How to Care for a Dog

13 Dog Care Basics Every Pet Parent Should Know

Our pets love and trust us unconditionally so we want to make sure we give them the proper care they deserve. This includes their health, physical and emotional well-being, identifying them, and grooming needs. Your dog is relying on you for your attention and care so be prepared and be in the know.

NOTE – These responsibilities, and the time they take, should be carefully considered before adopting a new dog into your family.

Below we have compiled an informative list of “13 Dog Care Basics Every Pet Parent Should Know”…


HEALTH & WELL-BEING


Comfortable Dog Bed

1. General Health and Medical: Dogs should be under the care of a local veterinarian. They will offer the best advice on how to care for a dog properly and can instruct you on where to bring your dog if a medical emergency should arise. Your dog will need regular vaccinations to prevent common dog diseases and have regular health care checkups. Your vet can also prescribe medicine for your dog (or you can find over-the-counter options) in order to prevent heartworm disease and for controlling and treating life-threatening parasites such as hookworm. Last but not least, ask your vet if flea and tick preventative medicine is necessary for your pet.

2. Diet, Treats, and Meeting Nutritional Needs: Your adult dog will need to be fed a healthy kibble twice a day. A puppy, on the other hand, typically requires to be fed three times a day. Giving your dog nutritious treats between meals encourages good health and can be used as a reward when training. Of course, moderation of treats is key. Its diet and feeding would consist of having fresh clean drinking water available at all times. Tip : Try to avoid giving your dog table scraps or people food at all costs as this may cause health issues and unnecessary weight gain. Certain foods such as grapes, onions, chocolate, and others are quite toxic for dogs.

3. Training and Obedience: A new puppy (and adult) dog requires training. Normally, you’ll want to teach your dog to go potty outside and what’s expected of him while indoors. Also, some basic commands such as “sit”, “stay”, and “come” are a must. Understanding your dog’s behavior early on will lead to a better relationship between you and your dog and help determine any further training needs. Tip : Books and other pet owners are great resources when training your dog. Some pet related businesses offer professional training classes for your dog and can help you get past difficult challenges.

4. Exercise: A good exercise routine is important to your dog’s overall health. If you can walk your dog twice daily for 15-20 minutes, that would provide adequate exercise out of the home. Tip : To keep your dog out of trouble and YOU in control, make sure you always have your dog leashed while on your walks.

5. Socialization and Attention: Your dog should be socialized with other people and other dogs to give him a life full of trust and acceptance of new experiences and people. Most importantly your love and affection towards your dog will give you a lifetime of love returned from a well-cared for dog. Tip : Spend time together and share positive experiences—you will soon notice a strong bond between you two.

6. Comfort: Think about providing a comfortable bed or crate with a blanket for your dog to rest and sleep. A dog house for the outside is also a good consideration.  When your pet is enjoying the outdoors, a dog house will provide shade or warmth. Whatever you choose: a bed, crate, or dog house OR a combination of them, it will be a comforting place for your dog to call their own.

7. Stimulation: Stimulation is an incredibly important part of a dog’s life. A bored dog could mean an unhappy and destructive dog. Toys are one of the best ways to keep your pet occupied and active. Offer your dog a variety of toys that are designed for chewing, entertainment, thinking, and rewarding. Tip : It’s not a bad idea to periodically take a toy out of the mix and reintroduce it at a later time. This way, your dog will think he has a brand-new toy—how exciting! And you can save money from having to constantly buy new toys. A win-win situation.


IDENTIFICATION


Dog Collar

8. Collar and ID tag: Identify your pet with a sturdy collar and custom dog ID tag. The dog ID tag should include your dog’s name, your name, and one or more contact methods (phone number, home address, or email address). In the unfortunate event your dog escapes or gets lost, having the collar and tag with your information WILL assist in your dog being returned to you. The mere sight of a wandering lost dog with a collar usually signifies he (or she) belongs to someone and, therefore, increases the chances someone will want to help that dog return home.

9. Microchip ID: Another serious consideration is to microchip your dog. You may be asking yourself, “Do I really need to microchip my dog when he already has a collar and ID tag?”. The recommendation is yes; it is a permanent form of identification. Since the collar and ID tag can break off for example, having a microchip will enable the dog to be identified by a scan performed at a veterinarian’s office or animal shelter. The quick and simple implant procedure can be done at the vet’s office. Not to worry, the microchip is tiny; it’s about the size of a grain of rice.

10. Registration: In most states, it is required by law to have your dog registered and licensed. Check with your local city or county government for the exact requirements and fees on how to get your dog licensed. A dog license is mandatory in many of the dog boarding facilities and for entering the dog-friendly areas such as parks and beaches. If caught without a license tag, you will be subject to pay a hefty fine. The dog license tag also serves as another way for your dog to be identified if lost.


GROOMING


Dog Getting a Bath

11. Basic Skin and Coat Care: Certain dog breeds are prone to skin conditions. You should research your breed to find out if any apply to your pet. Coat care varies by breed as well. Generally, your dog will need a bath every 8-12 weeks to keep him clean and healthy. Longer haired dogs that require all over hair trimming will need to be groomed every 6-10 weeks depending on the breed and style. Hair on all dogs should be brushed at least once a week. Brushing a short haired dog will lessen shedding while brushing a longer haired dog will help prevent mats and tangles.

12. Eyes, Ears, and Nail Care: Some dogs have eyes that tear up and have drainage that needs to be wiped away regularly. Ear cleaning and nail trimming can be done at home for most breeds. Otherwise, a grooming salon or veterinary office is usually able to provide these services for you. If you’re afraid of hurting your dog he will sense that and may struggle with you. This is where professionals can show you how to care for a dog properly. Ask them to demonstrate so that next time you can try it yourself.

13. Dental Care: Don’t forget your dog’s teeth! It’s a good idea to take good care of your dog’s dental hygiene by brushing its teeth every day, or every 2-3 days at the very least. Various types of brushes and toothpastes are available. Another good option is to use an oral care spray. Similar to brushing, you would use the spray at least every 2-3 days. You can also apply daily if you need to remove heavy buildup of plaque and tartar. Both options will help clean your dog’s teeth and gums. Not to mention, freshen your dog’s breath!