18 Ways to be a Better Dog ‘Paw’son

Strive to be the person your dog thinks you are! And when we all do this collectively, the world would be a better place. Dogs and Pups has been a flag-bearer of responsible pet parenting for 18 years now!
– by Kritika Manchanda

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For our 18th anniversary issue we thought of sharing, 18 ways in which you can become a better dog person and inspire people around you as well. The joy of welcoming a pet in your life is unmatched. But with great things come greater responsibilities. So make sure you are ready for this step and a journey full of love and learnings.

1. Show Love Not Sympathy

Kritika Manchanda
Kritika Manchanda

When you bring home a pet, it should be purely out of love. The sympathy may wear off, but love always stays. And when your love is amalgamated with responsible pet-parenting, it will make a world of a difference in the pet’s life.

2. Adopt And Don’t Shop

As fancy as that exotic breed little puppy may look at a pet shop, there is nothing like adopting a furry companion! There are so many dogs looking for a forever home, so adopt and bring abundance of love in your life rather than buying and encouraging illegal breeding practices. If in certain situations you have no choice but to buy, make sure to check the breeder’s license carefully.

3. Play With Them, Not Their Feelings

Bringing home a pet is not like bringing home a new toy. You need to devote your complete time and attention to them for their physical and mental wellbeing. And it is important that all the members of your family including elders and children understand this. It is really important to teach children to be compassionate with pets.

4. Be Breed Sensitive

As a pet-parent, you should know what kind of breed do you want and will be best suitable for your lifestyle. Brining Huskies or maybe a St. Bernard in the deadly heat of Delhi is criminal. If you live in a small one room set, then a big breed like Labrador, German Shepherd, or Great Dane would not be a good idea. Similarly if you want a companion for your family and kids, then you should consider a docile breed rather than working or hunting breeds.

5. Love Matters, Not The Breed

Don’t be breed centric, they are all ‘pawsome’. Bringing home a dog just for breed is so not correct. Indies would love you the same way and are a lot stronger and robust than some imported and exotic breeds. The immunity of a streetie or an Indie breed is much higher than pedigree dogs. Since they are born and bred in this climate, they are used to heat and humidity which means less infections and illnesses.

6. Treat Them With Respect

We all deserve respect. Just like you treat your fellow humans with respect, you should treat all doggos also with respect. Whether it is an exotic breed pet, your own pet, or a street dog at the end of your lane, when treated with love they’ll return it in a lot more abundance!

7. Say Yes To Socialisation

Just like us humans, your pet might be an introvert. Certain breeds have a tough time socializing than other breeds. You can take help of a professional trainer to help your pet socialize and learn various skills.

8. Responsible Pet Parenting

Responsible pet-parenting encapsulates all the aspects of your pet’s wellbeing. You need to ensure that their vaccines are on time, they eat healthy, get proper exercise, are well groomed, and have a proper routine. Your pets depend on you, so don’t let them down! You can always ask your vet for advice. Annual health check-ups are really important and so are regular grooming sessions.

9. Bffs Who Can’t Share Food

We know your furry friend is your BFF. But this friendship isn’t about sharing food. You can of course share your love! Do not give your pet human foods like – garlic, sugar, chocolate, grapes etc. All these can be fatal for your pet.

You can also get in touch with your vet to know what kind of diet would be suitable for your pet, especially if he has any health problems, is a senior citizen, or is obese.

10. Plan For When You Are Away

Unfortunately not all the vacations can be pet-friendly ones. That feeling of leaving your pet behind is heartbreaking. So prepare in advance if you are travelling. If you have a full-time help at home, you might want to install cameras to keep an eye on your pets and their wellbeing.

If you have to leave your pet in a crèche or boarding facility, do a thorough check and inform them about your pet’s temperament, eating habits, and other routines. There are many boarding facilities that are unhygienic and can make your pet fall ill or catch infections, so do a proper research and try to find one by a reference.

11. Shop For Your Furry Friend As Well

Take the joy of retail therapy to the next level by shopping for your furry friends! This isn’t for status symbol or to show-off. You must buy what your pet needs like a comfortable bed, soft bedding, warm coat, grooming tools, treats, a strong leash etc. Thanks to the ever increasing number of pet shops offline and online, now shopping your beloved pet is so easy.

12. Celebrate Festivals, But Not At The Cost Of Their Safety

Two of the largest festivals in India are – Diwali and Holi. Both of these can turn into a nightmare for animals, especially those on the streets. The noise and pollution during Diwali can scare your pet indoors and have a much greater impact on the streeties. And when people burst crackers right next to them, it is nothing less than trauma for them. The same holds true during Holi , when certain insensitive people play with harmful chemicals and colors with their pets or even street dogs. Do not encourage this and if you see anything like this happening in your neighborhood, inform the authorities. Celebrating the festivals together in a eco-friendly manner will not just help your pets, but will do a greater good for the environment also.

13. Nurture The Bond

Nurture the bond and it’ll give you memories for a lifetime. It is the small things that matter – going for long walks, enjoying a cuddle session after a tiring day, self-care time with good grooming practices, or a soothing car ride. Every relationship has its ups and downs and so will the one with your pet. Their life with us is limited and before you know the moments will melt away like ice-cream, so enjoy when you still have time!

14. All They Ask For Love, But Don’T Forget Your Attention

The honeymoon period is always the best, whether it is a human relationship or a human-pet relationship. But as the relationship grows, you need to grow with it and understand that love is not the only pillar on which the relationship stands. A lot of young couples these days are adopting pets and becoming pet-parents. But after some years when they welcome their human baby (or maybe another pet), they tend to overlook the first pet which can impact him in a negative way! Don’t forget your first furry child and divide your attention equally among all the children for a happy and healthy relationship.

15. Make Mental Health A Priority

We are all talking about mental health and it is much needed. But have you ever thought of your pet’s mental well-being. Here are some things that you can do – try and provide mental enrichment in the form of interactive toys and games; learn to spot signs of distress including stress, depression, and anxiety; don’t shy away from taking professional help (both for yourself and your pet); give your pet his space and time.

16. Life Is Short, Why Make It Shorter

Regular exercise is essential to keep your pet’s physical health in check. It is not just their play-time, but a healthy lifestyle. Take them for regular walks or maybe a jog, play outdoor games (if possible), and keep them engaged so that your pet is active and healthy. Talk to your vet to know how much exercise would be suitable for your pet based on his age, breed, and overall health conditions.

17. Reduce Stress

One of the main factors for your health’s degradation is everyday stress. The same holds true for your pets as well. It is your responsibility to find what stresses your pet out and eliminate these factors from their life. Stress due to an injury or illness is inevitable. So try and provide them as much comfort as you can. They’ll not complain, but stress will take a toll on your pet’s life and you don’t want that!

18. Awareness Always Adds

Today I am writing this article based on my experience and years of practice of trying to be a better dog person every day. Here’s hoping that this information helps you and you take it forward to make others aware. It’s time we come together and help our furry companions to make life better!