amends.
Here are some great ways to be a better dog owner. Having a dog is a big responsibility and as your kids get older, getting their support is key to sharing the load. For example, tying their allowance to helping out with these recommendations can help remove things off of your busy plate and help create a deeper bond between your babies and fur babies. Of course, if you truly do feel that you can’t take care of the dog in the way that our furry babies deserve to be taken care of, it may be better to find them a new home, as heart-wrenching as that might be.
One of the elements of dog care that can easily be forgotten, or at least put to the bottom of the to-do list, is dental hygiene. This is probably because people simply don’t realize how important this is, but in reality, ask any veterinarian and they will tell you that taking care of your dog’s teeth is just as important as taking care of your own.
One way to ensure that your dog’s teeth are healthy is to take them to visit the vet regularly. Poor dental hygiene isn’t just about smelly dog breath; it can lead to weight loss, infection, and even heart disease.
Vets inspect your dog’s teeth and if there are any issues they can be dealt with before they become too bad – this is the same reason why people should go to the dentist every six months or so. However, in-between visits to the vet, you can be helping out at home by brushing your dog’s teeth. This doesn’t have to be done every day, and two or three times a week is fine. In many cases, your dog will enjoy the experience. If it’s too difficult to do this, there are specially formulated dog treats that can do a similar job. As long as you are doing something for your dog’s teeth, you are helping them live a longer, healthier life.
Many dog owners, no matter how busy they might be, don’t always think about preventive care for their pets. They know that if there is a problem they can take their dog to the vet and have the issue treated, but wouldn’t it be better for the problem never to occur in the first place? It would be less expensive for the owner, and less traumatic for the dog itself.
This is why an annual checkup is a great habit to get into. Booking this with the vet might seem like a waste of time when nothing is wrong, but it will give you peace of mind if this is the case, and if there is a problem, it can be caught early before it becomes too severe. If you fall into the habit of only using the vet when your dog is sick, you could be costing yourself much more than you need to, and you won’t be taking care of your pet in the right way. I book my following yearly appointment before I leave the vet’s office and put it on my calendar so that I don’t forget to as life gets busy.
Feed Them Quality Food
Cheap dog food is cheap for a reason; it will often contain all kinds of meat by-products and other ‘fillers’ to make up the weight that does nothing to keep your dog healthy and eating the right nutrients. Plus, some dogs can have dietary issues that these poor quality dog foods don’t address; they might even make them worse. Ideally, you’ll want to buy the best dog food you can afford. This is not a case of spoiling the dog; it’s a case of taking care of it in the right way.
Because there are so many different dog foods on the market, it’s wise to speak to your vet about what exactly is going to be best for your pet, especially if they have any kind of digestive issues or skin diseases as there are dog foods specially formulated to help with these problems.
The earlier you can start with this good quality diet the better, and the healthier your dog will be. If you are giving a dog a second chance at a great life by rescuing a dog or buying a puppy from a specialist breeder such as Lucky Labs, for example, you should make a point of asking what food they recommend. Not only will it be high quality, but it will be ideal for the particular breed of dog you own as well.
Exercise Them Daily
One of the first problems to occur when you own a dog is that their exercise routines can begin to suffer when you get busier and busier. This can lead to ill health, frustration, even bad behavior, and that can make owning a dog even harder.
It is important to find a way to exercise your pet every single day, come rain or shine, even if you’re extremely busy and think you don’t have time. This can help you stay in better shape, too! Sometimes when I’m really busy, the only exercise I get is these much-appreciated dog walks.
If you’re struggling with this aspect of pet ownership, there’s no need to panic. You can hire a dog walker to give you a helping hand. There are even schemes where people who are unable to have dogs for any reason can ‘borrow’ someone else’s and walk them every day. I even recently saw a post on my mommy Facebook group where a mom asked if her daughter who loves dogs can voluntarily spend time/walk them since she loves dogs but not able to have one since her husband is very allergic and they travel a lot. There are a lot of creative ways out there to ensure your pet gets the right amount of exercise.
Spend More Time With Them
To your dog, you are everything. They don’t understand a world without you, and they don’t have anything other than you and your family. This is why it’s so important to dedicate at least a little time to them when you’re at home. Younger dogs and puppies can benefit from being trained during this time, and older dogs who might not be as active anymore might just prefer to sit you and feel your presence and hear your voice.
Being with your pet is just as important as taking care of their health and exercise needs. Sometimes it’s all they want, even if it’s not all they need.
The more time you spend with your dog, the more you’ll love and appreciate them, and it will make doing all the other things that are absolutely necessary much easier. You can also ensure that other family members spend time with the dog too. Even though each dog will usually have its favorite person in the house to spend time with, it’s not going to be too upset if it’s sitting quietly with someone else, or rushing around the yard playing catch with another person.
It’s not easy to take care of a dog, and certainly, it’s not something to suddenly start doing on a whim. However, if you can do it, their huge hearts and the unconditional love they give is certainly worth every second.