Being a first-time pet parent can be quite exciting.
For a lot of people, the experience only comes when they finally get their own place and a pet, usually a dog, as their life companion. However, as wonderful as it is to be a dog mummy or daddy, it comes with a few challenges. Therefore, vets or pet professionals always advise future fur parents to prepare adequately before getting a pet.
Thankfully, there’s sufficient information from animal experts shared online. Thus, whatever questions you may have regarding dog care can be answered immediately. To add to that, here are some of the smartest dog care tips that you can use as a first-time dog owner.
1. Training starts young
If you want to ensure your dog’s good behaviour, get around to teaching it to be well-behaved as early as possible. This way, teaching would be more on behaviour and character development instead of undoing learned habits (which is more difficult).
As a pet parent, you can take on this task yourself. If you require some help, however, there are professional trainers that you can turn to, and who are rich with techniques and scientific know-how regarding developing desirable canine attitude and habits.
2. No table scraps
For some households, it’s a common practice to give the dog table scraps or leftovers. But, according to veterinarians, it’s best not to do this.
Human food is often too rich for dogs, and they can develop intestinal issues from being fed fatty, salty, and sweet food often.
Additionally, it would be best if you never gave your dog cooked bones because cooking makes bones brittle, which then makes them prone to splintering.
Ingested splintered bones can puncture your dog’s intestines and lead to internal bleeding. It’s important to mention, too, that you should never let your dog lick a roasting pan. Pet nutrition experts say that this is a sure-fire way to give your canine pancreatitis.
So, just stock up on healthy pet food. A lot of brands formulate meals and kibble suitable for the different age groups, sizes, and types of dogs. It’s even easy to shop for them online, and a pet food delivery service will bring orders straight to your doorstep.
3. No overfeeding
Overfeeding is a typical mistake first-time pet owners make. You may enjoy the cute facial expressions of your pup whenever you present treats, but avoid demanding attention from your pup often using food because canines can quickly gain a lot of weight.
Studies reveal that dogs that are fed too frequently tend to grow hungry easily and come to expect a huge amount of food for meals. It won’t take long before your dog gets seriously chubby. While this will make it so much nicer to hug or cuddle, your dog will end up facing all kinds of health problems associated with weight gain.
Recovery from these health woes will cost you a considerable amount of money. Therefore, maintain a completely sound diet for your dog. Make sure it eats healthy meals at the right time and in appropriate amounts.
3. Regular exercise
Staying active is vital for canines. Exercise provides them with mental stimulation, which can help in developing good behaviour. At the same time, it can keep them in great shape and lower their risk for certain illnesses.
Taking your dog for walks every day is one way of keeping it active.
Over the weekends, let your dog loose at a dog run where it can interact with other canines that will surely help expend energy from meals and treats. A day at a dog run is not just a fantastic way to keep dogs in tip-top shape; it can also make them friendlier. Your dog will learn how to interact better with other animals, as well as humans.
4. Vigilance with changes in behaviour
As a pet parent, you need to monitor your pup’s behaviours to see if there are unhealthy patterns or sudden changes. These can indicate everything from illness to cognitive dysfunction (which is typical for older dogs) and anxiety, which should be addressed appropriately right away.
If you have adopted an older dog and it’s been acting rather weirdly, such as staring at the wall often or howling at nothing, this can mean that its mental abilities are already starting to deteriorate. Meanwhile, if you have a pup that cries continuously when you’re not home, it may be reacting to some environmental factors that are not that scary when you’re around. It can also be suffering from separation anxiety.
Ultimately, your mindfulness will allow you to provide better and more care (such as medication to treat severe anxiety) to your dog to restore health and wellbeing.
5. Ensuring canine hygiene
While dogs may not always be easy to bathe, you need to clean them down regularly. Canines are prone to skin infections, especially when the weather is excruciatingly hot. Likewise, they are more likely to attract parasitic pests if they are not clean.
A weekly bath is perfect, especially if you live in a warm and dry climate. The bath will bring immense relief to your dog. Plus, if it’s suffering from skin irritations and wounds, bathing is a must in ensuring the efficacy of whatever topical medication you’re applying.
Likewise, brush your doggie’s teeth because this has a significant contribution in keeping parasites under control. For effective canine hygiene, invest in a set of dog care products, which include bathing essentials and hygiene solutions to use in between bathing days.
Good canine hygiene is not only crucial in helping your pup stay healthy. It plays an important role in keeping your home a healthy place to be, as well. There’ll be less hair and animal dander, which are known to trigger allergies and respiratory problems.
Obviously, there are many lessons to learn as a new pet parent.
Embrace the process because all the experiences and lessons will ensure your pup’s happiness in your care and a truly joyful companionship.
Farah Al-Khojai is the Managing Partner of Pet’s Delight. A passionate entrepreneur, Farah holds a Bsc in Government from the London School of Economics. She is always on the lookout for new opportunities to develop and grow the pet and equestrian retail and wholesale market in the UAE and beyond, and is proud to be at the helm of the first and the largest pet care provider in the market representing world-class brands including Orijen, Applaws, Hunter, Savic, Flamingo, Ruffwear and Rogz.