How To Take Care Of A Dog!
Dogs (or Canis lupus familiaris) were domesticated some 20 thousand years ago, evolving from the wolf. They are mammals and primarily carnivores and have a pack breed mentality. Dogs have been used throughout human written history and most likely much before. They have been used for hunting, herding, therapy, search and rescue, and general helping hands since literally the dawn of (at least) our written age. And of course, as dog is man’s best friend, one of the primary purposes humans have kept dogs for a very long while has been companionship. Since we domesticated dogs, humans have selected and bred over 400 breeds of all shapes and sizes, from tiny little Chihuahua to giant Wolfhound. Most of our canine friends are non-pedigree; a one of a kind mix of different breeds. In this article we will go over some basics on how to take care of a dog, so read on as we go over the major points!
Of course, most of the cost in owning a dog comes from your love and attention, but there are, of course, financial costs as well. Thankfully, dogs are not like children in financial regards. They don’t care about the newest iPad and don’t want a cell phone, but they will need to eat. Food costs for a medium size dog average about $400-500 a year for most owners, or about $30-50 per month. Factor in some treats and toys here and one vet checkup per year and you are at around $800 per year for your average medium sized breed. This does not include one time or unexpected expenses, like a crate or medical bills, but these expenses will generally be sparse, and usually a one time deal.
Most dogs absolutely looooove food. Some love it a little bit too much! Some dogs will only seek out food for hunger, but other dogs will need to have their food intake monitored. See the various breed guides (small, medium, large, and giant) on the site for individual dog breed information. In general, though, puppies up to 12 weeks old will need 4 meals a day, as much as they can eat. From three to six months, decrease to three meals a day (as much as they can eat). Then, till one year cut it down to two meals a day. Once they hit their first birthday, they should be okay with just one meal a day. During their first year, you should give them as much food as they can handle, as they need it because they are still growing. After the first year watch for overeating signs like bloating and obesity. High-quality dry food will give your dog a well-balanced diet, and can be mixed with many different things. Although they may enjoy some “human foods”, not all of them are good for your dog, so make sure you read up before giving them any. Puppies specifically should be fed a high quality “puppy” food, as it is higher in vitamins and fats that your puppy needs to grow. Make sure water is always available in a clean bowl.
Your dog needs activity. Much more than you do, actually. They absolutely need to stay fit and healthy and to stimulate their minds. A dog that does not have enough activity in their lives will start to exhibit destructive behaviors, like ripping up your new couch or eating your homework. Supervised fun, however, will satisfy many of your dog’s basic instincts, to dig and herd and chew and chase! Good ideas for exercise vary by breed, as different breeds have been bred for different things. Some dogs (Lab, we are looking at you) will play fetch obsessively while others love to have a task to learn and do (Border Collie, that’s right!). All dogs need exercise, though. They are a very active animal. You should also incorporate training into your play time with your new puppy pal, as making training fun and objective based is the best way for them to learn!
The No-No List, or make sure your dog cannot get into this stuff:
Yes, that’s right. Your dog is going to poop and you have to clean it up. It is entirely disrespectful to everyone else if you do not, and it will give a bad name to all of us dog owners. You could also train your dog to use a litter box!
Hopefully these points will get you started on how to care for your dog. Keep reading the blog and you will learn all sorts of things!