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Man's best friend is certainly a truism when it comes to dogs. These animals will fill your days with hours of love and laughter. A well cared for dog is always a happy animal that will trust you and protect you even with it's own life. To care of a dog you will need to know the basics of dog care. These include proper feeding, proper grooming, daily exercise, training and what to do when the animal is sick. If a dog is well cared for he will usually be around to love and comfort you to a ripe old age.
If you are planning to purchase a puppy, the best time to choose one is between 7 to 8 weeks old. It should be weaned by then but make sure it is lively. Check for runny eyes or nose, pot bellies, coughs and diarrhea when you get a new puppy. Also make sure you get one that does not nip, resist petting or shrink away from you. A puppy will need to be examined by a veterinarian for worms and general illness. They should be inoculated for hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus, parainfluenze and distemper at 6 to 8 weeks, 9 to ll weeks, and 3 to 4 months. These shots are essential to have a healthy dog and boosters should be given annually. Your dog will also need a rabies shot at 3 to 6 months and every 1 to 3 years thereafter.
It is wise to feed a dog a good grade of commercial dog food that is made for it's age group. You can add cooked eggs, lean meat or cottage cheese to a dogs diet but be sure these items do not make up more than 20 percent of their intake. Dogs, like humans, need plenty of water to be healthy. Water should be changed no less than twice a day. They should be bathed in a tub of warm water using a mild dog shampoo. Dry them thoroughly after their bath to insure they will not get a cold from drafts. Most dogs need to be brushed twice a week and while you are doing this check for fleas, ticks and skin rashes. If your dogs nails are not worn down from outside activity, you should trim them occasionally. Cut only the pointed tip of each nail when doing this. Eye discharge can be cleared with a mild solution of boric acid. If this doesn't work your dog will need to see a veterinarian since the problem could be serious. Always provide your dog with rawhide chews to help prevent a tartar build up on their teeth and help keep their breath fresh.
Dog's, like children, are very active. They should be taken for a long walk each morning, after the main meal and right before bedtime to keep them happy. If you have started with a puppy, begin to housebreak your pet the minute you get it home. Most dogs can be trained to heel, sit, stay, come, and lie down by starting when they are 5 months old. Always be firm but patient with your dog when training it and don't forget to reward it's successes with hugs, praise and petting. Watch for signs of illness with your pet. These can include loss of appetite, a dry coat, dull eyes, vomiting, diarrhea, listlessness, frequent urination and excessive thirst. Many older dogs may gain weight, loose their sight and hearing. Older dogs should be fed smaller amounts of food at more frequent intervals. When your dog displays any of these symptoms, always be sure to have them check by a veterinarian so the problem can be properly diagnosed immediately.