For many people, owning a dog is one of the most rewarding and wonderful experiences of life. While loving your dog comes naturally and effortlessly, there are many responsibilities you’ll want to consider when giving your pet the perfect home. Whether you plan on getting a dog in the near future or have already brought your furry new family member home, use our guide to learn how to take care of a dog.
How to Take Care of a Dog
Buy the Right Supplies
One of the best ways to prepare for a new dog is to acquire the supplies you’ll need to make your dog feel comfortable and welcome. Before bringing your dog home, have the following items on hand:
- Food and treats
- Food/water dishes
- Collar and ID tag
These supplies will help your dog acclimate to his new environment. As you live with your dog and learn his needs, you will need to add more supplies to your kit. For example, you will likely need to purchase the following items as well: brush/comb, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, nail clippers, and waste bags. Be sure to purchase supplies designed specifically for dogs.
Feeding and Grooming
Just like humans, dogs need a feeding and grooming routine to help them feel happy and healthy. Feeding your dog at the same time every day will help him or her stick to a healthy schedule and prevent you from overfeeding. Typically, puppies should be fed three to four times a day, and adult dogs should be fed once or twice a day. If you’re unsure about how much or how often to feed your dog, consult your veterinarian.
Brushing your dog not only helps prevent shedding, but it is also a great way to bond and build trust with your dog. Establish a grooming routine by brushing your dog for a few minutes, two to four days a week. This helps remove fur before it falls off. It also loosens up dirt and dry skin, and it helps keep your dog’s fur shiny and healthy.
One of the best ways to bond with your dog is through exercise and playtime. In addition to strengthening your dog’s muscles and keeping him in good health, exercise can improve your dog’s temperament and provide an enjoyable release of energy. While the amount of required exercise time varies depending on age and breed, on average, your dog should get anywhere between 30 minutes to two hours of exercise a day. While going for a walk is always a great way to get your dog’s exercise in for the day, the following activities are fun and unique ways to get your dog moving:
- Set up an obstacle course
- Go to a dog park
- Play fetch or frisbee
- Go hiking with your dog
- Swim and play fetch with a floating toy
When learning how to take care of a dog, one of the most important steps is to take your pooch to the veterinarian regularly for check-ups. If you have a puppy, you will need to visit the vet more frequently to ensure your pup receives all required vaccinations. After puppyhood, dogs typically visit the vet once a year for a checkup, which consists of a head-to-tail physical and a blood test to check for heartworms. Making annual trips to the vet will ensure your pet is healthy and help prevent future health problems.
By learning how to take care of a dog, you can help your new pet live a fulfilling and joyful life! Here at Petsway, we know that dogs aren’t just pets – they are members of the family. Visit your local Petsway for all your pet’s needs, including supplies, health care products, and even grooming services! If you have any questions, feel free to leave us a message. We’d love to welcome you and your pet into the Petsway family!