If you have recently become the owner of a new puppy or a dog of any age,
you have just made a very important commitment in your life. You are now responsible for his health and well-being. Your dog will provide you with unconditional love, hopefully, for many years to come. In return, your dog will look to you for his care, and that care involves providing him with proper nutrition and any medicines that he might require. He will also need to be groomed, bathed, provided plenty of opportunity for exercise, and of course given lots of love.
If your dog is a housedog, his maintenance should be a little easier for you. If he spends a good part of his days outdoors, he still needs to be groomed often. How much and how often you groom him depends on many factors. Is his hair long or short? Do you live in a hot climate or a cold one? Does he spend a lot of time outdoors? What size is your dog?
If you do keep your dog mainly in the house, you will want to try to keep his shedding under control. If he is an outside dog, he may get burrs, sticks, and leaves in his coat, along with dirt and mud. Invest in a good brush and use it often. Many times a good brushing will remove dirt, mud, and burrs, and you can skip the bath. He will enjoy the brushing and the extra time with you. Brushing your dog regularly will also stimulate his skin and make his coat glow with health.
There may be times when you need to trim your dogâ€™s hair or at least have it trimmed. If you live in a hot climate, a good hair trimming may provide your dog with extra relief during those hot and humid summer months. Also, if your dog is long-haired, cutting his hair will allow you to more easily control parasites such as fleas and ticks. You will probably want your dogâ€™s toenails to be trimmed. If you are not comfortable doing this yourself, you can take him to a dog grooming center, and they will do it for you.
Where you bathe your dog depends on how large he is and what type of facilities you have available to bathe him in. If he is a small dog, you might want to use your kitchen or bathroom sink. If he is a larger dog, you may need to use your bathtub. If you have a separate washroom with a large sink, this might be an excellent area to wash your dog.
You will need a shampoo that is formulated especially for dogs. There are many varieties on the market. Some dog shampoos are specifically made to kill fleas and ticks. Others are deodorant shampoos, and still, others are medicated to help with irritated skin conditions. When you are shampooing your dog, be careful not to get any of the shampoos in his eyes. You will want to bathe your dog regularly, but keep in mind that too many baths can cause dry skin.
You will also need to clean his ears with an ear-cleaning solution that you will wipe out with cotton balls or a soft cloth. Veterinarians recommend that you clean your dogâ€™s teeth using doggie toothpaste. Your vet can also clean any hard to remove plaque build-up. You will probably have to battle fleas and ticks at some point in your dogâ€™s life. There are many products on the market. Some of the best products are topical solutions that are applied between your dogâ€™s shoulder blades. There are also powders, sprays, and collars that provide limited relief.
When you first acquire your puppy or dog, you need to schedule an appointment with your vet. He will put your dog on a vaccination schedule that should begin when your puppy is six weeks old. He will also want to worm your puppy. The vaccinations will be given over a period of several months in the first year and then yearly after that. It is crucial to the health of your dog that you follow this schedule. You will need to decide whether you want to have your dog spayed or neutered. This is something that is highly recommended unless you are planning on breeding your dog. A spayed or neutered dog is much easier to take care of and control.
Proper nutrition is also important. Consult your vet on the type and amount of food you should give your dog. If at any time problems arise such as skin conditions, physical ailments, or injuries, you should immediately contact your vet for the best care. Taking care of your dogâ€™s health is important, but donâ€™t forget to give your pet plenty of exercise and time with you. If you do all of these things, you should look forward to a long and rewarding relationship with your new friend.