In the early months of every year, thousands of pets are taken into animal shelters because the owners are unable to look after them. It seems that many adults still concentrate on the benefits of having a pet and underestimate the responsibilities that come with ownership.
If you are a dog owner, you have a responsibility to ensure that the animal is treated well, kept well-nourished and healthy. Yet not all mistreatment is malicious - much of it can come from a simple lack of understanding about what dogs need. For advice, the RSPCA dog ownership page is a good resource, but here are a few pointers to provide you with a starting point for some research:
Dogs are susceptible to the same consequences of poor diet - weight gain, heart problems, diabetes, etc - as humans, so owners should ensure their animal gets a balanced diet with plenty of vitamins - this means being careful with the treats.
When your dog develops symptoms of illness, it is advisable to get them checked out as soon as possible by a vet, as they could be the beginning of something more serious. However, some pet owners avoid doing this because vet fees are expensive; a good pet insurance policy will cover these costs so you can take your dog to the vet when you need to.
Dogs need regular exercise - and that means walks where the animal can race around, not just letting it roam around the house. This could mean that those who lead busy lifestyles may not be suitable for dog ownership. Toys which will keep the dog entertained -take a look at the Pets at Home website, for example, to see just how many are available - are useful for those occasions when Fido must be left at home.
Like children, dogs need socialising but will learn very quickly if set proper boundaries, with good behaviour being rewarded.