By Mriganka Chandra*

A big, warm hello to my fellow pet parents!

A long time back, I read a beautiful quote that hit my heart instantly, it said that every dog parent feels that they have the best dog and none of them is wrong!

As loving dog parents, our days begin with our paw mates and end on them. They keep revolving around us in circles throughout the day and keep us busy with something or the else. Honestly, even after two jobs more than half of my day goes in admiring Joey, my goldie.

But let us give it some thought, is being loved enough? For our dogs, it certainly is, as these four-legged angels ask for nothing more than love and hugs and pampering. We do care about them with all our might and love them as much as we can but being responsible dog parents requires a lot more than that.

It does take some effort to be responsible and informed dog parents, but we all must invest in it to give our pooches a long and healthy life. After losing my first dog, Panzer, my heart ached for so long that it made me over conscious with Joey. Joey came to us during the complete lockdown and before bringing it home, I started with my research as much as I could, even though I had been a dog parent for 9 years well, is there any end to learning? I guess, No! So I went on to do some basic courses on dog nutrition, behaviour, pet first-aid, and basic obedience training as I did not want to take any chance with Joey at all.

There are some areas of interest that we must stress on:-

  1. Nutrition This is something that I notice being severely neglected by dog parents, not because of negligence, but due to misinformation or them being less informed. Let me state a fact, every dog food that you find in the market is not a healthy choice for your dog. I chose to put my dog on a home-cooked diet after consulting a dog nutritionist. Even if you’re busy and cannot take out the time to cook every day or if you belong to a vegetarian house, there are healthy dog food options in the market. Do not rely on vet for your dog’s food needs until the dog is unwell. I’ve seen vets all over the country, but I truly feel that pet nutritionists are experts and they are best guides for your dog’s
  2. Right Training – Every dog must have basic obedience training. Now for this it is not necessary to get them professionally trained. Basic obedience training can easily be given by dog parents at Watch YouTube videos on how to make them understand sit, stay, eat, good, yes, and NO. These are fundamental commands to learn in order to make them well behaved dogs for their whole life. It requires patience from our side and we must teach them from day 1 when they are  young. Dogs are sensible creatures, they grasp very fast.
  3. Grooming – Lot of dog parents confuse basic grooming with pampering the Taking your dog to pet parlours, getting their nails cut, ears cleaned, and giving them a thorough bath is not pampering. It is a basic need and you must spend a day in the month to thoroughly groom your dog. They should be brushed daily and their paws should be regularly cleaned. Their fur should be checked for ticks and fleas. A healthy and clean dog keeps away diseases not just for self but for the family members as well.
  4. Exercise – Every dog has exercise needs, which should be covered Taking them for short pee/poop walks does not count in exercise. According to the breed of the dog, it should be taken on a good walk in a day or to the dog park to play and run around.
  5. Products – Before buying products for your pooch, do some research, read reviews, and check what will be best for your dog. Do not just pick up low quality products because they are Even while buying treats for your pooch, buy treats that are free of additional flavours and added chemicals. We must buy toys that are made of appropriate material because every toy constantly comes in touch with dog’s mouth.
  6. Socialization – From young age, once the puppy’s first vaccination is complete, make it socialize with other dogs, humans, and children. It goes a long way to keep them away from aggression and being violent as they become older. It makes them obedient family dogs in the longer

A dog at home is a family member like everyone else and needs constant care like a child does. It is not necessary to go over board and do courses or take professional training but if we choose to be a dog parent we must be responsible and well informed about the basic pointers mentioned above.

Dogs are known for their intelligence; if you teach them the right way at the right time and deal with them with patience, they will be an added gem to the family all their life.

I hope the article gives you some information on responsible pet parenting. Keep loving your dogs and treating them like the stars that they are.

Thank you!

 *Author is a 23 year old political science graduate, a teacher, a passionate dog parent, and a content writer, who finds solace in being surrounded by dogs and books at all times in life. Her blog ‘Paint it Olive Green’ represents her personal life experiences in the military surroundings, as a student and a dog parent. For any guidance on dog parenting, she can be reached on her dog blogging account on Instagram @dogistaan.