Having a dog can be a fun—but also challenging—experience. When you share your life with a dog at home, you get to enjoy a loyal companion that your family will love. If you have kids at home, they surely enjoy having a dog. But apart from the fun, thrilling experience attached to pet ownership, you also have to shoulder plenty of responsibilities. As a pet owner, you are responsible for ensuring that your dog is well taken care of and that your pet is always in good health. You have to go above and beyond simply providing the basic needs of food, shelter, and water. To do this, you need to know more about dog care and basic facts about dogs. Learning some essentials can ensure that you know when your pet needs more care than what he gets from his typical routine. From reading online resources to consulting your vet, being knowledgeable and proactive truly helps. Proper dog care and health maintenance widely vary depending on the breed of your dog, but there are common things you need to know about dogs in general.
Just like humans, dogs need to have regular checkups. Contrary to what some people think, dogs are also prone to developing various diseases like arthritis, colitis, heart problems, and more. Certain breeds have higher chances of developing some health conditions, as is the case with dachshunds and spinal problems, for example. In order to prevent any of this from getting worse, you need to take your dog to the vet regularly. Checkups are vital to ensure that your dog is always healthy. Dogs usually need to have annual visits to see to it that they get the right nutrition, maintain the right weight, and stay current on their vaccinations. Through regular visits, your dog will undergo dental exams, parasite control, and blood tests to monitor health issues that don’t have physical manifestations.
Dogs are prone to flea and other parasite infestations. As a pet owner, you definitely want your dog to remain clean and free from any external parasites. These small things can plague your pet and can result in other health problems, including hair loss, infections, irritated skin, and more. There are also internal parasites you can’t see, including heartworms, which can infiltrate your pet’s body and cause massive damage. To prevent this, it is vital that your dog undergoes regular parasite control internally and externally. This is typically done through vaccinations. For external control, there are anti-flea shampoos and soaps, and there are also medications you can apply and feed to your pup.
Pet owners simply love their dogs, and they go beyond giving pats and belly rubs to show that. What happens most of the time is that owners provide too much food for their dogs and give unhealthy treats too frequently. This can result in a dog becoming overweight or obese. Some pet owners think this is cute, but it’s actually dangerous. Just like a person, your dog will experience various health problems if you don’t help him maintain a manageable and healthy weight. Dogs are more prone to develop cancer, diabetes, and heart disease if they weigh too much. You need to watch your dog’s weight and discontinue overfeeding. To know the right amount of food that you should give to your dog, consult your vet. Dog breeds have varying needs when it comes to their food intake, as do dogs that are older or younger.
Spaying and Neutering
Many dogs end up lost and homeless simply by accidental escape. That’s why it’s important to spay or neuter your pet as soon as he or she is between 6 or 9 months of age if you get the dog as a puppy. This surgery removes your dog’s reproductive organs and can reduce the cases of unwanted pets should your pup come into contact with another unneutered animal. After the surgery, your dog also loses the tendency to roam around. In turn, this reduces the risk of your dog getting lost. On top of that, there are also benefits that your pet can receive. For instance, spaying and neutering reduces the risk of developing certain cancers.
Dogs need to have regular vaccinations to protect them from diseases. They’re important to ensure that your dog maintains optimal health. Dogs are exposed to various diseases and illnesses like rabies, canine hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus, and bordetella, among many others. Your dog needs to be immunized to ensure he’s protected from these diseases, especially if you frequently expose him to other animals (that may carry them) at dog parks, in the woods, or kennels. Some vaccinations are annual, while others only need to be given once every three years.
Dogs need to have identification, which is why yours wears a collar. Sometimes, however, your pet can get out and lose his collar in the process. If he gets lost, he won’t always find his way back home. This is where the importance of having a microchip comes in. Microchipping is essential, because no matter where your pet goes, someone can find him and take him to a vet for a chip scan. The microchip is inserted under the skin in just a matter of seconds, and it contains all of your identifying information.
You have to make sure that you groom your pet based on his fur texture. You also don’t want a stinky dog in your house, especially if you have kids at home and they let him in their beds. There are various grooming products that you can use to make your pet neat and clean. Just make sure that you don’t overdo it. Unlike humans, dogs don’t have to take a bath every day or even every week. Once a month is usually fine unless your pet gets very dirty outside. If you don’t have the time to groom your dog, find a local groomer who has experience with the breed.
Like humans, some dogs can become deficient in vitamins. You need to ensure you feed a balanced diet, but these issues can still crop up. Although you can supply the vitamins and minerals that your dog needs through the food that you serve, you can also use supplements for your dog. Some supplements also assist in preventing worsening ailments, such as glucosamine for arthritis. Before you get any supplement for your pet, make sure that you consult your vet.
Taking care of your pet is fun, but at the same time it’s also not an easy task. Pet owners consider their dogs family members, so part of that responsibility is ensuring that the dogs are in good health both physically and mentally. In providing the right care for your pet, your dog can live a longer, happier life.