Getting a new dog could be tricky for most first-time owners. However, learning to love them is simple. The best love a dog could receive is a good owner that is kind, caring and looking to improve to become the best. Pet owners must be responsible and willing to add daily, weekly, and monthly practices into their lives to improve the livelihood of their dogs.
Below is a list of the five best practices you could implement to ensure that your dog is well cared for. Whether you’re a first-time owner or not, there’s always at least one way we could improve this joyful responsibility.
1. Be a considerate pet owner.
One of the most overlooked tasks of being a dog owner is considering all the basics for your specific type of dog. Usually, pets are grouped by their general species instead of their unique breeds, so most of the information found online is catered towards dogs in general.
To avoid this common issue, investigate your dog’s breed by contacting a professional, looking into reliable websites, or visiting a veterinarian. From here, you should identify and deeply examine the following basics:
- Health: What does your dog need to stay physically and emotionally healthy?
- Diet: What is the type of diet your dog needs to follow? Where can this be purchased?
- Behaviour: How will your dog act in specific situations? What are the common issues? What could you do to avoid those problems?
- Activity level: How much daily activity does your dog need?
Some aspects will need more observation from you as a dog owner. For instance, you may find that your pet responds better to raw dog food than typical kibbles. Once you understand your dog’s health, diet, behaviour, and recommended activity levels, you will be able to cater your purchases. You can ensure that all your dog’s needs are being considered!
2. Have regular vet visits.
Many studies proved that a large percentage of dog owners do not take their pets for regular veterinarian visits, which results in unidentified and untreated illnesses. In some areas of the world, this is considered a crime and a form of neglect. Find a veterinarian in your area by checking local reviews, websites and even asking a few dog owners. Once you decide, develop a good relationship between yourself, your dog, and the vet.
Depending on your dog’s breed, the veterinarian will mention the recommended number of visits and how often they occur. Doing this will help to ensure that your dog hasn’t developed a long-time illness or common diseases such as fleas and heartworm. It will also help you keep up with the dog’s vaccination schedule!
3. Find local friends, a dog sitter, or enroll in a dog daycare!
Dogs are social animals, and humans are always busy, whether it’s with work, school, kids, and travel. Hence, you should always have another plan to ensure that your dog isn’t home alone for long periods. There are many solutions to this, and it is recommended that you do at least one of the three activities:
- Find local dog friends in the neighborhood to have playdates.
- Hire a trusted dog sitter who will visit your home or bring your dog to their home when you are away.
- Enroll your dog in a daycare designed to ensure all dogs are playing, socializing, eating on time, and being well taken care of by professional staff.
This may be important in the long run for your dog’s mental health. If you’re aware that your life is busy, this should be added to your to-do list!
4. Learn to detect signs of stress.
Just like humans, dogs could become stressed as well. However, dogs cannot voice their feelings. It’s up to the owner to understand common triggers and common signs of stress. Some symptoms could be tricky to detect because they mimic normal behaviors, so it’s crucial for the owner to be mindful of their situation and surroundings.
Some common signs of stress found in dogs are as follow:
- Uncommon pacing or shaking: This symptom is sometimes common after a bath or a chilling breeze. However, dogs could also behave this way when they’re in an uncomfortable environment.
- Changes in eyes and ears: Like humans, dogs also have physical signs of stress. Dogs may become teary-eyed, and their pupils might dilate. Their ears may become alert and become pinned on their heads upwardly.
- Panting: Dogs tend to pant when excited or stressed. If your dog has panted more than usual, it may be experiencing stress.
- Changes in body posture: If your dog is standing alone, with their head and back overly bent downwards, or if they’re shifting all their weight to their back legs, they may be experiencing stress.
Finally, be sure to shower your dog with tons of physical affection. Spoil your dog with pats, hugs, rubs, and cuddles. It is the ultimate way to show your dog that you love them!