How To Care For A Dog

For those who are considering getting a dog for the first time, they may be completely at a loss as to how to care for a dog. While the needs of a dog are not usually complex, there is more involved than just putting out some food and water.

Here are some things to keep in mind when learning how to care for a dog.

Food and Water

You will want to feed your dog a high quality dog food that provides for all of his nutritional needs.  Some of the less expensive “grocery store” brands are mostly filler and fall short of meeting the daily requirements.  You can get recommendations from your vet about which food is best for your dog.

Fresh water should always be available to your pet. Be sure to change the water at least twice a day to be sure that the water your dog is drinking is clean.


The best choice, obviously, is that your dog will be able to share your home. If, however, you insist on leaving your dog outdoors (and this is not recommended), you will need to provide adequate shelter from the cold and the heat. 

Dogs left outside will need a dog house that is large enough for them to stand up and turn around in.  He will need a place of shade in which he can get out of the sun and should have hay in the winter to help him stay warm.

Exercise and Play

Depending on your breed of dog, he may need just a little exercise or he may need a lot.  If you have a fenced in back yard, your dog will be able to burn off a lot of his energy by playing in the yard.  Buy him a few toys and spend some time each day playing fetch.

If you don’t have a yard, try to find a dog park near your home where your pet will be able to run.  Of course, daily walks are a great way for both you and your pet to get some exercise and to spend some time together.

Vet Care and Health Issues

Vet care is an important part of how to care for a dog. In addition to routine shots and heartworm testing, pet owners should also plan for some unexpected illnesses or injuries that could require expensive vet care.

Also, in most parts of the country, flea and heartworm prevention treatments should be given on a regular basis.


Some dogs require regular grooming in order to keep their coat healthy and shiny. For some, simply brushing the coat will be enough. Other breeds will require professional grooming.

Love and Companionship

The most important part of how to care for a dog may involve love and companionship. Your dog needs to be able to spend time with you and other family members every day.  He has the need for socialization, and if you treat him well he will be loyal and protective and all of the other things that we all want our dogs to be.

How to care for a dog isn’t difficult, but it does take a commitment to make the needs of the dog a priority. Owning a dog isn’t right for everyone, but if you’ve got the time, you’ll find the benefits are very much worth any effort.

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