Dogs shower their owners with unconditional love and loyalty. As a pet owner, the least you can do to pay them back for the endless joy and lifelong companionship they so selflessly provide is to make sure you are taking proper care of your fur baby. To ensure their health and happiness, you’ll need to learn the fundamentals of dog care and understand their basic needs so you can meet them accordingly. While owning a pet is a serious commitment, it should not be considered a chore but rather an enriching experience that will enhance your life in many wonderful ways. On that note, here’s how to ensure that your little furball’s needs are always met.
Safe, Cozy Shelter
If your pet likes to spend time outdoors, they should have a weatherproof house to protect them from extreme hot or cold temperatures. They should also have a cozy area inside the house, such as a crate, kennel, or bed, where they can snooze or relax indoors whenever they feel like it. Set clear house rules if you need to, but allow your furry companion to roam freely in permissible areas so they can feel like part of the family. If you let them out in your fenced-in yard without supervision, make sure they’re wearing tags engraved with your address and phone number just in case they wander off. It’s also a good idea to get them microchipped and registered at one of the nationwide services that help reunite pets with their families using innovative facial recognition technology.
Dogs need fresh, clean water and a healthy, balanced diet that meets their specific nutritional needs to live a healthy and long life. Make sure you research the available brands that pledge to use high-quality ingredients and formulate nutritionally balanced food instead of just picking the first bag of kibble on the shelf. A reputable brand should list a specific protein source as one of the top five ingredients rather than the vague “poultry” or “meat by-products.” When checking the label, look out for harmful ingredients and artificial preservatives, such as BHA and artificial colors, as they may cause cancer. If your dog’s preferred brand is hard to find, consider joining a subscription program with one of the best dog food delivery services in your area. That way, you’ll never have to worry about running out of kibble.
If you choose to feed your pup a homemade diet, make sure you discuss your options with your vet first because most of the dog food recipes available online aren’t nutritionally balanced. You must also be aware of the kinds of ingredients your dog can and can’t eat before you put just any food in their bowl. Garlic, onions, chocolate, grapes, and macadamia nuts are toxic for canines, while eggs, salmon, chicken, sweet potato, bananas, and carrots are perfectly safe and good for them.
Routine and Structure
All pets thrive on consistency and structure. Your four-legged friend needs a predictable routine to live a stable, stress-free life. In addition to the fixed meal and exercise times, your pup also needs regular training, which will not only help you raise a well-adjusted dog but will also help strengthen your bond with your fur baby. Maintaining your human-canine bond is a lifelong process that requires consistent effort. So make sure you establish a steady routine for your little furball, one that suits your personal lifestyle, and set aside some time in your daily schedule for your canine companion. If you have to leave your pup alone for extended periods of time, make sure they have enough toys to keep them entertained.
Regular exercise and preventative veterinary care are crucial to your dog’s health and wellbeing. Depending on your dog’s age and breed, establish an exercise routine that will help them release pent-up energy and stay healthy and fit. Not only is exercise important for your canine companion’s physical health, but it also helps keep them mentally stimulated and engaged. Another way to ensure your fur baby’s well-being is by scheduling regular veterinary check-ups (at least one or two check-ups a year) to spot and treat any potential problems early on.
It should go without saying that you must keep up with your dog’s vaccinations, clean their teeth and gums regularly, and always be on the lookout for any signs of illness. In addition to regular exercise and veterinary check-ups, every dog needs regular grooming to remain happy and healthy. This includes bathing, brushing, flea treatments, and nail trimming. Some breeds even need regular haircuts to remove matted fur, which can be both uncomfortable and unhealthy.
Safe shelter, proper nutrition, regular exercise and grooming, veterinary check-ups, mental stimulation, routine, and structure are the keys to a long, happy life with your furry friend. Luckily, all of these things are relatively easy to provide once you understand your dog’s basic needs. Whenever you’re in doubt about your dog’s needs, ask your vet for advice. They’ll be able to provide the best recommendations for any health, nutrition, or behavioral concerns you have based on your pet’s medical history, age, and breed.