If you are thinking about buying your first dog, then the prospect of bringing home a faithful four-legged friend is surely an exciting one. Whether you’re looking for a canine companion to accompany you on long walks or to cuddle up with on the couch, it pays to do your research on different dog breeds first to find one that will meet your requirements.
Just like humans, dogs come with different personality types and energy levels. Finding the one that will blend in well with your family and lifestyle is a must if you are to ensure a happy and successful outcome for all concerned in the long term.
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As a soon-to-be pet owner, you no doubt wish to provide the best home for your new dog. Whether you are adopting a dog from an animal shelter or taking one from a reputable breeder, to ensure you offer it the best quality of life you can this article has set out some of the key areas to consider.
Dietary and Nutritional Needs
The dietary and nutritional needs of your dog will depend on a number of factors such as their breed, age, size and their need for exercise. In each case, it is essential to feed your pet a healthy and balanced diet that includes all necessary carbohydrates, proteins, fats, fiber and vitamins and minerals.
For optimal nutrition, consider a holistic dog food that contains wholesome natural ingredients and is free from fillers, chemicals, artificial preservatives and other unhealthy byproducts that can be difficult to digest, cause intolerances and affect your dog’s overall health. Holistic dog food is also often specially formulated with added ingredients containing probiotics, antioxidants and fatty acids to further support their digestion, vision, heart health and well-being.
Dog treats are another great way to aid your dog’s health. You can prepare some homemade treats using good quality, organic ingredients that are suitable for your dog to eat. Consider adding superfoods that are touted for their benefits to dogs such as carrots, kale and nori to give them an extra boost of vitamins and minerals.
It is important to note that many foods which are suitable for human consumption are toxic for dogs, so check if they are safe before giving them to your dog. Here is a list of some of the fruits and vegetables that are safe for dogs to eat.
All dogs require regular exercise, however, the amount of exercise your dog needs will depend upon its breed. Before you buy a dog make sure you take into account its need for activity as well as your own. Do you enjoy spending time in the great outdoors, hiking, biking and exploring or do you prefer a slower and more sedentary pace of life? It is essential to choose a breed that will match your energy levels to ensure you can give your new pet the way of life that it needs.
A dog needs daily exercise to maintain its physical and mental health and overall well-being. It is necessary for strengthening their joints and muscles, cardiovascular and immune system, as well as preventing behavioral problems such as excessive barking and rough play. Too much inactivity can lead to weight gain, muscle degeneration and other health issues as well as anxiety-based conditions and depression.
Are there green spaces near your home for your dog to play each day or do you have sufficient room in your backyard? If you travel for work or have a busy social calendar make sure you have a plan for the times you will be away. Do you have a friend or relative that is willing to walk and look after them while you are away or is there a dog care facility where you can leave them in safe hands? Make sure you give thought to these matters before buying your dog.
Along with physical exercise, dogs also need some mental stimulation to keep them happy, healthy and alert. A lack of mental stimulation can lead to behavioral issues in dogs even if they are getting enough physical exercise. This can include excessive barking, whining, disobedience, pacing and destructive behavior.
Dogs are naturally curious and excitable creatures that love to explore and crave new activities and experiences. This is especially so with more intelligent breeds of dogs such as working dogs like border collies, german shepherds and golden retrievers. Below are some great ways to ensure your new pet receives the mental stimulation they need while giving you the chance to spend some quality time together:
- Sniff and scent games – Let your dog explore and sniff out new scents when out on walks in nature. Hiding objects or tasty treats and instructing them to sniff them out will also get their brain working as well as give them a playful activity to keep them entertained while refining their search and rescue skills.
- New tricks – Working on new tricks together can be a fun way to keep your dog mentally stimulated and can also benefit them in other ways such as increased balance, flexibility and concentration. It is also a great way to positively reinforce their behavior and boost their confidence while engaging in thoughtful playtime.
- Dog daycare – Dog daycare centers allow your pet to safely interact with other dogs in supervised surroundings. As well as playing and socializing with each other, many daycare facilities contain agility or obstacle courses, encourage hunting out scents and play other games which cater especially to dogs.
- New experiences – Whether it’s a new local park or neighborhood, exploring natural settings or taking a different route to the dog-friendly cafe, a change of scenery can keep your dog curious and inquisitive, helping to stimulate their mind.
- Dog toys: Treat your dog to a new toy or puzzle especially made to stimulate their senses and challenge their minds. Solving problems will not only stave off boredom and keep your dog entertained, but can also help to increase confidence and hone their cognitive skills.
- Running errands: Taking your dog with you when running errands can be a convenient way to expose them to new environments while exercising both their body and mind.
Now that you know some of the essential areas when it comes to taking care of a dog, you can make a well-informed choice on which one to buy.