There’s a reason for the term, “Puppy Dog Eyes” and why it conveys a sense of love and admiration. Perhaps you were at an animal shelter or pet store recently, saw a playful pooch and said to yourself, “I just have to have that adorable ball of fur!” We don’t blame you, it’s hard to resist those adorable curious eyes peering at you from behind the glass. But taking care of a dog is no small task, and a big responsibility. Here we break down how to take care of a dog to make life easier for you as a proud new pet owner, and more enjoyable for Man’s Best Friend as well.
Table of Contents
- General Dog Care Tips: How To Take Care Of A Dog
- How To Be A Good Dog Owner
- What Do You Need To Take Care Of A Dog?
General Dog Care Tips: How To Take Care Of A Dog
Here are some general dog care tips to give you an idea of how to look after a dog:
- Identify your dog with an ID tag and collar. Include information such as your phone number, address and name. Most tags range from $3 - $10 and can be engraved at your local pet store. Microchipping is important as well, but always have an ID tag, since microchips are not always checked.
- Check with your local humane society of animal shelter to inform yourself on vaccination requirements and laws for your state, including vaccinations such as Rabies.
- When not in a fenced yard, always keep your faithful friend on a leash, this will ensure your pet’s safety. Dogs can sometimes feel threatened, and are susceptible to other dogs and predators, this will help maintain control of your dog at all times.
- Spend time with your pup. Much like humans, dogs crave affection and companionship. Never leave your dog outside for lengthy periods of time.
- Schedule regular veterinary care for your dog. If money is an issue, many humane societies offer veterinary care and vaccinations at a discount.
- Always spay or neuter your new pet. This helps keep population growth under control, and also has been shown to extend the life of your dog.
- Give your dog a healthy diet and work out a daily feeding routine. Avoid feeding table scraps, as some items that are easily digestible to us, are actually very toxic to dogs (such as onions and garlic).
- Find a doggy training class. This will help negate any bad behaviors and reinforce positive behavior on behalf of your dog.
- Walk your dog daily, as this will keep your pooch healthy and fit, and give Fido a better sense of wellbeing. It has the added benefit of keeping you in shape too!
- Be patient with your new friend and recognize that most behavioral problems can be corrected.
How To Be A Good Dog Owner
There is a lot of work involved in looking after your dog's needs. Most of us do have the best of intentions and wonder how to be a good dog owner. If you truly want to be one, there are some simple things you can do and make sure you arrange for your dog. Below, we have listed some of these basic things that you can do. Overall, remember that being a good dog owner requires a tremendous dose of love, patience and time. Afterall, you are taking on the care of a life. You can be sure though that your dog will be appreciative and show gratitude with lots of licks, loyalty, affection and love.
Housing: Making Sure Your Dog's Living Quarters Are Safe & Comfortable
Make sure you have suitable housing for your dog in the event that your companion needs to stay outside for a period of time. This environment should be safe, comfortable, and easily cleanable. Make sure it is safe from harsh elements such as: rain, heat/cold, wind, and excessive sunlight. If possible, allow your pooch to sleep in-doors, but if this is not a viable option, we recommend you provide a waterproof kennel. Make sure Fido stays warm by providing washable blankets or cushioning.
Nutrition: A Healthy, Balanced Diet
Always provide a properly balanced diet, including: veggies, meaty bones, human grade meat, and high quality commercial food to extend the life of your pet. Each dog requires different nutritional needs; according to size, age, and health conditions- so for these reasons we recommend you check with a Vet to help ensure adequate nutrition. Adult dogs usually need to be fed twice a day, and growing puppies also need to be fed often due to their high energy. Make sure clean water is readily available at all times.
Bathing & Grooming
Be sure to groom your dog regularly. This is essential especially for dog breeds with long hair. Create a routine and habit early on in your pup's life if you can so it will understand what the grooming routine consists of and enjoy it more instead of resist it! Removing dead skin, dirt such as grass, tangled hair, dust and more is important to keep your dog clean and healthy. Bath your dog using dog shampoo (we recommend using a flea control one).
Related: What Is Flea Dirt?
Training: Socialization & Interaction For Your Dog
Socialization is important for dogs, as this can affect how they regularly interact with humans and other dogs. Introducing puppies at an early age to people and dogs is critical during the first 3-17 weeks of age, as this will play a part in how they react to others in the future. Socialism classes offered by veterinarian clinics are often available as early as 11 to 12 weeks of age. Visiting friends and family is also a viable option to introduce new pets to others and encourage socialism. Dog parks are also a good option for your dog to interact with a variety of other dogs.
Exercise & Play For a Good Dose of Fun & Good Health
Dogs that are bored will often exhibit their frustration by digging holes, knocking over potted plants, or worse getting into trash or tearing up clothing. You can avoid these unwanted behaviors by entertaining your dog with daily walks and play. Although a large backyard may provide some exercise, this is not suitable to replace daily exercise needs. Structured play is also an option, such as playing fetch, to keep your dog engaged. Never exercise your dog right after meal time, this can produce bloat which can be fatal to dogs. Always make sure your dog is supervised during any exercise or play activities.
Boarding: Planning Your Vacation
If you are planning a vacation where you will be gone from your home for more than a day, make sure you arrange dog care in advance. Boarding Kennels are always available if you don’t have a friend or family member available to help take care for your pet. If you do choose the kennel route, visit in advance to make sure staffing is adequate and the accommodations are acceptable. You will also want to contact the kennel ahead of time to see what vaccination requirements are enforced. There are also websites who employ other dog lovers to visit and care for your pet.
Long term, regular veterinary care is essential for the health of your pet. This will make sure your dog is up to date on vaccinations, boosters, and any underlying health conditions can be identified. Veterinarians can also help with common health issues, such as: flea, tick, and the prevention of worms. Mammary cancer and prostate enlargement can be greatly reduced by early spay/neutering.
Read More: How Big Should My 5 Month Old Pit Bull Be?
What Do You Need To Take Care Of A Dog?
How to look after a dog: Getting a new dog is like bringing home a new baby - you have to be prepared. Before bringing him home, make sure you have all the basic equipment needed to take care of him.
If you are driving, you can put your dog inside a crate on the way home. Dogs see crates as safe spaces. Get one that allows your dog to stand up and turn around in. You may want to get a plastic crate because they are easy to clean and are lightweight. [Check our top recommended dog crates]
Your dog is going to have to adjust to his new home, and what better way to keep him safe and warm in a strange place than a comfy dog bed. Remember, this is probably going to be one of the many places your dog will be frequenting in the early stages so make sure that the bed is the right size and stain-proof. [The best selling dog beds you won't regret getting]
Food and Water Bowls
You need to purchase two separate bowls for your dog’s food and water. Be wary about the type of bowl you choose. Plastic can easily be destroyed, it harbors bacteria and is difficult to clean. Go for stainless steel bowls because they are durable and are easy to sanitize and clean.
Collar and ID Tag
As mentioned, it is important that you give him a collar and/or an ID tag for identification. Collars are also helpful when you’re bringing him out on walks. Just make sure it fits perfectly around his neck. Don’t forget to put in your address and phone number on it as well as his name!
Always put your dogs on a leash when taking them out on walks. However, see to it that the leash isn’t too long or too short. Make it too long and you’ll struggle controlling your pet. Keep it too short and you’ll strangle him. The recommended length is about 4 to 6 feet long.
Hygiene is important to dogs too! If you don’t groom them regularly, you will soon have a dog that is home to hundreds of fleas and/or ticks. These parasites can suck the health out of your dog and this could even be fatal. Basic dog grooming supplies could range from brushes, shampoo, conditioner and clippers, as well as their own toothbrush and toothpaste. Some more grooming supplies may be needed but it depends on what your dog’s breed is.
Did you know that a dog’s destructive behavior may be caused by the lack of toys? Spending a couple of bucks on a toy he could chew or tug on is better than having to replace that thousand dollar couch you have in the living room that he ripped out of boredom. Giving him a toy that dispenses food is also a good idea.
While there are many steps on how to take care of a dog, you will find that you will learn to be the best dog owner over time. You just have to make sure your new found friend is identifiable with at the very least an ID tag, if not microchip. Spay or Neuter your dog to help extend his or her life and prevent health problems. Schedule regular visits to the Vet to make sure all of your dog’s needs are met. Provide a safe place for your pet to seek refuge if left outside for extended periods of time. Feed a well-balanced diet and have fresh and clean water available at all times. Socialize your pup often to encourage healthy interactions with people and other dogs. And most importantly, play and exercise with your pup daily - this will help keep your own health in balance too! How to look after a dog can be simple, intuitive and we hope this article has helped if you are questioning how to be a good dog owner!