Basic Dog Care Tips

Here's Mia, your guide for Basic Dog Care

This free mini guide with basic dog care tips includes; nail clipping, bathing tips, ear cleaning, alternative teeth brushing, food tips, the fun physical exam and the scoop on poop.

Here's Mia who will be our guide today since there are several topics to cover.

The food you choose will have a profound affect on dog health whether you see it or not. It's such a huge topic I won't cover it here but will add some links for further reading on this site.


The Value of Nutrition

Just know - food is an important decision so please educate yourself. Raw dog food is by far the best but even if you're a diehard kibble feeder adding fresh meat, organs and some canned sardines can improve the health, vitality and even intelligence of your dog. 

To see why I'm such a stickler on food, check out my Dog Food Nutrition pages where I explain how the body works.

With good basic dog care information, you'll make less trips to the vet, understand when your dog isn't feeling well and have a better idea why. 

Let's start from the top of the body with teeth.

Here's my dog Bonz, showing you his teefies.

He was 11-years-old here; had all his teeth and never needed them cleaned by a vet.

basic dog care should include raw meaty bones for healthy teeth


Since teeth and food go together, can you believe it matters what you serve your dog's food in? Yup, so think about...


Basic Dog Care Tips


What Your Dog Food Dish is made out of because some can be toxic. Check out the page and share it. It's a short read.

What goes in your dog's water bowl? 

Of course it's water, but tap water is no longer a good idea. Read why and what to do to protect your dog from toxins at  Water for Dogs.

Do you have a big dog and wonder how to get through bath time without his escape or shaking water all over the house? Read how to bathe a dog for some tips and exactly what's worked great for me (I'm not mentioning decades again.)

Nothing that goes on your dog's skin should  have alcohol or chemicals. They dry the skin out and kill the natural protection layer on the skin leaving him susceptible to skin problems. That includes shampoo.

Here's a recipe for dog shampoo I found at Easy Dog Recipes.com. Home made and natural. I love this!

happy pit bull loungin

How about something fun to read before we move on?

I call this Five Fun Dog Facts. Go ahead, I know you're curious and I'll still be here when you get back.


How Observation is Taking Care of a Dog

I see so many people oblivious to their canine's state of health, it amazes me. They don't notice things until the problem is huge so I'm going to share how to avoid that.

In taking care of a dog, use your powers of observation every day. Get in the habit of asking yourself questions. It becomes so automatic, it feels effortless!

Noticing subtle changes will help you address minor issues yourself before they become major problems. When it's time to see the vet, you'll have more information to share.

Ask yourself:

  • How's my dog's energy and mood today?
  • Is she walking normally? Any stiffness?
  • Is he licking or scratching the same places as yesterday?
  • Is she scratching or pawing at her ear? (If so, check for dirty, smelly ears - a sign of mites or a fungal problem. See ear cleaning for recipes.)
  • Is he chewing his food normally or gingerly?
  • Is she eating grass?
  • Has he had at least 30 minutes of sunshine for a dose of Vitamin D?
  • How's her appetite?
  • How does his poop look and smell? I'm serious! An important part of basic dog care, the scoop is in the poop, so go to Dog Poop Health.

The Fun Physical Exam

It's also important to check your dog physically on a regular basis. Even if you didn't start this in puppy hood, it can be done with a little patience. It's good to know your dog's normal temperature. Canine temperature explains why.

I've checked ears and done dog nail clipping on dogs who's owners swear it can't be done. You can too because you'll make it enjoyable. 

Basic dog care rituals can be fun. Make it a game. Make it work for you. Come on, you can do it!

Okay, here is the fun basic dog care physical exam...


pit bull Helen snoozes

Let's say you're watching television and your dog comes up for attention. Here's your opportunity. Pet your dog and rub her all over. While she's getting attention, you are looking or feeling for dryness, lumps, bumps and scabs. She may even fall asleep and snore like Helen here.

While rubbing and or scratching do you feel any dirt particles (especially at the base of the tail)?  It could be flea feces, so check a little closer.

If it's not warm outside (flea season) you could have them breeding in the house. Treat your carpets with diatomaceous earth or borax. To get rid of fleas before it becomes a problem, see Fleas in the House.

Have the brush nearby? Good. Brush him to get the loose hair and stimulate the release of skin oils.

While you're telling him how wonderful he is, rub his ears and look inside. Check for redness and cleanliness. Dirty ears? Here's how to do a Dog Ear Cleaning.

Look and feel his paws. Feel between his toes. Do his nails need clipping?  Dog's nails will naturally stay short if they have enough exercise so this is a clue.

Pull up his lips and check his teeth and gum color or stick a finger in his mouth and feel for any chipped or broken teeth.

Wrap a little cheesecloth around your finger and rub his teeth and gums. Some dogs love this. It's a mouth massage. It works as well as a toothbrush and I think it's easier.

It's also a great practice for getting any dog used to human fingers in his mouth. Trust is imperative. You could save his life at some point by being able to get objects out.


Spay, Neuter or Breed?

Another part of basic dog care is spaying and neutering. If your dog's reproductive abilities have not been curtailed yet (fancy words huh?)

Here's something to think about if you choose not to spay or neuter:

  • At some point, in the blink of an eye, your dog
    will mate
  • A female will have 3 to 13 puppies;
  • If one of those puppies has 3 to 13 puppies;
  • And one of those puppies, puppies has 3 to 13 pups;
  • You are looking at between 169 and 2,197 births in just three years!

Staggering isn't it?



More Dog Care Tips

Holy smokes, I almost forgot to mention the horrible FLEA. I haven't seen one in years thank goodness, but learning natural prevention is a wonderful addition to basic dog care. I wrote several pages on the subject but go ahead and start with Fleas On Dogs. There you will find links to the other flea pages.

And what if your dog doesn't seem to be feeling well? Learn some simple ways to care for tummy upsets at Dog Care Upset Stomach.

If your dog ever gets diarrhea or vomits more than once (or isn't drinking water) please check for dehydration. It can kill.

Learn how to test and treat it at home in case of an emergency or you cannot get to the vet. The test is easy peasy so visit dog dehydration.

Oops, did I forget that your Dogs Exercise is part of basic dog care? Of course that's important for both of you. Here's the link between exercise and disease.

By the way, letting him out in the yard alone doesn't count for exercise.

If you get lazy in the exercise department, I'll explain why it's much more likely you'll see more dog chewing. Dogs have a need to chew but we don't want them to get carried away.

* * *

Ooh, I just got a mental picture of how much dog hair, vomit and poop I've dealt with in the past several decades, so here are some tips on those surprise goodies (accidents) you find in the house from time to time.

Here's how to handle vomit cleanup and some handy baking soda uses.Trust me, you don't need fancy, expensive, chemical cleaners for this.

And if your dog gets into a tussle with another dog, here are some tips for Dog Bite Wound Care.

If you're like minded here's my page on Home Remedies for Dogs. With these things in your medicine chest, not only do you have basic dog care covered, the vet might not even know your name.


What king of veterinarian will you choose? Will you interview or just hope for the best? Here are some things to think about:

Choosing a Holistic Veterinarian
and Knowing What to Avoid


Allopathic Physician vs
Holistic Medicine for Dogs


Ask the Veterinarian Questions such as... (Click to find out)

And there are other less common modalities I mention in types of alternative medicine.

As a dog health coach I prefer herbs -  Benefits of herbal medicine


A few additions to basic dog care  you should find helpful. 

Just out of curiosity, have you ever wondered what the slime in a dog food bowl is?   Interesting.

Know when Dog Appetite Changes are Perfectly Normal

How about Peanut Butter for Dogs. Hint, it's not good!



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