The Humane Society encourages anyone who loves dogs to become a dog owner, but only if you will commit to being a responsible owner. One of the main reasons our shelter stays filled with homeless pups is because their original owner did not want to shoulder the responsibility of caring for their pet. If you think you’re ready to have a pup of your own, here are eight steps you must take to be a responsible dog owner.

  1. Be ready to make a long-term commitment. All too often pups end up in our shelter simply because the owner changed their mind or didn’t want to make sacrifices to take better care of their dog.
  2. Make time to spend with your pet. Dogs need more than food, water and shelter, they need your love and attention! Make sure you have time each day to dedicate to playing with and showing love to your pup.
  3. Get them microchipped, or at the very least, a collar with an identification tag. We truly feel that microchipping is the best and most sure way to identify a lost pet and the entire process takes only ten minutes to complete. But if you can’t get your pup microchipped right away, at least get them a sturdy ID tag.
  4. Get them spayed or neutered. Do you want to become the neighborhood mutt breeder? No? Get your dogs spayed or neutered.
  5. Make their health a priority. Take your dog regularly for routine checkups and keep them up to date on any medications they may need, like protection from fleas, heartworms and ticks.
  6. Take time to train them. No one likes an ill-mannered child. The same can be said for an ill-mannered pup. Teach your dog basic obedience behaviors that will help them be a better furry friend.
  7. Be a respectful dog owner. Keep your pup on a leash when walking them around the neighborhood and always clean up after them when they poop. Not only is it gross to step in dog poop, but leftover feces can spread disease and attract fleas and parasites. Yuck.
  8. Keep your dog groomed. Grooming helps your dog’s coats stay shiny and healthy, plus you’ll have the chance to inspect them for signs of problems such as lumps during grooming sessions. Keep them in good shape between grooming appointments by brushing their coats at least once a week and bathing them as often as needed.