Keeping Your Dog Happy and Healthy: Tips for First-Time Pet Owners

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Owning a dog comes with lots of responsibilities. They bring us numerous moments of joy and unfaltering companionship. But dogs have to be happy and healthy to be a part of our daily life. As a new dog owner, you might not have the needed expertise to handle a dog. Every canine is different and has separate emotional needs. However, there are some basic tips and maintenance steps that you can adopt to care for all dog breeds. Feeding them a healthy diet, taking them out for walks, and vaccinating them regularly are some of the basic steps of taking care of a dog. Below we have listed six common tips for first-time dog owners.

Feed nutritious diet

Feeding your dog nutritious food is a great way to keep it healthy for years. Incorporate both protein and carbohydrates to create a balanced meal. Add chicken, beef, and fish for the protein and rice and potatoes for the carbs. You can also add fruits and vegetables such as apples and carrots to supplement their diet. Identify if your dog is allergic to any food and avoid it. The portion size will depend on the age and weight of your dog. If you’re unsure about it, ask a vet to find the exact portion size for your dog.

If you’re giving commercial dog food to your pet, make sure it meets AAFCO standards. Provide fresh water to your dog. Change it every day and clean the bowl at least twice a week.

Vaccinate regularly

Vaccinating your dog can prevent some life-threatening diseases. You may have heard about parvovirus in dogs. It’s one of the most common viral diseases in dogs and puppies that causes severe diarrhea and vomiting, which eventually leads to death. Other common viral diseases include Canine Distemper, Canine Hepatitis, and rabies. They can also get Lyme disease which is caused by a bacterial infection.

Every one of these diseases has a vaccine for it. You must maintain the vaccination schedule to ensure that your dogs don’t catch these diseases. Talk to your vet to determine the frequency of the vaccination and keep track of the past medical history.

Exercise your dog

Exercising your dogs adds to their health and mental well-being and also keeps their weight in check. It helps build strong muscles and joints, improves fitness, and keeps the heart healthy. It also boosts their mood and reduces stress and anxiety.

There are a number of ways to exercise your dogs. Taking them out for a walk is the most common one. If your dog is energetic, you can take it for a long run to burn some excess calories. If you have a lovely backyard or live near a park, you can play fetch with your dog. If you have a pool, take your dog swimming thrice a week as exercise. You can also enroll them in agility training classes to improve their fitness and also sort behavioral problems.

Maintain a healthy weight

Letting your dog indulge in food or being lazy can lead to obesity. An obese dog is a very unhappy dog, and you can see it clearly in their behavior. Obesity can create muscle and joint problems, respiratory problems, and reduce energy levels. It can also decrease life expectancy and destroy the quality of life.

Some dog breeds are prone to becoming obese. Some dogs have health problems that can lead to weight gain. But all other dogs get obese due to the negligence of their owners. Feed your dog a healthy diet, take them out for exercise every day, and control their portion size to maintain a healthy weight. Check their weight every now and then to ascertain that you’re on track.

Arrange regular health checkups

Visiting the vet at regular intervals sounds like a lot of responsibility, but it’s required if you want to keep your dog healthy and safe. The vet can easily detect health problems and take preventive measures if required. It lets you start the treatment as soon as possible to save the life of your beloved pet.

Upon visiting, the vet will check your dog’s vaccination date and determine if it needs any booster shots. They will check the dog’s overall health and also monitor the temperature, body weight, heart rate, and breathing. They will also look for any signs of injury. The vet will also look for ticks and fleas and deworm your dog at regular intervals to keep the parasites at bay.

Groom professionally or at home

Grooming keeps your dog clean and prevents its coat from shedding or matting. You can choose to get professional grooming done on your dog, which includes bathing, shaving or trimming their coat, nail clipping, and dental cleaning. Check the reputation, experience, and reviews of the grooming salon before taking your dog there. Make sure they’re using safe tools and ingredients before buying their services.

You can also groom your dog at home. Bathing your dog, brushing their coat, and clipping their nails are things you can do yourself every week. However, don’t forget to take them to a professional grooming salon once every two to three months.

Maintaining a pet and keeping them healthy can appear challenging for first-time pet owners. But once you get the hang of it, you can easily keep your dog happy. Also, feeding it yourself, grooming it, and taking it out for playing or exercising can boost your bond and add to your mental well-being.

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