Top Tips on How to Take Care of Your Dog

Owning a pet is not a responsibility that anyone should take lightly.  Caring for a pet can be equated to caring for a child. So, if you are ready to take on the responsibility of pet ownership or just want to up your game on how to take care of your dog, you have come to the right place!  Latchkey Pets provides tips on pet care that you may already know as well as tips that you don’t know.  Keep reading to learn more.

Tips on How to Take Care of a Dog Well

Protecting Your Pets During the Holidays

Be careful with your dog around the holidays.  There are many dangers for pets that we don’t necessarily think about as being hazardous.  One example of a hazard is electrical cords which are used frequently on many different holidays.  Our pets are inquisitive creatures and oftentimes they will chew on electrical cords which is a hazard for your dog as well as for your home.  Don’t tempt your furry best friend with all the shiny and sparkly decorations that come with the holidays.  They will more than likely be tempted to eat something not meant to be ingested. Puppy or doggy proof the same way you would a small child to help keep your pets safe.

Routine Dental Care is a Must for Your Pet

It may sound funny, however, brushing your dog’s teeth is an important part of their overall health and our dog health care tips.  This is not an easy task to accomplish, and your dog will probably not like the process.  If your dog fights you when you try to brush their teeth, try this simple trick each day to get them used to have their teeth cleaned.  Each day use your finger to rub the inside of your dog’s gums and teeth very gently.  The first few times you do this, be quick about it.  As the days go by you can add to the amount of time that you do this to get them used to it.   Once your dog is comfortable with your finger brushing of gums and teeth, move on to a toothbrush and paste specifically for dogs. 

Chocolate is Delicious But Not for Dogs

You probably already know that chocolate is not good for dogs, however, you may not be aware of the specific reasons. Chocolate contains stimulants such as caffeine and theobromine.  These stimulants are unhealthy for your pet as they are not digested the same way for a dog as they are in humans.  One of the most dangerous types of chocolate is baking chocolate.  The reason for this is because it contains a very high amount of stimulants. White chocolate has the lowest amount of stimulants but is still not healthy to feed your dog. If your dog gets a hold of any type of chocolate and ingests it, take your dog to the vet immediately.  Chocolate can make your dog extremely sick depending on the amount ingested.

Vet Care for your Dog

Continuing on our list of tips on how to take care of a dog well is regular vet visits. You need to take your dog in to see a veterinarian for regularly scheduled visits. Just like people, your dog needs to have well check-up visits to make sure that they are not developing health issues that can be stopped before they start.  Dogs need regular immunizations, flea and tick protection, heartworm protection, and many other preventative health care services.  

You can assess your dog’s health by watching for changes in mood, energy, and appetite.  Any sudden changes that cannot be explained may be a sign of illness in your pet.  Your dog can develop health issues such as arthritis, toothaches, and weight gain to name a few. Don’t wait for your dog to show drastic signs of being sick before you take him to see the vet.

vet care for your dog

Consider Spaying or Neutering Your Dog

There are many dog care facts you must know including what spaying or neutering means. Spaying and neutering are simple surgical procedures that can help to increase your dog’s lifespan. And, these procedures can help to reduce the risk of certain health conditions as well as behavioral issues such as aggressiveness or running off.  If you are against having your dog spayed or neutered, never leave your dog unattended outside even in the comfort of their fenced-in yard.

Hydration and Your Dog

Hydration is essential for dogs.  Just like people, dogs require lots of clean water to drink. If your dog does not get the water it needs, you run the risk of your pet becoming dehydrated.  Dehydration can be severe and cause your dog to become sick and in extreme cases die. Be sure to provide your dog with fresh water on a daily basis, keeping the bowl full at all times. 

Grooming is Essential for Your Dogs Health

What are the basic needs of a dog? While it may not seem as important as a visit to the vet, grooming is essential. Be sure to brush your dog as often as needed based on the breed requirements.  This includes dogs that have short hair.  Brushing your dog’s hair is good for their coat and skin.  By brushing your dog often you will be more aware of any issues related to hair and skin that might otherwise go unnoticed such as eczema or even fleas and ticks.  Your dog may not like to be brushed when you first start, but as time goes by he will begin to enjoy it as well as the extra attention and bonding time.  Not to mention, regular brushing will help to minimize the amount of fur on your furniture and floors in your home. 

BackYard Safety

We cannot emphasize this enough. Make sure that you check the fence in your backyard to ensure that it is secure.  Check for areas in the fence where our pet could escape from and repair them before letting your pet play unattended in the backyard.  Also, make sure that there is nothing in your yard that could harm your dogs such as gardening tools, fertilizer, or other chemicals that are poisonous to your pet.

If your dog loves to be outside, remember that a doghouse is not enough to keep your furry friend warm in cold weather.  Be sure to put some type of insulated bedding in the dog house such as hay, straw, or blankets. The bedding you use should be changed regularly to make sure that there are no bugs or mold growth in the case that the bedding gets wet.

how to take care of your dog

Check your Dogs Paws

Our pets love to jump and run and play! Because their natural instances are to be inquisitive and at times to get into things or areas that we do not want them in, their pads are at risk of injury.  It is actually common for dogs to get things lodged in the paws or pads.  Check your dog’s paws and pads daily to make sure that there are no foreign objects lodged in them.  If there are any foreign particles that need to be removed, use care so as not to push the object deeper into their pad or paw. We suggest using tweezers to remove any foreign particles.

A Well Behaved Pet is a Must

Dog training is a must whether your pet is a puppy or an adult. Besides regular obedience training, it is important to have an ongoing source of training for your dog.  Add an element of creativity to up your training game and make it a fun experience for everyone!  One example would be to teach your dog commands by voice and sign language.  If you are bi-lingual, consider teaching your dog commands in the languages you know.  This will be sure to impress your friends and will be a fun experience not to mention impressive to your friends and family.  A well-behaved dog makes pet ownership a much more rewarding experience.  

If you find that you are not able to train your dog the way you want or they are not catching on as quickly as they should, consider obedience school.  Always do your research before picking an obedience school and check reviews.  

Don’t Punish Your Pet, Correct the Bad Behavior

Correcting bad behavior can be tricky, but it is something that is required for everyone to have a harmonious life together.  Punishment is very different from correcting bad behavior.  If your dog is mischievous on a regular basis there is work to be done.  Catching your dog in the act and correcting the behavior immediately is essential.  

If you wait longer than 15 minutes to correct the bad behavior, your dog will more than likely not understand what they did wrong.  It’s important to help them understand what behavior you want to be changed.  If you see your dog misbehave, in a very firm voice tell them no to whatever behavior you want to be corrected. Reinforce good behavior with cuddles, love, and occasional treats.

In Closing

Now that you have a few dog health care tips under your belt on how to take care of your dog, you can put your newfound knowledge to work. You may be surprised by the changes you see in your pet. Owning a dog is such a joyful experience and with the tips above you should be able to enjoy your relationship with your dog and give them the love that they deserve! Learn more about Latchkey Pets here

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Jeanna Ruehter