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20 dog care tips -The Ultimate Pet Parent’s Guide

dog care tips

20 dog care tips -The Ultimate Pet Parent’s Guide

Whether you've adopted a new puppy or had dogs your entire life, there is bound to be something on this list of dog grooming tips that you didn't know about, but should.

As someone who has worked in animal hospitals for over 10 years and is an avid dog lover, I promise this huge list of 39 dog care tips will help you become a better pet parent.

1. Do not overfeed your dog, it will have a significant impact on his health and happiness.

More than 50% of dogs in the United States are obese, and this number is on the rise. Overweight dogs are at increased risk for metabolic abnormalities, cardiovascular disease, joint disease, a weakened immune system, and many other health problems. They are also less mobile and cannot run, play, or do other activities as much as they would like. Do your pet a favor, feed him the amount recommended by your vet, and don't give in to those puppies' eyes when they ask for more!

2. Make yearly appointments with the vet

Let the experts examine your dog regularly for any health problems and provide you with the best personalized information to keep your precious pup healthy for many years to come.

3. Make a "pet first aid" kit

Accidents and emergencies do happen and being prepared with all the essentials to help your dog is a crucial step in being a responsible pet owner. This is especially important if you take your dog for walks or camping, as long as he is away from help. A DIY pet first aid kit is something every dog ​​parent should have.

4. Have an emergency plan

It is not pleasant to think about, but it is essential that you have a plan for your dog in case something happens to you. Make a list of important information about your dog's lifestyle, including how often he feeds, the amount of food, medications, your vet's phone number, etc. Give copies of this to someone in your life who can take care of your dog. in case of emergency. It's also worth taking the time to ask questions and make sure you have at least one or two people living nearby who can help your dog on short notice.

5. Play with a purpose

When petting and playing with your dog, especially when he is young, intentionally play with his paws, ears, and mouth. By doing things like touching your feet, toes, and nails during the positive play experience, you will numb them to touch these areas when it's time to cut their nails. Looking at their ears and mouth and getting them used to being handled in this way will make it much easier for your vet to examine your dog when he goes for a checkup. This will make your vet's job easier, your puppy will be less stressed during the exam, and your vet will be more likely to detect any abnormalities in case there is something wrong with your dog.

6. Keep your trash safe

Dogs are attracted to the delicious smell of your litter and can eat things that are toxic, harmful, or indigestible, so make sure your litter is safe. Swallowing foreign objects or toxic substances could lead to costly emergency surgeries.

dog care tips

7. Give your dog a safe space

Have a warm area of ​​your home with your dog's bed or blanket, some toys, and a bowl of water, where your dog feels safe and can easily nap during the day. This can help your dog calm down during stressful situations, such as parties, a crying baby, or thunderstorms. If your dog was crate trained when he was a rescue puppy or when he joined your family, keeping the crate open and available even after he no longer needs it for training can provide him with a perfect spot just for him that he will love. to have.

8. Keep your dog away from human food.

Many human foods, such as chocolate, avocados, or onions, are toxic to dogs and can have serious ramifications for their health. Keep human food out of reach and be especially careful around chewing gum and candy, as many contain xylitol, which is a sugar-like substance that is toxic to dogs. Do not feed your dog human food on purpose, unless recommended by your veterinarian. Your vet may intentionally recommend some human foods, such as plain chicken, canned pumpkin, or plain rice for specific reasons such as digestive upset, diarrhea, to help conceal oral medication, or as highly motivating training treats in small amounts. In these cases, "human food" may be appropriate for your dog, but he certainly does not need to lick his plate to clean it or eat the leftovers.

9. Take your dog for a walk for both his health and his happiness.

Regular walks provide many benefits for your dog, such as preventing boredom, helping the digestive tract, keeping him at a healthier weight, and helping him burn off excess energy. By giving them a constructive outlet, they may also decrease bad behaviors, such as chewing, barking, or digging.

10. Mentally challenge your dog

Like us, dogs need a lot of mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy. Give your dog a puzzle toy, teach him new tricks, and play new games with him to keep him engaged. Puzzle toys are a great way to give your dog something fun to do when you can't give 100% of your attention to them.

11. Exercise together

Compete with your dog in the park, try dog ​​yoga, climb stairs with your dogs, or take them on an adventurous hike. Both of you will reap the benefits of exercise while having fun together.

12. Be friends with your dog

Dogs need love and affection to thrive. Make sure they spend a lot of time indoors with you and your family. Give them attention, treats, and play with them.

13. Keep your dog cool

Dogs do not sweat like we do. Instead of sweating all over their bodies like humans do, they sweat through their paw pads and rely on panting to release heat. Giving your dogs access to shade and a way to cool off like a kiddy pool filled with water or ice is a great way to allow your dogs to safely enjoy the outdoors in warmer months. Watch them closely during hot weather and bring them indoors if they are panting excessively to avoid heatstroke, stress, and dehydration.

14. Provide them with a constant source of water.

Dehydration is incredibly dangerous for dogs and can happen quickly. Make sure your dog has easy access to clean fresh water throughout the day, both indoors and outdoors. Notice if he is panting excessively, loses interest in eating, or has a dry nose. Make sure to contact your vet if you notice these or any other unusual behavior from your dog during heat waves.

15. Avoid toxic algae

Algae, if ingested, can be harmful and, in some cases, fatal to dogs. It's tempting to take your dog to the pond or lake during hot summer but always check with your local Parks and Recreation department first for environmental warnings about toxic algae, water treatments, or harmful pesticides in and around the water.

16. Take care of your feet

Dog paw pads are sensitive to heat and can burn when walking on hot surfaces. If you cannot comfortably place your bare hand or foot on the hot floor outside, the surface is too hot for your dog to walk on. In these cases, opt for grass, dirt, or covered paths when taking your dog out.

17. Never leave your dog in the car

The interior temperature of a car can quickly become dangerous or even fatal for your dog. Never leave them unattended in your car, even with broken windows, as they can easily succumb to heatstroke. Even when the temperature is only 70 degrees outside, your car will be above 100 degrees in 20 minutes. Cars can reach fatal temperatures in minutes during the summer.

18. Never let your dog ride in the back of your truck.

Approximately 100,000 dogs are killed by riding on the bed of a truck each year, either from falling out of the truck bed or from being struck by debris. This does not take into account the many other injuries in other types of vehicles. Keep your dog in the car with you, ideally restrained in some way. Depending on your dog's size, temperament, or the length of his trip, you can keep him safely in a crate or carrier as long as he is safe and cannot slide around your car in the event of a sharp turn or accident. Alternatively, you can keep your dog safe by purchasing him a seat belt that fastens directly to his harness, which will keep him safe in the seat. If you have any questions about where it is safest for your specific dog to travel in the car, you can always consult your vet.

19. Keep an identification tag on your dog at all times.

You never know how important a dog tag is until it is separated from your dog. Take the time to create an identification tag with your phone number, the dog's name, and the vet's phone number. Make sure this information is kept up to date.

20. Consult your vet before trying new foods or medications.

Changes in diet or medication can cause various health problems for your pet if not done correctly or with your vet's instructions. You know your pet best and want to provide the best possible food, supplements, and medically necessary treatment. The best way to do this is to consult your veterinary team about any changes you would like to make and why. That way your vet can make sure you have a safe product and plan, as well as note the change in your pet's medical records in case your dog gets sick or injured, your vet will have the most up-to-date information. precise. about your pet's health and lifestyle.

Quality medical care for your dog is one of the most important areas to love and support your dog throughout his life, from puppy to senior. Download the new puppy checklist for an easy pdf you can save.

I also highly recommend that you consider pet insurance to cover the financial risk of your dog getting hurt or ill. There is nothing worse than not having the resources to treat an animal when you have the knowledge and the means. Because there are so many pet insurance options on the market, explore the Policy Advisor marketplace to see the plans of the major companies side by side and get personalized guidance.

About the author
Aliyah Diamond
DVM Candidate - Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine

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