Dogs: The Complete Guide to Caring For Dogs

Domestication of Dogs

The fact that dogs have directly descended from wolves is well known. However, it’s interesting to note that man began domesticating dogs as far as fifteen thousand years ago. Our ancestors domesticated the dog species first for their personal hunting and gathering needs!

According to extensive archaeological research, the earliest dog remains were dug out of the ground in the German town of Bonn-Oberkassel. The scientific evidence at hand tells us that this animal was distinct from its likely predecessor – the wolf.

dogs

In fact, there is concrete evidence to the fact that dogs were already beloved animals for humankind as far back as 15 millennia ago!

The dog’s remains were discovered buried with a man and a woman 14,223 years ago, all three having been sprinkled with red hematite powder and buried beneath big, thick basalt stones.

Essentially, dogs were helpful to men while they went hunting for food. Therefore, men began domesticating this animal. Gradually, as dogs became more widely accepted as members of households, they adapted to the human way of life.

Eating food such as grains and other starch-based food became routine for them over the course of evolution. Even today, its related species of the wolf cannot eat a starch-based diet.

Today, dogs are trendy pet animals across the world. By domesticating the dog, humankind gave birth to one of the purest relationships that humanity can witness: a dog and his master.

Dog Breeds

The breed of dogs was artificially created by humankind when it began domesticating dogs. Humans chose the specific traits of dogs that they preferred and mated different dogs to preserve these traits in their lineage.

You’ll be interested to know that today, the world has about four hundred and fifty breeds of dogs. The reason is that directed human selection generated modern dog breeds in the Victorian era, resulting in a wide diversity of features and appearances.

different dog breeds

Most dog breeds were developed over the previous 200 years based on people’s preferences, and dogs have undergone a fast phenotypic change. They have evolved into today’s modern varieties as a result of artificial selection enforced by humans.

The skull, body, and limbs proportions differ significantly between breeds, with dogs having more variability than the entire order of carnivores.

These dog breeds have specific characteristic features, including body size, skull shape, tail phenotype, fur type, and color. Dog breeds generally also vary in terms of their lifespan.

You’ll find that an Indie mongrel or a typical hound dog is likely to live substantially longer than a purebred German Shepherd.

How To Choose the Right Dog Breed?

Choosing the right dog breed depends on several factors that we will highlight. You must bear in mind that choosing the right breed of dog is crucial to the dog’s growth and development and your happiness and peace. Choose the right dog for you using these pointers.

Size of the dog breed

You might be naturally inclined toward large or small dog breeds depending on your purpose of bringing home a dog. Having said that, you must remember some little canines are sensitive and susceptible.

Stepping on or mishandling can result in catastrophic injury. Also, due to small dogs being more vulnerable to chilly temperatures, you need to be prepared to assist them in staying warm. Don’t forget that dogs, too, require obedience training.

To compensate for their small stature, certain little dogs can develop “tough dog” attitudes, making them aggressive and reactive toward other humans and dogs. Therefore, ensure that you socialize your pup well and train him to be well-behaved in certain social situations.

small and big dog together posing

Large dogs require a little more room to move around. Moreover, being large dogs, as trivial as this may sound, they need room to move about and wag their tails when they get excited.

When they don’t have enough space, these dog breeds can end up injuring their tails or breaking household objects. You will also have to think about the price of pet supplies, dog food or dry kibble, and medical care.

Larger dogs need more care and, therefore, can result in more expenditures. Another critical component is training your dog. Larger dogs tend to scare society more than small dogs.

If your large dog breed does not listen to and darts off at strangers, you will likely receive complaints against your dog.

Moreover, if you buy a large or giant breed puppy and let him act like a lap dog when he’s young, it’ll be difficult for you to handle him when he’s older and bigger!

Make sure you choose a size of dog breed that can be comfortable in your living space!

Amount of exercise

Every dog needs exercise in the course of a day. The only variable question is how much exercise you need to ensure for it daily.

Although a dog’s activity level is frequently affected by breed, this does not mean that you can just rely on breed to predict how energetic your dog will become.

Dog breeds like Pugs, Basset Hounds, and other toy dogs are naturally less active than dogs like German Shepherds, Dobermans, Golden Retrievers, and so on.

Therefore, if your lifestyle leans toward relaxed and laid back, less active dog breeds are probably a better fit for you.

Three dogs playing in park

However, if you want a dog to play fetch with every other morning, accompany you on hikes, and jogs more active breeds that need high levels of exercise are your ideal dog.

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You might need time to get into a daily exercise rhythm with your dog. You might have to reduce or increase depending on how your dog reacts to the amount of exercise you are supplying.

Activities like damaging property, making holes in the garden, or being hyperactive are often tell-tale signs of the dog being given a lack of physical stimulation. Excessive energy is the source of many behavioral issues.

Unfortunately, many dogs are surrendered or died due to a behavioral problem that they could have easily avoided with the right amount of exercise and attention.

You will have to get into a healthy exercise schedule with your dog right from the time you bring it home. Dogs enjoy routine, so make one that works best for both you and your dog and stick to it!

Grooming needs of your dog breed 

It’s not easy to have your dog’s double coat look its best. The way your dog appears has a lot to do with his upkeep requirements and the efforts you put in toward it.

Essential grooming, such as brushing and bathing, is required for all dogs, although many breeds require extra care due to their fur coat type. If you get a dog with a lot of hair, you will need to groom it frequently.

grooming the dog

Most short-haired, smooth-coated dogs shed a lot, so you should plan on doing some additional cleaning. You can reduce shedding with the use of specific grooming tools such as de-shedders, undercoat brushes, and metal hair combs.

Further, long ears and ears that stay erect generally accumulate a lot of wax and dirt. Therefore, they are more prone to infection. Not only will you have to ensure that your dog’s ear stays clean but also visit the vet’s clinic for a thorough cleaning and routine checkups of your dog’s ear health.

Dog grooming in salon

Brushing your dog’s teeth is not usually necessary if you feed it a healthy diet. Regardless, you can use either your finger or long and soft-bristled brushes and a veterinary-approved toothpaste to brush your dog’s teeth.

Consider the dog’s age.

The age at which you bring home your dogs plays a crucial role in the bond that you create with your pet dog. Your dog’s age will also be a deciding factor in how well you can train your dog to adapt to your way of life and the space in which you live.

Puppies, particularly during the first six months, require the most training and attention.

If you bring home a puppy, you should expect to invest time and effort in housetraining your new pet dog. However, while it takes a small amount of time to get into a rhythm that works well for your pet dog and you, being a parent to a pup is one of the most gratifying experiences.

puppies

Your dog will most likely have numerous accidents in the house and will chew on your furniture and personal items. These issues will slowly fade away with dedicated training, but you must be patient with your pup.

The fact remains that a puppy is likely to be the best part of your life, even when it grows into an adult dog. The loyalty you get from a pup that you have trained and have grown up with you is unmatched.

Whether you choose to bring home a mix-breed pup or a purebred, expect love and loyalty along with an investment of time, effort, and generous amounts of belly rubs!

If you choose to buy or adopt a dog that is already an adult, the chances are that your job as a parent is slightly more straightforward since the dog is more mature than a puppy.

Moreover, if you want to get a solid impression of your new dog’s genuine energy level, attitude, and temperament, an adult might be a better alternative. Bear in mind that even if the dog is an adult, he is not necessarily trained.

Therefore you should expect some focused training at first. Fortunately, many mature dogs have been taught and socialized to some extent and can readily transition to their forever homes and new lives.

aged dog wearing glass

If your preference is to bring home a pet dog that has already crossed the learning and hyperactive phase of its life, a senior dog can be a great choice.

However, it’s vital to remember that your old dog needs extra care, more frequent veterinarian visits, and is more prone to develop health issues that cost time and money to resolve.

You must understand that, unlike a puppy or an adult dog, you will not have as many years with a senior dog. Consider adopting a senior dog if you’re willing to take on the duties.

Having said that, senior dogs too will love you with all their heart for taking proper care of them when they need companionship and affection.

The dog breed

Purebred dogs are fiercely famous for their pedigree, aesthetics, and social value. Most people’s reasons for wanting a specific dog breed will differ. Perhaps you were raised with the breed or have spent a significant amount of time with it throughout your life.

Maybe you adore the way a particular breed looks and behaves. Alternatively, you may believe the breed is right for you based on what you’ve read or heard about it. If you want a purebred dog, make sure you investigate the breed properly.

Purebred dogs

Determine whether you’re willing to take on hurdles such as temperament, grooming requirements, and health issues. Make sure the breed, including other dogs, will fit in with your family and lifestyle.

Then, make sure you find a reputable dog breeder who follows healthy and ethical breeding practices. Beware of the dog market that hinges on poor breeding practices.

Should You Adopt or Buy a Dog?

The question of adopting or buying a dog is a hotly debated topic in the pet parenting world. Now there are advantages as well as some disadvantages.

The advantage of buying a dog is that you can choose a breed of your choice and bring home a puppy.

Moreover, buying a puppy from a reputable breeder that engages in entirely ethical and healthy breeding practices also drastically reduces the chances of your pet dog facing health issues as a result of its pedigree.

Having said that, adopting a dog has its fair share of advantages too. For starters, no dog will be more grateful to a family that has given it a loving forever home.

puppy

Moreover, the chances are that you will adopt a dog that is already past the puppy stage of its life. This means that they are likely to have a good understanding of how to behave at home and with other dogs. It is needless to say that adopting a dog also allows you to avoid spending money to bring home a friend for life.

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The disadvantage of buying a dog is that many breeders engage in breeding practices that are harmful to the mother dog’s health. This also reflects in its puppies long term health.

Therefore, not only will you be bringing home a dog that will have to deal with multiple health issues in its life, but you will also be contributing to an industry that runs on exploiting the health of these adorable but speechless creatures.

Not to mention the fact that purchasing a dog from a good breeder can also be an expensive affair. Not only are buying costs very high, but they also require a greater deal of overall maintenance and veterinary visits to ensure that they stay healthy.

While health problems don’t usually occur while adopting a dog, at times, your dog might have some issues from its previous life that can be difficult to address. Behavioral issues and trauma are the most commonly observed issues in rescue dogs.

Before you choose to adopt or buy a dog, you must research the shelter you wish to adopt from or the breeder you wish to buy from.

Ensure that you can give your pet dog a healthy and happy life. Ultimately, having a pet dog is not just about the social benefits but also the sense of joy concurrent with loving and being loved by your furry mate.

How Can You Take Care of a Puppy?

Taking care of a puppy involves careful observation regarding your pup’s needs and training them to live comfortably in the space that it will be sharing with you. We have here a list of tips that you can remember while taking care of a puppy!

Essential items that you need to invest in

Before you bring home your new best friend, i.e., your pet dog, you must be prepared with some essentials that you can use to make your puppy more comfortable in its new home.

Dog on the bed wearing a collar

You should invest in items like a collar or harness and a leash, chew toys, a dedicated bed, individual bowls for its water and food, brushes specifically designed for dogs, and good quality puppy food or kibble.

Puppy-proofing your living space

Puppies experience the world around them using their nose, eyes, and mouth or tongue. Therefore, there are staple requirements you will have to accommodate in your home. You will have to address a few things before bringing your puppy home to keep them safe.

Puppy proofing the home

Medications, cleaning materials, and engine oil, and antifreeze should all be kept in a safe place. Low-level windows should be blocked or cordoned off entirely to prevent any unfortunate accidents for your unwitting pup.

You should move breakables and electrical cords away from the dog’s reach. You will want to invest in a trash container that has a secure lid.

Let your pup sleep

Puppies need to sleep for the more significant part of the day, so make sure they’re comfortable while they nap. Many experts recommend that your puppy sleeps in your room at first, whether in their bed or a kennel, to help bond with you.

Puppies sleeping

Use a crate only for sleeping, housebreaking, and travel if you have one. Dogs aren’t supposed to live in crates, so don’t overdo it by locking yours up all the time.

However, keep the door open. Many dogs regard the crate as a haven where they can come and go as they want.

Handling your pup’s ‘accidents.’

There are two indications that your dog has to go pee. They’ll either smell the ground for a decent area or run around furiously. Pick up your puppy in your hands and take it outside if you notice them acting in this manner. Praise them once they’ve peed in the proper spot.

Expect a few accidents because puppies need to urinate themselves every few hours. You can also teach them to use potty pads indoors, as long as you’re comfortable with them using them for good. If you choose this approach, keep them in the same place.

What Food Should You Feed Your Dog?

As far as choosing the best dog food, your vet is the best professional to approach for direction on this.

The general idea is that the best dog food for your puppy will be a product with a high content of protein and generous amounts of other nutrients required for its healthy development.

dog food

For an adult dog, all you need to look for in its dog food is wholesome nutrition that can ensure a balanced diet for it.

You might have to experiment with a few different puppy food brands, but remember that you must follow the proper feeding instructions given by your vet or on the food packaging itself.

Alternatively, you can also opt to feed your dog wholesome homemade food. While this requires a more considerable degree of effort from your end, you can ensure that your dog gets the nutrition it needs from its food.

How much food should you feed your dog?

You should feed your dog an amount recommended by your vet after considering your dog’s breed, weight, skeletal structure, and the amount of physical activity it receives in a day.

As a general rule, you should only feed an adult dog twice a day, whereas you can feed your pup three to four times a day. You can also give some treats to your dogs.

How Should You Groom a Dog?

Grooming your pet dog should be a regular activity, depending on what kind of fur it has.

Discussing with your vet about the appropriate kind of brushes, shampoos, and conditioners you should be using for your pet dog is a helpful activity.

You can also hire professional dog grooming services that will leave your furry friend feeling relaxed and clean.

When Should I Start Training My Dog?

The best age to start training your dog is when it’s about 4 to 6 months old. At this age, your dog is the most impressionable and willing to adopt new traits and habits.

Dog training

Having said that, training your dog early on can help your dog understand what you expect of it and accordingly form behavioral patterns.

How can you deal with reactivity in dogs?

Choosing a stringent training pattern supplemented with treats and healthy training methods is ideal for dealing with reactivity in dogs.

Choosing to train them effectively addresses the root issue of your dog being reactive and, therefore, is a sustainable way to address reactivity in dogs for the long term.

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Is it too late to start training my dog?

Against popular belief, it is never too late to start training your dog.

While it is true that dogs are tougher to train when they are adults since they have already developed specific types of behaviors, you can still train them well using a personalized training program and consistency.

How much activity does my dog need in a day?

Typically, different dogs need different hours of activity in a day. However, vets recommend physical activity of about an hour on a daily basis for them to live a healthy and active life.

Dog doing some physical activity

Having said that, as your dog gets older, its requirement for physical activity will reduce and will have to be regulated. Therefore, be sure to discuss this aspect of your pet dog’s health with your vet.

What are the Health Issues that Dogs are Prone to?

Some common health issues dogs are prone to are listed below for your direct referrals. Bear in mind that having a good vet for your pet dog is of utmost importance to ensure that your dog stays devoid of any health issues or at least well-treated and taken care of if it does have any.

  1. Diabetes
  2. Kennel Cough
  3. Cancer
  4. Rabies
  5. Parvovirus
  6. Musculoskeletal issues such as hip dysplasia
  7. Ringworms
  8. Ticks and fleas, which can lead to tick fever.

Risks of buying purebred dogs

The fact is that dog breeds are a human invention. People created specific breeds with the sole intention of protecting specific features and traits that would become common in that dog’s lineage.

This is the main reason why pure dog breeds often come with a higher risk of developing severe health issues throughout their life. Dog breeds like pugs and French bulldogs often develop asthma or other respiratory health issues.

French bulldog

Larger dog breeds fall victim to severe musculoskeletal problems like weak spines and hip dysplasia.

Such health issues are further complicated by the fact that the global dog breeding industry often follows extremely unhealthy and unethical breeding practices that magnify the likelihood of those dog breeds developing health issues that could prove to be extremely painful if not fatal.

When should you consider mating your dog?

The age at which dogs become mature enough to reproduce sexually is heavily influenced by the breed. Smaller breeds mature quicker than larger dogs.

On the other hand, male dogs become capable of reproduction after about six months and achieve sexual maturity between 12 and 15 months. Healthy male dogs can live to be old and yet be sexually active and fertile.

Males of any age can mate at any time. For female dogs, choosing the optimal age to have her mated is a little trickier than in male dogs. If done improperly, mating could affect her reproductive and general health in the future.

After six months of age, a female dog’s first season of heat occurs, though it can happen as late as 18 months to two years of age. This season of heat is referred to as estrus. Estrus occurs at around six-month intervals until late in life.

The female is fertile during estrus and will accept a man. During her first season, the bitch should not be bred to prevent health complications for her litter of pups and herself.

How long is a dog pregnant for?

Regardless of their dog breeds, most dogs stay pregnant for around two months or sixty to seventy days.

How Do You Care for a Pregnant Dog?

Pregnant dogs require special attention to ensure their health and that of their babies. Feed the pregnant dog a high-protein, high-fat, high-mineral adult meal.

The eating needs of a pregnant dog will grow at a pace of around one-and-a-half times the regular rate, so you may need to buy additional pregnant dog food.

Pregnant dog

Further, ensuring that she is physically comfortable and reasonably active will help keep her and her unborn pups healthy.

It would be best for you to closely consult your vet and perform routine checkups for your pet dog’s health. Following these aspects will ensure that your pet dog has a healthy pregnancy.

Do You Need Pet Insurance?

Footing the bills for even routine checkups, let alone the bill for an emergency, can take a toll on your wallet.

Moreover, some issues in pet dogs are such that they can’t even be predicted. Therefore, you need a pet insurance plan that comprehensively meets your financial requirements.

Spending on a good pet insurance policy will ensure that your pet dog secures the best treatment at the appropriate time for any medical emergency without running you bankrupt.

General Tips to Keep Your Dog Healthy

Keeping your pet healthy is crucial to ward off future health issues and ensure that your pup stays happy and mentally fit too. You can use these general tips to keep your dog healthy!

Exercise and food

Ensure that you supply the right amount of food and exercise to prevent your pet from becoming obese. Obesity can be not only painful for the dog but also extremely harmful to its health.

Routine vet visits

Your vet should be your point source when it comes to keeping your pet dog’s health at its best. Therefore, it would be best to find a veterinary practitioner who wants nothing but the very best for your dog.

Regular vaccinations

Veterinarian vaccinating a dog

Vaccinations are your pet dog’s shield against deadly diseases like rabies, distemper, etc. Therefore, always make sure to keep your pet dog’s vaccinations up to date.

Cleanliness and care against parasites

A lack of cleanliness and a dirty environment are invitations for parasites like ticks and fleas to settle in your pet dog’s fur coat. Infestation of these parasites on your pet’s body can lead to nearly fatal diseases like tick fever.

Therefore, approach your vet regarding the best cleanliness practices for your pet dog to ensure it stays tick-free and clean.

Conclusion

Dogs are the best choice as pets, especially if you want loyal companionship. The phrase that dogs are men’s best friends becomes abundantly clear when you live the experience of having a pet dog in your life.

As long as you follow the guidelines we have laid down for you in this comprehensive article, you can have the purest and most joyful relationship humanity has been witness to!

FAQs

What is a Dog’s Scientific Name?

A dog’s scientific name is Canis familiaris.

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Gulshan
Hi, I am Gulshan, a pet blogger, and author. I've been working with the local pet groups for the past five years. I have been fascinated by our pets and am here to share that wonder with you.