10 Dog Caring Tips for New Dog Owners
If you can't stop yourself from petting any dog you see on the street or if you find yourself tearing up at late night commercials with sad-eyed dogs, you should consider getting a canine companion.
Approximately 3.9 million dogs enter shelters every year, so you have plenty of potential new family members, waiting to be adopted.
But before you head down to the local shelter, understand the responsibility that comes with having a dog. Keep reading to learn about ten dog caring tips that will help you determine if you're ready to take the plunge from dog lover to dog owner.
Before You Bring Fifi Home
Take these specific steps before you even bring a dog home. This way your dog will feel welcome from the start and you will feel less frantic trying to figure out what you need.
1. Create a Warm Sleeping Area
Gone are the days of dogs who stay outside, alone, chained in the yard and attempting to stay warm in a homemade dog house.
If you want to have a dog, plan on giving that dog a warm place to sleep at night. Even if you plan on allowing your dog to be primarily an outside dog, you need to have a warm spot with a soft bed for your dog at night for especially cold nights.
2. Designated Areas
In addition to a designated sleeping area, your dog will need designated eating and playing areas. Make sure you have enough space for the type of dog you'd like.
For example, if you have a small apartment, do not plan on getting a Great Dane. Look at your world from a dog's point of view and see what your home looks like. What trouble could a dog get into on its own?
Eliminate those trouble spots and create specific areas for your dog.
3. Access to the Outdoors
Your dog will need regular access to outdoor areas. Make sure you have a doggy door where the dog can come and go as he pleases to a fenced-in area. If you live in an apartment, consider what steps you'll need to take to make sure your dog has regular access to fresh air and sunshine.
If you can afford a dog, you must be able to afford the regular care, including food, that he requires.
Puppies between eight and twelve weeks old need four small meals a day. Three to six-month-old pups need three meals a day, and those six months to a year old need two solid meals.
Once your dog has reached his first birthday, he will only need one meal a day. Larger dogs may need their one meal split into two to reduce bloating.
Plan on purchasing premium dog food. Cheap dog food can do the job, but often dogs will suffer from gastrointestinal distress as a result of cheap food. If you want your pet to grow and thrive, get the good stuff.
After You Bring Fido Home
Once you've brought your new companion home, plan on spending time with him, getting to know him. Follow these basic tips to keep him healthy and to keep your home happy.
5. Seek Medical Care
To keep your pet happy and healthy, plan on visiting the vet twice a year. If you have a puppy, take him to the vet four times that first year so he can have a professional evaluate him regularly and catch any puppy problems that may develop.
The vet will vaccinate your dog and recommend spaying or neutering your pet once he's reached six months old. Some vets even offer early serves to have your pet spayed or neutered. New studies are showing female dogs, in particular, have reduced risks of cancer if they're spayed early.
6. Start Training and Have Patience
Begin house training your dog immediately after you get home. Puppies will have no training at all, and if you adopt a shelter dog, you may have no history of its training.
Treat all dogs that come to your home as if they've never been trained, and build up your patience. Take your dog outside every two hours or a half-hour after he eats or drinks. Then guide them to the same spot they've used before and then celebrate the victory of seeing your dog do his business.
Let your dog know you're pleased with him by giving him extra hugs and a treat.
If you bring a puppy home, remember they do not have full control of their bladders until they are six months old, so continue to cultivate patience as you work with them.
Adult dogs need to go out four times a day, so if you're working and cannot walk your dog in the middle of the day, make arrangements to have a neighbor or friend let your dog out.
7. Get and Give Exercise
Plan on walking your dog daily. Unless you adopt a dog who is already leash trained, you will have some work ahead of you.
Plan on leash training your dog so she knows how to behave on a leash. Leash training takes time, but it's worth the effort so you can have a peaceful walk with your dog.
8. Be Social
While your dog may be your most faithful companion and best friend, you still need to get out and teach him to be social. So take your dog to the dog park and teach him how to play with other dogs.
The more you engage with your dog, the more you will enjoy your dog and the better life you will give the dog. Plus, you will be able to take your dog into public without fearing it will act up.
9. Beautify Your Pet
Take care of your dog's hygiene. Learn how to brush his teeth, and then take him to a groomer regularly to have his nails clipped and to have his ears and anal glands cleaned.
Regular grooming will keep your dog healthy and smelling better, and it will make your dog more likable.
10. Keep Tabs on Your Dog
Protect your dog by first knowing your community's regulations and then adhering to them. Attach an ID tag to your dog's collar and have a vet implant a microchip or tattoo so that if he should run away, you will be able to identify him.
Invest in Dog Caring Tips
Now that you know ten essential dog caring tips, you can take the final step of heading down to the Humane Society, shelter, or pet store to find your new best friend.
For all of your veterinarian needs, contact us.