Responsible Dog Ownership

Are you thinking of adoption a dog or do you already own a dog? We will take a look at the various aspects of responsible dog ownership.

Put yourself in your pet's shoes...

A good rule of thumb to properly care for your animal is to treat it like YOU would like to be treated. For instance, would you like to eat your dinner in a dirty plate or sleep in the noisiest room in the house?

The essentials are simple. To feel secure pets need a daily routine and be loved.

Daily routine

  1. Adult dogs need to be fed twice a day. You need to feed your dog a balanced diet: protein, carbohydrates and vegetables. This can be home cooked or else can come from a tin or pellets.
  2. At all times, your dog needs to have access to clean and fresh water. A good rule of thumb is to change their bowl of water twice a day and ensure it’s big enough to hold enough water for 12 hours. Make sure to check from time to time that the bowl is clean and full: birds do like to perch on dog’s water bowl to drink and sometimes even rinse their beaks in it (after all birds are also thirsty – best to have another shallower dish filled with water for birds)
  3. Run your hands over your dog coat every other day. This is the easiest way to detect bumps or growths. Also check ears.
  4. Your pet's bed should be in a quiet, draught-free place out of direct sunlight. Laundering the bedding (sheets/pillow- will help keep smells and fleas at bay)

Good behaviour

You will need from a young age to socialise your dog. This will make both you and your dog happier! A socialised dog is easier to control and will help prevent behavioural problems.

There are easy ways to socialise your dog:

  1. by allowing him/her indoors so that he gets used to having people around, listening and interacting with you. Well socialised dogs will respond when you speak to them (a tilt of the head, ears cocked, even sometimes reply back with a whimper or a more lengthy “dog speak”!). They can ask you for stuff. It is up to you to understand what they are asking, sometimes by trial and error but figuring out what they want can be SO rewarding!
  2. by bringing him/her from an early age regularly for strolls to see the world outside of his enclosed yard, to meet other dogs and animals and to meet other people. This also has the added advantage that if your dog “escapes”, s/he will know how to get back as s/he knows the surroundings
  3. by taking him/her to dog training classes to allow your dog to meet others in a controlled environment, and enable you to learn correct handling techniques. This will strengthen the bond between you. 

Health and pet insurance

  1. Annual vaccination: animals need annual vaccinations, and a trip to the vet to get boosters done also offers a good opportunity for a complete health check
  2. Worm treatment: every 3 months. Please see with your vet (or a specialised vet pharmacy) as the dosage will vary with the animal’s weight 
  3. Flea/tick preventive treatments: every 2-3 months. This will help your pet to remain free from parasites and other complications that arise from those type of infestations
  4. Regular grooming keeps coats clean and healthy and is essential for long-haired pets.
  5. Sterilisation/neutering not only prevents unwanted litters but can also prevent tumours and other health problems. In male dogs it can also help curb straying or aggression. PAWS recommends that you bring your dog/cat for sterilisation.

Identification and loss prevention

Identification is important for dogs and it is a legal requirement that they wear a collar and identity disc. 

In town areas keep your dog on a lead at all times as he could easily be startled by a noise and run off and get hurt or killed by a vehicle. Before letting him off in a safe area for the first time, be confident he will come back when you want him to. 

Never run after your dog if he is running away from you. Keep calling his name, kneel down and open your arms wide i.e if you can still see him. He will come back to you and it’s important that you DO NOT scold him when he comes back but pet him and welcome him with effusion (as much effusion as him, if possible!). You can practise this at home when he is some distance away from you. He will always associate coming back into your wide open arms with a positive feeling.

Do not let your dog out on his own as he will be classed as a stray and could be impounded and ultimately destroyed. 

Going away

When planning a trip be sure to make proper arrangements for your pets. You should only entrust your animal to friends or neighbours if you are confident they will take care of them properly. If your dog hasn't already met his carer, take time to introduce them to each other before you go away. Your friend could join you and your dog on a couple of walks, for instance.

Explain the animal's daily routine and leave contact numbers for yourself and your vet in case of emergencies. Put a new identity disc on your pet's collar with the contact details of his temporary carer and do call regularly to take his news. 

There are boarding kennels in Mauritius if you are considering this option.  Visit the facility beforehand to check whether it is suitable. Ask lots of questions, like how many daily walks do the dogs get. Word of mouth is the best recommendation so please ask around. 


Most dogs happily co-exist with children if they have lived with them from an early age. It's important children are taught to respect animals and are not allowed to treat them as toys.

Pets need their own space, so children should not disturb him when he is sleeping or eating. Never leave a dog alone with children. Always supervise interaction to ensure children do not tease or overexcite a pet.

A big commitment

Giving a home to a rescue animal is one of the most rewarding experiences a person can have. However, it is important you feel ready for, and understand, the commitment of taking on another life, one which will be totally dependent on you.

[excerpts from Dogs Trust website ]

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