Are you thinking of getting a dog? Maybe you already are a proud, new, dog owner? Are you unsure of the basic dog care needs of your pet?
Just as there are different elements of taking care of a child, the same holds true when you decide to bring a puppy or adult dog into your home. So what are the basic dog care tips that you should know before bringing your new dog home?
Below are several basic dog care tips that are involved with properly taking care of a dog as a pet.
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You and Your Dog Need a Vet
The most important step a new dog owner will need to take is to find a local veterinarian. This is especially important if they haven’t had any of their vaccinations. Their vaccinations are a very important part of keeping them healthy and disease free. And they will also need regular check-ups as well.
Take your dog to the vet regularly. This may seem like an added expense that you don’t need. But when you take your dog to the veterinarian, he can screen your dog for diseases making sure he is in the best of health. This of course prevents problems down the road.
Yes, dogs hate vets. They hate it as soon as they walk in. Taking your dog to the vet is not a fun activity. However, it is an essential part of basic dog care.
Bathing and Grooming
Although dogs do not need a bath nearly as frequently as humans do, they still need to be bathed regularly. This helps to remove dead skin cells and dirt from their coat, and it also promotes good skin health. To minimise matting and to keep your dog looking as good as he feels, you should brush his coat at least once each day. This helps to reduce shedding, as loose hairs will come out in the dog brush instead of on your furniture.
My dog, Poppy, has fairly regular baths (which she hates) as she gets extremely dirty. She is not too keen on being brushed either though she is getting much better – perseverance is definitely key here.
Your dog has teeth just like you, so it makes sense that he needs proper dental care. Invest in a dog toothbrush and brush his teeth often. Simply allowing the vet to do it at his regular checkups is not enough. You can also purchase treats that are specifically meant to help with your pet’s teeth. Poppy has her nightly dental chew and seems to enjoy them. Just be careful what they are made from.
Keep your dog’s teeth in tip-top condition. Just like humans, a dog can suffer from toothache, gum disease and even tooth loss. Regular brushing will ensure that his teeth and gums stay healthy and strong. Without regular brushing, it is estimated that dental disease will affect up to 80% of dogs by the age of three. As well as dental cleaning by a vet, make sure that you brush your dog’s teeth regularly.
You should clean inside their ears too. If you do not have any ear cleaner solution on hand, you can use a baby wipe instead. Simply wrap it around the tip of your finger and wipe the inside of the ear’s surface. Only go as far as your finger can easily fit. Do not use Q-tips as they can injure the ear.
Many Dogs Love Going In The Car
Many dogs love car trips out, and it means you can give them a bit of variety in their walks. Your dog needs to be secured when in a car. Not only will it make the journey safer, as it will lead to fewer distractions for the person driving the car, but in the event of an accident, it could also save your dog’s life. Look for a seat belt harness, often sold at pet stores, that you can put in your car for your pet.
Poppy started off with a seat belt harness. Then we started taking longer trips as we would go off camping or on holiday. We then bought her a cage for the car. She loves it and it means she can lie down and sleep in comfort on a long journey. She even catches up on a few winks on a very short journey!
Provide Your Dog His Own Space
Dogs that are kept inside the home need a designated space that they can feel is their own. This will help him feel secure. Some people line the bottom of a dog crate with soft bedding, while others simply place a dog bed in a corner of their bedroom or living room. Poppy has a downstairs bed which she will quite happily go to when tired and she has her crate upstairs where she sleeps at night.
Before deciding on what type of dog to get for your family, consider space. Even though you may love the bigger dogs that you can really wrap your arms around, you may not have adequate space for a large breed. Take your home and garden size into consideration before bringing home a new pooch.
If you have children, it is important that they understand what they can, and cannot, do with a puppy or dog. It is also a good thing to teach them about exercising and training the family dog. This Puppy Training for Kids book is great for teaching them how dogs think and how to care for them.
Have Your Dog Spayed or Neutered
It is important for a responsible pet owner to have their dog spayed or neutered. Not only does this help to control the dog population, but it is also effective for calming dogs down that have behaviour problems. Some of the other benefits of this type of procedure is it can lengthen the life of your dog and it also promotes better health. A friend of mine has a dog that has not been neutered and his drive seems to dictate his life; he can’t even be let off the lead. We had Poppy spayed as soon as we could as it is definitely fairer to her.
The amount of exercise that each dog needs depends a great deal on the specific breed that they are. A regular amount of exercise is important for the overall health of your dog, and it is an activity that he will thoroughly enjoy.
Dogs that get a regular amount of exercise every day end up living much longer than those that do not get much exercise at all. This is because it promotes good health and it keeps them feeling younger longer. Problems such as arthritis and other health problems do not occur as often in dogs that exercise regularly than it does in those that don’t.
Some dogs really do need more than others – Poppy needs a huge amount. A 20 km walk ensures she sleeps at night but we can’t fit those in every day! She has between 3 and 5 good play/walks but as soon as she gets home she still insists she hasn’t been taken out and rushes to the garden to have the ball thrown.
Try to provide your dog with plenty of opportunities to socialise. Take him on walks to the park or beach where he will be around people and other dogs. Encourage his interactions with others and praise him for good manners. He’ll be much more comfortable in any setting and generally happier too.
A Healthy Diet
When it comes to feeding your dog, make sure that you are using a reputable brand that contains enough nutrition. This is important because there are dog foods that contain an undesirable amount of filler in the food. You want to be sure that your dog is getting the amount of nutrients that it needs in order for it to be healthy.
One of the most important things you can do for your dog is provide him a high quality dog food that contains a large amount of essential vitamins and nutrients. The feeding label on most brands will provide you with everything you need to know about how much your specific breed of dog needs to eat, and how often. This is the hardest thing with Poppy as she is not particularly interested in food and I do struggle to tempt her.
In order to make sure that your dog is healthy, be sure to allow it to have access to clean water at all times during the day. Just like with all living beings, water is one of the most important components. The only exception would be that you would want to keep water from a puppy for three hours before bedtime.
All of these things are basic dog care tips required for the proper care of your pet. Generally some are easier than others. All must be taken into consideration though.
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