I admit it. I’m “one of those dog moms”. You know, the ones that are crazy about their dogs and love to talk about dogs, and schedule their lives around their dogs? That’s me. My dogs are my life- they’re my fur-kids and my source of joy and comfort.
After I lost my Great Dane and best friend Truman to doggie cancer, I was devastated. I never thought I’d recover and surely never believed I could love another dog. Time passed, and I fell in love again and found there really was room in my heart for a new dog. I wanted to be the very best pet parent possible, for Truman’s memory and for the sake of all the dogs I’ll love for the rest of my life. I wanted to do it better. So I set out to learn what the best pet parents do. Here’s what I found.
7 Habits of Wonderful Pet Parents
1. They know their dogs.
And I’m not talking about knowing what time they eat or how many times they pooped that day, these pet parents really know their dogs. If the dog is anxious, cranky, overly tired, scared, or lonely these parents pick up on it instantly. It’s almost like they have ESP and can read the dog’s mind!I later learned they were just really, really good at reading doggie body language and had observed their dogs’ normal behavior very closely in the past. When anything unusual occurred, it was a red flag for them because they were always tuned in to what their dogs were doing, even when they were busy other things.
2. They respect their dogs.
There’s a joke going around the Internet you’ve probably seen. It says, “No! I don’t want to come to your cat’s birthday party, freak! My dog is getting married that day!” It’s funny and exaggerated (slightly) but wonderful pet parents really do place a high value on the needs of their dog. They schedule appointments during breaks in their dog’s normal routine, avoiding feeding times, walk times, and nap times when possible. They would sooner remove a tantrum-throwing child from the room than make the dog go to a room alone to avoid causing anxiety for the fur baby, after all, it is the child that was misbehaving. The dog is treated equally with all the rights and respect of a family member.
3. They anticipate their dog’s needs.
Not only do exceptional pet parents make sure their dogs are well cared for, they make sure they are well loved. The dog gets extra cuddle time and treats during a thunderstorm or when things change around the house. Good pet parents leave a nightlight on in the hall because they know if the bedroom gets too warm, the dog likes to sleep in front of the bathroom door where it’s cooler. They leave the TV on when the dog is home alone for a few minutes so he doesn’t feel so lonely, and they always, always make sure there’s fresh water in the bowl.
4. They pay attention to their dog’s environment.
Dog moms have been known to start up conversations with the neighbors to find out who has cocoa shells in their yard mulch and which neighbors use pesticides, to avoid exposing their dog to toxins by mistake. Fleas don’t stand a chance because they check their dogs for fleas, ticks, hotspots, and other injuries on a regular basis. Pet parents have been known to lower the temperature in a room because the dog is too warm, only to go put on a sweater themselves. On walks, they constantly scan for potentially harmful items like a dropped piece of chocolate on the sidewalk, a crazed tree squirrel out for revenge, or things that might startle the dog.
5. They don’t buy just any dog food.
Wonderful pet parents take the time to research what a dog should eat. They don’t let some advertisement tell them what they should be feeding their dog, they find out for themselves. They know that most pet foods available in stores simply aren’t healthy for dogs, in fact, many of them are the equivalent of doggie fast food- or worse. Good pet parents feed their dogs raw foods, OMEGA oils, fresh foods, and nutritious treats.
6. They visit the veterinarian.
Not only do they make and keep regular vet appointments, they have the vet’s number on speed dial and know doggie poison control numbers by heart. They ask questions, lots of questions, because they care about what’s best for their dogs and how they can help them live longer, healthier, happier lives. They read the research on vaccinations, spaying and neutering, dog flus, flea and tick prevention, joint problems, and ear care. They become self-taught experts in everything pertaining to caring for a dog because they know their dog depends on them to provide the very best care possible during his lifetime.
7. They believe in the power of a dog’s love.
Above all else, spectacular pet parents believe that dogs have the power to change lives. They take their jobs as pet parents seriously because they know they are entrusted with the care and keeping of a furry angel with invisible wings for a few short years. And they know that dog has the power to save lives, to change lives, and to inspire life itself in the darkest moments. Dogs truly are a gift from God and good pet parents are thankful every single day for the privilege of caring for a fur-child.