Dog Care Tips for Kids

Because your pet relies on you for his happiness, health and well-being, it's important you know at least the basics of dog care.

Playing with Your Dog

Exercise is very important for your dog, so make sure he gets lots of it! Most dogs will have a natural love of frisbees, balls, squeaky toys, tug-of-war ropes and various other toys you can buy. But sometimes just going for a run with your dog is more than enough to make him happy.

Feeding Your Dog

Some dogs go by a once-a-day feeding schedule, and others go by twice-a-day. Make sure your dog is fed daily, but never overfeed lest he get into the bad habit of chowing down and develops a weight problem. Stick to the food your dog is supposed to have; avoid scraps and an overabundance of treats.

A lot of human food can be harmful to dogs, especially if they receive too much. Things like chocolate, grapes, raisins and chicken with bones are all things every dog should avoid. Likewise, a lot of store-bought treats are very high in calories and too many of them can make your dog sick or overweight.

Bathing and Grooming Your Dog

Some dogs love bath time, and others loathe it. If trained from an early enough age, your dog can learn to enjoy his baths rather than use his dead weight to keep you from dragging him into the tub.

Always take care when bathing your dog that water isn't getting in his nose, eyes or eyes. This can be one of the prime reasons he doesn't enjoy bathtime, because he associates it with the discomfort of water going places it shouldn't. Be especially careful with shampoos; they can irritate his eyes and should never get into his mouth.

You can bathe him in the bath tub or, with bigger pets, it might be easier to bathe him outside using the hose. Also check out the groomers in your areas; some of them have "do-it-yourself" baths with taller tubs, steps to lead your dog into them, and sprayers, all of which make the bathing task much more enjoyable, and without all the mess to clean up when you're done.

Taking Your Dog for a Walk

Even if he has a backyard for running and playing, your dog would enjoy being put on his leash and taken out for walks. Some good training and patience can really pay off in making it fun for both of you. That is, teaching him not to strain at his leash, or to bark at every other dog you pass by on the street.

If you have a problem with your dog pulling on his leash, don't resort to a choke collar or a "pinch" collar. These are painful and uncomfortable for your pet and you do not want them to associate walk-time with those feelings. Instead, look into getting a harness. Harnesses wrap around the shoulders and chest, with the leash fastening to the harness around the shoulder blades. Harnesses make walking easier not only because your dog is no longer choking, but because it gives you more control over him.