Responsible Dog Ownership
Owning a dog or indeed any pet is great fun, but all pet owners now have a legal requirement under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to be a responsible owner.
Firstly understand the law. This link gives you a good summery of the laws affection dog owners - The Kennel Club.
Understand the five welfare needs. (This includes all pets and not just dogs)
Pet owners are now legally obliged to care for their pet properly - by providing these five basic needs:
- Somewhere suitable to live
- A proper diet, including fresh water
- The ability to express normal behaviour
- For any need to be housed with, or apart from, other animals
- Protection from, and treatment of, illness and injury.
Things to consider before owning a dog.
- Think it though first; don't just buy a dog on the spur of the moment.
- Make sure you are able to give a dog the sort of healthy life style it needs, for example, a top floor flat is probably not a good home for a German Shepherd.
- Make sure you can afford to get the dog vaccinated, and you can afford ongoing veterinary treatment. Remember, it is an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 not to give any animal necessary veterinary treatment.
- Consider getting your dog neutered. This is generally better for your pet, and will remove the risk of possible future health problems, and unwanted pregnancies.
- Make sure the dog can experience a good pack life. Most dogs are not happy being left for hours and hours alone.
- Make sure you can give a dog enough exercise. Dogs need exercise, if you don't have time to walk them at least daily, don't get one.
- Don't let your dog cause a nuisance to others, don't let it stray, bark or foul.
- Always ensure your dog has an ID tag and collar in public places
- Get your dog micro-chipped.
- Make sure your dog has basic training, and understands its position in the pack.
- Make sure you can afford to give it a good diet.
Microchipping ensures that if you dog is lost or stolen then you are much more likely to be reunited.
Dog ownership is a huge responsibility, and should only be considered by people who have the time and dedication to do it properly.