We all know that dogs are adorable and lovable animals which can be very independent when they want to be. However, there are lots of things that our canine companions can’t do by themselves, so they need a loving owner to do these things for them. While some of these tasks might seem a little tedious or boring, they have the potential to be great fun if you show enthusiasm. One of the keys to successful dog care is to make essential care and grooming an enjoyable experience for both you and your precious pooch. You could make some of these tasks even more rewarding by offering tasty treats, new toys or by playing with your pup afterwards.
Maintain Their Coat
The first thing we see when admiring an adorable doggo is their coat. They come in many varieties from short to long, thick to soft, fleecy to silky and can be almost any color imaginable. It’s not surprising then, that dogs require lots of special attention to keep their coat looking beautiful and trim. While some dogs might need barely any maintenance other than an occasional brushing, others require much more elaborate and time-consuming care. Shampooing, conditioning, brushing and flea removal are all essential aspects of grooming which you might have to do for your dog. If your dog has a short and thin coat, you’ll only need to brush their coat a few times a week, but dogs with longer and/or thicker coats will need to be brushed daily.
There are a few other areas of grooming which you’ll have to do for your dog. Teeth brushing is often overlooked since dental sticks and other foods are commonly used in their place but they’re arguably not as effective as a ‘proper’ toothbrush. These can be purchased in most pet stores, most veterinarian offices and online. While vets typically recommend daily brushing, this isn’t always feasible so brushing a few times per week is the next best thing. You can turn brushing into a fun experience for you both by brushing a section of the teeth for 15 seconds at a time then playing for a minute. Repeat this until you’ve covered all the teeth and you’ll have a play buddy with pearly whites to be envious of.
Other Essential Grooming Tasks
Ear cleaning is another aspect of dog care which should be completed regularly (a few times per week) depending on how large and hairy your dog’s ears are. Since dogs are curious and adventurous animals, they often get dirt, water and food particles lodged in their ears. Cleaning them out regularly will keep your dog’s hearing sharp and prevent risks of damage or hearing loss. Nail trimming is also essential and be difficult with particularly aggressive or unsocial dogs. In severe cases a specialist may be required but this certainly isn’t common. As we know, all dogs are different so some will require more frequent nail trimming, but this entirely depends on the specific dog. If you’re unsure of when or how to do this, you can always ask your vet for some professional advice.
As much as our dogs think they are independent and act as though they might be wild animals, they are quite the opposite. Dogs have developed over time as domesticated animals and depend on human intervention for feeding and to receive correct nutrition. As a pet parent, it’s crucial to understand your dog’s nutritional needs. Since every dog’s needs are different, understanding your pup’s dietary requirements can take time and trial and error. Larger dogs will, of course, require much more food than smaller dogs but learning what type of dog food to give is another thing altogether. The options seem endless – plant-based, animal-based, canned, dry, wet – and with so many options to choose from the task can seem daunting to many first-time pet parents. However, nutrition experts generally recommend food that is high in animal-based protein as this reflects dog’s nutritional needs the best. As for potions sizes and what other foods to give, this entirely depends on the specific dog so it’s best to seek professional advice from a vet.
Watch their Waistline
Unlike us, dogs don’t spend much time looking at themselves in the mirror and noticing every time they gain or lose a few pounds. It’s up to a pup’s parents to notice these things and correct them or find a cause if it seems unexplainable. If a dog gains or loses some weight, the cause is usually an unbalanced diet or exercise plan. So, if a dog loses some weight, try feeding a little bit more or reduce the exercise, whichever seems easiest. However, if a dog’s weight increases or decreases by 10% or more of their original bodyweight, or if weight fluctuation occurs rapidly, this could indicate there is a medical problem to blame. In this instance, it’s important to seek advice from your vet who may wish to see the poorly pup. This will prevent risks and improve chances of finding a solution.
This might seem a little confusing. Obviously, dogs can run around by themselves and enjoy the outdoors, but it’s essential that they have their favorite human by their side. Although you could let your dog run around in a fenced dog park or back yard, nothing beats a long walk (or run) with your dog by your side. Not only do you both stay fit and healthy through exercise, but you’ll enjoy spending time with each other which makes exercising much more fun!
Playing with a canine companion is arguably one of the best perks of having a dog. This fun and enjoyable experience is not only good for building your relationship, it’s also great mental and physical stimulation. Although dogs can play with their toys alone, nothing beats playing with their favorite human. This can improve mental health for both dogs and humans alike and should be done at least daily.
Socializing and Training
This aspect of dog care is paramount to raising a lovable and caring dog that can follow its parent’s orders. When a pup is still young (between 8 to 12 weeks old) they should be socialized with other dogs and children so they learn how to behave. This is essential for dogs to develop social skills and to prevent aggression or behavioral problems later in life.
Similarly, training should be carried out during a dog’s youth so they learn essential skills which they’ll need throughout their life. Toilet training is, of course, the first skill they should learn. Training should be consistent and enthusiastic, using tasty treats or toys as a reward for positive behavior and after learning/carrying out a new skill. After learning their first skill, they’ll understand the learning process so you can move on to other skills such as recall, sit, stay or even tricks! Just remember to keep training sessions short and enjoyable and stick to one skill at a time. The last thing you want is a confused pup during training.
Provide Regular Checkups from the Vet
Unfortunately, our dogs can’t talk so they can’t communicate when something’s wrong or if they don’t feel well. It’s up to you to notice changes in behavior, appetite, appearance or new symptoms. If you notice any of these things you should immediately contact the vet in case there are any health problems which need to be addressed. Even if your dog doesn’t show these changes or symptoms, it’s essential to take your adorable doggo to the vet at least twice a year for regular checkups. This can help to diagnose conditions early and will minimize the risk of hidden health problems.
Provide Medicine and Vaccines
Due to the adventurous nature of our dogs’ personalities, many pups are at risk from diseases or medical conditions which we’re unaware of. You’ll need to take your pup to the vet for essential vaccinations during the first few weeks of their life to keep them safe from a number of the harmful diseases out there. If your pup becomes sick later in life, you’ll also need to follow the doctor’s orders by giving your poorly pup all the medication they require at the correct intervals. We hope you’re never in this situation but it’s an essential part of dog care which all pet parents should be aware of.
There are lots of things you should do for you dogs because they can’t do it themselves and this list covers some of the most important things you’ll need to do. If you’re just looking to learn some essential dog care, or if you’re a new pet parent, you’ll now have an idea of what to expect. You can try to make each one fun by rewarding your precious pooch with some well-deserved play time or tasty treats!