Now That You Found That Perfect Dog….

Monday, April 2, 2012

We follow up on our last blog with some guidance on caring for that perfect dog.

All dogs need essential nutrients that they get from food. Some dogs eat quite a lot. They also need water available at all times.Some health problems are breed specific so it’s important to do some research, talk to your vet, other owners.
Ear problems are often associated with floppy eared dogs. It’s vital that thorough cleaning of their ears is carried out and regular checks made.
Some dogs drool a lot.  Owners of these slobbery dogs quickly learn to carry a slobber cloth with them wherever they go.
Some dogs need daily combing to prevent matting, regular baths and trims.

Not to be offensive, but some dogs do get a little messy when they “go.”  ‘Cling-ons’ are not pleasant to see.  Are you ready for the “doggie wipes” several times a day?
Regular checkups from the vet with proper vaccinations are expected.
Different dogs have more energy than others. This should be considered before you bring one home.  If you’re after a companion to go jogging, biking, hiking and camping, high energy dogs will love it!
Every dog will need daily, routine exercise, regardless of their energy level, so it’s vital that this requirement is on your list of ‘must do’s’.  This can be split into different sessions: a play session and small walks are fine several times a day, and serve to stimulate your dog, both physically and mentally.
Just like us, a dog is an individual.  Just because you picked a certain breed doesn’t mean those traits are what you get. When you decide to take on a dog, you are also opting to take on this possibility, and it will become your duty to cope with any issues that arise. 
If you find your dog is trashing the garden, chewing up all the shoes, constantly barking at nothing and pulling down the curtains, you have a dog with too much time, too little to do and in need of training. 
You will have to up the exercise and mental brain work to make him mentally tired enough to rest between times.  It’s not impossible to sort out, but it is a fairly sizeable undertaking
How Old?
Puppies require a huge amount of time, training and socialization, especially in the first six months of their lives. You will need to be ready to do a lot of cleaning up!  These issues can all be resolved with the proper training, but it will require effort and commitment from you and all other members of the house to get good results.  Remember all puppies are high energy and maintenance for the first year or two.
With adult dogs, you don’t always know the level of training a dog has received, though you will be able to have a fair idea of his energy levels and temperament.  Generally, most adult dogs have had some form of training and socialization, and if you decide to get one from a reputable source or rescue home, you may have access to lots of good information about the dog.  With help, most adult dogs integrate into their new homes well.
It is sad to see a senior dog in a rescue home. Sometimes its owner has passed away or had to go to a care home.  If you are elderly or infirm, these are the perfect dogs. If you really want a low energy companion, this could be the ticket.  Little care or exercise is needed and they are most often very loving dogs.
Know that as dogs get older; their health may require more expense.  The simple fact is, you will not have as many years together.  Many people can cope with this, knowing that giving a loving home to an older dog is one of the most compassionate things you can do as an animal lover. 
Barbara Talcott is the owner of A Pet Boutique: A Cat & 9 Tails and Zippity Doo, a pet waste cleanup service.