I‘m a Reddit addict, and I mostly hang out on random Reddit dogs forums reading tips, asking questions, and browsing cute photos of other people's pets. Before you start judging, let me tell you how gleaning wisdom from other pet owners on Reddit can make you a smarter, more knowledgeable and generally much better dog owner.
We have to take any advice we read on the internet with a grain of salt. That said, while some information found online may be inaccurate, there is plenty of value to sharing and receiving tips and advice from experience of pet-owner-parenthood (ownerhood?) with other dog owners. One great resource for this information is Reddit dogs forums.
When looking for advice on raising your Fido, the best source of information is always going to be your dog’s veterinarian and canine nutritionist, your dog’s breeder or animal shelter you've adopted the dog from, and other experts like dog trainers and behaviorists. These trained and certified professionals will know the most about your Fido, and are better equipped to offer accurate advice that pertains to your specific concerns.
While you can certainly look for tips and advice online using sites like Reddit dogs forums, always remember that the advice you receive could be from anyone and may even be dangerous to your dog’s health. Take everything you read on online forums as information to ponder on and research further; do not assume that it can always be applied directly to your pet.
Using Reddit as a Dog Owner
1. Sign Up for Reddit.com
While you can access and read information on Reddit without signing up for an account, if you want to post a question to a community of dog owners on any specific subreddit, you do need to set up a Reddit account. Registering your account is free and simple, you can do that here.
2. Start Out Simply
One of the best ways to begin looking for advice on raising a dog via Reddit dogs forums (or a specific behavioral or health issue) is to simply type in the question in search field and see what other people have previously asked. For example, this user started by asking other Reddit users, “What advice does Reddit have for new dog owners?” and received 54 comments from current dog owners, some of which can be helpful and things you haven't thought about.
This is a great way to start out with basic questions and the answers you find will be helpful in learning what to expect before you bring your new dog home as well as during your first few weeks as a dog parent.
3. If You Can’t Find It, Ask It
With so many potential questions, you may find that the question you want to ask has not already been answered. If this is the case, log in to Reddit and post your question yourself on a general /r/AskReddit subreddit or any other dog-relevant subreddit (I mention plenty of those below). Just be sure to read the rules posted at the top of each section of Reddit before you post (some subreddits are very “particular” about their rules).
The Best Reddit Dogs Forums to Subscribe to
Looking to Adopt a Dog?
Let's start at the very beginning. If you haven’t yet picked out your new dog and are on the lookout for a pup in need of a home, there’s a place on Reddit for that too! The three most popular subreddits – /r/RescueDogs, /r/AdoptMe and /r/AdoptableDogs are packed with plenty of pups for you to rescue and befriend.
Need Help Integrating a New Dog into Your Home?
…or some assistance with your current dog, tips on caring and feeding your pooch? Have a question for current pet owners about their own experience, or simply want to vent about an issue related to dog ownership? Then the most popular of Reddit dogs forums called /r/Dogs is a place for you. This is the largest subreddit for dog owners, with a great community of dog owners who are always willing to give helpful advice to new or current pet parents.
There's a lot to say about this subreddit, so it's best if you take a look yourself. For example, if you are thinking about bringing a rescue dog home or if you have brought one home already and need help with integration, there’s a regular thread on /r/Dogs that the community posts (like this one) which will be useful to you too. Helping your new rescue dog to integrate into your home properly will create a happy and well-adjusted dog and eliminate many of the “teething problems” that dog parents often face when bringing a new rescue home.
For a smaller community, try /r/DogAdvice.
Navigating Your Dog's Early Years
One of the most challenging stages of owning a dog is the puppyhood. This becomes even more challenging if you have never owned a dog before and are a first-time pet owner. Fortunately, Reddit has a forum dedicated specifically to puppy parenting in /r/Puppy101 subreddit. Here you can learn about everything from raising a healthy puppy, to important milestones to watch for, to dealing with puppy-related problems. You can also share plenty of pictures of your pup which will make you some new dog owner friends.
The veterinary section of Reddit in /r/AskVet is one of the best, and a really great resource to bookmark for future reference. As a dog owner, you are going to run into plenty of health-related questions that you’re not sure warrant a vet visit. Such questions include “Are his nails too long?”, “Is this heat rash?”, and “Why is my dog…”
You may also have questions post-vet-visit such as “Is my dog healing properly?” or “Is this normal after?..” The veterinary help section of Reddit is the perfect place to ask these questions to get input from professionals in the veterinary industry as well as fellow pet owners.
Please remember that the internet is a great way to educate yourself, but it’s NOT a diagnostic tool. If you have any serious concerns about your dog’s health, you must consult with your own veterinarian before taking any action.
Have a Special Needs Dog?
If you've adopted a special needs dog (like a disabled pet) or currently thinking about adopting one, there’s a whole Reddit community where you can chat with parents of special needs dogs called /r/DisabledDogs. Search and ask around to find out what you can do to make your disabled dog’s life easier, recommended treatments from other pet parents, get veterinary referrals, and just share experiences.
Dog Training Help
Training your dog is challenging; after all, you both speak completely different languages. Heading to obedience classes with your dog in tow is the best way to start training. Follow up that training with a few more advanced dog training classes and your pooch will learn what is expected of him.
Occasionally you will run into training questions and behavioral issues that you don’t feel warrant a paid visit to a trainer or veterinarian. In those instances, the Dog Training forum on Reddit called /r/DogTraining is absolutely wonderful to find answers. Here you can ask professional trainers questions, compare training techniques with other dog owners, and learn from dog owners who have faced the same concerns as you.
This is one of my most often visited subreddits, and a large number of people there are extremely well-knowledgeable when it comes to evidence-based dog training. They will provide you with no-fluff type of advice on what works and what doesn't in dog training, without any up-selling or woo-woo tips.
Every dog needs an outlet for their energy and one of the many outlets available is dog sports. Activities for canines include agility training, flyball, dock diving, luring and more; they all have their own following among pet owners. Among Reddit dogs forums, you’ll find a community dedicated specifically to dog sports on /r/DogSports where you can discover all the different sports, share stories with other dog sports parents, and ask anything you want to know. It's pretty silent most of the time, but hopefully this subreddit continues to grow.
Being a dog owner doesn’t just mean having a dog who sits at your feet when you come home from work. For some people being a dog owner means having a partner to take part in activities with. If you’re interested in learning more about having a dog with a job, you should check out the Reddit Dogs with Jobs forum under /r/DogsWithJobs (if for no other reason then to simply have a laugh or see a heartwarming picture).
Generally, in this subreddit you can learn about the different opportunities available to working dogs and decide which one is best for you and your Fido. You can also ask other pet owners about their canines with jobs and learn what each job really demands. You may find that having a dog with a job would be too time-consuming or simply wouldn’t interest you, but without talking to others in the community, you’d never know.
Breed Specific Questions
When it comes to specific breeds, Reddit dogs forums have no shortage of those subreddits. Whether you are researching certain breeds you are interested in, learning what to expect from your new dog, or just trying to find out more in general, Reddit has more forums than you can browse too!
Just to give you a few examples, there is a Pitbull specific forum under /r/Pitbulls, a Labrador Retriever forum under /r/Labradors, and a German Shepherd forum too under /r/GermanShepherd. In fact, you can pretty much find any breed by using the search box on the top right of the page or find them all here below:
Here's a tip: you can also type https://www.reddit.com/r/[breed] and insert the name of the breed (without brackets) you are looking for, most likely finding a subreddit for that breed.
Make New Friends and Share Pictures of Your Dog
Every dog owner wants to share pictures of their dog and Reddit has a forum for that too! On the Reddit Dog Pictures forum /r/DogPictures you can share all the photos you want of your pup, check out the cutest dogs of Reddit from other posters and in the process make new friends.
How can this make you a better dog owner, you ask? Sharing photos of your pet just makes you feel pretty good, but making new friends gives you the chance to make play dates for your dog to help socialize them and give them an outlet for play. It's fairly common for redditors-dog owners from the same area to set up play dates. However, it goes without saying that you should take proper precautions when meeting anyone online in the real world. Please be careful!
Reddit dogs forums have a couple of places devoted to the more unique diets of dogs too. Whether you are considering homemade dog food (see /r/HomemadeDogFood) or whether you’re considering raw feeding (see /r/RawPetFood), you can find plenty of answers from other Reddit members.
These forums aren’t just a good place to learn how to feed your pooch using these diets, but they also allow you to log your progress while feeding these foods and ask questions as you go. For example, many people switching to a raw dog food diet become concerned when their dog’s bathroom habits change. The raw feeding forum would be the perfect place to find the answer to this question by researching older posts or by asking other users on their experience when starting with raw feeding.
If you rescued your dog and want to help other families find their perfect rescue dog or just want to become active in the rescue community Reddit has a forum for that too on /r/AnimalRescue! Here you can find out more about the animal rescue lifestyle, read how you can become an animal rescuer, ask questions you might have about rescue and rehabilitation, and also make friends with others who are as compassionate as you are.
How does this make you a better dog owner? Aside from making you increasingly aware of how lucky you are to have your own pooch, it helps you to make better dog owners out of others. By spreading the word about the importance of pet adoption and by advocating for homeless animals, you actually get to save lives and learn in the process.
Coping with Pet Loss
As a dog owner who is bonded to their dog, there will inevitably come a time when you have to say goodbye. This is an exceptionally difficult decision to make for your dog and one that can leave you reeling. Studies say that losing a pet can threaten your own life due to stress, and pet owners who lost their dogs or cats often don't have people who would understand what they're going through. That's where Reddit dogs forums can help once again!
Learning how to cope with your grief over the loss of your pet is an important step in a healthy life (both physically and mentally), but it’s also an important step in opening your heart to another dog. Goodness knows there are enough dogs out there who need a home like yours, but first, join the Reddit /r/PetLoss forum and give yourself a little time.
Not Sure What You Need to Know or Where to Begin?
If you’re a dog owner novice and you really don’t know where to begin or what questions to ask, try starting at the general Reddit Dog forum I've mentioned above – /r/Dogs – it's the best place for a new dog owner to go to online. From here you can navigate your way around posts made by others and get a feel for what you do need to know. They also have a bunch of helpful Wiki pages and posts you can find here, as well as daily/weekly threads that help out new and experience dog owners alike.
A Final Word of Caution
Reddit dogs forums are full of experienced dog owners who are always there to give friendly and accurate advice for any question you're willing to ask. All of the above mentioned subreddit forums have great communities that are worth being a part of if you want to become a better dog owner and make (online) friends in the process.
That said, remember that when taking advice from someone who is not a licensed veterinarian or a certified dog trainer, who does not also know your individual dog, his specific situation and his health history, it's always best to seek a second and third opinion (preferably from an expert). Reddit dogs forums are a great resource to use as a starting point, just follow up on any suggestions with factual research and professional advice.
READ NEXT: 20 Dog Park Horror Stories