Whether you're a new dog owner or have had dogs around you for many years, learning about proper dog care is essential if you're to give your dog the greatest possible chance to enjoy a long and healthy life. The most basic area of dog care is feeding. Unfortunately, many dog owners believe that as long as their dog is being given enough food, everything's ok.
Too many dogs suffer from brittle bones, bad teeth and joint problems due to being fed the wrong kind of food and therefore not receiving the nutrients that are necessary for them to grow and maintain healthy bones, muscles and teeth. Foods that contain artificial colorants and preservatives often lead to allergies developing and feeding a dog on raw meat alone simply won't cover his daily calcium needs. A dry food that's specially formulated to cover the nutritional needs of your dog depending on his age and level of activity is always the best choice. Cheap foods may seem like a good alternative but are often the most expensive choice in the long run. Consider that the dog will generally need more of the cheaper varieties as much of what's in these foods is 'padding' and that the padding will just lead to him having more bowel movements than would otherwise be necessary. Grooming is an important area of your dog's care.
All dogs, regardless of their coat type, should be groomed at least once a week. Obviously, some breeds will need daily grooming but even flat coated breeds, like Rottweilers and Labradors should be given weekly grooming sessions. During the grooming session, utilize the time to check for any other health problems that may be affecting your dog. His skin should be checked for signs of sores or dryness; his ears should be checked for inflammation or pus; his legs and tail should be checked for any damage; and his body should be checked for unexpected lumps and bumps. If fleas or ticks are found on the body, these should be treated immediately. Ticks can be removed by covering the body in Vaseline so that the tick comes to the surface to breath; fleas can be dealt with by using special preparations available from your local pet shop or veterinary surgery.
Regular exercise is, of course, important to your dog who should be walked at least once a day, preferably twice. Don't just stick to roads as your dog will enjoy being able to run and play, and vary your route so that he doesn't become bored by his exercise. Get to know your dog's routines. That way, if you notice any ongoing changes you'll be able to contact your vet for advice. It's always better to make one call too many than to ignore a problem because they rarely disappear without treatment.
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