The decision to own a dog is not forced. It is voluntary and is arrived at based on the benefits the dog brings, which include companionship, security, and shepherding livestock. However, many people think that owning ends with feeding the dog well. Other responsibilities contribute to the dog living a healthy life. A responsible dog owner cares for the dog in an ethically acceptable manner.
Adequate nutrition for dogs
Give your dogs a balanced diet containing proteins, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins and minerals, and water. You do not have to buy expensive dog food from the shop. You can use available food sources to give your dog adequate nutrition. However, dogs cannot digest plant fiber as easily as animal sources. So, when you use plant protein sources make sure they are properly cooked or processed before cooking. And, provide your dog with clean water at all times. Do not overlook this!
Proper housing for dogs
Dogs need a roof over their heads to protect them from rain, cold, heat, wind, and other bad weather elements. When building the shelter, make sure you provide enough space for the dog to move and turn. Small spaces can be stressful for dogs. The roof shouldn’t be too low as this could transmit the sun’s heat and cause discomfort. Allow for the circulation of fresh air.
Elevate the floor to avoid the risk of flooding during heavy rains and to control parasites. Inside the dog house (kennel), provide a place and bedding to sleep. Within the same space, you can designate a place where food and water bowls are placed.
Besides good shelter, include space for exercise in the design of the kennel. This space could be inside or outside the dog housing. Dogs that do not exercise put on weight and are vulnerable to medical and behavioral complications. That is why it is a good practice to walk your dog; it is an opportunity to exercise and bond.
Keep your dogs from roaming about
Keep your dog within the safe confines of your home or farm. Dogs that roam the streets are exposed to pests and diseases from the environment and other roaming dogs. Pests that dogs pick as they wander include ticks, fleas, and worms from eating contaminated flesh. Pests make the dog itchy, uncomfortable, suck blood and transmit diseases.
Apart from making sure your dog does not stray out of the home, also provide a clean and safe environment. Regularly check your dogs to detect pest infestation. Remove the pests physically or in the case of ticks and fleas, wash using appropriate acaricide. For internal parasites, deworm regularly.
Dogs could also be exposed to injuries from human beings, other stray dogs, snake bites, wild animal attacks, and motor vehicle accidents. Such injuries compromise the quality of life of your dog. Some injuries can be serious and threaten the life of the dog. It is good to have a veterinarian on call, just in case. Make it a regular practice to take your dog to the vet for check-ups.
Vaccinate dogs against rabies
Rabies is transmitted from an infected animal to another or from an infected animal to human beings. It is transmitted through bites, scratches, or the fresh saliva of a rabid dog. As a precaution vaccinate, give your dog a rabies jab. Look out for government or non-for-profit vaccination campaigns. Education for Africa Animal Welfare holds such campaigns from time to time.
Even though some dog owners ignore it, rabies vaccination is a requirement. Vaccinate your dog against rabies every year. This not only protects the dog against infection but also protects you, your family, the community, other dogs, and animals. It is the right thing to do!