DOG Pet Care
General Care Information
- Puppies should begin training at approximately 10 weeks of age
- Dogs need plenty of daily exercise – three times a day is recommended
- Dogs should be checked frequently for ticks, fleas and other parasites
- Dogs should be bathed with dog shampoo and not human shampoo (baby shampoo ok for washing the head)
- Dog ears should be cleaned weekly
- Dog teeth should be brushed at least twice a week – dog biscuits between brushing will help keep teeth clean and breath fresh.
- Dry dog food is recommended, supplemented with a high quality vitamin
- Dogs should take a heartworm pill once a month
- Dogs should visit their veterinarian once a year for an exam and regular vaccines
DOG Feeding Information
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Provide your dog with dog foods that are high in nutritional value, with 80% of the dogs diet daily diet coming from dry dog food. A quality dry dog food should contain varied ingredients with sufficient amounts of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins (amino acids). Table foods can cause gastrointestinal distress and load the dog’s food with unnecessary fats and sugars. Always consult with a veterinarian about the best dog food for your dog and about any supplements that may be necessary.
Dry Dog Food
A quality dry dog food should contain approximately 10% water and contain a mixture of soy, meat products, grains, vegetables, animal fats, and added vitamins and minerals. These types of dry dog foods are coated with a meat flavoring to encourage consumption. Smell and taste the animal fat on the food and will eat until they are satisfied. In addition to nutritional value, dry dog foods provide a rough texture to help clean the dog’s teeth and gums.
Unless specified as a dietary precaution by the dog’s veterinarian, the dog’s food bowl should be kept full at all times to encourage healthy eating.
Canned Dog Food
Canned dog food is generally not recommended as a regular dietary item. Although dogs will prefer the taste of canned foods, canned dog food is mostly water (nearly 80%) and does not help promote good health for the dog’s teeth and gums. Care should be taken that dogs do not over eat when fed canned food.
These types of dog foods are created to look and smell like meat, but are generally made of soy, cereal grains and meat by products – they are also heavy in preservatives. These foods contain 25 – 30% water and are high in proteins. While not recommended as the primary source of nutrition in a diet, semi-moist foods are a great supplement to a diet and are a great reward for dogs.
Taking a dog regularly to a professional groomer can be very expensive. While an occasional trip to a professional groomer may be necessary, simple care and grooming can be done at home.
If you plan on grooming your dog regularly at home, it’s important to start early when they are puppies. Puppies that get used to being handled during grooming, will grow up to be much more well adjusted dogs during the grooming process. Although puppies require a lot of patience, the learning will pay huge dividends throughout your dog’s life.
Dogs should be taught to sit or stand as still as possible during grooming.
Caring for your dog’s coat
Your dog’s coat should be brushed daily – frequent and regular brushing will help to remove loose fur and loosen pet dander. The fur should always be brushed in the direction of the fur.
Dogs should be shampooed with a shampoo that is meant for dogs. To give your dog a bath, place him in a tub of warm water and use a cup or hand held shower head to wet him. Rub the shampoo in evenly over the entire dog, paying particular attention to the legs, underbelly and paws. If you are concerned about getting shampoo in the dog’s eyes, you can always use baby shampoo on the dog’s head. Be sure to rinse thoroughly.
After taking your dog out of the tub, towel dry the fur and use a brush to smooth out the fur and prevent knotting.
Trimming your dog's nails
To trim your dog’s nails, purchase a set of nail clippers that are meant for dogs at your local pet store. Scissors generally do not work well, and can cause unneeded discomfort for your dog during clipping.
Begin by holding your dog's paw in one hand, and the clippers in the other. Place the clippers over the nail and clip only the tip of the nail. Be careful not to clip too close, as cutting off too much will damage and expose the vein. As the vein can be difficult to see, begin by clipping off a bit at a time. If the vein does accidentally get cut, apply pressure to the wound with a clean gauze pad until the bleeding stops.
Cleaning your dog's teeth
When brushing your dog’s teeth, do NOT use regular toothpaste as it isn’t safe for dogs to swallow. Use a medium to heavy bristle toothbrush or a rubber “finger brush” to gently rub on your dog’s gums and teeth.
To open your dog’s mouth, hold its mouth open by lifting the loose skin at the sides of his mouth. The teeth should be brushed in the direction that they grow. Choose a special doggie toothpaste that comes in a flavor dogs prefer.
A dog’s teeth can also be cleaned by providing it with a dog biscuit that is designed for keeping tartar off your dog's teeth.
Dogs teeth should be checked and cleaned during it’s annual visit to the veterinarian.
Cleaning your dog's ears
To clean your dog’s ears, lightly dampen the end of a cotton tip swab. Do not stick the swab directly into the ear, as you may inadvertently damage the dog’s ear drum. Use the damp swab to gently clean the exterior areas of its ears. Mineral oil should never be used to clean dogs ears – the oils tend to remain in the ear causing hearing problems.
Frequent ear scratching generally means ear mites. Dog’s ears should be checked annually during their regular visit to the veterinarian.
If you encounter difficulties in grooming your dog, take him to a professional groomer and watch to see how it is done. The dog groomer can also give you advice and more tips on how to deal specifically with your dog.
When choosing a location for a dog’s bed or living space, it’s important to remember that dogs are creatures of habit –where you start out your puppy is probably where your grown up dog will end up sleeping. If the dog will be an indoor dog, choose an out of the way location that is cool and well ventilated. Puppies that are allowed to sleep in the owner’s bed will grow into large unwelcomed sleeping partners later in life.
Outdoor dogs should be sheltered in a dog house that will prevent wind and rain from getting inside. The house should be big enough to allow the dog to enter completely, and turn in a full circle before lying down. During the winter months, a heavy cloth should be hung over the door to keep in heat and prevent wind and moisture from entering. Dogs prefer loose bedding, generally a couple of warm blankets work best. Make sure to clean the dog house regularly to keep the dog healthy and comfortable.
The amount of exercise required by dogs varies from dog to dog – smaller dogs get plenty of exercise just playing with a ball in the family room, while larger dogs need room to run and stretch their legs. But regardless of how much exercise a dog needs, it’s important that they a get regular, daily opportunity to run. Just like humans, dogs need plenty of water and intermittent rest during exercise, especially on hot days.
Sometimes the best exercise for dogs is to allow them to play with other dogs in the neighborhood. As outdoor dogs get more exercise just doing their normal routine, indoor dogs can be encouraged to exercise by providing them with toys.