make a friend, save a life.
make a friend, save a life.
If you are considering adding a pet dog to your home you may have questions with regards to its care, especially if you’ve never had a dog. Caring for a dog is rather simple, provided you are armed with the correct information with regards to diet, exercise and veterinary care. You can use this article as a learning tool before you get your dog and a guide to follow after your dog has made your home his own.
It’s important to your dog’s health that it is fed a nutritionally sound diet. There are a plethora of dog food brands available at the grocery store, big box store and pet store in your area. The food you choose will ultimately depend on what you can afford and what your dog thrives on.
A puppy under the age of 16 weeks, should be fed four small meals per day to be sure it gets enough to eat and that its energy levels are kept stable. Dogs between the ages of 16 and 24 weeks should be fed three times per day and puppies and dogs older than six months should ideally be fed twice per day. You may find that your schedule prohibits you from following these guidelines strictly but they should be followed as closely as possible.
Along with food, your dog should be given free access to fresh, clean water daily. An adult dog will consume between four and eight cups of water per day, depending on his size and activity level. Extra water should always be available during warmer months.
While there are breeds of dogs that are happy to lounge on the couch with you and watch television all day, they still need exercise to keep both their bodies and minds healthy. Working and hunting breeds tend to need more exercise than toy breeds and smaller dogs.
The general rule of thumb for growing puppies is five minutes of forced exercise (leash walking) per month of age. This will allow the puppy to get used to walking on a leash, occupy his mind for a bit but not damage growth plates and joints. After your dog has physically matured, his daily exercise should be at a minimum of 30 minutes per day. This means that if you jog, bike, walk or hike, you can safely take your dog with you, assuming you have built his tolerance just as you would yours.
Be sure that you always carry along a water bottle or canteen for your dog on longer walks or any types of more strenuous exercise. It is very easy for dog’s to overheat and they need to rehydrate just as we do during exercise.
Dogs with long hair will require more grooming than dogs with short, tight coats so take this into consideration. Those dogs that have medium to long coats will need daily brushings and more frequent bathing than short-haired dogs. You may find that longer haired dogs also need to have their coats clipped by a professional every two to three months.
Part of grooming will include toe nail trimming and ear cleaning so be sure to get your puppy used to these things early on. If you are uncomfortable performing these tasks, they can often be done by a groomer or your veterinarian.
Veterinary care will include: physical exams, vaccines, parasite tests, spaying or neutering and dental cleanings. Any accidents or major illnesses will require further veterinary care outside of what is routine for every dog. Starting a savings account for your pet's veterinary bills is a great idea. Even just $20 put away each month will cover most routine costs.
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