Dog Care 101

Caring for a dog is much more than just feeding it daily. One of the saddest things in the world is a neglected animal – especially a doting dog. Dogs love and need bundles of attention and tender loving care. Their whole day revolves around when they can expect some love and attention from you, their owner. Basically, your dog gives you a lifetime of unconditional love, friendship, and loyalty. In return for all of his/her love and affection he/she counts on you to provide all his/her necessities such as food, water, a safe shelter, exercise, veterinary care and much more.

A good place to start when caring for your appreciative pooch is with identification tags. Outfit your pooch with a collar and ID tag that includes all your vital contact information such as your name, address, and an easily reachable telephone number. No matter how careful of an owner you are, there’s always a chance your lovely companion may become lost at some point. A collar and ID tag will greatly increases the chance that you and your pet will be happily united again.

After you have collared and ID tagged your dog, you should think about vaccination. It’s extremely important to follow local laws for licensing your dog and vaccinating him/her for rabies – not only for your pooch but for your own well being too. A great place to look for information is your local animal shelter or humane society. These agencies can give you information regarding legal requirements, and where to have you passionate pooch vaccinated.

Not only does your doggie need vaccinating, it also needs regular check-ups with a veterinarian. A dog is just like you or I, it needs regular check-ups with his/her doctor to ensure the proper health of your pet. If you do not have a veterinarian, ask your local animal shelter or your loving pet-owning friend for a referral and check out the provided information on choosing a veterinarian.

Once you have found a veterinarian both you and your dog love, then it’s important to think about spaying or neutering your dog. This always makes me think of Bob Barker and his passion for spreading the importance of spaying and neutering through word of mouth on the hit game show The Price is Right. Dogs that have this routine and minor surgery tend to live longer, be healthier, and have fewer behavioral problems such as biting, running away, and general aggression. By spaying or neutering your dog, you are also doing your part to reduce the disheartening problem of pet overpopulation.

Now that we have addressed your pets’ medical needs, you should think about proper nutrition. It is vitally important to give your pooch a balanced diet with constant and consistent access to fresh clean water. Your veterinarian can give you information about the proper type of food, and the amount that will keep your companion healthy and happy. He or she can also give you information on how often to feed your dog, because various breeds require different amounts of food.

When caring for your dog you have to think of proper shelter. A fenced yard with a doghouse is an ideal setting for your pooch. Remember that if your dog is large and active, it typically needs more space and room outside to run and play. However, dogs should never be left outside alone for extended periods of time. This all goes back to the deep down need dogs have for love and attention. Dogs truly need and crave companionship and should spend most of their time inside with the family – since they are a vital family member.

Just like you or I, your dog needs plenty of exercise and movement to stay healthy. Make sure he/she gets enough exercise to keep him/her physically fit but not exhausted. Many dog owners agree that playing a game, or with use of
throw toys with their canine companion, along with twice daily walks provide sufficient exercise for your pooch. If you should have any questions or concerns with this, once again it is wise to check with your loving veterinarian for their advice on the proper amount of physical activity suited to your dog.

Many experts agree there is also a simple rule to remember when thinking of care for your dog – off property, on leash! Even if you have a valid license for your dog, an official rabies tag, and a collar and ID tag, your companion should still be on a leash. Your dog should not be allowed to roam outside of your home or fenced yard – ever. It may sound harsh but it the best bet for you, your community, and your dog to keep control of your pet at all times. The old saying “it’s better to be safe than sorry” applies here.

Along with keeping your dog on a leash, many experts believe it is important to enroll your canine companion in a dog training class. Positive training will allow you to control your companion’s behavior safely and humanely. Not only will this bring some control to your hands, it provides a terrific opportunity to enhance the bond you share with your pooch. The humane society, as well as your veterinarian, can provide information on reputable dog trainers.

Lastly and most importantly in thinking about proper dog care is love – and lots of it! Be loyal to, loving, and patient with your faithful canine companion. Your pet needs you and loves you – that is something you must remember. Make sure the expectations you have of your dog are reasonable and healthy. Also remember if you do encounter some behavioral problem, the vast majority of them can be solved with a little time, effort and supporting love. If at any time you are struggling to meet all the things that are required to love and care for your dog, you must contact your veterinarian or local animal shelter for advice and direction. If for some reason you can’t handle the responsibility of loving and caring for your animal, someone else gladly can and will.

Author: Christine Beals
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