Your puppy needs consistency in his daily routine to have a healthy and fit life. Once he’s safely ensconced in his home, make a schedule of his daily feeding, grooming and playing activities. Delegate responsibilities to your family members, so each person is in charge of a particular activity, like feeding or grooming. This prevents the possibility of your dog being left unfed or not exercised, because everybody thought someone else had already done it.
Make sure your dog is fed at the same time every day. Once you have found a brand of dog food that agrees with him, stick to the same brand. Don’t keep changing his diet every time a new product is introduced in the market. Exposing your dog to multiple tastes and flavors can cause taste fatigue, and he may lose his appetite. While choosing a brand of pet food, look for one that has rich sources of protein like chicken, and meat protein. Give dog food brands with wheat and soy as the main sources of protein a miss – not only are these low quality proteins, but are also hard to digest.
Chose a dog feeder that’s designed to prevent strain on his neck muscles. A small bowl at ground level can cause a tall dog who has to stoop to reach his food considerable strain in the neck and shoulders. Keep his water bowl full of fresh water at all times.
Keep some meat bones ready for your dog to chew on after he has eaten – these help exercise the jaw muscles.
Grooming has multiple benefits for your dog – it keeps his skin and fur clean, and serves as a bonding experience for you and your dog. Dogs love grooming; it relaxes them.
Brush your dog’s coat every day. It helps get the dirt out and also removes small insects that may have lodged themselves in the fur. Remember to brush all the way down to the tail. Be gentle with your brush, taking care not to hurt or irritate the skin.
Unless your dog is really filthy, he could do with a bath just about once a month or so. You could hose him down in the yard, or give him a soak in a tub. If you choose to use a tub, place a rubber mat on the bottom to prevent him from slipping. Use a gentle dog shampoo, and wash all over, except his head. Clean his ears with a damp cloth, and wipe all dirt from his eyes. Use cotton balls to prevent water from dripping inside his ears when you bathe him. Take care to wash hard-to-get places like between his toes. Dry him thoroughly when you’re done.
Your dog’s nails will have to be clipped regularly to prevent in grown toe nails which can be painful. Use special dog nail clipping scissors to trim and maintain the length of your dog’s nails. Do not cut off large chunks of nail, just enough so that the nail is just above the ground.
Most dog owners tend to ignore their pet’s oral hygiene, preferring to give their dog biscuits to fight dental plaque. A regular brushing regimen with a proper doggy toothbrush and canine flavored toothpaste is vital to maintain dental health. You can use a child’s soft bristled toothbrush, but don’t use human toothpaste for your dog. Doggy toothpaste comes in a meat flavor which is more palatable to your dog.
Make a monthly health checkup part of your routine. Your vet will be able to catch any health problems in the earlier stages. Pay attention when you’re grooming him, and look for signs of discharge or swelling on his body. Report anything unusual you see to your vet.
Make sure your dog has all his shots. Choose a vet who also offers vaccination services, and consult him about your dog’s vaccination schedule.
Exercise and Play
An active dog is a happy dog. Your pet loves to explore and walking helps him sniff and satisfy his curiosity. It’s an excellent mental stimulant, and provides great exercise for you and your dog.
Make it a habit to play with your pet. Dogs who are confined for long periods of time with no human contact can become aggressive and frustrated. Spend time throwing a frisbee or play a game of tackle. Shower him with plenty of affection, and he’ll respond in kind.