First-Time Dog Owner: 7 Tips on How to Take Care of a Dog

by | Apr 22, 2019 | Exercise and Play, Health and Nutrition, Training

Having a canine companion is a great way to stay healthy, fit and nurture your mind.

But sometimes taking on the responsibility can seem a little daunting; especially if you’re a first-time dog owner.

But worry not! We’ve got some great tips in this post on how to take care of a dog. Read on…

How to Take Care of a Dog: 7 Top Tips

Looking for a dog care guide? We’ve got 7 starter points for you below. 

1. Start a Routine

One of the most important things to do with your new dog is to settle it into a routine that will suit you and them.

It’s very important to get this going as soon as you can so they learn immediately how to co-exist with you in your home. It also nips any potential bad habits in the bud.

Within the first few days of having your dog, concentrate on teaching him or her where they will be allowed to go in the house, where they will sleep and eat, and where to go for their bathroom trips.

Decide the kind of routine you want your dog to adhere to before you bring it home for the first time, so you can get straight into it within the first days of having him or her.

2. Walks

Walking is a crucial element in raising your new pet. This is where having a dog becomes a fantastic opportunity for your health, as well as the health of the animal.

Walking daily – sometimes twice a day – is something you must do with your canine companion. Get the dog into this habit as soon as you are allowed to take it out (usually after it has had its vaccinations from the vet) and exercise it for at least 30 minutes a day.

If you want to walk the dog at the same time each day, build this into your routine so that both you and your pup can become accustomed to it.

3. Check-Ups

As mentioned above, a new dog must be properly vaccinated. But whether you’ve got a new puppy or a rescue dog who is a little older, it’s important that you have him or she fully checked up by your vet.

Register your dog with a vet and have him or she examined. And be sure to stick to regular check-ups as prescribed by your vet.

The health of your pet is just as important as your own health.

4. Play-Dates

Dogs are sociable animals by nature – and one of the joys to owning one is the interaction you can have with other dog owners and their pets.

So start early by arranging play-dates with your friends and their dogs, or by joining classes or groups that allow dogs to meet and interact with each other.

When you go walking, choose somewhere your pet can make its own friends who they can run around with. It’s an extra exercise for the dogs, after all.

But don’t leave the dogs unattended. Scraps can break out, and you want to make sure you’re still in charge and in control should that happen.

5. Get to Know Your Dog

Dogs are good communicators and it’s important to learn how he or she thinks, so you can live with them as best as you can.

Dogs communicate via their body language, their face, noises they make, actions they perform and their tail wagging (or not wagging).

Understanding what your pet wants, and what he or she is trying to say to you, is crucial. And if you take time to bond with them, and learn these sides to their personalities, you will have a happy dog.

If you’re looking to understand what certain behavioural dog traits represent, invest in a reputable dog behaviour guide. These will tell you everything from why dogs bark, how their ears and eyes communicate with you and what it means when they swish their tails in different ways.

6. Grooming

Unlike cats, dogs often require baths and brushing. It’s up to a dog-owner to groom their canine companion.

Dogs will need regular brushing to retain a healthy coat and if you have a long-haired dog they will often need a trim. This keeps your pet’s mane free of knots and tangles.

Grooming is also essential in checking for ticks or fleas.

Dogs require a good bath every so often for which you can purchase special canine shampoo and conditioner. It’s also important to clip a dog’s nails, especially if they don’t get a lot of time to run around on concrete.

Checking your pup for blocked ears is a sure fire way to avoid inflammation or infection, and cleaning a dog’s tear ducts is similarly important. Check their teeth too. If this is something you start early, they will become used to it. A dog’s teeth should be cleaned, with dog toothpaste, once a week.

7. Collars and Leashes

Wearing a collar is one of the ways you can keep your dog safe. You can attach a tag to the collar with its name and your details should it ever get lost.

It’s also required for when you want to clip a leash to the dog for walking. Dogs need training and this starts on a leash, even if they eventually learn how to behave off the leash. 

Make sure you get your pet used to these things early on. Also, choose a collar that does not rub on the dog’s neck or that is not uncomfortable.

Healthy Pet, Healthy You

Now you know how to take care of a dog. And being a dog owner can have so many health benefits for you too.

Not only does it get your steps up, with the walks you’ll be going on, but dogs are great friends, too.

Be sure to head to our fitness page to see what exercise tips we have for you. You might be able to work some of them into your daily dog walk!