Care and feeding
Most dogs live for about 10 to 15 years, and like any best friend, they deserve to be treated with love and respect. Care includes not just routine feeding and exercise, but also the right kind of treatment that only a vet can give when the dog is ill. Dad and mum have to be prepared to spend for this treatment, as well as for vaccinations when the dog is 8-10 weeks old. They also need to be de-wormed every six months, and so there are regular medical costs involved.
Pups can be kept in a cardboard box with one side cut down, and this can be easily replaced as the pup grows and the box becomes soiled and damaged. Newspaper with an old blanket on top will provide the puppy with comfort and warmth. Whatever the size or age of your dog, its bed should have a little space around it once lined with soft bedding.
Use separate bowls for food and water, and make sure that the water bowl is full at all times, especially if you don't want Fido drinking out of the toilet!
To keep your doggie looking healthy and happy, use a grooming mitt to prevent its hair from matting, and to remove loose hairs. Remember, wiry-haired and long-haired dogs will require a stiff brush, while short haired dogs will need a soft brush. You can also get a rubber mitt that fits over the hand to let you groom the dog while firmly stroking it. You should check with your vet about grooming - he or she will be able to guide you with the same.
Also pick up a pair of nail clippers to clip the dog's claws every once-in-a-while to keep them from over-growing.
Let your vet tell you what, how much and how often to feed your dog. Dog food usually includes canned meat food, dog biscuits, complete dry diets and semi-moist diets. Puppies generally need 5 small meals a day in the beginning, and you can bring this down to four meals a day at the age of 3 months, then 3 meals a day at 8 months. Dogs of 12 months or older only require to be fed once a day, usually in the evening. Still, there are dogs, mostly the small breeds, who may only eat a small amount at mealtime, and so it may be necessary to feed them twice a day.
You should give your dog enough exercise every day, and most dogs are willing to play for as long as you'll let them! Treat your pooch to a few toys, which should keep it entertained for hours on end.
Next: A name for your dogs
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