Whether you’re a first time dog owner or just looking to brush up on your basics, knowing the essentials of dog care is a must. That way, you’ll be prepared for most anything life with your precious pet can throw at you, and you can significantly increase both you and your dog’s quality of life.
To help, here is just a brief overview of what the staff at WINPRO Pet believes are the basic essentials of dog care that all owners should know.
Choosing The Right Food
In terms of good dog care, there aren’t many decisions that are more important than choosing the right food for your dog. The food that you pick for your dog can actually have an impact on every other part of their life - their overall health, the amount of accidents they have, how soft their coat is, how clean their teeth are, etc.
Just like humans, pets need certain nutritional content to keep them happy and healthy. If you’re unsure of what those needs are, check with your veterinarian to make sure that you are choosing the right food to meet them.
Reading the label is key, and they are set up similarly to the nutritional labels on the food that we eat. They will also give you an indication of how much food you should be giving them according to their body weight.
Dogs, unlike cats, are not considered “obligate” carnivores, meaning that they don’t need to eat meat to be healthy. However, unless there is a specific reason not to feed your dog meat, meat still makes the best protein source. Look for the protein source and other real foods to be at the very top of the ingredient list.
Getting Your Dog Enough Physical Exercise
Even the smallest dogs need to get plenty of physical exercise in order to be mentally content. Those needs can vary according to your dog’s size, breed, age, health, and interest. For instance, higher energy dogs like Belgian Malinois will need to get more exercise than a lower energy dog like a Basset Hound.
Obviously, puppies need a lot more exercise than an adult dog. If you’ve ever witnessed the phenomenon known as the “zoomies,” you’ve already seen this in action. But that doesn’t mean that those needs drop off once your puppy reaches adulthood.
Good dog care should always involve physical exercise on a daily basis, whether that is throwing the ball around in the backyard, taking a hike, or just walking around the block. Dogs who don’t get enough physical exercise often take that energy out elsewhere, like chewing up inappropriate things, barking, or excessive licking.
To help keep active dogs moving at their best, try WINPRO Recovery supplements. The supplements were designed specifically with dogs in mind, to help them “bounce back” from physical activity, whether that is for work, play, or in competition.
Catering Your Space To Your Dog
Bringing a new dog home is like bringing home a baby. While the goal is for them to fit into your life, it’s also important to make sure that your home is a safe and comfortable place for your dog too.
One of the best ways to practice good dog care, although it is hard for a lot of people, is to crate train your pet. It is definitely tough, but it is incredibly worthwhile in the long run. What crate training does for your dog is to guarantee that they have a safe place where they can go to get away from stressors, as well as a place that you know you can keep them safe when you have to leave them alone.
Your dog’s kennel should be in a place with as little stimulus as possible. It should also be away from the main area of the house, so that your dog is able to retreat to it when they feel stressed out or fearful. That also means that small children should not have access, especially during the times that your dog needs its own space.
You should also make sure that your dog has a comfortable place to lay down, especially if they are older.
While you may not think about it, dogs actually spend the vast majority of their day either laying down or sleeping, so they need a place where they can do that without it causing them pain (especially seniors). And, while some pet owners may have strong feelings about allowing their dogs on the bed, that is a very personal decision and there is no right or wrong choice.
The Importance Of Flea, Tick, And Heartworm Medications
There’s no question that owning a pet can get expensive. It can be tempting to sometimes cut corners in order to save money, and one of the ways that some pet owners do that is by not purchasing flea and tick medications. Unfortunately, that can have some very serious repercussions for your pet.
Fleas, for instance, can not only take over your home fairly quickly, but can also cause secondary skin infections in your dog. Flea allergy dermatitis is one of those conditions, which can be not only very itchy but can also lead to systemic infections. Fleas can also bite the human members of the family, and children are especially susceptible.
Ticks and heartworm are also equally as potentially dangerous. Heartworm is also a major concern, especially in the South, so it’s just good dog care to make sure to spend those few extra bucks on name brand medication to help prevent all of those bites.
It’ll keep you, your home, your family, and your pet as safe as possible from many of those small but dangerous threats that we don’t think about as often as we should.
Vet Visits Are Important
All of the above dog care tips mean nothing if you don’t surround them with quality care from a licensed, qualified veterinarian. This should start within a few days of getting your dog, whether that dog is still a puppy or a full grown adult.
In most cases, the first vet appointment will check a stool sample (to rule out and treat any potential parasites), take blood for a basic panel, verify your pet is free from heartworm, and start out any necessary vaccinations.
Not only is this important to keep your pet healthy, it also establishes the relationship between your dog, yourself, and your veterinarian.
Veterinary dog care should occur at least once a year, and twice yearly when your dog becomes a senior. But, in the event of a veterinary emergency, having a pre-established relationship with your vet means you can get there quicker and they will already know your dog’s history. Really, vet care is absolutely non-negotiable, and likely the most important dog care factor to take into consideration.
Hopefully this guide helped you learn just a little bit more about the essentials of dog care, whether you are a new dog owner or have owned dogs for years.
Taking care of your dog is more than just head pats and tricks, and focusing on making sure you’re providing them with all the right essentials will not only keep them happy and healthy, but strengthen the bond you share with each other. You can count on WINPRO Pet to be right there with you, every step of the way.