What Does Your Dog Really Need From You?

Pet waste stations

Do you pick up after your dog? A surprising 40% of dog owners don’t bother according to some estimations. Even with free dog waste stations at parks and trails, it seems that this necessary part of pet ownership is going untended. Picking up fecal matter and making sure they get enough exercise are perhaps the two biggest responsibilities a dog owner must contend with, and they are inextricably twined.

What a Pet Needs From You: Basic Survival Needs Aren’t Picture-Perfect.

Any animal requires food and shelter, but these are the easiest things to offer an animal. Taking care of them completely can often require a change in lifestyle. In the case of an active animal such as the dog, playtime and companionship rank high. This might mean as a pet owner you’ll need to rise earlier in the day to get a walk in before work.

Why the Daily Walk Is Essential For Your Dog’s Well-Being.

Whether you take your dog outside for walks or if they have a nice big yard to run around you’ll need to participate in their exercise requirements. While a few older dogs may act like actual couch potatoes, most healthy dogs between one and four years old will do a bit of running around on their own even when you’re not around. But this little bit is not enough to meet the daily requirements of this age group. Dogs need on average about one hour of walking to fulfill their needs. This can be in the form of a slow walk with breaks or time at the dog park chasing a toy, but it must happen.

Because dogs come in all shapes and sizes, many owners mistakenly believe that some dogs need hardly any exercise while others need a couple of miles. Even the smallest pup needs to get out of the house and yard and go exploring with their owner. The pace might be drastically slower to accommodate short little legs, but the walk must still be undertaken. It’s a matter of health both physically and mentally.

Dogs need to be entertained. That doesn’t mean they’ll be watching Friday night shows the same way you and your family does, but that their minds need to be stimulated. This can be accomplished through walks and playtime. Walks give dogs a chance to sniff around and see new things, from the changing of the leaves to the scent of a squirrel. Playtime, whether at a dog park or around the backyard, gives them a chance to work out built-up stress from guarding the home. Essentially, they need to be let “off-duty” for a few minutes everyday.

Please Pick Up After Your Dog: No One Wants to See Poop.

The dog waste station at the nearby dog park probably gets used often. Responsible pet owners are those people who consider every basic need of their pet, and aim to care for their companion even when it’s inconvenient for them. While a dog waste station does make things easier for most dog owners, it is crucial that every dog owner makes a point of cleaning up their dog’s fecal matter. This is made easier by carrying dog poop bags on every walk.

Even when the area where you are walking your dog doesn’t have a designated dog waste station, it is important to dispose of poop responsibly. The dogs can’t do it for themselves. Too many pet owners dismiss this crucial step in ownership because they think they won’t get caught. But if they are, the fine for allowing one’s dog to leave fecal matter in a public place can be up to $750. To keep public areas looking and smelling nice, the right thing to do is keep some doggy bags on hand if a dog waste station isn’t immediately available.

Our dogs rely on us for everything: food, shelter, companionship, exercise, clean-up. A responsible owner takes care of each and every one of these needs without slacking. While not the most glamorous jobs of pet ownership, appropriate clean-up does make a difference in our communities.