Dog Care - the essentials

How to care for your companion.

It does not really take a lot to keep your dog happy and healthy. Here is a list of what they really need their masters to understand.

Attention! Dogs need your attention with frequent exercise, walks, fresh air, play time and also they need time to explore and bond with other dogs. Many bad behaviors stem from boredom and can be avoided by keeping your animals mind active and engaged.

doggy playtime

Sleep! Dogs are by nature pack animals. Therefore it is not natural for them to sleep off to themselves, in another room, away from your side. Let the dog have some room on the floor of your bedroom and many of those "night time problems" will go away. If this is not possible make sure your dog knows that you are nearby and will be available if needed. Your dog values your company and will feel more secure knowing exactly where you are when bedtime comes around. Many dogs will generally accept crating but might rebel furiously when forced to sleep alone in a locked cage.

Training! You do not have to go overboard trying to impress your friends with circus-like tricks but some basic command recognition could actually save the dogs life, or maybe even your own life. The "stay" command is important. Calling the dog to your side with a whistle or "come" command is also vital. Some small treats for rewarding success will go a long way when training. Dogs seem to have good memories when it comes to treats.

Cleaning! Since there are so many types of dogs the amount of grooming required varies but some cleaning is vital. Dogs need baths and shampooing much like we humans. It is best to towel them dry and blow dry longer haired varieties. A good brush or comb is a must. Their bedding needs to be washed frequently like once a week.

Nutrition! Good quality food, in the right amounts, will keep your pet regular and in good health. The coat and nails often give an indication whether the dog is receiving the proper nutrients. Of course dogs are carnivores so resist the urge to feed them crackers, cookies, ice cream, or other people foods. (see the ASPCA list of foods to avoid)

Spay/neuter! This is important because the shelters already have too many animals to find good homes for them all. Castrating is male neutering and spaying is female neutering. In the case of males the neutering will help calm the dog and he will have less of an urge to run away.

Other areas of General care!
Several other types of care need to be provided. Of course you must keep current with shots for rabies, parvovirus, distemper, and others. You should also make sure your dog is protected from heart worms. The vets now have a chewable pill that dogs will readily accept which protects them for thirty days against the potentially deadly mosquito transmitted heart worms. Flea and tick medicine has come a long way. Every effort should be made to find the correct formula to keep parasites away from your animal and its habitat.

Obviously you want to keep the animals living quarters free of chemicals, electric cords, lead paint, toxic plants, and feces. Make sure there are no railings or physical features that an inquisitive dog can get trapped, choked, or just stuck.

Last but not least, do not forget to provide your pet with some toys! Dogs are comforted by having some possessions that they know belong to them and the time they spend playing or chewing with them might keep them out of some other mischief they might get into.

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