Here’s your free mini guide for basic dog care, including nail clipping, bathing tips, ear cleaning and teeth brushing. Learn which canines never need teeth cleaning and get the scoop on poop.
We all know basic dog care is more than food, water and a place to sleep. Here I share what works for me along with the whys and the hows.
Heck someone should benefit from my 30 years with dogs.
Ooh, I just got a mental picture of how much dog hair, vomit and poop I've dealt with. Yikes!
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. There are links to other pages here for more detail on certain care basics.
First I have to mention that nutritious dog foods are very important. We are what we eat and dogs are too. See Dog Nutrition pages for lots of ideas. Even if you feed dog kibble, you can easily add fresh foods and a supplement to improve your dog's health.
Learn about canine oral health - to brush or not to brush dog teeth here.
Meet Bonz Capone, my oldest canine and best buddy.
This picture is an example a dog who's never had his teeth cleaned by the vet.
He's 11 years old here and still has all his pearly whites. What do I attribute it to? Feeding raw.
His teeth were pretty darn dirty when I started feeding him raw meaty bones a few years ago.
What kind of bowl you serve your dog's food in makes a difference too. Think about what Your Dog Food Dish is made out of because some can be toxic. If you have a big dog, consider Elevated Dog Food Bowls. I'll give you ideas for free dog bowl stands and share pictures of some great ones you may want to buy.
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 works for me.
What you put on the outside of your dog at bath time is important too. Here's a recipe for dog shampoo I found at Easy Dog Recipes.com. Home made and natural. I love this!
What water source do you use to fill the bowl? Even after changing my dogs diet, I was using tap water for a while because I couldn't afford an expensive filter and bottled water was cost prohibitive for five big dogs. Basic dog care should include good fresh water. Read about some inexpensive options in Water for Dogs.
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.
I'm serious! An important part of basic dog care, the scoop is in the poop, so go to Poop Watch and Other Fecal Matters.
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. There's nothing special about me. I just stay calm, believe I can do it and know I'm doing something good to help the dog. They understand your feelings and energy.
Make some basic dog care rituals 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...
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? 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? Not quite sure how to clip dog nails? Afraid you'll make them bleed? Here's how to clip dog nails, including pictures.
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. If a toothbrush and doggy toothpaste aren't your style, use cheesecloth! 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 toothpaste is not needed.
Don't want to clean his teeth? Canned dog food, dog biscuits and even the best dry dog food (yes kibble) stick to the teeth. Dogs who eat raw foods and fresh bones regularly don't need teeth cleaning. Plus raw meaty bones supply much needed calcium. (Dogs need ten times more than we do!)
If this is a consideration, check out the section on Raw Dog Food.
Another part of basic dog care is spaying and neutering. If your dog's reproductive abilities have not been curtailed yet (fancy words huh?) read the do's and don'ts of spaying dogs and Why neuter a dog? If you have a male dog that you would neuter but hate the idea of him lacking his manhood, read about neuticles. If you think you can make some money breeding your dog, or just want to have a puppy like him, give Dog Breeding or Should I Breed My Dog a read.
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. And if you suspect dehydration, I share how to test for it and how to treat it at home. You should know how to treat dog dehydration in case getting to the vet isn't an option, and I'm not talking about using pedialyte. I've got another lifesaver.
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.If you get lazy in the exercise department, I'll explain why it's much more likely you'll see more dog chewing.
There are a few things to know in case of accidents in the house. Here's how to handle vomit cleanup and some handy baking soda uses. And if your dog gets into a tussle with another dog, here are some tips for Dog Bite Wound Care.
Let me help you answer the question
Is My Dog Fat?
For soft stools or canine diarrhea, see:
Canine Diarrhea Treatment
Whatever happened to a dog's life span? Why
is a ten-year-old considered a senior citizen?
The Dog Life Span
And for heaven's sake, do learn what to do in an emergency. Would you know what to do if your dog chewed through an electrical cord? Suffered heatstroke? What you do before you get to the vet can save your dog's life. eBook Canine 911. Go beyond basic dog care and be proud!