When we say "your dog is your best friend" it is absolutely true: your pooch will always be loyal to you and there is no doubt it would give its own life to protect you. So it seems just right that you should know how to keep your furry friend safe and healthy while satisfying its basic needs by providing food, water, shelter and of course undivided affection.
This article aims at providing some basic care tips for dog owners:
Get your dog a collar with an ID tag. No matter how careful you are, there is a possibility that your dog may get lost someday and if it is wearing a collar with identification, this will increase the chances of your dog being returned home safely. The collar should not be too tight so that at least two fingers can get through it and slide easily.
Take your pooch to a veterinarian for microchip identification. A Microchip ID will ensure that your dog will be returned to you if it gets lost. There are many cases where dogs have been able to return home after going missing with the help of the microchip identification and of the honest people finding them, taking them to the vet and getting in touch with owners.
When you own a dog you'll have plenty of opportunities to socialise with other dog owners who usually walk their pets in parks, around the block or at the beach. Thus it is essential to research any legislation that may prevent you from going anywhere with your animal companion. For example, some public parks ban dogs or require them to be kept on a lead at all times; the same applies for the beach where more often than not, dogs are not allowed off leash.
The responsibility of owning a pooch extends to the effect it may have on the community in which you live: stepping on a dog's faeces is not amusing for anyone, so think about others and always clean up after your pet. You'll often find that dog litter bins are placed at the edge of the park or dog-friendly area so you can always discard responsibly.
Regular bathing and combing will help keep your dog’s coat and skin clean and healthy as well as your house tidy. Vets and other pet professionals recommend that you bathe your dog at least once a month however this may vary with the breed. Your dog may require more frequent baths, especially if it spends a lot of time in the garden or playing outside.
The frequency of brushing is largely dependent on the breed's coat and activities your dog engages in. Some dogs need to be brushed once a day, others once a week and others just monthly.
Know your pooch and, if in doubt, consult with a professional groomer who may be able to recommend the proper routine to follow with your pet.
Vets play a critical part in a dog's wellbeing and quality of life. Every pet will need professional and regular vet checkups in order to live a long and healthy life.
If you own a puppy, you'll initially need to visit the vet more often until all the first vaccinations, de-worming and monitoring is completed (usually until your pooch reaches 12 months). Nevertheless, adult and senior dogs are still required to undergo routine inspections to ensure they are not developing any health issues such as obesity, joint problems or even digestive issues.
Whenever you take your dog out of the house or backyard make sure that it is on a leash and capable of walking nicely beside you. No matter how trained your pet is there is no assurance that you'll be able to control it under certain situations: some dogs are more reactive than others and may pull so hard that owners could accidentally let the leash slip out of their hand. Certain dog breeds, like the Siberian Husky for example, are bred to run and will do so at the first chance they get.
Keeping your dog on a leash is the responsible choice for you, your dog's safety and the community.
Companionship is often the main reason for a person to adopt or buy a dog. The same is true for our furry friends and they all need to be in the company of the owner or family members. Dogs enjoy spending as much time as possible with their pack: some breeds may prefer to engage in playful activities, others may be happy just with being able to relax on the sofa next to their human friend.
The matter of the fact is that spending time with our pooch is simply one of the many benefits of being a pet owner. So if we know our lifestyle is too hectic or our schedule too busy to set some quality time aside for training, grooming or playing with our pup we should rethink our choice to adopt or buy a pet.
Feed your dog with a healthy and age-appropriate diet, and don't forget to always have fresh water available. Along with a balanced diet, water is also a very important part of your dog’s daily needs and overall nutrition. Ask your vet for suggestions as to how often you should feed your dog as dietary requirements change as your pet grows. Monitor your dog's weight and feed it according to age and size.
To ensure your pooch is capable of chewing and digesting its food properly, regularly inspect its teeth as they need to be cleaned and checked to ensure there are no dental issues. Feeding your dog a raw bone once a week or special dental chews can help keep a healthy mouth.
Remember: dogs can't eat as humans! It is extremely important to keep your pet away from food and products that can be toxic, such as chocolate or garlic.
It is important to train and socialise your dog. When your pup is young gradually introduce it to one new activity per week: this routine will go a long way towards helping your pet socialise, remain calm and well-behaved around other people and animals. Proper socialisation and training require a lot of patience and dedication. It may be a good idea to research dog trainers and have your dog attend behaviour classes so that you can both learn how to responsibly and happily live together.