How to Care for a Dog

Dogs are domestic animals selectively bred over millennia by men. There are over 400 recognised dog breeds in the world differing in size, coat colour patterns, physical features and temperament. People continue to select dogs based on the role they will perform alongside them. In this article we provide useful tips on how to care for your new pet once you have decided to adopt or purchase a pooch that will soon become your new best friend.

Dogs 

Dogs are a domestic animals selectively bred over millennia by men. There are over 400 recognised dog breeds in the world differing in size, coat colour patterns, physical features and temperament. People continue to select dogs based on the role they will perform alongside them. There are a number of roles dogs perform for human beings: hunting, herding, pulling loads, protection, assisting police and military, companionship and aiding people with disabilities are only some of these tasks.

The domestic dog is an honest and caring animal that instinctively protects the territory (home) and its pack (owner and family members), follows the leader and provides companionship among many other tasks. Due to their long association with humans, dogs are also referred to as “man’s best friend”.

Dog Breeds

Living with your Dog

The first thing to consider when adopting or buying a dog is to provide a safe and clean living environment. Hygiene is one of the main factors to ensure both humans and pets can remain healthy and therefore active.
Make sure your dog's sleeping area is clean and tidy, cozy and sheltered from extreme weather conditions. 
Regularly clean food and water bowls to remove bacteria and prevent potential infections. Part of providing a clean environment for your pooch involves making sure it has access to clean, fresh water at all times. Just as humans and other pets, dogs must be well-hydrated in order for all their organs to work properly.

Dog

Feeding your Dog 

The next aspect which is also closely connected to your pet’s health is food. Although dogs are considered omnivores and can easily adapt to a wide-ranging diet they should still feed on a balanced diet, avoiding certain ingredients that can be life-threatening to them. Once you have made the decision to bring a new pet into your home, prepare by doing some research on the best dog food options and consult with the vet or breeder who has raised the puppy from birth.

As for any living being, dogs will change dietary requirements based on their age, size, activity level and sometimes even breed. Commercial dog food will sell a wide range of meals based on this factors and labels will normally provide guidance based on your dog’s weight. Make sure you do not overfeed your pet and always consider its lifestyle. For example, if you own a working dog that constantly exercise during the day it will most likely require a higher nutrients intake than a pet that spends half of the day on the couch. If in doubt, make sure to consult with an experienced vet who will be able to perform an overall assessment of your pet’s health conditions and recommend an adequate diet.

Dog Food

Socialising and Exercising your Dog 

If you have decided to adopt or buy a dog you must carefully think about your lifestyle and choose a pet that will match your routine and habits
An essential feature and benefit of being a dog owner is the exercise requirement. Dogs need to move, walk, run and play so you must have the time and patience to engage in these activities with your pooch. Furthermore, if you live in a flat there will be an essential requirement to walk your dog for its daily physical needs. Despite being domesticated, dogs are still social animals and they need to interact with other animals not only in the safe home environment but also outside. A daily walk to the park can be a way of exposing your pet to different triggers and helping the socialisation process.
If you are thinking about adopting a young puppy, exposure to other human beings and pets will be an essential step in socialising your pet. There are thousands of puppy classes that will introduce your young pooch to the outside world in the safe environment of an enclosed room. Once your pup has had all the necessary vaccinations, it will then be able to explore the outside world with you.
You may also want to train your dog and take it to obedience or agility classes once it is over 6 months old. This way you’ll be able to continue with your pet’s socialisation but also strengthen the bond between you by spending constructive time together. Another benefit of training is obviously a well-behaved dog that will know what is expected of it and what behaviour is considered not acceptable by the owner. Training should be a fun and exciting experience and only reward based methods can help get your pet to this realisation. Ay harsh or negative reinforcement should be out of question as it doesn’t teach anything but only causes fear and aggressiveness in a dog.

Dog Playing

General Care 

All pet owners must register their furry friends. When you adopt or buy a dog it will either need microchipping or it will already be equipped with one that now needs to be transferred under your name. Microchip ID is vital (and required by law in many countries) in order for your pet to be returned home in case it gets lost or physically separated from you. On top of that, dogs especially should always wear a collar with a name tag so that a stranger can easily contact you and return your pet to you in case of a separation.

Regardless of how you wish to train your dog, you must be ready to communicate and listen in order to build a good relationship based on trust. Because we speak “different languages”, owners must learn the signals sent by their pet. In order to do so, we must be willing to spend quality time interacting with our pooches so that we can understand their behaviour and be there when they need us.

Health and Grooming 

Owning a dog is a big responsibility as these animals are living beings that can be subject to illness and accidents just like us. Keeping your dog healthy should be a top priority and regular vet checkups essential in order to prevent diseases. Monitor your pet’s behaviour, eating pattern, inspect its coat to ensure it is not infested with parasites and follow a grooming routine, brush your dog’s teeth to prevent periodontal infections, frequently check the ear and eye areas and visit the veterinarian immediately should you suspect something is wrong. Sometimes unexpected accidents can happen so consider taking a pet insurance to avoid being stuck with massive vet bills.

Depending on the breed you choose as your new pet, all dogs will need a certain degree of grooming. This could be limited to brushing the fur once a week or having to visit a professional groomer every month. Regardless of your situation, make sure you monitor your dog and set a routine so that bathing and nail clipping don’t become a fearful event for your pooch.  

Dog bathing

Dogs, Our Best Friends

Dogs are among the most loving and generous animals on the planet. Their affection and devotion to the owner is unlike any other so it is just right that human return the same level of respect and love. Your pup only wants to please you but it does need attention and a loving environment to thrive and live a healthy, happy life.

Author Marino
Author: Marino Tilatti
Member of PetsForAll Editorial Stuff
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