Caring for our fur buddies is extremely important. Every person living with a dog should want to take care of them the best way they know-how. This article is intended to give you some guidance if you are new at caring for a dog, or just want to brush up or learn new tips to improve the welfare of your favorite furry friend.
Don’t worry, this won’t go overboard and require regular baby-talk and excessive and expensive grooming or fashionable doggie clothes. However, belly rubs and yummy doggie treats may be required.
Basic Caring for a Dog
On the most basic level, a dog needs only 4 things to survive:
1. Food – There are many diets that people elect for their dogs, but most just use a nutritious dry kibble, or dry dog food, as their main sustenance.
2. Water – Living things need water to survive. Puppies love water!
3. Shelter – Some people have outdoor dogs, indoor dogs, or both. Regardless, adequate shelter is required for healthy and comfortable living. Small dog houses have mostly gone out of style. Dogs need a bit more to be fully comfortable in their environment. Allowing your dog to be indoors most of the time is ideal for optimal healthy living.
4. Love – Yes, dogs need love. Caring for a dog requires more than just going through the motions of giving them the previous three essentials. Dogs need grooming, medical care, and attention when needed, training, exercise, and a bonding relationship so that they remain happy.
Let’s go a bit further and gather some more information on how to properly care for a dog.
Proper and Consistent Diet
Dog food has come a long way. Buying a bag every month is super easy and quite affordable. Big brands like Purina, Blue Buffalo, Pedigree, Iams, and many others make nutritious dry kibble that your dog can eat exclusively.
Be sure to talk with your vet about what type of food or diet would be best for your dog. When you feed your dog, make sure to follow the directions given to you by your vet, or on the bag of the food itself. Medical problems can occur due to a poor diet. Those problems will require costly vet visits.
Here are a few links that will take you to information about other diets:
Raw food diet (Be fully educated and experienced before trying this)
You can also take the best components of each type of diet and combine them. Feeding your dog green beans once a day to help reduce a bit of weight along with their regular dry kibble is a great diet.
Do not feed your dog “junk food.” That includes fast food, fried food, or food that can hurt them, like any cooked meat with bones. The bones are brittle and can become lodged in their throat or stomach and cause bleeding, hemorrhaging, and other serious problems.
Read more about dog food safety:
Dogs Love Water!
It’s no secret that pups love water. They love to swim, splash, play, and of course, drink water. If you are a super person who wants only the best for their dog, consider getting some sort of water filtration system for their water. This can just be a small filtration product that attaches right to the kitchen faucet or having a pitcher with a built-in filtration system in it.
Although, if your tap water is fine, then it is perfectly good for your dog. In fact, tap water has added minerals and fluoride, which can improve your dog’s overall health.
Plus, taking them for a swim is great exercise!
Shelter for Your Dog
Most dogs live indoors with their family and have their own space to call home. This can be a dog bed, a little nook with some blankets, or even a crate. Dogs are animals who naturally make dens. Yes, like a “wolf den.” They like spaces where humans would likely feel a bit claustrophobic. Enclosed spaces make them feel safe and helps them stay warm.
They need their own space to sleep or to go to when the family is eating, etc. Don’t be afraid to crate-train your dog. It sounds mean at first, but if you do it right, making it a positive experience instead of something used to punish your dog, then they will love you for it. A crate with a blanket on top of it, or a fancier crate that has wooden walls is great for dogs. Once you successfully crate-train a dog, it becomes their den, and you can then even take the door off so they can come and go as they please. Be sure to never use a crate for punishment. And, never leave a dog in a crate longer than an hour or two, at most.
Read more about crate-training a dog:
Loving Your Dog Takes Work
Loving your dog is a complex thing. It means that you do all the things you need to do for them while caring for them just like you would your own child. They need to see the vet often enough to ensure perfect health, they need you to bond with them and be their pack leader, and they need you to guide them through life, so that they can be the best and happiest dog they can be.
Training them can be challenging work, but persistence trumps all. Plus, there are millions of tips and tricks to train a dog the way you need them to be trained. Check out this link:
Before you even bring your dog home, you’ll need to find a vet to take them to soon after they get home. They need certain vaccinations, like distemper, rabies, and other medicines like flea and tick prevention, heartworm prevention, and possibly other specific medications for your dog. You can just search online for a veterinarian near you and you can interview them to see which one is best for you.
As a person with a dog, you are responsible for its behavior, so you must be aware of potential safety issues before they become problems. Children often get bit because they aren’t being supervised and do something to the animal that they aren’t supposed to do. Like, pull the dog’s tail, pull their ears, put their face on the dog’s face, etc. Small children need to be educated on how to safely live with a dog, and they need to be supervised at all times when they are together. For more info on children’s safety around dogs, check out this page:
As far as basic care goes, there isn’t too much you must do in order to have a healthy dog and a great relationship with them. Dogs are naturally happy and love humans. Give them love and care, and they will give it back to you, sometimes in the form of licks and wiggles.