A New Owner’s Guide to Taking Care of a Dog

Anyone that owns a dog knows deep down that they’re family.They are adorable, help keep a home safe from intruders, and are always sure to show their love and adoration for their owner. But owning a dog isn’t all fun and games; taking care of a dog is a lot of responsibility. 

So if you’ve just gotten a dog and are feeling a little overwhelmed, don’t worry; we’ve all been there. Identifying ways to take care of them is an ongoing process!

Here’s a guide to make everything a little bit easier for you.

Pug running on the grass

Establish a Healthy Feeding Schedule

Establishing a healthy feeding schedule for your dog will help ensure they have sustained energy during the day.

Start by portioning meals into smaller, evenly-spaced meals throughout the day. This will help your pet avoid overeating or feeling overly hungry between meals. Always make sure to provide your pup with plenty of fresh, clean water as well.

Strictly regulate your dog’s diet by only offering healthy pet food options labeled “complete and balanced” for your dog’s age and size. Be sure also to keep track of your dog’s caloric intake. Overfeeding can lead to obesity and potential health issues.

To get your pup off to a good start, it may be beneficial to speak with your vet. You can also engage the services of a pet nutritionist who can help you determine an appropriate diet and feeding schedule.

Puppy eating

Set up Rules and Boundaries

To properly take care of a new dog, establishing some rules and boundaries is an excellent place to start. Make sure you are consistent with your expectations and give clear orders.

You must decide how often they will be allowed outdoors, what rooms they are welcome, and where they can sleep. Also, establish appropriate playtimes and expectations, such as when they can bark and when they can’t. Let your dog know its role in the family and provide positive reinforcement for proper behaviors.

Remember, consistency is key when training your pup. Consistently follow the rules and boundaries to help keep your pup healthy and happy.

Dog playing outside with a rope

Make a Training Routine

Making a training routine for your new dog is key to having a successful relationship. Start by committing to a set schedule to train the dog. This will help reinforce consistency, which is essential for any pet training.

Begin by teaching basic commands such as sit, stay, come, and stay warm of you. Simple commands help the dog learn their boundaries and how to respond to their owner.

Be clear and consistent when issuing commands. Then, offer positive reinforcement with treats or verbal praise. Training should be frequent and brief so as not to overwhelm your dog. 

When your dog follows through with the behavior you are looking for, reward them.

Regular training will help your dog understand what is expected of them and make the transition into their new home much smoother. If you aren’t sure how to do this on your own, you can enlist the help of a dog trainer or check out puppy training classes linked here.

Training a dog

Develop an Exercise Plan

Exercise is essential to keep your dog healthy and energetic. Aim for a 30-minute walk twice daily, plus 10 minutes of playtime. Early mornings and late afternoons are ideal for walks, as it’s cooler and more comfortable for your pup.

Be aware of the temperature, and adjust the duration and intensity of your walks accordingly. You can also keep your dog active by taking them to a dog park once a week to play with other canines.

Research different types of dog toys that you can use during your dog’s playtime to stimulate their physical and mental activity. You can also enroll your dog in agility classes or activities like flyball, dog dancing, and nose work. These activities can be a great way to practice commands and keep their brains and bodies active.

Lastly, set realistic expectations. Remain patient with your pup as they learn and adjust to a new routine. With patience and consistency, you can bond with your pup while keeping them healthy and active.

Exercising a dog

Create a Safe and Loving Home Environment

Create a space just for your dogs where they can relax and sleep. Make sure you identify any possible hazards for your pup and take steps to remove or protect against them. This is an essential part of dog care.

Spend time with your pup and get to know them. Be consistent.

If your pup is struggling with adjustment or anxiety, consider setting up a crate or area they can go and relax until they become more comfortable.

Puppy in a crate

Plan for Veterinary Visits 

When taking care of a puppy, it is essential to plan for regular veterinary appointments to ensure that he/she is healthy and in good condition. An excellent way to start is by scheduling an initial exam with the veterinarian.

This appointment will set the baseline for your pup’s health. In this appointment, you and the vet can also determine if your furry companion needs additional treatments or tests in the future. Be sure to bring copies of any relevant medical records and discuss any existing health conditions or diseases your pup may have.

You should also set up regular checkups with the veterinarian at least once a year or as the vet recommends. During these visits, the vet can monitor your pup’s growth, weight, diet, exercise, and overall lifestyle.

Regular examinations are vital to keeping your pup healthy and happy. So be sure to set aside time in your schedule to plan for them.

Puppy at the vets

Get a Head Start On Taking Care of a Dog

Giving your dog a healthy and happy life is essential, and using this guide will put you on the path to achieving that. From feeding and potty training to vet visits, taking care of a dog requires planning and responsibility.

Take the time to learn your dog’s unique needs; the resulting bond will be worth it. Have fun with it, and happy pet-owning!

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