How to Take Care of a Dog

“Ten Golden Rules”

Learn the ten golden rules of how to take care of a dog. Did you know dogs have physical, emotional, security, and socialization needs just like you and me?

As a matter of fact, basic human and pet care needs are very similar. Likewise, caring for a small breed dog is about the same as caring for a larger breed with the exception of breed specific health concerns.

Please practice responsible pet ownership. Talk to your veterinarian about how to take care of a dog. And, learn about your dog’s breed.*


Golden Rule #1: Proper Nutrition

How to take care of a dog begins with proper dog nutrition . What you feed your dog and how much you give her depend upon the dog’s weight, age, breed, and activity level. It also depends somewhat on your preferences as a pet owner as well as product convenience and affordability.

Golden Rule #2: Hydration

Proper hydration is another important dietary consideration and golden rule #2 in how to take care of a dog. Always make sure your dog has a ready supply of fresh water.

Dogs can suffer from heat exhaustion from not getting an adequate intake of water. Dehydration is especially dangerous on high temperature days and when your dog is exercising.


Golden Rule #3: Appropriate Shelter

Golden Rule #3 is to provide appropriate shelter for your dog. Provide a place that is protects her from the elements and keeps her safe from intruders.

Appropriate shelter will vary from dog to dog depending on the dog’s size and breed. A small breed dog may only need a small place in the corner of a room that she can call her own. A large dog, on the other hand, may require a large kennel.

Golden Rule #4: Hygiene

The fifth golden rule in how to take care of a dog is to ensure she has good hygiene. This includes her living area as well as her personal hygiene.

Maintaining good hygiene will help prevent some health problems. Keeping her living area clean may also help reduce human allergies.

Brush and groom your dog on a regular basis. Talk to your veterinarian about dental care, and provide your dog with plenty of chewies.


Golden Rule #5: Healthcare

When you think about how to take care of a dog, don’t forget to think about her healthcare needs. Find a good veterinarian and ensure her health records are kept up to date.

Dogs need vaccinations and regular heartworm, flea and tick prevention medications. Review our section on dog health to learn more about

They know how to take care of a dog and her healthcare needs.

Golden Rule #6: Provide Ample Exercise

Dogs need regular exercise to stay healthy. This is often one of the most overlooked areas when learning how to take care of a dog.

Assess your dog’s environment. If you live in a small space such as an apartment or condo, walking your dog or visiting a bark park will help keep your dog in peak condition.

If you live on a farm where your dog can run free, she’ll probably get enough exercise throughout the day on her own. A backyard and a doggy door can create a similar environment in residential areas.

Regardless of where you live, your dog will benefit from the exercise of regular playtime. Golden rule #7 in how to take care of a dog, addresses the importance of playtime.


Golden Rule #7: The Importance of Playtime

Playtime is important for you and your dog. Your dog is naturally playful. Playing with her every day helps you create a bond with your dog.

It also helps reduce stress. It helps reduce human stress, and it helps reduce canine anxiety.

Take your dog on walks or bark parks where she will come into contact with other people and dogs. Playtime helps teach your dog good manners and socialization skills.

Some dogs are natural show offs and are competitive in nature. Playtime allows them to act out these traits in a safe environment.

Many small breed dogs and their owners have found agility courses add to their fun at playtime. Agility training may even bring you and your dog closer together.


Golden Rule #8: Unconditional Love

One thing that is known by dog lovers around the world is dogs give love unconditionally. Golden rule #8 in how to take care of a dog is to learn how to give unconditional love to your dog.

Dogs do not think like human adults. They do not understand why you’re angry or what you’re trying to communicate.

Think of your dog as a two year old human baby. Then, give her the same unconditional love.

If she does something wrong, correct her gently. If she does something right, reward her with praise.

Golden Rule #9: Give Your Dog an Education

Golden rule #9 of how to care of a dog, is to give your dog an education. Whether you teach her basic commands such as sit and stay or send her obedience school, you will appreciate the training she receives.

Dogs live by instinct. It’s important to establish yourself as the “alpha dog” in the pack – the leader. This will reduce challenges for dominance and the refusal to follow commands.

Her education is also important for the safety of your dog and those around her. There are many sources available for training your dog.


Golden Rule #10: Consider a Nanny

The final golden rule for how to care for a dog is to consider a Nanny when you’re not around. Pet sitting, dog day care and boarding are some viable options.

Crating your dog while you’re away at work does give her a safe environment and protects your living space from anxiety-inflicted damage such waste elimination and chewing. It should not be used as an ongoing answer to dog care once your dog is potty trained, however.

Most crates do not allow your dog to run and play freely. This means she may not get enough exercise which means you’ll have to spend more time taking walks and playing with her when you get home each night.

She may also knock over her water dish and suffer from low hydration due to being in a small confined area. So what’s a dog owner to do?

Why not consider a Nanny? Pet sitting and dog day care centers are growing in popularity across the nation. Your dog is not left alone during the day, and she gets plenty of exercise while you’re away. That’s a win-win for both you and your pooch!