Pet care advice
Bringing a dog into your family is an exciting time, giving them a loving family home while also adding a new member to your household. There’s a lot of responsibility involved, but a lot of fun too.
Looking after your dog’s health and wellbeing is as vital as looking after your own, and there’s a lot you can do to make sure they’re loved and looked after. Here are some tips for caring for your happy, healthy dog.
Give them a comfortable place to sleep
Giving your dog a warm and cosy bed to sleep in will help them feel at home, settle them into a routine and protect your furniture too. Where you keep the bed is up to you – some like to keep their dog downstairs, while others like keeping them in their bedroom. Wherever you choose, it should be warm, comfortable and away from anything that could be dangerous. Giving your dog their own bed can help them settle down in the evenings, giving you a restful sleep too.
Make sure they get plenty of exercise
Exercise is very important for your dog to ensure that they are happy and healthy. How often you should walk your dog depends on their age and size, but regular walking is recommended for all dogs. When dogs are exercised regularly, they are able to maintain their weight, socialise with other dogs and they get the chance to explore. Giving them plenty of exercise will stop them from getting bored, which will stop them from damaging your furniture, flooring and clothing. Walking the dog is good exercise for you too, so why not take them out in the mornings and evenings to help you get some exercise too?
Look after their teeth
Many dogs suffer from neglected teeth, and it’s no wonder – there’s not much they can do themselves! However, you, as a responsible dog owner, can do your bit to ensure your dog maintains healthy teeth and gums. Brushing regularly and checking their teeth for problems can help to prevent issues which will require a vet later on, while maintaining a healthy diet can also help to keep teeth strong and gums healthy.
Dogs should have regular things to chew on so that they can help keep their teeth strong. Special dental chew treats are great for dogs, or you could try a deer antler dog chew as a more natural alternative. Having plenty of chew toys around the house will stop them from chewing like your textiles and furniture, although it’s best to keep dogs away from anything you’d rather have left in one piece!
Groom them regularly
Most dogs enjoy a spot of grooming, and it can be a good way for you to bond with your pooch! Grooming also has many benefits, including to keep your dog’s in a good condition and to spot any potential issues that they might have such as fleas and ticks. There are different ways to groom your dog, and dogs with particularly long hair might be taken care of if you take them to professional dog groomers.
Get them vaccinated
Just like people, dogs can benefit from being vaccinated to protect them against different diseases. If you get your dog as a puppy, it’s likely that they’ll have had their initial vaccinations before you bring them home. Register your pet with a vet to put a vaccination programme in place that will keep them safe and healthy. Regular check-ups with the vet will keep an eye out for any potential health problems, so don’t forget to put those appointments in your diary.
Make sure they have plenty of fresh water
Dogs can get dehydrated quickly, especially during warmer weather, so make sure they drink often and keep fresh water to hand, even when you’re out and about. The amount of water a dog needs a day depends on their size, so it’s worth researching this to help them get the right amount. Keep an eye on your dog’s drinking habits, you’ll be able to work out where and when they like to drink to help you make sure that they get enough. If you’re going on long walks, consider taking a bowl and a bottle of water with you to keep them hydrated on the move.
Play with them
Dogs love to play, and spending time with them can help to train them, burn off excess energy and make them happy. What you’ll soon realise is that playing with your dog will help boost your mood too, so even if you’ve had a bad day – some time spent with them will soon perk you up. Come up with some different doggy games and get the whole family involved in keeping them entertained. A frisbee or a ball can provide hours of fun for a dog as long as they’ve got someone to play with.
Ensure they have a good diet
Dogs rely on the right nutrition to keep them healthy, strong and to stop them getting overweight. While many people might give their dog some scraps from the table or let them have some foods that they shouldn’t, it’s not advisable and could soon lead to some bad behaviours. You can ensure a balanced diet for your dog, and stop them from being unwell by not giving them chocolate and other foods that could cause serious harm. Monitor your dog’s diet regularly to make sure they’re not putting on weight or that they’re getting food from sources that they shouldn’t.
A well-trained dog can be a joy to live with, and can help you to raise a well-behaved dog that you can trust around your family as well as other people and animals when you’re out and about. Training your dog helps to keep them stimulated, by helping them practice their instinctive behaviours. You can help keep them stimulated by varying their route and surroundings, introducing them to new people and other animals and teach them new tricks as often as you can. This is a wonderful way to bond with your dog and can be a lot of fun for the both of you!
Don’t leave them alone for too long
It’s not recommended to get a dog if you are going to be away from home for long periods of time. Dogs enjoy company and being left alone all day can cause them to feel lonely, bored and start acting out through barking, scratching and more. Different dogs have different needs, and you should get to know how long is too long to leave your dog at home alone. If you’re going to be out of the house for too long, why not think about getting a dog walker or enlisting a friend or family member to spend time with your dog during the day?
Keep your home clean and hazard free
A dirty home can cause many issues, but as your dog spends a lot of time close to the floor, it’s important that you keep it as clean as possible to stop them picking up germs, etc. Keeping your home clean is more of a challenge with a dog around, but making a list of regular chores and splitting them up between the family will make it easier. It’s also important that you keep hazards out of harm’s way, including small objects, cleaning products and anything else that could be harmful to your pet.
Bath them when they need it
Baths can help a dog stay clean and keep their coat in good condition, but they don’t need one as often with you might think. Around once a month should be fine for a dog with normal skin, as any more often could mean they end up developing dry skin. Use a specialist dog shampoo to help them keep their natural oils balanced and to stop you using anything too harsh. If you’re worried about your dog smelling in between washes, there are things you can do to keep your dog clean in between baths.
Give them some space
Some dogs like a bit of alone time – a space where they can go to feel safe when they need it. When there are fireworks nearby, for example, it helps to give them a safe space to hide away in while they wait for it to be over. Sometimes they just want a bit of peace and quiet – especially if they’ve been playing and exploring all day!
Your dogs are an important part of the family, and keeping them happy and looked after will give you some incredible memories to share. A dog is a lot of responsibility, but they have a lot of love to offer and will love being a part of the family. Provided you care for their needs and give them the love and attention they deserve, owning a dog will be extremely rewarding and one of the best things to happen for your family.