The month is halfway over and I failed to mention that February is National Responsible Pet Owners Month. Adding a dog to your family is life-changing. The change is usually positive but it can also turn out badly. The good news is that being a responsible owner ups the odds that you and your dog are doing to be best friends and you will wonder how you ever got through each day without them.

So, what does it mean to be a responsible owner?

Spay/Neuter and Vaccinations

We’ll start with what we believe is the number one way is to make sure your dogs are spayed or neutered and have all their shots up to date. When you adopt a dog from NEW PAWSibilities your adoption fee covers all that plus microchipping. We make it easy for you to start off right without spending hundreds of more dollars.


 People ask me all the time if a certain dog is trained. My answer goes from, “It’s a puppy, not even close,” to “We don’t know their history, but even if a dog is trained in certain ways it will take time for your new dog to get acclimated to your home and the rules. We recommend training as the number two way to be a responsible dog owner. Potty training, simple manners, and reducing problem behaviors such as chewing, and the effects of separation anxiety will strengthen the bond between you and your pup and make the entire experience enjoyable. There are many excellent trainers in our adoption areas. To learn more about some trainers we recommend as well as some common questions please visit


The other day I was making popcorn for a movie event at the library. Popcorn, as long as fully pooped without kernels, is not bad for dogs in moderation. In some dogs, popcorn can cause gassiness and runny stools and other issues even if they don’t eat the hard kernels. Ask me how I know that little tidbit of information? Whew, yesterday was a noxious smell day at our house and a very unhappy boy. Being a responsible dog owner means getting the best nutrition you can afford and supplementing that with snacks and treats you know will enrich their diet versus what I did with what I thought was harmful, unbuttered popcorn. Since switching my dog to Taste of the Wild he has thrived! Happy, more energy, and easier-to-pick up poop. NEW PAWSibilities happens to sell that brand, but there are other great ones. Talk to your vet, ask for recommendations, read labels, and you’ll find what is best for your dog. Great nutrition sets the foundation for a long, happy and healthy life for your pet!

Clean Up After Your Pet. 

This is my personal pet peeve (pun intended) about my neighborhood. We have too many people who let their dogs poop any and everywhere and then they leave it. My dog picked up a bad case of worms from stepping in and probably licking poop. Besides being scary and costly, I hated seeing my dog in such pain, and cleaning everything up was no joy, either. Always carry poop bags with you so you aren’t the culprit in your area.


Different breeds, different needs. Washing, brushing, keeping nails at a comfortable length, and cleaning ears are all things our dogs need. They also need to be on a dental health plan as we discussed earlier this week. We have an outstanding groomer at NEW PAWSibilities. To learn more about Bethann and the services she provides right in our facility please visit


A tired dog is a good dog. He’ll also be a healthier dog. Responsible dog owners give their dogs plenty of exercise. Proper exercise cannot only keep your pet healthy, but also help many behavior problems that are caused by pent up energy. It’s a lot easier in the spring, summer, and fall, if we ever get those seasons this year, but winter time is tough. The following can be used inside and outside in most seasons. You can play games like hide and seek and tug-o-war, hide favorite treats in a toy and make him work to find the treat, and even putting their dry food in a Kong to make them work for their food are all great forms of exercise. Some people use dog treadmills for indoor walking. There are indoor agility and swimming classes where they can meet other dogs. My favorite way to exercise my dog in the winter is to take him to NEW PAWSibilties for their daycare. He comes home tired and happy and well socialized. He doesn’t go every day, I’d miss him too much, but it is a nice day for him when he goes. My number one favorite way to exercise my dog is by taking frequent walks in my neighborhood and on trails. I also love the dog park with the caveat that you have to be on high alert because these are not dogs that you know.

Vet Care

The last item on this list is to schedule a meet and greet appointment with your vet as soon as possible after adopting your dog. Your vet is an amazing resource and can often answer questions over the phone. Your dog has different stages in their lives, just as humans do, and the very will be able to guide you through all of them.

February might be National Responsible Pet Ownership Month but every day is a day to be responsible. We have great articles and links on our website and we offer services and products to help you in your quest to be a great owner.