A dog sitting on a table

Essential Questions Every New Dog Owner Should Ask

October 25, 2019

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If you’d like a well-behaved dog, you must understand his or her preferences, and this not only depends on your dog’s personality but also on age and breed. Because dogs have diverse needs for diet, exercise, and affection, here are some suggestions on what to consider to raise a happy and healthy dog. 

How Should I Feed My Dog?

You should only feed your dog twice a day and avoid products that can cause health problems like allergies or behavioural problems like hyperactivity. Many dogs do not react well to dog foods with soy, corn, or wheat fillers. Healthy pet products include sea kelp, pumpkin, quinoa, and chickpeas to support healthy digestion.

You can tell if you’re overfeeding or underfeeding your dog by their rib cage. If you can barely feel their rib cage, you are overfeeding them; and if there is almost no layer of fat under their rib cage, then you are not feeding them enough.

Besides using precisely formulated dog food, dogs also benefit from durable dog chew toys. They find gnawing on these toys calming, and the gnawing also stimulates the growth of strong teeth and promotes healthy gums.

A large brown dog lying on the ground

How Much Exercise Is Good for My Dog?

On average, your dog will need at least half an hour of daily exercise, so daily dog walks should be 30 minutes or longer. If you have a large backyard, some of your dog’s exercise time can come from allowing him or her to run throughout the yard.

Does My Dog Need Obedience Training?

While dogs enjoy playing with toys, they also find obedience exercises mentally stimulating. Use YouTube and other websites to find appropriate training lessons for your dog and implement them into your normal routine. Of course, you can always place your pup in a formal obedience class too, if needed.

How Should I Socialise My Dog?

Dogs, like humans, are gregarious by nature. Dogs who spend little time with their human family, meeting friendly new people, or interacting with other dogs exhibit psychological problems, becoming either timid or highly aggressive. 

People who boast about how they’ve raised a guard dog achieve this end by mistreating their dogs. In fact, psychologically abusing them as if they were prisoners-of-war. They chain them for hours, leave them out in harsh weather day and night, and force them to experience solitary confinement. Because of such cruel treatment, these dogs become extremely neurotic, barking for long hours through the night and biting almost anyone who comes near.

A large brown dog lying on the ground

What Healthcare Does My Dog Need?

When your dog is a puppy or a young adult, he or she needs to get annual veterinary care. As they get older, around five or seven years of age, they become senior dogs and need to see a vet at least twice a year.

Your vet will do a check-up, which will include blood work to alert them about any emerging medical issues. 

Besides these annual or biannual visits, take your dog to a vet when you see symptoms like lethargy, coughing, and frequent scratching. These symptoms could suggest more serious disorders.

Why Do I Want a Dog?

Answering this reflective question will make it easier to assume the unfamiliar role of becoming a dog parent when you get clear on your own interests in adopting a dog. 

While some people might get a dog for security or a cat to get rid of mice, most people have a simpler reason for getting a pet — pets make us happy.

It’s wonderful to have a companion. Instead of coming home to an empty home, you’re greeted by a delighted, tail-wagging pet. Instead of going on a lonely evening walk around the neighbourhood or local park, you’re accompanied by a faithful hound who watches everything that moves with rapt attention.

After getting your dog, reflect on it. See how getting a dog has helped you grow as a person, awakening a level of optimism, playfulness, and empathy. This reflection will deepen your appreciation for your relationship with your dog.

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