New to Dog Ownership? Here Are 9 Essential Tips for Animal Care at Home
Animals can be a wonderful addition to the family. A significantly large percentage of households around the world own some form of pet, whether a dog, cat, rabbit, bird, or horse. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, in 2020, 45% of households owned dogs and 26% owned cats. This number increased further, with Forbes reporting a 78% rise in pet ownership during the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are several reasons why people love pets. Pets play an important role in improving a healthy lifestyle. General research has shown that they can reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder. For those living in loneliness and isolation, having a pet can make you feel wanted and needed because they take focus away from your life problems. Additionally, pets can be good companions for exercise and daily routines and help you meet new people.
However, like human beings, animals too need caring. They risk cruelty, being endangered, and getting lost if they are not cared for. For instance, leaving your dog unattended, even for a few minutes, can lead to it being poisoned, beaten, or stolen. What can you do to care for your dog if you are new to dog ownership? Here are nine essential tips for animal care at home.
1. Create a Safe Environment
Just like people, pets also need to live in a clean and safe environment for a happy, healthy life. Providing a good environment for your dog can have numerous benefits. For instance, a clean environment will keep your dog healthy by minimizing exposure to harmful bacteria, pests, and parasites. A safe environment will also prevent your dog from getting into dangerous situations, such as coming into contact with sharp objects, leading to injuries.
Keeping your home compound safe is vital if you are on the verge of getting a dog or have gotten one recently. One action you can take to ensure safety is to keep your indoor and outdoor living space free from dirt, debris, holes, and other potential hazards. Keep the insides of your home clean by mopping and vacuuming regularly to remove dirt, hair, and allergens. Remove any potentially dangerous objects on the outside by keeping your trash stored safely and cleaning up after your dog makes a mess.
You also keep your dog safe by fencing your home area and keeping it well-lit. To keep your home well-lit, consider outdoor lighting installation to help your dog move safely around, especially at night. On the other hand, contacting fencing services to fence your compound can prevent potential outside dangers and the risk of your dog being stolen or getting lost.
2. Proper Nutrition
Another essential tip for animal care at home is to ensure that you feed your pets properly. Proper nutrition is essential to keeping your dog healthy and disease-free. If not properly fed, your dog can suffer from serious illnesses and conditions such as obesity, diabetes, fur loss, and allergies. The American Kennel Club reveals that obesity is a serious health problem for dogs, with more than 56% of dogs in the US being overweight or obese.
You can do various things to ensure your dog is healthy and properly fed. First, it is important that you choose a high-quality diet appropriate for your dog’s size, breed, age, and level of activity. Secondly, ensure that you feed your dog the correct food portion based on their weight and activity level. Finally, schedule your dog’s feeding time at the same time every day to ensure they do not overeat.
Sometimes, feeding your dog a homemade diet may not provide all the necessary nutrients. Feeding them food rich in nutrients can be a good way to ensure animal care at home. If you do not feed your dog an appropriate commercial diet, you may need to incorporate supplements in their meals to ensure they are getting an adequate amount of vitamins
CBD products can be a good source of nutrients for your dogs since they contain complex vitamins and are rich in iron. They may also help relieve pain, anxiety, and inflammation. However, you should consult with vet services for advice on how to administer CBD to your dog.
3. Regular Checkups
You can also care for your animals by taking them for regular checkups. Animal hospitals provide vital medical care for animals by conducting regular checkups to protect their health. If If you are a new dog owner, you should schedule a veterinary appointment regularly to ensure your dog is in good health.
You can also conduct basic animal care at home for your dog to check for potential problems. One way to conduct checkups is by monitoring your dog’s temperature and heart rate. Normally, a dog’s temperature ranges between 38.3 to 39.2 degrees Celsius, and a heart rate between 80 and 120 beats per minute. Anything outside this range is a sign that your dog might be unwell. Other routine checkups include examining the skin, checking for hydration, and watching how your dog breathes.
However, you may be unable to catch all health problems with your dog and thus require professional help. Rover.com recommends that you take your dog for a checkup at least once a year, as doing this can help detect health problems early. Moreover, while at it, you can learn more about better tips for animal care at home.
4. Develop Good Communication and Relationship
Dogs also deserve constant care and understanding. You need to understand ‘dog language’ to be able to communicate with it better and form a good relationship. Dogs that are comfortable communicating with their owners are more likely to be obedient and happy and less likely to have behavioral problems. If you are new to dog ownership, there are various steps you can take to improve communication and develop a good relationship with your dog.
- Exercise Patience: Your new dog may take time to master new commands and learn new things. Leave your dog to learn at its own pace until it is comfortable enough.
- Repeat Commands and Expectations: Dogs are creatures of habit and require constant reminders to respond best to instructions.
- Mind Your Tone and Body Language: Dogs can be very attuned to tonal voice and body language. They can also pick up subtle cues from their owners. It is thus important to pay attention to your communication to ensure that your dog interprets it correctly.
- Reward Good Behavior: rewarding good behavior can be a positive way to reinforce commands and establish trust and respect with your dog.
5. Provide Exercise Opportunities
Another great way to practice animal care at home is to provide them with ample exercising opportunities. Dogs are active creatures and can barely stay without exercise. As a dog owner, you need to plan an exercise routine for your dog to ensure it stays in shape, healthy, and stress-free. Integrating exercise into your dog’s life helps it live longer and reduces behavioral problems resulting from stress and anxiety.
There are various ways in which you can provide exercise opportunities for your dog. Some common ways include taking them for walks, running, hikes, and playing fetch. PETMD recommends scheduling at least a 15 – 20 minute session daily for dog exercise. However, this time can vary depending on your dog’s breed since some require high-intensity and vigorous exercise. Regardless, ensure that your dog has enough time to exercise, as doing so will make it healthy and happy and provide a good bonding experience. Regular exercise can also be a good opportunity for you to keep fit.
6. Nurture Your Dog Through Training
Training your pet to follow simple commands is an essential animal care at home practice that you should consider. When kids are young, they are guided and trained on how to behave and live. Your dog needs this similar kind of training too. Dog training is important because it teaches your dog obedience, how to behave, and how to express needs and wants. It is also a great way to strengthen the human-dog bond and socialize your dog with others.
The best way to train your dog is to take it to dog training classes. These classes will help your puppy obey basic commands and solve behavioral problems. Still, you can also train your dog at home by teaching it basic commands such as ‘sit,’ ‘come,’ ‘down,’ ‘wait,’ and ‘drop it.’ While going for walks, use a leash to teach the dog how to stay close to you. Teach it where to pee or poop by taking it to specific points and reward it for good behavior.
7. Regularly Clean Your Dog
Cleaning is an integral part of animal care at home. Keeping your dog clean is not only about washing it but also brushing it and taking care of its dental health. Keeping your dog clean is advisable for various reasons. Regular cleaning will help keep your dog’s coat healthy and free of dirt, debris, and bad odor. Regular baths and brushing will also protect your dog’s skin from irritation, allergies, and parasites like ticks and fleas.
To clean your dog, you need to bathe it and clean its teeth. Begin the process by wetting your dog down with warm water and applying a mild dog shampoo to its fur. Then, work the shampoo to form a lather before rinsing its fur thoroughly with water. After rinsing, towel dry your dog and brush its fur to keep it tidy.
In order to clean your dog’s teeth, use a toothbrush and toothpaste designed for dogs. Alternatively, you can wrap a gauze pad around your finger and run it along your dog’s teeth. Another way could be giving your puppy special dog biscuits intended to help with teeth cleaning to ensure their dental hygiene.
8. Protect Your Dog Against Pests
Pests and parasites can greatly contribute to your dog’s poor health. When exercising animal care at home, it is essential that you protect your pets from dangerous body invaders. Fleas and ticks are among the common pests known to attack dogs. When they find their way onto the dog’s skin, they can cause skin itching, dry coats, and abnormal hair loss. Therefore. it would be best to practice flea & tick control regularly to protect your dog from such problems.
Nonetheless, the first thing you can do to prevent parasites is to keep your home clean and free of debris where parasites can hide. Secondly, clean your dog regularly and keep it up to date with parasite prevention medication. Finally, secure your windows and doors with bug zappers to capture and electrocute flying pests like mosquitoes and bugs.
9. Keep Your Dog in a Safe Place
A change in the weather can adversely affect your dog. It can suffer from heatstroke during hot weather and dehydration and hypothermia during winter. Thus, ensuring that the Kernel you build for your dog is comfortable enough to protect it from severe weather conditions is vital. Similarly, it is important to install custom window guards to prevent your dog from falling or getting its neck stuck between window slates.
The Bottom Line
Taking care of your pets is just as important as taking care of yourself. Practicing animal care at home helps you keep your pets healthy and happy. If you plan to get a dog or got one recently, you can care for it by practicing the tips mentioned above. You should always endeavor to provide a safe and enjoyable environment for your dog. Therefore, learn as much as possible about your dog and how to raise it. Contact us to help you with more useful information on pet care. Remember, the more you know, the better for you and your pet.
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