In some ways having a pet is like having a child. You have to do all of the thinking and planning for him. You have to be prepared for every contingency. That means being prepared in case of emergencies and taking the proper precautions ahead of time.
Here are some tips that should help you take good care of your dog:
1. Make sure that your dog is up-to-date on his vaccinations and that he has proper tags and ID at all times. Microchips are recommended. This is a great help should your dog ever become lost. It gives him the best possible chance of being returned to you if somebody finds him.
2. Obey leash laws. This means that you should keep your dog safely contained in your own yard behind a fence. When you have your dog out with you make sure that he is restrained on a good quality leash. Don’t let your dog run loose. This is dangerous to him and a nuisance to the neighborhood.
3. Be careful what you feed your dog. No chocolate. No onions. No raisins. If in doubt about something your dog eats or if you suspect poisoning call your local veterinarian immediately. Know the number of your closest emergency vet clinic and the shortest route in case you have an emergency at night.
4. Crate train your dog. Your dog should ride in a crate in your vehicle. This is the safest way for your dog to travel. Crate training is also a great way to help house train your dog. If you ever intend to fly anywhere with your dog he will also need to fly in a crate.
5. Keep a pet first aid kit on hand and know how to use the contents. A good first aid kit should contain blankets, surgical tape, a muzzle, an antibacterial ointment (such as Neosporin), cotton swabs, tweezers, gauze and gauze pads, hydrogen peroxide, ipecac, scissors, forceps, diarrhea medication, and activated charcoal. Remember that if your dog experiences an injury that he may react out of fear or pain. Be careful in handling him. He could bite you accidentally.
6. Take special precautions in hot summer weather and during extreme cold. Remember that dogs can’t sweat and that they suffer during extremes of weather just as people do. They should not be left in vehicles during either extreme, even for a few minutes.
7. Remember that your dog needs fresh water available at all times. Dogs can become dehydrated just as people can.
8. Take special precautions with dogs when there may be fireworks or other loud noises. Many dogs are sensitive to these loud booms and can become frightened from them. Some dogs can bolt and become lost.
9. Old dogs need special care. Keep an eye on their weight. You don’t want them to be either too thin or too much overweight. Both can be signs of an underlying health problem. Make allowances for their age. Provide a softer place to sleep, give them more time to eat, make their food more appealing. Take them for a senior check-up starting when they’re about seven-years-old.
10. Be patient with puppies. They come to you not knowing anything. They will make mistakes. Teach them using positive training techniques and they will be able to learn anything you want to teach them. A trained dog is a happier dog and has a better chance of fitting into your home and lifestyle and living a wonderful life with you.
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