If you are thinking of becoming the owner of a dog, then it is a great decision. It can lead to much joy in your life, and can be completely worth the investment; in both time and money. Your dog can quickly feel like part of the family and can bring you great joy. But the reality does need to hit in that you’re actually in charge of a living being, and the care of the well-being of your pet dog is your responsibility. So an easy ride, it is not.
When you’re yet to be a dog owner and have not had a pet dog in the past, then it can feel a little overwhelming to start off with. How can you take care of your dog and ensure that they are healthy? Here are some of the steps that you should be thinking about. Of course, some will be obvious to you, but will certainly be less so. Good luck on your journey to pet ownership!
Provide a Safe and Clean Environment
Whether you are getting a puppy from being a few weeks old or adopting an older dog, your house does need to adapt to the new creature that is living there. Much like bringing a new baby into the home, a house will need to be dog-proofed, just as you might baby-proof. Making sure that there aren’t things that they could walk on that could hurt them or something that they can try to eat, will be one of the first steps to providing a safe environment for your dog. Cleaning the home regularly to ensure good hygiene, as well as providing somewhere for your dog with shelter, are all key things.
Just like us, your dog will thrive when he is fully hydrated and not thirsty. But don’t make your dog work for it; there should always be access to clean and fresh water available for him. Whether it is a bowl by his bedside or in a certain place in the kitchen, for instance, it helps to always have it full and always in the same place. You can even get some fancy water bottle gadgets for dogs, but a bowl can work just as well.
Don’t Forget Grooming
We can often forget that our pet dog is going to want to be groomed just as much as well do. So whether it is brushing out their fur regularly or trimming the nails on their paws, it can make a difference to how your dog feels and acts. If you don’t groom or brush your dog, then you might not notice something like fleas or ticks that can do harm to your dog. If you do ever notice anything like that, then looking for products to help with fleas and ticks, somewhere like Pet-Lock, can make a big difference. Stay on top of your dog’s grooming and you’ll stay on top of their overall health and well-being.
See a Vet Regularly
Along the same lines, seeing a vet regularly is really important. If we are ill we seek out medical advice, right? So it should be the same for your dog. Don’t ever just put it off because you think they’ll just get better with time. That may well be true, but they could be in a lot of pain and discomfort during that time. So it pays to see a vet regularly. It can help deal with issues as they come up, but also act as a preventative measure to help your dog in the early days, if signs of illness are there.
Choose a Quality Diet
Like humans, if your dog is overweight, it can affect their health in negative ways. So do some research on the breed of dog that you’re planning to get, and all about their nutritional needs. It can be worth getting advice from your vet too, as to the best kind of food for your pet. Once you have it, it can be some trial and error finding a food that works for them and that they enjoy. But you should steer clear of giving your pet ‘human’ food, like scraps from your plate or sweet things like chocolate.
Provide Plenty of Chance to Exercise
All dogs love to move, roam, and exercise. In the wild, they are predators, so they want to be moving and on the go. Even small dogs will want some exercise too. So don’t forget about the importance of keeping them active. Some dogs will thrive off two walks a day; some will be fine with just one. But having some outside space for them to roam around in, as well as the chance to be active and play with you, are all part and parcel of keeping your dog healthy.
Bond With Your Dog
Being able to create a bond and emotional attachment with your dog is really important. It can help their wellbeing and sense of belonging. Dogs are pretty social creatures too, will enjoy this interaction and the time that you give to your dog. Plus, the better you know your dog, the more likely you will be to spot when they are not acting like themselves. It could be a sign of an illness, and early detection can help. But if you don’t have any kind of bond, you probably wouldn’t notice if anything is wrong or not.
Take Care of Teeth
Along the same lines of grooming, taking care of your dog’s dental health is as important as any other aspect of their health. Many dog breeds can be prone to getting gum disease, so that is reason enough in itself. Plus, infections from gum disease can infect other parts of their body, including things like the heart and heart valves. So making sure that you brush their teeth or give them something to chew on, can help them on the way to good oral health.
There may be a lot to think about at first, but after a while, it will become second-nature and habit to take care of these aspects of your pet. Good luck on your journey!