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How to take care of a dog

A woman and a dog smiling, sitting in a car

How to take care of a dog

How to take care of a dog? It cannot be hard right? Most people think about the fun times, but do you know there is a lot of work to have a dog? Bear with us as this is an important topic, it will be a bit longer to read, but full of important topics to find the best way of taking care of your dog.

So, you’ve read our previous post about the “4 questions you should ask before adopting a dog. And you have decided you’re ready! In this post, we will go a bit more into detail on what you can expect on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. In other words, how to take care of a dog.

Regardless if you bring in a puppy or an older dog, there may be a need for training. You can decide to take care of this on your own, or you can look for the support of a professional dog trainer. Depending on the breed of dog, age, and character, there are multiple different pieces of training you can look into. For puppies, you can start with general puppy training. For older dogs depending on the issue, you want to tackle, you can look into aggression prevention training, agility training, obedience training, etc.

You need to be aware that training your dog requires a lot of time and consistency. It may get hard at some times, however, it is important to stay consistent to support your dog’s behavior.

Everyone benefits from eating healthy foods, and dogs as well. There are many dog foods available. However, it is essential to check the ingredients in the food. Many types of dog food contain a lot of filling ingredients that are not very nutritious. Therefore, your dog may miss certain fibers, minerals, and vitamins. Keep an eye out for corn, potato, and flour when checking the ingredients. These are the ones you prefer to avoid because they’re not adding anything to the health of your dog.

Also, keep an eye on your dog’s behavior after eating. Do you notice she is becoming itchy or getting rashes? Perhaps your dog has allergies to certain types of food. You can do some trials yourself by avoiding main allergenic foods such as potatoes, flour (bread), and perhaps rice. Otherwise, you can also go to the vet and ask for an allergy test (keep in mind these tests can be expensive but can be very beneficial as well). There is also an option to go for a raw food diet.

Grooming is very important as well. Some dogs have long hair and need to be brushed regularly. Shower time is also important for your dog’s health. The frequency of the showers depends on multiple things, such as the type of hair your dog has (longer hair will get dirtier quicker), and the level of activity of your dog (dogs that are very active and play outside a lot will get dirtier).

It is important to check which kind of dog shampoo you use (and if you need it, sometimes just a quick water rinse or only a brush is enough). Many available types have a lot of chemicals that will harm your dog’s skin more than they will help. Regularly check your dog’s skin condition. Showering too often may lead to the opposite of what you want and can cause skin issues. In case of a rash, always consult with your vet.

Some dogs require more and longer walks than others. Eva loves going outside for walks. She loves it even more than food. After being inside during the lockdowns in the past years, I completely understand her happiness as soon as she sees her leash. If you spend a lot of time inside, going out and getting some fresh air does sound great. Therefore, another important thing to keep in mind when you have your furry friend at home is the multiple daily walks. For me, Eva is the perfect way to keep moving daily.

At least every morning and every evening you need to go out for a walk. This gives your dog a chance to do its business, socialize, sniff around, and get some exercise. Puppies however have poor control over their bladder. Therefore, when you are bringing a puppy into your house you need to prepare to go outside every 1-2 hours (even if only to do their business).

Even if you’re tired, your dog has been waiting for you all day, so you need to give her the right attention. It can help to book regular playtime in your schedule to avoid crashing on the couch and not getting up before going to bed. Your dog needs mental and physical stimulation, otherwise, the boredom will start to impact your dog’s life and well-being.

You don’t have to go all out every day, but you could do some games, such as tug of war, hide and seek or teach your dog new tricks. This will increase the dog’s happiness and you’ll notice it will increase your happiness too. We sometimes also hide some snacks for Eva, which she can search for. This stimulates her brain and nose, moreover it makes her very happy whenever she finds the treats.

Ever noticed there are people in your office who have a first aid title? It is always good there are people around who know what to do in case of an emergency. Likewise, it is important to have a basic understanding of what to do when your dog needs first aid. I have shared two posts on Pet First Aid, Click the following link to read more about how to treat dehydration, external bleeding and burns. Click here to read the second post on first aid, focussing on how to treat bloat/GDV and poisoning. For a short explanation, please find some basics below.

In case of a wound, trim the hair a bit around the wounded area and clean it with clean water. Depending on the severity of the cut decide whether you need to go to the vet or if it can heal on its own.
In case of bleeding, you can try to stop it by using a direct pressure method, elevation of the bleeding part, applying pressure to the artery (with your fingers/thumb), or by applying a tourniquet (only on the tail or leg).
In case of burns, do not apply ice, as this can lead to frostbite. Instead apply cool, running water to the burn area or add a moist clean towel or compress for at least 10 minutes.

So the daily tasks to keep in mind are giving the right food, providing fun ways to exercise, and walking. Besides these, you will also have to focus on educating and training yourself as well as your dog. You need to determine which type of training your dog requires, which games and walks will educate and entertain her, how often you need to groom and understand the basics pet of first aid.

What surprised you most after adding your dog to your family? Was it more work or time-consuming than you had thought? Or has it been a joyful journey of education and fun?

Thanks for reading

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