Above photo used under Creative Commons License: Photo by Marcelo César Augusto Romeo at https://www.flickr.com/photos/tanozzo/albums
There is a saying that “a dog is man’s best friend.” And why not? Ask those who have a pet dog and they will vehemently vouch for this saying.
So congratulations if you have decided to get a pet dog companion in your home. Be ready to treat your pet as not less than family member of your home. Below are some recommended “to do” items for first time pet dog owners. We will publish this blog in two parts. Next part follows in first week of January 2016.
1. Consensus in family in getting a pet dog: A pet dog is indeed a great and loyal companion. However unlike a television set or a car , the dog is a living being and that too a very social animal. It has emotions. It treats your family as its own family. Bottom line is almost all your family needs to be in consensus on getting and then caring for a pet dog. This agreement is necessary because all the family members may not be at the home all 24*7 and all days of the week, month and the pet should not get neglected in the absence of any family member. You will need to invest substantial time on a daily basis for the pet dog.
2. Care for the dog when it is ill: Just like any living being, a pet dog can fall ill or have some other health problems. Someone in your family needs to be ready to clean its vomit once in a while. Also one needs to be ready to take equal care of the dog in its old age when it slows down.
3. Space for the dog: You need to provide a good space of its own for the dog. The dog cannot be chained all the 24 hours in one corner of a house. It is an agile and social animal. It needs movement and needs to mingle with its owner's family.
However, if you are ready for a few sacrifices as mentioned above, then having a pet dog can be a great experience- it is a fiercely loyal animal and will protect , give you utmost company.
First Things First: Your Responsibilities Towards Your Pet Dog
Above photo under Creative Commons License : Photo by Jonathan Kriz at https://www.flickr.com/photos/27587002@N07/5170590074/
Pet Dog Selection and Initial Care
1. Proper breed selection: Consult your veterinarian or breeder before purchasing a dog. One can land into problems by selecting an incorrect breed for a need. For example you should not have a German Shepherd dog in an apartment setup where slippery( for dog of course) tiles are there. Breeds like Labrador and small breeds should not be kept in a cage outside home. Also you need to give thought to aspects like why you wish to have a dog- as a companion, guard dog etc. There are different breeds for each role.
2. Age of puppy: Get a puppy that is at least 35 days old. Mother’s milk is important for optimum growth of your puppy.
3. Warm bedding: Make a separate enclosure with warm bedding for your puppy.
Food for Your Puppy Dog
Above photo under Creative Commons License : Photo by John Talbot at https://www.flickr.com/photos/laserstars/3086132328/
7. Gradual change of diet: Consult the puppy’s breeder on the diet that puppy is having. If you find it OK, continue with the same diet. If you want to change the diet, do so gradually. Mix and match new diet with earlier diet over a period 3 to 4 days till the puppy completely switches over to the new diet. This gradual change of diet will avoid any digestion problems.
8. Weaning formula: If you are not sure of the earlier diet of the puppy, then start with the weaning formula and gradually introduce new diet in the form of dog food to the puppy.
9. Softer food initially: Always soak the dog food in lukewarm water to make it softer and retain water before feeding as your puppy’s teeth get stronger only after 50-60 days of its age.
10. Biting tendencies: Later you will observe extreme biting tendencies to various objects. This is the time to slowly introduce dry dog food kibbles.
11. Fresh drinking water: Keep a bowl filled with fresh water alongside the dog food bowl. Always ensure your puppy gets ample amount of water.
12. Frequency of feeding: Frequency of feeding can be four times a day till the age of 3 months. You may then observe that the puppy is refusing one meal or eating very less. That is the time to make feeding the puppy 3 times a day. After the age of 6 months, make it 2 times a day with snacking in the afternoon.
13. Boneless chicken: If you wish to start feeding your dog the home cooked non-vegetarian food, start if after the age of 4 months. At this age the dog’s intestine is well developed for digestion. Mostly give boneless chicken as the bones can cause injury to stomach and intestines. Add some turmeric to the chicken and boil the chicken before feeding the dog.
14. Foods to avoid are -sweets, oily food, spices and chillies, tomatoes , onions and grapes. If you wish to give fruits to the dog, give seedless variety and in lesser quantity.
End of Part 1
Read our second and final blog on this two blog series at Taking Care Of Your Puppy Dog- 28 Practical Tips- Part 2 of 2 (14 Tips)
This bog is written by Dr. Ritesh Gawaskar. Dr. Ritesh is a practicing veterinarian from Pimple, Saudagar, Pune. He has been practicing since last five years.
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