So you fell in love with those big puppy eyes at the shelter or the pet shop and brought her home. Now, are you ready to be the perfect dog owner and give your new family member what she needs?
Owning a dog can be a true blessing to you and your family. Dogs are loyal, warm-hearted companions who want to protect you, love you, play with you and be near you forever. They don’t judge you based on your appearance, your job, your income or your past- they love you for being you. Yes, this truly is the beginning of unconditional love. Many pet owners take on new pets for this very reason, but some don’t understand that improper care and neglect of animals can lead to a physically and/or mentally sick animal. Caring for a sick dog is heart-breaking, time-consuming and financial expensive.
In order to assist new dog owners, we did the research and came up with the top 5 things pet owners must provide for a happy, healthy dog.
1. Clean Water
Dogs need clean, cool water for good health. They need sufficient water to maintain a proper level of body fluids, and an imbalance in this level could cause serious illnesses. Unless you have a special needs dog, you will not have to monitor your dog’s water intake. So long as clean, cool water is accessible to your dog, she will drink enough to maintain her proper level of body fluids.
2. Quality Dog Food
The food you choose for your dog is probably the most important decision you make for your dog’s health. Food is where your dog derives all of its nutrients to make energy for playing, walking, and loving you, so don’t skimp on the quality. Check the ingredients to make sure wholesome meat parts and vegetables are used. If the thought of feeding your dogs chemicals and pesticides offends you, opt for natural or organic dog food. Many of them are made of human-grade ingredients and contain more antioxidants than commercial dog foods. Good quality dog food will save you money in the long run by reducing the number of veterinarian visits your dog will require and the heartache of seeing an unhealthy dog. Now you can even order high quality, natural dog food online and have it delivered directly to your home!
3. Physical Exercise
Just like humans, dogs need exercise. The amount of exercise your dog needs depends on his breed, energy level, age, and medical history. If your dog is healthy, at a minimum, take your dog on a 20-minute walk twice a day. Remember to keep in mind that a tired dog is a good dog. If your dog has a medical condition, visit your veterinarian to get a customized exercise regimen suitable for your dog.
4. Mental Exercise
Dogs, like us, get bored when they are not challenged. Boredom can lead dogs to manifest unwanted behavior like incessant barking, chewing furniture, digging through the trash, eating their own feces, etc. Give your dog a mental boost each day by teaching him a trick (playing dead is always a fun one) or playing a game where your dog has a task or job (“hide” healthy, natural treats in different places and let your dog “seek” them out). Or give your dog a safe bone or chew toy to redirect his boredom.
As a responsible dog owner, you need to be constantly aware of your dog’s physical and mental health. You don’t need to be specially trained to know that something is “wrong” with your dog. If your dog is not acting as usual or you just sense that something is not right about your dog, then chances are you are right. The longer you live with your dog, the better you will get to know her and what her “usual” habits are. For starters, give them a weekly “body exam” to check for hidden skin problems, infestations (fleas), ear infections, etc. Regularly check their stool for visible signs of worms, diarrhea, any irregularity, etc. For minor problems, there are now safe, non-invasive, natural remedies available for your fluffy friends. You can also prevent health problems by giving your dog his daily vitamins and other natural pet health supplements. If you think there is something wrong with your dog, please consult a veterinarian.