How to Care for Dogs
Knowing how to care for dogs is an essential part of being a
good dog owner. You want to meet all of your dog's basic
physical and emotional needs to keep him as healthy, happy and
safe as possible. Here are some dog care basics to help you
Provide Your Dog a Nutritious Diet
In order to be happy and
healthy, dogs need a nutritious, balanced diet that meets their
physical needs. Choose a quality food that your dog likes. You
don't have to buy the most expensive food; pet food companies
perform extensive research to ensure that their foods provide
balanced nutrition. However, there's a risk that if you buy the
cheapest food, it could be mostly filler.
Choose a food that's in the middle of the price range. You
might need to change foods a few times until you find something
that your dog likes. Your dog won't eat enough if he doesn't
like his food, and if he doesn't eat enough, he won't be
If you'd like to provide a homemade diet to your dog, discuss
his nutrition needs with your vet before you begin. Discuss
potential ingredients at length, and make sure you're aware
which human foods (such as grapes, walnuts and onions) are toxic
Once you've settled on a diet, watch your dog carefully for
the first few weeks. Note any change in appearance or behavior.
If his coat appears dull and his skin dry, or if he begins to
have stomach upsets such as gas, vomiting and diarrhea, a change
in diet might be called for.
Provide Proper Medical and Preventative Care
Of course, if
your dog begins to show signs of illness that last more than 24
hours, take him to the vet right away. But remember that proper
medical and preventative care involves more than just taking
your dog to the vet when he's sick. Proper vet care involves
vaccinations in puppyhood and annually thereafter. He'll also
benefit from a yearly medical check up.
Your dog needs regular exercise to stay healthy. Establish a
daily exercise routine. Different breeds need different amounts
of exercise, so take into account your own abilities to walk or
play with a dog before your decide which breed you want.
Caring for dogs also requires basic grooming. Many breeds
need no more than a regular bath and nail trimming. Some breeds
need more extensive grooming, including haircuts. If you're
bathing or grooming your dog yourself, use it as an opportunity
to examine your dog's skin and body for injuries, growths,
discolorations and parasites.
Make Your Dog A Member of the Family
Dogs are pack animals
and are happiest when they can perceive themselves as a member
of a family. Dogs thrive best indoors. Give him a kennel, crate
or bed that he can use as his own exclusive space. Establish
off-limits areas and enforce ground rules but remember to treat
your dog in a warm and loving manner.
Your dog also needs structure and discipline. Follow through
with training, whether it's on your own or as part of a training
program. Earn your dog's love and respect by encouraging good
behavior, but firmly, gently and consistently discouraging bad
Healthy Puppy Check
Health of Your Pup
Pet Health Advice for General Wellness
Is Kibble or Raw Dog Food the Healthier Choice?
What Is the Best Puppy Dog Food?
7 Dog Care Tips for Busy People
5 Preventable Dog Health Problems
Why Dog Dental Health is Important
New Puppy Care for New Owners
Understanding Dog Behavior
7 Signs of Dog Separation Anxiety
Home vs. Professional Dog Grooming
Treating Separation Anxiety with Clomipramine for Dogs