Last Updated on September 20, 2023
As a dog owner, you’ll experience an undeniable bond between you and your pooch. The unconditional love and companionship you’ll discover in your life with your dog will make you strive to be the best pet parent you could ever be. You’ll likely find yourself putting your heart and soul into your dog’s well-being in the quest to give them a happy and healthy life. But there may be times that you’ll ask yourself: “Am I truly doing the right thing for my dog?”
Owning a dog—or any pet for that matter—is a huge responsibility. A good dog parent will want to do more than the bare minimum to meet their dog’s needs. Luckily, no dog owner is alone in their pursuit of a good life for their dogs. As one yourself, you can count on the advice and insight of animal experts like veterinarians on issues like dog accessories, dog diets, and dog exercise routines.
First-time dog parents can heed the following nuggets of wisdom that are often dispensed by practicing vets:
1) Invest in High-Quality Dog Accessories
One of the first things you’ll do when you get a new dog is buy accessories for walking, training, and other everyday tasks in your pet care routine. You’ll be spoiled for choice with the many dog accessories available in the market, from plain collars and leashes to intricate pet apparel.
With so many products to choose from, it may be tempting to simply buy them all. But as much as you’ll want to spoil your fur baby, you have to be practical about choosing the best dog accessories for their comfort and safety. Vets recommend investing in high-quality custom martingale collars, harnesses, leashes, identification tags, and other dog essentials that are sure to last long and keep your dog comfortable.
High-quality pet goods are often made by reputable manufacturers that put your dog’s well-being first. Find brands that use high-quality materials and premium construction so that your dog can enjoy using their accessories for years to come. You should also make sure that any materials used for your dog accessories are pet-safe, ensuring that your dog won’t be harmed when they’ve got a particular accessory on.
2) Feed Your Dog a Balanced and Nutritious Diet
Vets are also quick to emphasize the importance of a healthy and balanced diet for dogs. High-quality dog food typically includes the essential nutrients that support a dog’s growth, energy, and overall health.
But before you buy dog food in large amounts, your vet will recommend customizing your dog’s diet according to their individual health and dietary needs. Just like humans do, dogs need to follow balanced and nutritious diets that correspond with their age, size, and activity level. What seems healthy for one dog may not be for another.
As such, be sure to speak with your veterinarian about your dog’s ideal feeding schedule and portion sizes for the latter to maintain a healthy weight. You can also ask for advice on maintaining your dog’s muscle tone, feeding them to protect them from infections, and choosing food that won’t aggravate their skin conditions or allergies.
3) Ensure Your Dog Receives Enough Physical and Mental Stimulation
Going for a walk, playing interactive games, and other forms of exercise won’t only tire out your dog. They’re also great for maintaining your fur baby’s physical and mental health. As any vet will tell you, physical activity helps prevent obesity, joint problems, and behavioral issues that stem from boredom.
When such activities are combined with elements that keep your canine companion mentally stimulated, like playing with puzzle toys, you’ll be able to ward off anxiety and keep your fur baby’s brain sharp. Throw your own participation into the mix, and you can strengthen the bond between you and your dog while completing an exercise routine your vet would approve of.
4) Use the Best Dog Grooming and Hygiene Practices
Even if you’re not a professional pet groomer, vets and pet groomers alike will agree on your basic responsibility to groom your fur baby. Keeping your dog clean is an essential aspect of pet care, as it promotes healthy skin and blood circulation. It also prevents matting, skin irritations, bacterial infections, and parasites.
Your dog’s grooming routine will depend on several factors, like its age and coat type. But as a general rule, short-haired dogs must be brushed at least once a week while medium and long-haired dogs need to be brushed daily. Regular brushing will reduce shedding and ensure that your dog stays cool.
As for bathing, it’s in your best interest to consult your vet to know how often you should bathe your canine companion. The vet can also recommend you a dog shampoo that suits your fur baby’s needs and that will keep their coat shiny and healthy.
Don’t forget to keep your dog’s nails trimmed, ears cleaned, and teeth brushed regularly to contribute to its overall hygiene and comfort. If you’re not confident about performing these pet grooming tasks by yourself, you can always bring your canine buddy to the groomers and let the professionals work their magic.
5) Bring Your Dog to Routine Veterinary Check-Ups
Lastly, remember to be proactive about your dog’s health and to make regular visits to the veterinarian. They’re vital to catching potential health issues early on and ensuring your dog’s well-being for the rest of their life.
Some of the procedures that you can expect to go to a vet for are the following:
- Routine blood work
- Dental exams
- Therapy and rehabilitation
- Emergency care
How often you need to see your vet depends on factors like your dog’s age and condition. You should expect to see the vet more often if your dog is in their senior years or has a disability or chronic illness that needs constant management.
Again, you won’t be alone in your journey to become a more responsible dog parent. Vets and other dog experts are here to help, and they’re just as passionate as you are about wanting the best for your pooch.