Taking the best possible care of your dog

Taking the Best Possible Care of Your Dog

This is sort of like preparing someone for a new baby. It can sound so overwhelming to a new dog owner that they will simply say, “Forget it.”

But preparing for a “new family member” is logical and practical. Simply take it one step at a time, and it all becomes second nature as you develop a relationship together.

I did dog rescue for four years so I learned priorities. Number One is sterilizing your pet if it is not to be bred. A sexually frustrated animal does not make a good pet. Surgery prevents some forms of cancer. Most house dogs become better pets and the males are less aggressive. Most vets will perform this surgery at 6 months, preferably before a female goes into her first heat. Some perform “pediatric” spay/neuters at 8 weeks of age. With the annual number of euthanized, unwanted animals hovering around 6 to 10 million, please don’t add to the overpopulation problem with a pet that won’t be intentionally bred. Avoid the unwanted heartbreak of unwanted pups.

Dogs are pack animals. They are sociable. They should have humans around, or other pets, dogs, cats or whatever they find suitable as companions. A dog left alone for 10 hours a day or more is often one unhappy, neurotic, problematic dog. Cats do better under such conditions. Gold fish do best.

Vet care. Your vet should become one of your, and your dog’s, best friends. Of course, a dog needs health check ups, annual shots, and an up-to-date rabies vaccination. A vet can pick up on problems before they become serious and can tell you how to avoid future problems. Vets also do dental care. They can also tattoo or microchip your pet in case he becomes lost.

Since I was in dog rescue and I have always owned indoor, companion dogs, I prefer dogs to be house pets. I know some are used for hunting and guarding, etc. but most dogs love to be around people and make better pets because of the extra attention. They become part of the family. Some dog rescues won’t place a dog in a home where he will be kept outdoors.

Dogs need exercise, discipline, and affection, in that order, according to Cesar Milan, the “Dog Whisperer.” Read Cesar’s book, “Cesar’s Way” and you can do a lot of training yourself. If you are not an experienced dog owner or your dog develops aggressive tendencies or behavioral problems, seek out a professional.

Get an appropriate leash, collar, and harness, whatever you feel you can handle. Get help, if you need to, on

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