Dogs 101
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Dog care Rubber Ducks
There are several things to consider when it comes to dog care. You want to make sure your dog's diet and food is appropriate for him. You want to make sure that you see the veteranarian at the appropriate times. You want to make sure that you use the right preventative flea and tick regimen. You should consider how a particular breed matches with your lifestyle too. Check out more about Dog Breeds.

For this page, we will explore to the following:

Feeding and Nutrition

Dogs are all shapes and sizes, young and old. Therefore, commercially available food comes in many varities. Puppy food is generally the best bet for small and medium dogs 6 months of age and under. For large breeds, it is common to feed them puppy food for one to two years (consult your veterinarian.) To figure out the correct serving size for your dog, check the feeding instructions on the package of food - Even if you are feeding your dog puppy food, a 5lb dog won't eat the same amount as a Great Dane.

Small and medium breed dogs are considered seniors at about 7-9 years of age while large breeds are considered senior at about 5 years of age. Once your dog reaches maturity, it is a good idea to consult with your veterinarian about switching his food to a senior dog food.

There are 6 essential items that your dog requires daily to maintain good health. They are water, protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins and minerals. When picking out food for your dog, remember that animal protein is more easily digested than vegetable or soy protein. A diet that is too high in carbohydrates or fiber might make your dog constipated or give them loose stools. Fat is essential for a nice coat, healthy skin, and to provide energy. Don't forget to keep your dog supplied with an unlimited bowl of water!! Regardless of whether you purchase commercial dog food, choose wet and/or dry dog food, or make your own, please make sure that you discuss with your veterinarian your dog's diet and your choice of food.

Feed the dog table food?? Most experts agree that you stick to dog food for dogs. There are many human foods that could make a dog sick or even kill them. You can also add extra unnecessary calories to your dog's diet.

Foods to never give your dog:

If your dog eats any of these foods, or if you are concerned about what he has eaten, you can call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center -(888) 426-4435

Fleas and Ticks

Your loveable, clean dog can get fleas or ticks just by playing in your yard. If another flea-infested animal goes through your yard (such as a stray dog, cat or possum), your dog has the potential to pick up fleas. Ticks like to hang out on tall grasses or low shrubs, so your dog is usually the perfect height for a tick to hop onto. The dangers of being bitten by a tick or fleas include:

To help prevent your dog from being a flea's or tick's next home, there are sereral topical medications that you can apply to your dog that work very well. Frontline and Advantix are the two most veterinarian recommended brands for prevention of flea and tick infestation of your dog. Advantage can be used for flea problems only, not for ticks. If your dog already has fleas, it is important to treat your house and wash the dog's bedding and anywhere the dog sleeps. Fleas can remain in your house long after your dog has been treated, so you want to get rid of them as soon as possible.

Your veterinarian might also offer your dog vaccinations depending on the area of the coutry that you live in. In the north east, it is common for dogs to recieve the vaccination for lyme disease. Be sure to inquire at your next veterinary appointment about the precautions you can take so your dog avoidS fleas and ticks.

Grooming

If you can, it is best to start grooming your dog regularly when he is a puppy. He will be comfortable with the process and may even look forward to it. If that isn't an option, don't worry, you can still groom your dog.

You want to make sure to reward your dog and give him lots of praise and petting while you are grooming him. Don't try to do all the grooming at once, start slowly and just do a little bit at a time.

When starting anything new with your pet, including grooming, remember to talk to your veterinarian first.

Grooming- Long-Haired Dogs

Try to brush your dog often to prevent matting. If your dog's hair does get matted, it can be painful for your dog and might cause hot spots. Don't tug on the matting. Start slowly with a slicker brush and work it out slowly. Then, use the matt comb for a bit more refinement. Last, use matt removing tool to remove the matt. Remember to give your dogs treats and lots of praise during the process.

Grooming - Short-Haired Dogs

Just because your dog has short hair, doesn't mean she doesn't need grooming too! You can brush you dog lightly or use a rubber brush. This will help to get rid of all of the short hair that sticks to your clothes and furniture.

Grooming - Doggy Manicure

When it comes to nail trimming, start by letting him get used to having you spread his toes and touch his nails. As with all grooming, if your dog starts to become anxious or panicky, don't continue. You might end up only doing one nail a day, but this will help your dog get used to the process and trust you.

One thing to be aware of is the nail quick. If your dog's nails are clear, you can see the blood vessels in the nail. Take proper precautions to NOT cut this. If you cut the quick, it will hurt the dog and he will bleed. It is a smart precaution to have styptic powder ready to put on the nail if you accidentally cut the quick to help stop the bleeding and prevent infection. Always remember to praise your dog before, during, and after the process.

Dental Health

Should you brush your dog's teeth? YES! It is very important to maintain good oral health for your dog. If you don't brush your dog's teeth regularly (at least once a week), your dog is at risk of plaque building up which can cause bad breath, gum disease and tooth decay. Sound familiar? Dogs run many of the same risks that humans do with unkempt mouths.

To brush your dog's teeth, you want to choose a toothpaste flavor that is favorable to a dog, such as chicken or peanut butter flavor. NEVER use human toothpaste! There are several commerically made dog toothbrushes that are angled to get in a dog's mouth. There are also finger cots that humans can put on their fingers to brush the dog's teeth (if you are brave enough!). Make sure you let the dog taste the toothpaste first and make sure you are ready with lots of praise and treats. Brush in a circular motion and keep an eye out for and focus on the plaque. It might be a difficult process initially, but stick with it, each time will get better. Always end with lots of praise for your dog.

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What to Expect at the Vet

Be prepared when you make your first trip to the veterinarian. You will want to bring a few things with you including a vaccine and medical history from the kennel, breeder or previous owner. Try to get a fresh fecal sample (fun!) and bring a list of medications the dog is currently on. Of course, go prepared with questions for the vet so that you don't forget to ask anything.

Topics your veterinarin should discuss with you: Diet, vaccine schedules, flea & tick control, heartworm testing, and your plan for training. The vet should do a full medical exam. Puppies will need to be dewormed. Testing the feces in older dogs will help the vet know if your older dog needs deworming also. Don't forget to ask your list of questions!


References

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