Responsible Dog Ownership Means Happier, Healthier Dogs

September is National Responsible Dog Ownership Month, marking a time for owners to recognize the importance of providing proper care for their dogs and to deepen the bond shared with their canine companions. The Texas Veterinary Medical Association (TVMA) encourages the approximately 70 million dog owners in the U.S. to speak with their veterinarian this month to establish a plan for ensuring a long and healthy life for the dogs in their families.

Some of the basic tenets of responsible dog ownership include:

  • Regular exams with your veterinarian, addressing issues like dental health, skin allergies and health issues that arise with age
  • Keeping your dog up-to-date with vaccinations for diseases like rabies, canine distemper and parvovirus
  • Maintaining a healthy weight for your dog by feeding a healthy diet and incorporating exercise into its lifestyle
  • Reducing financial stress by putting pet health care in your family’s budget
  • Making sure your dog has proper identification, whether it’s by microchip or a collar with your contact information (ideally both)
  • Ensuring your dog is kept safe from the elements, making sure it is protected during times of extreme cold or heat and always keeping it properly hydrated
  • Establishing natural disaster preparation plans in the event of emergencies, including creating an evacuation kit
  • Having spay or neuter procedures performed to curb the pet overpopulation problem
  • Lots of love and playtime with all members of the family!

Fulfilling these components of dog ownership is the best investment you can make in your dog’s life. “Preventative care in veterinary medicine not only includes vaccinations but now encompasses a wide variety of life stage-specific options,” said TVMA President-elect Aaron Rainer, DVM, MPH, who practices in Richmond, Texas. “Your veterinarian can guide you in making these important decisions for your family’s pets.”

Partnering with your veterinarian is a crucial component of responsible dog ownership. allows this collaboration to continue online in between visits to the clinic by offering a reliable source of accurate pet health information that is peer-reviewed and written by TVMA members—the veterinary professionals of Texas. When you’re in need of information on ownership topics such as clinic etiquette, zoonotic diseases, weight-loss plans and caring for senior pets, visit the dog wellness section of at

About the Texas Veterinary Medical Association

Founded in 1903, the Texas Veterinary Medical Association is a professional association composed of more than 3,700 veterinarians committed to protecting public health, promoting high educational, ethical and moral standards within the veterinary profession and educating the public about animal health and its relationship to human health. For more information, call 512/452-4224 or visit


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