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When Is Responsible Dog Ownership Month? 2023 Update & How to Celebrate It

Ed Malaker

By Ed Malaker

woman hugging a black tibetan mastiff

Owning a dog can be great fun, but it also comes with many responsibilities, and in a busy life, it can be easy to forget your commitment to your pet. Fortunately, Responsible Dog Ownership is held each September to help get you back on track. If you want to participate in this important event, keep reading as we list the ways to get involved and help raise awareness.

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What Is Responsible Dog Ownership Month?

Responsible Dog Ownership Month serves as a reminder for dog owners to take their responsibilities seriously. The American Kennel Club started it in 2004 to raise awareness about the importance of responsible pet ownership and educate dog owners on various aspects of dog care. Since its inception, Responsible Dog Ownership Month has been every September.

male owner hugging his dog
Image Credit: Lizardflms, Shutterstock

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Responsibilities That This Event Hopes to Increase Awareness

Healthcare and Regular Vet Visits

Responsible dog ownership begins with ensuring your pet’s good health. Schedule regular check-ups with your veterinarian to monitor your dog’s overall well-being. Vaccinations, flea-and-tick prevention, and dental care are all part of maintaining their health.

Proper Nutrition and Hydration

Feeding your dog a balanced diet with the right nutrients is important for good health. Consult your vet to determine the best diet for your dog’s breed, age, and specific needs, and provide continuous access to clean, fresh water to keep them hydrated.

dog eating carrots and broccoli in the feeding bowl
Image Credit: Anastasiya Tsiasemnikava, Shutterstock

Exercise and Mental Stimulation

Dogs need physical and mental stimulation, including regular exercise and playtime, to stay happy and fit. Mental challenges like puzzle toys or training sessions keep their minds sharp and the dog well-behaved. Obedience classes can also help.


Socialization is important for a well-adjusted dog. Expose your dog to different people, animals, and environments to help them feel more comfortable in similar encounters as adults.

A group of French Bulldogs on indoor playground floor
Image Credit: Tienuskin, Shutterstock

Safety Measures

Responsible dog owners take safety seriously. Restrain your dog outside with a leash, or keep them within a secure fence. Use identification tags, and consider microchipping your dog to make it easier to retrieve them if they get lost.

Grooming and Hygiene

Regular grooming is an important step in keeping your dog clean and healthy. Brush their coats and teeth, trim their nails, and clean their ears. Grooming your pet this way also strengthens the bond between you and your dog.

Grooming a Papillon dog with dog grooming tools and brushes
Image Credit: SviatlanaLaza, Shutterstock

Respect for Others

Being a responsible dog owner means being considerate of others, so clean up after your dog during walks, and be mindful of your pet’s behavior in public spaces. Following any rules when entering stores and other establishments is also important.

Adoption and Responsible Breeding

If you’re considering getting a dog, check local shelters and rescue organizations first. If you buy from a breeder, ensure that they meet ethical and responsible breeding standards and aren’t operating a puppy mill.

Young woman with worker choosing which dog to adopt from a shelter
Image Credit: hedgehog94, Shutterstock

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How Can I Celebrate Responsible Dog Ownership Month?

If you do not know know to celebrate this amazing month here are some ideas to get you inspired:

  • Check for local events and activities dedicated to Responsible Dog Ownership Month. These may include dog shows, pet expos, and adoption drives.
  • Share information about responsible dog ownership with friends, family, and fellow dog owners to help raise awareness about the month-long event.
  • Consider volunteering or donating to local animal shelters and rescue organizations, which play an important role in rehoming pets.
  • Organize a playdate for your dog and another dog to socialize your pet while connecting with other responsible dog owners.
  • Use this month to enhance your dog training skills by attending training classes, reading books on dog behavior, and/or working on teaching your dog a new trick.
  • Post about Responsible Dog Awareness Month on social media to raise awareness and get others involved.
  • If you’re involved in breeding, follow ethical and responsible breeding practices, and prioritize the dogs’ health over profit.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Where Can I Find Resources for Responsible Dog Ownership?

You can find resources for responsible dog ownership from organizations like the American Kennel Club, local animal shelters, veterinarians, and online resources.

What Should I Do If I Suspect That Someone Is Not Practicing Responsible Dog Ownership?

If you suspect that someone is not practicing responsible dog ownership and causing harm to the dog, consider reporting your concerns to local animal control or the police instead of trying to intervene personally. They can investigate the situation and take appropriate actions.

family adopting dog
Image Credit: hedgehog94, Shutterstock

What Factors Should I Consider Before Getting a Dog?

Before getting a dog, consider your lifestyle, living situation, time commitment, financial responsibility, and the specific needs of the dog that you are interested in. It’s essential to ensure that you can provide a suitable home and care for a dog throughout their life.

Can I Adopt a Dog Even If I Have a Busy Schedule?

Yes, you can adopt a dog even if you have a busy schedule, but it’s important to choose a dog that matches your lifestyle and to make arrangements for their care while you are away. Consider a doggy daycare, hiring a dog walker, or asking a friend or family member for help.

dog adoption
Image Credit: tonyfortku, Pixabay

Can Anyone Participate in Responsible Dog Ownership Month Activities?

Yes, Responsible Dog Ownership Month activities are open to everyone interested in learning more about responsible pet ownership and improving their relationship with dogs, whether they own one or not.

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Responsible Dog Ownership Month is every September, and the idea is to spread awareness about the many different factors that go into responsible pet ownership, including vet visits, proper diet, socialization, and exercise. Interested people can get involved by spreading the word to people they know and posting about it on social media. Volunteering or donating to a local animal shelter is also a great idea, as is spending extra time with your pet to teach them a new trick.

Featured Image Credit: Veronika Kraeva, Shutterstock

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