Being the best dog parent is not always the easiest task. It requires patience and plenty of research to determine how to best care for your pup and it begins before you even get the dog.
Step 1: Research
The first step anyone should take before acquiring a dog or any pet for that matter is doing research in order to determine which breed would work best with your lifestyle. The biggest mistake most people make is bringing a dog home because they like how it looks, but failing to recognize that the dog needs a lot of exercise or a place to run around in and exert their energy. By researching the right breed ahead of time, you are saving both the dog and yourself, unnecessary stress and heartbreak.
Step 2: Keep your dog’s medical records up to date
It might not be the most fun experience for either you or your furry friend but it’s a necessary component of your dogs overall well being. Regular vet checkups are essential and should not be missed. In the first year of a dog’s life appointments will be more frequent as there are important developmental milestones and vaccines that your dog will need to help them grow into a healthy, vibrant pup. After that, it’s typically once a year or when complications arise. Regular checkups can cost anywhere from $60 to several hundred dollars depending on what your dog’s needs. Vaccines, supplements and procedures such as neutering, can add up. Having a pug myself, I also have to deal with things such as wrinkle and ear infections which can become problematic and costly. If you know you can’t afford the expense, my advice is to NOT get a dog.
Step 3: Feed your dog only the best food
This is extremely important. Feeding your dog a proper diet will keep them healthy and give them the best shot at leading a long life with minimal complications. Many dogs have food allergies and sensitives which can lead to further complications such as itchy, irritated feet that can lead to obsessive licking and infections. You want to pick a brand that is appropriate for your dog’s breed, size and needs. A puppy has different dietary needs than a senior dog. Additionally, many brands these days have a lot of fillers which are not properly digested and have zero nutritional value. You want to pick a dog food that is low in these preservatives and fillers, and high in vitamins and minerals that are going to help foster strong bone growth, joints and a healthy coat.
This is obviously not a comprehensive list of what it takes to be a great dog parent, but it’s a good start.
Share your list of tips and tricks in the comments below.