General Dog Care Guide: Everything You Need to Know
Sometimes bringing a new furry member into the family can seem overwhelming. You may not know what you have to do, you may not know where to start and you need a reliable general dog care guide to find out everything there is to know.
Even though it’s one of the most rewarding things you can do, caring for a dog can be more complicated than you think. You need to consider his training, grooming and nutrition and try to make the best choices for him.
Let’s take it step by step and see what dog caring is all about!
As a proud dog parent, you need to be confident that your pup will listen to you. That can be done through consistent training and it’s the best decision you’ll take for your dog. He needs to understand how the world works and what he needs to do.
Unfortunately, sometimes we encounter dogs who were never really trained and as they age, the process becomes harder and harder.
One of the most important things in dog training are treats. In order to keep your pup motivated you need to use treats with a very high value, so he is constantly seeking them. You can try our range of treats and really see the difference between regular and high-value dog treats!
Housebreaking is one of the first things you do when your pup gets home. You need to make sure that he knows exactly where he should urinate and create a schedule.
The best method for housebreaking a dog is crating. By having an assigned space to spend his time in whenever you’re not around, he will learn and adapt to your schedule.
In order to successfully crate train your pup, you need to make sure he actually likes being in the crate and will patiently wait for you to come back.
2. Leash training
Dogs need to learn how to walk on a leash from a young age. Even though at first it may be confusing for the pup, he will slowly learn that he can’t leave the house without the leash.
You should never go out with your dog without a leash. No matter how well-trained he is, there’s always the possibility of him getting scared and randomly running away.
3. Basic obedience training
Your dog will need to learn the basic training commands such as ‘sit,’ wait,’ and ‘down.’ In order to teach your dog these commands, you can either use positive or negative reinforcement. While in positive reinforcement you should only praise the pup for his good actions and ignore the bad behaviours, in negative reinforcement you can use corrections and tell the dog a ‘no’ when his actions are not appropriate.
Obedience training is a mandatory part of owning a dog. It will help you when you need him to wait to get his food, it can stop him from running out the door whenever it’s open and your bond with him will strengthen.
Grooming is an essential part of any dog’s life. It can help with excessive shedding and your dog will stay healthy and beautiful. Depending on your dog’s breed, he may need more frequent grooming sessions.
You need to bathe and brush your pup, as well as cut his nails and clean his ears on a regular basis. In general, short-haired breeds don’t need excessive grooming, but the ones with medium and long hair may need daily brushing. It’s important to know a few things about your dog’s breed to help you create a grooming schedule.
Bathing is an important part of dog grooming. A healthy dog shouldn’t receive more than a bath every month, but if he has a skin condition, frequent bathing with special shampoo may be part of the treatment scheme.
In order to successfully bathe your dog, you need to make sure that he is listening to you. You need him to behave while he is in the bathing tub. If this is done from a young age, he will learn that it’s part of the schedule.
Your veterinarian can recommend an appropriate shampoo for your dog and you can start! It’s very important that you don’t get water in the dog’s ears, as it can cause an infection. After each bath, you can praise your pup with a delicious treat.
While some dogs, such as the Chihuahua will do just fine with weekly brushing, others, like the Yorkshire Terrier will need it as a daily activity. By doing this their coats are going to look beautiful and you won’t have a lot of dog hair around the house.
For successful brushing, you will only need to teach your dog the ‘stand’ command and have an appropriate brush for his hair type.
3. Ear Cleaning
Frequently cleaning your dog’s ears will assure a healthy life for him. One of the most common affections in dogs are ear infections. Any dog can get them, but some breeds, such as the Basset Hounds and Beagles are more likely to develop them because of their large size.
In order to clean your dog’s ears, you will only need a good cleaning solution and some cotton balls. You should avoid using Q-tips as you can easily hurt your dog’s inner ear with them.
Simply squeeze some of the ear cleaning solution into your dog’s ears and gently massage them for about 30 seconds. Make sure the applicator doesn’t touch the dog’s ear. This can introduce bacteria and cause an infection.
Reward your dog for being so patient in the process and then proceed to clean his ears with the cotton balls. If you notice any smell, redness or if your dog has discomfort in the process, make sure to contact your veterinarian.
4. Nail Cutting
No dog ever likes to have his nails trimmed, but it’s still a very important process. Some dogs, usually the big ones who run on concrete all the time will not need their nails trimmed as frequent as a toy breed.
Cutting a dog’s nails can be quite tricky because if you accidentally cut into the quick, the dog will be in pain and you will have a lot of blood to clean up. It’s extremely vascularised and you need to pay attention to it.
Once you start you need to make sure that you’re holding his foot steady, and you can start by cutting small bits at the end of the toenails. If the nail feels spongy as you cut, you need to stop immediately. The only part of the nail that feels spongy is the quick and you don’t want to cut that.
After you’re done, make sure to reward your pup for being such a good dog.
When it comes to feeding your dog, there is no general rule you need to follow, as every dog is different. What’s very important is that the portions are right. Most times, you can read on the bag or ask your veterinarian how much you should feed your dog according to his size, weight and health condition.
Most veterinarians are recommending that an adult dog should be fed twice a day, while a puppy can eat four to six times a day. Up until three months, they should eat every four hours during the day and by six months should stick to eating twice a day.
The breed is a very important aspect of choosing the food for your dog. Small breeds need different nutrients in different quantities and your veterinarian is the one to help you make that decision.
Taking your dog to the vet should be a frequent activity. He should get checked out by a professional at least every six months to detect and prevent any affections. Vaccinations, deworming, spaying and neutering, as well as any medication would only be recommended by a vet.
1. Licensing and Identification
When you get a puppy and start the vaccination scheme, you will also be required to get him an identification microchip. This will help him get back to you in case he gets lost. Whoever finds him will take him to the vet and you will be contacted.
The microchip contains your contact information. Additionally, you should get him a medallion with your contact information written on it.
Without a doubt, vaccinations play a very important part in all our lives and the dogs are included.
A dog can get infected with a severe virus or parasite on a simple walk, so you need to make sure he’s protected. Some affections such as Parvovirus and Rabies are deadly for dogs. Your puppy starts his vaccination scheme from a very young age and he shouldn’t get in contact with the outside world until it’s finished. The Canine Parvovirus can live on surfaces for months and it’s resistant to many cleaning products.
Your dog needs to be protected against Parvovirus, Distemper, Hepatitis, and Rabies, as well as Influenza and Lyme.
Dogs need exercise! It’s true that some breeds need more physical activity than others, but all of them should exercise for at least one hour a day.
While a Bulldog may enjoy sleeping more than running, a Border Collie or Beagle will want to run and play all the time.
When you choose a dog, make sure you have enough time to give him the exercise he needs. Some diseases, such as obesity can affect and kill dogs.
Dogs may get sick, but you will need to consult with your veterinary in order to find an appropriate treatment scheme. In general, the most dangerous affections can be prevented with regular vaccinations, but there are many other causes your dog may be sick.
Under no circumstances give human medicine to your dog, as most of them are toxic and will do more harm than good.
5. Ticks and Fleas Protection
Use topical drops or anti-flea collars and make sure you change them regularly. Additionally, you will need to give your pup deworming pills if your veterinarian recommends it.
6. Spaying and Neutering
Even though there’s a common myth saying that you shouldn’t neuter your dog before her first litter, it stays a myth. In many places around the world, dogs without a pedigree certificate are not allowed to breed, and for good reason. With breeding, certain genetic defects can perpetuate and transform into something worse.
By spaying or neutering your dog, you can actually help them and save a few pups who may be born with severe problems.
As long as your dog is healthy and the veterinarian approves it, a dog can be neutered from eight weeks of age.
Dog-Proofing Your House
Whether you’re planning to crate your pup or not, you need to make sure that your dog can’t get hurt inside the house. Sometimes the danger comes from where you wouldn’t expect. Some foods, such as grapes and chocolate can be deadly for them and they shouldn’t have access to them. What you need to do?
- Make sure your kitchen cabinets are closed. You can use childproof latches if your dog learns how to open them.
- Keep medicine and cleaning products where he can’t reach them.
- Cover any spaces he may get locked in.
- Don’t leave food laying around.
- Make sure he can’t reach the trashcan.
- Hide any wires, electronics and fragile objects.
- Make sure your plants are not poisonous to dogs.
- Keep shoes out of his reach.
Dog-Proofing Your Yard
Your backyard needs to be a fun and safe space for your pup, and for that, you need to plan ahead. As with dog-proofing the house, you also need to think about a few things with your yard.
- Make sure there are no poisonous flowers.
- Keep trashcans closed.
- Make sure your dog can’t dig under the fence or go through it.
- Mow your lawn regularly.
- Try and keep critters at bay. Some dogs may try to hunt them.
- Don’t apply insecticides when your dog is playing outside.
- Make sure your dog has clean, cold water and a shady spot.
Ultimately, you and your dog need to create an amazing bond and work together towards a happy life. Make sure he always has everything he needs and work together towards the best friendship.