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How to Be a Good Dog Mom: 15 Vet-Approved Tips to Be the Best One Ever

Written by: Chris Dinesen Rogers

Last Updated on June 11, 2024 by Dogster Team

woman holding an american pitbull dog

How to Be a Good Dog Mom: 15 Vet-Approved Tips to Be the Best One Ever


Dr. Chyrle Bonk Photo


Dr. Chyrle Bonk

DVM (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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We love our dogs. They comfort us when we’re sad, join us when we’re happy, and seem to be able to read our every emotion. So, it’s no wonder that most pet owners consider them members of the family. Of course, your love for them also means you want to do your best as a pet parent. Our guide covers everything that you need to know about how to be a better dog mom. We included tips for improving your pup’s quality of life and ways to help you bond with them. Check out what you need to do to be the best pet parent you can be!

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Top 15 Tips for Being a Great Pet Parent

1. Keep Your Dog Up to Date on Their Vaccinations

Taking care of your dog’s health is the best way to show your pet you love them, even if they don’t understand why they must get poked and prodded when they go to the vet. Keeping them up to date on their vaccinations is an excellent way to prevent unnecessary consequences from exposure to pathogens. An annual appointment can take care of everything that’s needed, and you’ll feel a lot better knowing your pet has been looked over and taken care of by a professional.

hand holding syringe for rabies vaccine with a black dog in the background
Image Credit: Numstocker, Shutterstock

2. Give Your Dog Heartworm, Flea, and Tick Prevention Year-Round

The same advice applies to heartworm, flea, and tick prevention. You should give them to your pet year-round, even if they don’t leave your yard, as it is still possible for them to pick up a hitchhiker. These internal and external parasites are present all year in warmer areas of the country, making this measure a no-brainer.

3. Feed Your Pet a High-Quality Commercial Diet

We can’t overemphasize the importance of a high-quality commercial diet. Remember that manufacturers have veterinary dieticians on staff to ensure these products meet your pet’s nutritional needs, as the Association of American Feed Control Officials recommends. We prefer these diets over raw offerings, as per the American Veterinary Medical Association1 and FDA.2 However, regardless of what you feed, make sure to speak to your vet about it first to ensure their diet is nutritionally complete and suitable for their breed, age, and size.

Cute Samoyed dog eating from bowl at home
Image Credit: Pixel-Shot, Shutterstock

4. Adjust Your Pet’s Diet to Maintain a Healthy Weight

Obesity is just as serious for your pet as it is for you. It sets the stage for a host of other health issues, such as joint disease and diabetes. It can also profoundly affect your dog’s quality of life. An easy way to monitor your pet’s weight is by determining their body condition score. This method rates your pet based on visible parameters of the extra pounds your pup may carry. So, if your pet is a little overweight, be sure to speak to your vet about putting them on a diet.

5. Dog-Proof Your Home

Dogs are like toddlers and often get into things they shouldn’t. That can include toxic foods like raisins and chocolate, as well as dangerous items like small trinkets that could pose a choking or intestinal obstruction hazard. That’s why it’s up to you to dog-proof your home. That advice also applies to other trouble areas, such as household cleaning products, poisonous plants, and anything they shouldn’t chew on, like electrical cords or shoe strings.

Puppy Border Collie biting dog fence or barrier at home
Image Credit: Leszek Glasner, Shutterstock

6. Provide Mental Stimulation and Enrichment

Dogs are incredibly intelligent animals. Think of all the jobs people have selectively bred them to do! A pet left alone inside or in the backyard often isn’t receiving enough mental stimulation to prevent boredom. A bored pup will likely find something to do, often something that is destructive, inappropriate, or unsafe. Providing enrichment is another way to bond with your pet by interacting with them. Basically, mental and physical stimulation is absolutely crucial to their well-being.

7. Perform Routine Grooming Maintenance

Keeping your dog’s coat brushed and mat-free is vital for a healthy coat and skin. Grooming sessions are an excellent time to check your dog’s nails and ears to see if they need attention. It can also help you spot potential problems if you notice anything unusual with your pet’s skin. Your pup may even need an occasional bath. Thankfully, this not only keeps your pet healthy but is also an excellent way for you to bond.

If you are looking for the perfect, pet-friendly shampoo and conditioner combo, we highly recommend the products by Hepper. With a soothing oatmeal shampoo, free of soaps and other harsh chemicals, and a cucumber and aloe scented conditioner, your pet's skin and coat will be smooth, hydrated, and irritation-free. 

Hepper Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs, Cats and Other...
Hepper Pet Conditioner and Moisturiser - Scented...
Hepper Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs, Cats and Other...
Hepper Pet Conditioner and Moisturiser - Scented...
pH balanced
Gently cleanses
Cucumber & aloe scent
Free of harmful additives
Combats tangles & static
Soothes & hydrates
Hepper Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs, Cats and Other...
Hepper Oatmeal Shampoo for Dogs, Cats and Other...
pH balanced
Gently cleanses
Cucumber & aloe scent
Free of harmful additives
Combats tangles & static
Soothes & hydrates
Hepper Pet Conditioner and Moisturiser - Scented...
Hepper Pet Conditioner and Moisturiser - Scented...
pH balanced
Gently cleanses
Cucumber & aloe scent
Free of harmful additives
Combats tangles & static
Soothes & hydrates

At Dogster, we’ve admired Hepper for many years, and decided to take a controlling ownership interest so that we could benefit from the outstanding products of this cool pet company!

8. Look Out for Unexpected Changes or Red Flags in Behavior

Dogs usually aren’t secretive when it comes to knowing when something is wrong. You can read it on their faces, through their body language, or by their habits. We recommend at least contacting your vet if you notice anything abnormal, such as lethargy, lack of appetite, or signs of inflammation. Most problems are best handled right away so you can find the problem and start on a treatment plan for a speedy recovery.

9. Train and Socialize Your Pup Early

We strongly urge you to train and socialize your pup from an early age. The more exposure they get to novel experiences, the less likely they’ll become fearful. They’ll have opportunities to improve their canine and leash manners to make them better pets. Sadly, behavior issues are a frequent cause of relinquishment. Early training can prevent many issues, making socialization extremely important for all pet owners.

Cute young woman kisses and hugs her puppy jack russell terrier dog
Image Credit: Ovchinnikova, Shutterstock

10. Plan Regular Outings With Your Canine Friend

Getting outside is a fun way to provide enrichment and mental stimulation for your pup. A walk on a trail or a trip to a different park will give your dog new experiences to practice their socialization and training skills. It’s also great for providing you and your dog with a healthy workout with new places to see and explore.

11. Take Them to the Dog Park

Properly socialized pets can have a ball at the doggie park. It can give your dog a chance to stretch their legs off-leash while romping and playing with their canine friends. After all, they are social animals deep down, even if domestication and selective breeding have them doing different jobs by themselves. It’s also another form of mental stimulation that your pup is sure to enjoy, and the fresh air will be beneficial for both of you!

woman walking her beagle dog at the park
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

12. Make “No Table Scraps” a House Rule

We discussed dog-proofing your home. Another facet of that task is ensuring no one gives the family pet table scraps. Some “human foods” can contain ingredients that are harmful to your pup, such as onions and garlic or products sweetened with xylitol. Make sure the rule is also enforced by your children and household guests!

13. Establish a Routine

Creating a routine is an excellent way to be a good dog mom. When dogs know what to expect in their day-to-day lives, they are less likely to be stressed, and they better know what you expect of them. So, if possible, wake up, feed them, let them outside, go for walks, and go to bed at the same times every day.

Chihuahua dog in woman hands
Image Credit: Anton Pentegov, Shutterstock

14. Microchip Your Pup

Microchipping your pup is a wise plan in case your dog has a high wanderlust potential or prey drive, but also just in case your dog ever gets lost regardless of if they are prone to wandering off. Some pets have no problem slipping out of a collar, making a permanent ID safer. Shelters and vet clinics routinely scan for a chip if someone brings in a lost dog, making their return to you more likely. However, make sure your contact information is up to date, as some pets and their parents are unable to be reunited if you don’t update your information.

15. Get Pet Insurance for Your Dog

It often only takes one emergency vet visit for pet insurance to pay for itself. We discussed how dogs are more likely to ingest toxic foods or something else inappropriate. Some serious cases put owners in a bad place if money is an issue to pay for this specialized care. Some plans even cover some wellness expenses. Do yourself and your pup a favor and get insurance, as it is surely worth the money.

Happy man signing a contract while being with his wife on a meeting with financial advisor
Image Credit: Drazen Zigic, Shutterstock

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Bonus Tip: Good Dog Moms Take Pet Ownership Seriously!

Good dog moms know pet ownership is a serious responsibility they shouldn’t take lightly. It’s a lifetime commitment to the animal’s welfare and well-being. It can be hard to say no to kids begging for a dog. Nonetheless, a good dog mom researches the various breeds to find a pet that fits with their lifestyle. They also understand the importance of training. If you’re not able to provide your dog with their minimum care requirements, it’s better to not get a dog at all.

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A good dog mom prioritizes the health and safety of their pup. They understand the importance of training, socialization, and enrichment for their pet’s quality of life. It’s not a part-time job but a lifetime commitment! Our tips include what everyone with a pet should do to ensure their animal companion’s well-being. It’s the least we can do for all the joy our dogs bring us.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Nata Bene, Shutterstock

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