How to be a responsible dog owner

During lockdown there was a national surge in demand for puppies, however, many Brits are now struggling to cope with their new dependents. It seems people have found that as life slowly returns to normal and their busy schedules make a comeback, they no longer have the time to offer their furry friends.

This has resulted in many UK dog owners pretending their dogs are strays so they can pass them on to dog shelters. This crisis highlights the fact that many people don’t carefully consider the responsibilities of taking in a dog and the importance of preparing for dog ownership. If you feel ready to give a pooch a home, you need to be aware of what it takes to be a responsible dog owner.

Here, we explore the commitment and responsibilities that come with dog ownership and what you should consider before making this important decision.

Legal requirements

As a dog owner, you are legally responsible for ensuring your dog is safe and doesn’t become a nuisance or danger to members of the public. Your dog must wear a collar with an identity tag at all times when in public.

The tag must legally include your name and address, although it would be sensible to include your phone number too. You could face a fine of up to £2,000 if you break this law. You should also ensure your dog is microchipped in case they get lost. Failing to comply with this law could lead to a fine of up to £500 and you could even be prosecuted.

Health and care

You must ensure you have the time and money to take care of your dog’s needs. This includes healthcare such as vet bills and any medication they may need and good quality, nutritious dog food to provide them with all the nutrients they need to stay happy and healthy. Remember to consider how often your dog needs to be walked and for how long, as regular exercise is crucial for their wellbeing.

Public behaviour

Some areas in England and Wales are covered by Public Spaces Protection Orders (PSPOs). In these areas you may be expected to keep your dog on a lead or put them on a lead if asked by a police officer, police community support worker or someone from the council. You will also have to clean up after your dog, so ensure you carry disposable bags to help keep parks and walkways clear for others.

The Exeter Daily