A Basic Guide for New and
Potential Dog Guardians
TLC and patience goes a long way with our best friends. But dogs have many other needs as well.
- FOOD – Dog’s need a high-protein balanced and nourishing diet. There are a variety of kibble dog foods and other alternative diets on the market. We recommend seeking the guidance of your chosen Veterinarian on which diet best fits your dog’s needs according to their age, breed, health, and weight. When choosing the right diet, consider your budget for the long-term because changing a dog’s diet often or too suddenly can cause digestive upsets (aka diarrhea all over your house).
- CLEAN WATER – Dog’s need access to clean and fresh water daily. We recommend that a dog’s water bowl be changed and cleaned twice daily to avoid biofilm from building up. Biofilm is a bacterial slimly film that can build up on dog food and water dishes. A dog’s mouth contains bacteria that can build up as a thick slime-like film substance in uncleaned food and water dishes. Biofilm can be dangerous to pets and humans, so be sure to clean those dishes at least daily.
- REST AREA – Dog’s are naturally territorial animals, so they do better having their own private space to rest and withdraw from the busy household. From crates to soft plush beds, decide what type of area would best serve your dog and then designate that area for them. There are a variety of uses for this rest area, chewing bones, sleeping, and hiding from the kids are at the top of our list.
- GROOMING & NAIL CARE – Depending on the breed of dog and their lifestyle, a dog may need just routine bathing all the way to complete shave downs. You have options to do this maintenance yourself, or you can outsource to a professional Groomer for assistance. Routine Nail Care is a critical part of grooming and preventative healthcare for your dog’s well-being. Leaving your dog’s nails to over-grow for long periods not only causes pain and discomfort but can also lead to arthritic illness, joint and spinal strain, and/or combined with a preventable injury.
- ROUTINE FITNESS AND EXERCISE – Just like people, dogs benefit from getting off the couch and stretching their legs. Dog walking, running, and agility can sincerely improve a dog’s health. Overweight dogs have more health problems in the long-term. Under exercised dogs can lead to anxious and restless behavior. A simple 30-minute walk at least once a day can severely lower the chances of severe weight gain, anxiety, and stress in a dog. If you are unable to commit to fitness and exercise for your dog, consider hiring a reputable dog walking service in your area.
- MENTAL STIMULATION – Just like exercise, dogs benefit from mental stimuli. Mental stimulation can come in the form of toys, bones, and games. Consider building a plan to keep your dog busy with activities. Kong’s and other food dispensing tools can be a great way to challenge your dog’s mind, hindering them from unwanted behavior.
- ESSENTIAL SUPPLIES – A leash, collar, and harness for handling. Food and Water Bowls. Well rated American-made toys that are non-toxic made with material to prevent choking. Beds, crates, pet-gates. Dog-friendly shampoo and ear cleaner.
- VETERINARY CARE- The only vaccine required for pets by law is Rabies, so at a minimum, you will need to have a Veterinarian administer this. We also recommend at least a Parvo and Distemper Vaccine. Heartworm prevention is also necessary, especially in states where mosquitos are prevalent, and it’s warm year-round. Annual fecal tests are also a helpful way to ensure your dog is not harboring parasites. An annual examination by a veterinarian is always recommended to ensure your dog is in tip-top health.
- IDENTIFICATION AND COUNTY LICENSES – Whether it is microchipping or a simple ID-tag on a collar, identification is essential to ensure if your pet is lost or escapes, they will return home. 1 in 3 pets will become lost in their lifetime, and only 20% of lost dogs become reunited with their families. Depending on your county, typically a county license for each dog is required by law. Be sure to check the laws and fees for your county.