A healthy dog is a happy dog, and the best thing you can do to promote health and well-being in your puppy is learn the basics caring for a dog. Dogs have different needs than other types of pets, such as cats and birds. Cats, for example, do a pretty good job of bathing themselves, so you may not need to give him many baths, and you never have to take a parakeet for a walk.
Dogs, however, need regular baths. Bathing will keep his skin clean and his coat shiny, and will help remove parasites such as fleas and ticks. Make sure to use a quality dog shampoo, as they work better and will help keep your dog feeling clean and fresh longer than the cheaper brands. When bathing your dog, be sure to clean his ears. This easily overlooked step can keep your dog free of ear parasites, and help prevent your dog’s ears from clogging with earwax.
Another area that needs regular care is your dog’s paws. Keep his nails trimmed and neat to prevent your dog from developing painful ingrown toenails. While trimming the nails, check between his toes, and check his footpads for cracks, cuts, and injuries. Keeping your dog’s paws in good condition will help prevent your dog from developing paw related health issues.
Speaking of your dog’s feet, regularly walking him will let him socialize with other people and animals, give him plenty of exercise, and let him get plenty of fresh air and sunshine. Walking your pet also has benefits for you, as exercise and sunshine has benefits for humans as well. Be sure to bring water along in case your dog needs a drink (remember: dogs do not sweat), and remember to clean up and dispose of his waste; it is rude to leave it lying on the ground and some places have laws against it.
Make sure to spend lots of quality time with your dog. Dogs need and want the attention of their owners, and spending lots of good quality time with playing with him will ensure he stays happy and will curb some destructive tendencies and bad habits dogs may do to get attention. Try teaching him some tricks, dogs like nothing more than pleasing their owners, and learning and performing tricks is a great way to keep you both entertained.
An added benefit of spending time playing with and petting your dog is the strong trust and loyalty you will build with your dog and the emotional well-being these bonding activities provide.
Lastly, make sure your dog has plenty of toys to play with while you are gone. Dogs need toys to prevent boredom and to keep their minds occupied when you have to leave them alone during the day when you are at school or work, and can help prevent your dog from chewing on furniture and plants, which can lead to serious health concerns for your dog.
These steps are a good starting point for taking great care of a dog, and following them will help ensure your dog lives a long, happy, and healthy life.