Your responsible dog owner checklist 


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Owning a dog comes with a set of big responsibilities. Follow this quick checklist to make sure your best friend lives their best life by your side.

Fix your finances

Before you commit to adopting a dog, make sure you can afford it. We estimate that, at a minimum, it costs around $910 per year to care for your canine—that’s not even including the upfront costs such as adoption fee, leash, bed and microchipping.

Unexpected vet visits, the ongoing expense of food, vaccinations and grooming are examples of ongoing costs you’ll be responsible for.

Get the right food

Older dogs should mostly be fed dry food because it’s better for their teeth—but wet food can also be given as an occasional treat. If you have a puppy, you’ll need to provide special puppy food until they stop growing and reach adult size (this depends on the type of dog). After that age, they can be fed adult dog food.

Talk to your veterinarian about giving a raw, meaty bone to your dog once a week to help keep your dog’s teeth and gums healthy.

Make sure they have water

Always make sure dogs they have access to fresh, clean water—inside and outside.

Keep them safe and warm

Dogs need comfortable bedding in a safe place that will protect them from the heat, wind and rain. While we’d recommend letting them sleep indoors with you, you can let your dog sleep outside in a kennel or under a covering.

Organise their grooming

Different breeds have different needs. Dogs should be brushed to prevent their coat from matting and given a bath when needed. How often you groom or wash a dog depends on their coat, breed and if it’s needed (e.g., if your dog has been rolling in mud, you should wash him).

Make sure to also check the length of their nails, including the ‘thumb’ nails! Their nails might need to be trimmed with animal nail cutters.

Get on poo patrol

Dogs should be let outside regularly to poo or wee. Make sure to pick up after them and keep their normal toileting areas clean.

Visit the veterinarian for regular check ups

Dogs need a health check and vaccinations every year. You’ll also need to protect your dog by using a treatment from the local veterinarian, which is normally a dose of liquid that is squeezed onto the dog’s neck every month.

When a dog or puppy is quieter than normal, eating or drinking differently or their poo or wee is different, they should be taken to a veterinarian to be checked out!

Keep them entertained

To prevent dogs from becoming bored and barking, they will need toys and a walk at least once or twice a day. During the walk, let them meet lots of different people and make new dog friends. Kongs are great for a dog because they have to work hard to get their treats!

Train them up

The most important time to train and socialise a puppy is between eight to 17 weeks of age–so make sure they attend puppy preschool! At home, you can train your puppy or dog two to three times a day in sessions of 10 minutes. No longer, otherwise they won’t remember what they’ve learned! Use positive reinforcement, like giving treats, to reward your dog when they do the right thing.

For more information about dogs and puppies, visit

Ready to take the next step?