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Dog Care Basics You Need to Know!
Just What Sort of Breed is an
"Outside" Dog Anyway?
Dog Care Basics: Probably my biggest pet peeve as it pertains to animals is when someone refers to their dog or cat as an "outside pet". My immediate response is, "just what sort of breed is that?"
You can imagine the responses to that question. Answers range from complete confusion ("what??") to fumbling around for an answer that won't appear insensitive to animals ("well, I'm not home much and we just can't trust Fido alone").
Or my personal favorite, "he prefers to be outside".
To which I reply:
"Really...then he must indeed be a new breed because what dogs really want and need is to be close to their humans!"
What differentiates an outside dog from an inside dog? Absolutely nothing! The difference is not in the dog, it lies within the human owner. Who knows why people seek a dog in the first place if they do not intend for him to be part of their family. What causes people to become disenchanted or inconvenienced by their pets?
Maybe education is the key, or at the very least a good awareness of what it takes to raise a pet. Dog care basics were not likely considered for the dog that has been relegated to living outside. "Outside" dogs are destined to live lives of solitude, boredom, and loneliness.
How would you feel if you were secluded day in and day out from the people you love by a window? Some dogs aren't even fortunate enough to have a window to look through.
These dogs will most often become so frustrated that they turn to destructive behavior or bark all day until their owners can no longer tolerate it...
...and maybe they end up abandoned to shelters.
What to do if you find a lost pet...
Or even worse, an "outside" dog may be doomed to life tethered to a tree or a post without the ability to roam, or run. Many dogs in these conditions end up dead resulting from entanglement in their chains.
Dogs can become severely dehydrated as a result of running out of water and languish in the heat of summer or suffer dehydration from the freezing cold of winter.
Have you ever seen what a dog's knees or elbows look like from lying on cement every day? They become hard, cracked, and calloused and most likely painful.
Imagine yourself in your twilight years, having to lye on ice cold ground with arthritis pain coursing through your body, but you have no way to complain. Pain is NOT any less painful for an aging dog than it is for us; they deserve better!
Of course if you're reading this and looking through websites for information about dog care basics then you're not likely in the same category as the imaginary pet owners described above.
So what's a dog's first and biggest basic need: YOU! While dog care basics go beyond food and water, it's really not that complicated, nor should it break the family budget. But there are some dog care basics you need to consider. Pets needn't ever become an inconvenience if you know what to expect from the start. For the sake of keeping it simple, we're going to be covering just the "daily" dog care basics on this page.
Your dog's daily needs are really very simple: Beyond the big stuff like vet check-ups, yearly vaccinations, flea & heartworm prevention and the decision whether to spay or neuter; let's look at what's needed during a normal day with your pooch.
- Dog Care Basics: Safety
Make your home and your yard a safe place for your dog. Learn what can be hazardous and poisonous for your pets and take steps to ensure they stay protected.
- Dog Care Basics: Food
Dog food choices these days are as vast as the ocean. Making the best dog food choice for your dog should first be considered by researching the needs of your particular breed. You might consult a breed organization as they make it their business to know the requirements of their specific breeds.
Next your veterinarian should be consulted. He is best qualified to analyze your dog's health, nutrition, and calorie requirements. Your dog's food is one of the most important decisions you'll make. What he eats will affect his overall health and well being, so choose wisely and don't let price be your decision maker.
- What about treats?
Well, here's an area where most of us go overboard. Treats need to be considered in the total calories your dog requires to keep her at a healthy weight. Obesity brings on health problems and early death, just like it does in people. Some studies have shown that keeping a dog at peak weight or even slightly underweight can increase their life by several years.
- Dog Care Basics: Fresh Water - Every Day
Do we really need to say anything more? No human would want to drink two day old water full of slime and drool...and neither do dogs! Mine stare at me over their water bowl first thing every morning anticipating the cool fresh taste of clean water.
- Dog Care Basics: Exercise
Yep, just like us, they need it. It will keep them fit, stimulate their minds, and help them stay calm, not to mention it's great motivation for you to get out every day and move! We'll explore a variety of activities as well as ways for your dog to entertain himself while shedding some calories.
- Dog Care Basics: Training
Yes, I've included training as part of the basics. A trained dog is a happy and safe dog. There are many schools of thought about dog training, and I highly recommend a method of training that does not include intimidation or punishment. Training should be an enjoyable exercise for you and your pet and should always offer positive reinforcement and love.
- Dog Care Basics: Grooming
Not every dog needs daily grooming, but even if you have one that does it shouldn't be overwhelming for either of you. If I were to give just one piece of advice here, it would be to start this habit when you first bring them home to live with you; puppy or senior dog.
One of the mistakes people make in the area of grooming is infrequency. If you don't make this a habit from the onset, your dog will most likely be less than cooperative when it comes time for grooming. What do I mean by daily grooming? Simply run a brush through his coat everyday if possible; the important thing here is to get him used to it and for you to make it a habit.
Of course dog care basics go beyond just daily needs. You're in this for the life of your dog right, so preparation and planning are important.
- Dog Care Basics: Tooth Brushing
Ok, speaking of habits, here's one that should never be overlooked. Yes dogs and cats can develop periodontal disease, and sadly this is the case with too many pets. Age, breed type, and genetics all play a part in determining dental disease.
If your dog's teeth are neglected, it will most certainly lead to health problems. And no, dry food will not keep them from getting tartar and plaque build up. Here again, the younger and sooner you begin, the better your dog will adapt to the habit.
- Dog Care Basics: Sleepy Time
Ideally your dog should have a bed, crate, or mat to call his own. Even if he sleeps with you, he will likely appreciate his own comfy space to take naps or just hang out. The size/type of bedding he will need is based on the individual dog. If he's a senior citizen then soft and cushy is a must for those old, arthritic bones.
If your dog's a puppy then you should consider a dog crate to help with potty training. If the type of bedding you choose wouldn't be comfortable for you, it won't be for your dog either.
Training Resources -
Voice 4 Dogs - Mindful Leadership Brings out the Best in your Dog. No Disclaimer! Everyone can do it - Every dog responds to it!