When you first acquire your dog, it will probably need a few days to get used to you and its new surroundings. One of the best ways to help your dog settle into its new home is to have everything set up for it before it arrives in your home.
While some people keep their dogs indoors, others prefer to leave them outside. Regardless of where you choose to keep your dog, it will need a house or bed which is all its own. This way, the dog can use its bed as a refuge if it feels uncomfortable or just tired. Indoor dogs may be offered crates or beds, which come in a variety of sizes and are sold at many pet stores. If you choose to offer your dog a crate, there are two types available. Wire crates are very easy to disinfect and clean, in addition to giving your dog plenty of ventilation. Plastic crates are also quite easy to clean, but your dog will not be able to see out of the sides very well. This type of crate is the type required by airlines, so if you plan to travel with your dog this may influence your decision. Also, because the dog cannot see out of the crate it may feel more comfortable and sheltered, as though it has its own cave or den.
No matter what sort of crate you plan to use, it should be large enough that your dog can stand up and turn around inside it. You should also try to choose a crate that has a few inches of airspace above your dog’s head when it is standing or sitting. Some people will utilize their dog’s crate in-house training. The other sort of indoor bed for your dog is a soft bed. These can be as simple as a pillow you designate for your dog, or a box lined with blankets. You can purchase specially made dog beds in pet stores. If you choose to use a soft bed, you should remember that it might be a bit more difficult to clean than a crate.
Regardless of whether you choose a crate or a soft bed, you should try to place the bed in an area of your home where it is fairly quiet and removed from the majority of human traffic. This will create an even more comfortable refuge for your dog. If you choose to keep your dog outdoors, it is especially important for you to provide some sort of shelter for it from the weather. Many people will build or buy dog houses for this purpose. These may be made of wood, brick, plastic, etc. and come in a variety of styles and sizes. In order to determine how big your dog’s house should be, measure it when it is curled up in a sleeping position. Then, add three inches on all sides to this measurement. To find the height of the dog house, measure your dog at the shoulders, then add about five inches or more. Of course, if you have a puppy you should remember that it is probably going to grow. You may want to find out how big your dog will be when it is full-grown and try to construct or buy a dog house based on that projection. That way, you will only have to buy a dog house once.
Although dogs are generally kept in the confines of a home or yard area, it is not uncommon for dogs to escape. You should keep a collar on your dog at all times to which a tag with your phone number and address are attached. You may also want to include your name and the dog’s name. This way, in the even that your dog escapes, anyone who finds it will be able to contact you. In addition, many veterinarians offer the service of microchip implantation, in which a microchip is inserted just beneath your dog’s skin. Many animal rescue organizations and veterinarians have scanners to search for these chips in lost animals. The chip is unique and will identify your dog without causing discomfort to it and without the worry of your dog losing its collar.
The light and temperature requirements for your dog are much the same ones you have. For example, some sunlight is good for your dog, but you may not want to leave it in the sun all the time or it can develop sunburns and eventually skin cancer, just as humans do.
If the temperature feels comfortable for you, it may be close to the right temperature for your dog. Exceptions need to be considered for dogs with very long or thick coats or for hairless dogs. Usually, your dog will be able to tolerate colder temperatures than you can because of its coat. Dogs may become overheated, however, for the same reason. Most dogs shed their hair in warmer weather to help them avoid this problem, but if you live in an extremely hot climate heat stroke remains a real possibility. Allow your dog permanent access to shade and cool fresh water to help prevent this problem. In very cold or wet climates, dogs will need shelter from precipitation- the dog house will do fine for this. When your dog curls up, provided the cold outside is moderate, its body heat will fill the structure and provide heat for it. This is one reason why you will want to choose a dog house that is not too large for your dog. In damp climates, it may be necessary to slightly elevate the dog house off of the wet ground. Some people may choose to place a blanket or towel in the dog house to make their dog more comfortable or to give it something soft to cuddle with. However, if your dog house is outdoors these items may become quickly soiled. In extreme cold and extreme heat, it may be best to bring your dog into a climate-controlled area.
You should have a bowl of clean, fresh water available to your dog at all times. This will be especially important in the warmer months. Consider using ceramic, stainless steel, or plastic bowls for water, as these are easy to clean and fairly convenient. It has been reported that some dogs may develop allergies to plastic bowls, so you may want to observe your dog carefully when you first introduce the bowl. Ceramic bowls should usually be checked over for cracks or chips which can harbor bacterial growth unhealthy to your animal. In cold climates, water can freeze in the bowl and your dog may not be able to drink. Some water bowls come equipped with heaters to prevent this from happening. In hot climates, especially in summer time, you should try to place the water bowl in a shady or cool area. Not only will this keep the water cooler, but it may encourage your animal to stay in the shade. If your dog is tethered or tied outside, it is especially important to be careful that it does not become entangled, shortening its line and losing access to water and shade.
In order to ensure that your dog is not susceptible to infection, you should make an effort to keep it as clean as possible. This involves regularly cleaning its house, crate, or bed. These items should be washed and disinfected on a regular basis, and on occasions when they become soiled. Your dog’s bowls will also need to be cleaned regularly, regardless of whether they appear dirty, in order to prevent bacteria from building up.
Some dogs may be kept together; others may fight. Much of your decision to keep dogs together will depend on knowing your dog’s personality. Dogs which are raised together may do best when kept together; because dogs form strong bonds, they may be stressed emotionally when first separated from lifelong companions. Similarly, dogs which have not been raised together may or may not get along; if you wish to keep more than one dog, you may want to get them both when they are young in order to have the best chance of their tolerating each other.
Another consideration you should make when creating a comfortable environment for your dog is intellectual or emotional stimulation. You might accomplish this by the addition of toys or chew items to make the environment interesting. Much like humans, dogs can easily become bored. Boredom can lead to a variety of problems, ranging from destructive behavior to self-mutilation; not only can a bored dog chew on your furniture, but it may also chew on itself. Boredom can be prevented with plenty of attention from you, but you probably won’t be able to spend all of your time with your dog. For the times when you are away, leave some toys for your dog to play with or chew on. Pet stores sell a wide variety of chew items, from stuffed animals or rope twists to squeaky toys and rawhide. There are a few toys you may need to be careful with. If your dog is quite destructive or a strong chewer, you may want to avoid squeaky toys.
Dogs can chew the squeakers out and choke on them. If your dog cannot destroy the toy, this probably will not be a problem. Rawhide items may be controversial. Although some people claim that they cannot harm a dog in moderation, others say that they can upset dogs’ digestive systems when ingested. You may wish to consult your veterinarian to find out if rawhide is appropriate for your dog. Some rawhides or toys claim to aid in maintaining your dog’s dental health. Of course, some tug toys have a handle on one end so you can play tug of war with your dog. All in all, the type of toy you choose will probably depend on your dog’s size and strength, as you may want to choose toys it will not quickly destroy. Puppies may be introduced to soft toys to cuddle with at night, as they may be missing their mother or litter mates. Many dogs will become attached to a favorite toy and some will carry it around for months. One of the most important needs your dog has is the psychological need for companionship. It is crucial that you spend time with your dog regularly, and give it plenty of exercise. If your dog does not exercise regularly, its muscles may atrophy and/or it may become obese. One of the easiest ways to exercise your dog is to allow time each day in your yard, if you keep it indoors. If you keep your dog outdoors, this is already accomplished.
For additional activity, you can play with your dog by chasing it or throwing items for it to chase. Fetch is perhaps the most well-known dog game, and many people like to throw Frisbees or balls for their dogs to bring back. People who do not have a yard should walk their dogs each day. Some find that this fits well into their own personal fitness program.