Technically, you own a dog, but the term “dog owner” just doesn’t sound right when describing the relationship you have with your furry best friend. He’s part of the family, and that makes you a pup parent. Today’s dog moms and dads aren’t like the dog owners of past generations. Our dogs don’t sleep outside or spend their days on the end of a chain. We care for them like they’re children, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
Here’s how to tell if you fall under the “pup parent” category.
1. You don’t understand how some people don’t let their dogs on the couch.
How are you supposed to cuddle with them? On the floor? No thanks, we pup parents prefer our puppy cuddles on the couch. It doesn’t matter if the furniture gets a little furry, or even a little slobbery. Our pups deserve to be comfy in their own homes, and that means furniture is never off limits. Well, maybe we don’t want them running straight for the new sofa with muddy paws, but we wouldn’t let humans do that either. A quick wipe down, and they’re good to go.
2. You regularly use the phrase, “I can’t stay long, my dog is home alone.”
Some dogs have separation anxiety that makes leaving the house especially hard, but dedicated pup parents never want to leave their fur babies for too long. You constantly wonder if they’re missing you, and you probably have a pet camera set up so you can check in whenever you want. Having a social life would be a lot easier if you could bring your dog everywhere you go.
3. You never leave the house without reassuring your dog that you’ll be back and that you love him.
It doesn’t matter if you’re running to the store for five minutes or leaving for a long shift at work, saying goodbye to the dog is an important ritual. It always involves an estimated time of return and usually more than one declaration of love. Trainers tell us it’s better to leave the house like it’s no big deal, but that’s so hard! Dogs may not speak our language, but we’re pretty sure they know what we’re saying when we leave.
4. You’re willing to spend more money on dog food if it’s healthy.
Those cheap brands of dog food that use artificial flavors and preservatives will never find their way to your shopping cart. There are few things more important than your dog’s health, and you know a good diet is essential for their well-being. It costs a little more, but you’re more than happy to make that sacrifice for your best friend. You choose dog food with all the right ingredients.
5. You schedule your dog’s exercise and playtime into your daily routine--there are no exceptions.
Along with the right diet, dogs need physical exercise to stay healthy. Not to mention, exercise helps your dog stay on his best behavior. You would never dream of depriving your dog of his daily chance to stretch his legs. You go on walks at least once a day, and if you can’t, you come up with another way to entertain your pup. Other people don’t understand that your afternoon plans have to revolve around your dog’s schedule, but that’s okay, your dog comes first.
6. You’ve long since realized you like your dog more than most people.
It’s not that you don’t enjoy meeting new people, it’s the fact that few people come close to being as kind and caring as your dog. Dogs are always there to listen to your problems and offer comfort. Even if your dog’s favorite form of support is to cover your face in slobber, it’s always appreciated. People are unpredictable, but with your dog, you always know he has your back.
7. You base your weekend plans on outings you can take with your dog.
We’re still waiting on the day we can take our dogs to any public place we want, but for now, you know all the dog-friendly places and activities in your area. If you work during the week, you treat the weekends as your time to focus on your dog. Whether it be going for a hike or a trip to the dog park, you always make sure your dog enjoys his weekends. Even homebodies need to get out of the house some days.
8. You’re willing to put up with less room in the bed as long as your dog sleeps with you.
Some people don’t let dogs in the bed, but pup parents can’t sleep unless their furry friends are close by. Yes, even big dogs get their spots in the bed. You deal with the close quarters even when it means occasionally being kicked while you sleep and dozing off to the sound of your dog’s sweet snores. If you’re really invested in letting your dogs sleep in the bed, you probably already bought the biggest mattress you could find.
9. Even if you don’t have kids, your house is always littered with toys.
You’ve been working on the whole “pick up your toys” trick, but you still can’t walk across the living room without tripping over something dog related. Most of your dog’s toys are the durable enrichment type, and his favorites never seem to stay put away for long. If your pup is a chewer, you’re used to finding stuffed animal “guts” between couch cushions and under furniture.
10. You know training is an important part of loving a dog.
Your dog may not be as good as those service dogs leading the blind, but he can hold his own when it comes to obedience. You’ve taken the time to either take him to training classes or do it yourself at home. He mastered the basics a while ago, and you’ve since moved on to more impressive stuff. You’re a firm believer in the mantra, “A well-trained dog is a happy dog.”
11. You tell people your dog is your child, and you mean it.
It’s a hard concept for non-pup parents to grasp. But for people who love their dogs as much as you do, there’s no question. Dogs are family, and they’re treated with the same love, care, and appreciation as any human. Their well-being is important, and you don’t only want your dog to survive, you want him to thrive. You know he deserves the best, and you’re fully committed to giving it to him.