What Every Dog Needs
When I walk on the streets of Fort Lauderdale and Los Angeles, I see finely pampered pooches that have rhinestones on their collars and are toted around in designer dog carriers and strollers. Yes, strollers. There are even dog spas that offer extravagant spa days with scented shampoos, relaxing massages, and pedicures with nail polish for Fido’s nails. There’s nothing wrong with indulging your pet with a blinged-out collar and doggie sweater, but make sure you also provide him with the the things that will keep him comfortable and safe.
Stainless steel feeding bowls: Avoid using plastic bowls since they can leach chemicals into water and food. Many dog food bowl manufacturers are still using plastics that contain BPA (Bisephonol A), which is a compound found in many plastics that can mimic estrogen and can affect the body in negative ways.
Choke chain: Use this type of chain when you walk your dog, but do not leave this chain on him for any extended period of time. Due to the chain link design, these collars can easily get caught on something and can easily strangle your dog. Make sure you put the chain on properly so you don’t injure your dog — take the chain in your hand and make the letter “P”. Stand in front of your dog and slip it over his head. The ring should be at the top or right hand side of the dog. This will allow you to give your dog a a quick command correction without hurting him. If the chain is put on incorrectly, the chain, when tugged on, will not release immediately and can be uncomfortable and even hurt your dog.
Nylon collar: Always have this collar on your dog. This collar is useful for hanging his ID tag and his county license.
ID tag and county license: Make sure your dog has an identification tag on his collar. Make sure his name and your address and phone number are on this tag. Should he ever get lost, this is a quick and easy way for someone to identify him and get in touch with you. You can get these at most national pet stores. States require dogs to be licensed in the county where they reside. This helps the county to keep track of the dogs and to ensure that they are up to date on all their necessary shots. Registering your dog with the county can also be helpful if your dog is ever lost or stolen. Ask your veterinarian for more details.
Shampoo/Conditioner: Dogs can get really dirty, especially if they like to play outdoors a lot. A bath helps to keep them clean, but can also relieve allergies and itching, as well as assist in getting rid of parasites. Always buy cleaning products especially made for dogs. The ingredients in human shampoos and conditioners are often too harsh for dogs. if your dog has long hair, a conditioner can help detangle any knots.
Bed: Your dog should have a comfortable place in the house where he can sleep. Make sure you find a bed that is big enough for him. If your dog has joint problems, look for beds that are thick and orthopedic. If you’re looking for a bed that is easy to clean, look into getting a dog cot. Since these beds are raised several inches above the floor, your dog will be off the cold floor. Cots are also a good alternative if your dog has a chewing problem.
Ramp: If you take your dog in the car, a ramp is an essential tool to have. Jumping into the back of a minivan, SUV, or truck can be difficult for any dog. Ramps can eliminate the need to carry your dog into the back of the car or any injuries that can be sustained by jumping into the car.
Bones and chew toys: Bones and chew toys give dogs an outlet for their gnawing needs. These can also be used to relax a hyper dog — they are forced to put their energy into chewing a bone, instead of barking constantly at your neighbor. The next time you’re at the grocery store, ask you butcher for marrow bones — they always have these and are very inexpensive. Purchase a lot of these bones and throw them in your freezer. When you’re ready to give your dog a treat, throw him one of these frozen bones and he’ll be busy for hours.
Training: If you want to live in peace with your dog, make sure that you get him trained immediately. Getting your dog trained will help you to establish who is boss, the alpha dog — you. Training also will help you walk your dog better, have him pay attention to you, and follow your commands. National pet stores like Petco and Petsmart have affordable training. There are many trainers that provide one-on-one training. You don’t just want someone who says they love dogs to train you and your dog — look for a trainer that is certified and has an extensive background in dealing with canines and canine behavior. The Association of Pet Dog Trainers is a good place to start your search. Make sure you do sufficient research on your trainer and interview them. Find out before the trained even meets your dog what you and your dog will achieve in each session.
Provide a loving and safe environment for your dog — he’s depending on you!