Big or small, young or old, you love your dog like family – because they are!

Whether you’re a long-time pupper parent or settling into life with your first doggo, use these 6 dog ownership tips to keep your furry family happy and healthy!

1. Make Them Feel Like Part of Your Pack

Dogs are social critters who need lots of time with members of their pack – that means you! Whether you have a brand-new puppy who loves rowdy backyard romps or a long-time bestie who prefers quiet cuddles on the couch, regular one-on-one time is a crucial part of making them feel like part of the fam!

When hanging with your pup, be sure you’re engaging in their favorite activities – not only what’s easy or convenient for you.

Important: The addition of kiddos or a new pet can make your pup feel neglected. If you’re growing your human or fur family, don’t forget to love on your existing doggo too! Adding a pet to your pack? Here’s how to introduce your current pupper to a new cat or a new dog.

2. Prioritize Health

Accidents and illnesses happen – often when you least expect it. To ensure you can provide care when your dog needs it, find a local vet you trust and create a list of local emergency clinics that provide treatment outside of your clinic’s normal hours (like nights, weekends, and holidays).

Also, be sure your dog is spayed/neutered and current on necessary vaccinations or medications (like flea and tick).

Don’t forget about a plan to pay for veterinarian care! Pet insurance is a popular way to take the financial strain out of providing medical care – whether it’s a routine visit or a life-threatening emergency. Have questions about pet insurance? Here’s a helpful primer!

3. Pet Proof Your Home

No matter the age of your dog, they still find ways to get into trouble – especially when you’re not around. Here’s a quick checklist to help you keep wandering noses out of trouble:

  • Keep food away from the edges of tables and counters
  • Secure trashcan lids and avoid overflow/leaving behind smelly scraps
  • Move toxic or harmful plants out of reach
  • Place medications, chemicals, and detergents in secure cabinets or on high shelves
  • Keep electrical cords out of reach and away from walkways to avoid tripping
  • Ensure clothes, shoes, and other chewable items are secured in hampers or shelves

Looking for more pet safety tips? Check out this room-by-room pet proofing guide from the American Human Society.

4. Keep an Eye on Diet

Just like your human family, your dog needs a balanced, complete diet to stay happy and healthy and avoid obesity! During feeding, refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations on meal size and frequency. Also, be sure to avoid excessive treats. While it’s nice to spoil your feline friend, too many fun eats can cause weight gain and upset stomachs. And don’t forget about underfeeding! Never starve or withhold food from your dog!

Like to give your dog a taste of human cuisine? Be sure what you’re sharing is safe and doesn’t contain poisonous or unhealthy ingredients. Here’s the American Kennel Club’s list of the human foods that are safe and unsafe for dogs.

5. Offer Regular Exercise

Most dogs – especially younger puppers – require lots of physical activity to stay happy and healthy. Whether it’s a long neighborhood walk, romp at your local dog park, or backyard playtime, set aside time each day for your doggo to burn off energy. As always, be sure your dog is comfortable with prolonged activity. Older dogs can tire easily, causing injuries and exhaustion.

If your dog is comfortable around other dogs, setting up playtime with canine friends is a great way to exercise your pupper and keep them socially stimulated at the same time!

6. Avoid Prolonged Isolation

Life happens! Whether it’s a family emergency, busy work schedule, or unexpected social event, sometimes you’re away from home longer than expected. Regardless, leaving your dog alone for hours is cruel and results in accidents, anxiety, loneliness, and even depression. According to the American Kennel Club, dogs should never spend more than 6 to 8 hours isolated. Remember: Dogs are social animals and require regular companionship!

To ensure your pupper isn’t lonely, have a dog walker or sitter on call to keep your doggo company. If you have a busy work schedule, consider taking your dog to a doggie day care while you’re at the office!

The best way to be a pawsome dog parent is having a plan to keep your pup happy and healthy! With coverage from Companion Protect®, you can rest easy knowing your canine family is protected against unexpected accidents, injuries, and illnesses. Fetch your quote today! 

Written by Wilson WeaverWILSON WEAVER
Wilson has written for brands in the tech, e-commerce, construction, health, and finance industries. In his free time, he enjoys cooking for friends and family, spoiling his dog-daughter (Penny), painting, and playing music with friends. And speaking of food, his favorite meal is his mom’s pot roast and mashed potatoes!

dog ownership tips