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Dogs are one of the most popular pets that we welcome into our families. This isn’t all too surprising. They’re loyal, provide us with unconditional love, and are some of the best companions that you could wish for. If you do decide to take on responsibility of a pooch, it’s important that you provide them with the best quality of life possible. Now, there are all sorts of steps that you can take to achieve this. But pretty much any dog is going to have a certain set of basic requirements that need to be met. Here are just a few that you should focus on for now!
Regular Veterinary Check Ups
As soon as you have any four legged friend, you need to make sure that they are registered at your local veterinary surgery. Arrange an introductory appointment where your pooch can receive a full check up. If you have a puppy, the vet is likely to offer immunisations, worming treatments, flea treatments, and microchipping services. You need to take all of these up, as they will ensure that your pup gets off to a good start in life, and also to ensure that he or she is easily identifiable if they happen to get out of the house without a collar on, or if they get out of the house and their collar becomes damaged. You are also likely to be offered sterilisation services. Male dogs can be castrated and female dogs can be spayed. If you are not planning on breeding your pet, it is generally recommended that you carry these operations out as soon as your pet is mature enough. Sterilisation can prevent a whole host of potential problems and diseases, and can also prevent potential behavioural problems from developing. If you adopt an older dog, it is still important that you register them at the vet and head in for an introductory consultation. The vet will be able to check their overall health and wellbeing, including checks on their teeth, which can often experience problems with age.
The amount of grooming that your dog will require will vary greatly depending on his or her breed and coat type. There are generally six different coat types in dogs: smooth coats, double coats, wire coats, curly coats, long coats and hairless coats. Each needs to be maintained in a completely different way.
- Smooth coats – dogs with smooth coats tend to be relatively low maintenance in regards to grooming. They don’t tend to need to be bathed often. In fact, these types of dogs only generally need to be groomed if they happen to roll or lie down in something unpleasant, or if they get a little smelly. Their coat is likely to shed itself, renewing itself regularly. You can simply bathe this pooch with shampoo that is specially formulated for dogs, then dry them off with a towel. If the coat needs to be brushed, use a soft bristle brush for dogs.
- Double coats – double coats are a little more difficult to deal with than smooth coats. Brush the undercoat, and then brush the top coat. If your dog has longer fur, you may need to separate it into sections to tackle it.
- Wire coats – wire coats require a slicker brush and a slicking comb for grooming. The stripping comb can be run across the top layer of fur, thinning overgrowth, and preventing tangles from developing.
- Curly coats – curly coats are soft and curly, and pooches with this coat type require a fair amount of maintenance to prevent matting. Use sensitive shampoos, and make sure to detangle the fur carefully, avoiding pulling wherever possible. You may also need to blow dry the coat to get a cloud-like appearance, but make sure to keep drying tools on a low temperature setting and far from your pet’s fur.
- Long coats – dogs with longer coats, again, require a little more work. If the coat is smooth, you’ll have an easier job. Just remember to comb or brush the coat regularly to prevent tangles. If you are dealing with a dog with a long and coarse coat, you will need to spend more time grooming the undercoat, as explained above.
- Hairless coats – hairless dogs have no fur to deal with! But this doesn’t mean you can completely forget care and grooming. They should still be bathed with sensitive dog-formula shampoos and you will need to make sure they are warm in the winter (with small dog jackets and jumpers) and protected from the sun in the summer (with dog sun protection).
If you are ever in doubt when it comes to grooming your pooch, you can always book them in for a professional groom with a trained and qualified groomer. Individuals with curly haired dogs and long coated dogs tend to take advantage of these services. Ask around for recommendations and keep an eye out for positive reviews before leaving your pooch to be groomed by anyone!
We clean our own teeth twice a day every day, and believe it or not, dogs need dental care too. So many people neglect this aspect of their dogs’ health! Now, there are a few ways to go about cleaning your dog’s teeth. The first, and easiest, is to offer teeth-cleaning treats. Your dog will chew on these and they will scrape plaque away from the teeth, whilst freshening breath. A more effective method is to clean your dog’s teeth with a toothbrush designed for dogs and a toothpaste designed for dogs. A final option, for a thorough clean, is to have your vet conduct a full clean, scale, and polish. However, bear in mind that your dog will need to go under general anaesthetic for this procedure to be performed, so might not be suitable for unwell, weak, or older dogs.
Each dog will have their own preference when it comes to food. Some will prefer dry food, some will prefer wet food, and some will enjoy a combination of both. Each canine companion will also have personal preferences when it comes to flavour, and there are now a whole host of different dog food flavours on the market, from chicken to turkey, beef, and even fish. You will find out what your pup likes through a process of trial and error. The amount that you should feed your dog will be dependent on their breed and individual size. Consult your vet if you are unsure in regards to exactly how much you should be feeding your dog. Your vet will also be able to recommend particular formula feeds for dogs with digestive problems or sensitive stomachs.
While you need to make sure your dog is getting their full diet on a daily basis and treats should never replace meals, it’s always nice to be able to give your pup a little something extra. Again, the type of treat that your dog will prefer will vary entirely based on personal preference. Some dogs will eat anything that is handed to them, while others may be a bit more picky. If your dog likes chewing and gnawing on things, consider premium antlers for dogs. They are naturally shed, all-natural, and last for a long time. Then consider other small, edible treats. If your pup has a sensitive stomach, you can try plain boiled chicken too! Just remember to give treats in moderation to prevent weight gain.
Every dog needs exercise. Again, specific requirements will largely fall down to your dog’s breed. Australian Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Weimaraners, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Dalmatians, and Border Collies all require a lot of exercise, so will need to be taken on frequent walks, as well as having a garden to run around in. Breeds such as Basset Hounds, Bulldogs, Bullmastiffs, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Chow Chows, and French Bulldogs require a lot less, so tend to prefer shorter walks and require less play. So, do a little research into your dog’s given breed to determine how far you should walk him or her and how much extra exercise they will need. Don’t just make assumptions based on your dog’s size. Great Danes are the largest dog breeds, but don’t need long walks at all! If in doubt, contact your vet and ask for a little advice. When walking your pooch, make sure that they have a well-fitted harness, as they are less likely to slip out of this. Also make sure that the leash is well attached and sturdy.
While your dog may have individual needs that you will familiarise yourself with as time passes by, you can guarantee that your dog will need veterinary care, grooming, their teeth cleaned, food, treats, and regular walks!