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Owning a dog is like adding a child into the family. They need care, attention, love and discipline. If you do not prepare yourself for this addition, you may find difficulties in the months ahead. Take a few moments and read the tips below to learn the best advice for caring for your K-9 companion.

Never hit your dog. There are better ways to train a dog without having to resort to violence. The best way to train a dog is to reinforce positive behaviors with treats and attention. Negative behavior should be handled with a stern and disapproving voice as opposed to striking the animal.

Take your grown dog to the vet at least once a year. The vet will check to see if the dog’s vaccines up to date. In addition, the vet will check the dog’s teeth and vital signs. If any major health or behavioral issues come up between annual checkups, you should see the vet earlier.

Try to always be aware of how your dog is feeling. If your dog seems to be nervous, fearful, or scared of certain things, you should take note of this and try to avoid putting your dog in a stressful situation. When a dog is stressed or afraid, you could traumatize your dog if you insist that it stays in the stressful situation.

When you get a new dog, it is best that you schedule a check-up at the vet right away. This is one of the first things you should do. Your vet will administer the necessary shots and make sure your dog is in good health. Talk with a vet about your dog being spayed or neutered. There are lots of homeless dogs and you don’t want to make the problem worse.

Feed your dog dry, premium-quality dog food. This kind of dog food helps to make sure your dog gets all of their vital nutrients. Making sure that they get proper nutrition helps them live a longer life and reduces their chances of obesity, malnutrition, skeletal problems, muscular problems, and many more conditions.

Use positive reinforcement to teach your dog the habits that you would like to see from them. For example, if you notice that your dog barks anytime someone enters your home you could reward him for not barking with a treat. The dog will then associate being quite with the reward that he will receive.

Before you head out for a day of fun in the sun with your dog, dab a little sunblock on him! Dogs can get very serious burns on their noses and the inside of their ears, so include him in your sun-protection regimen. Just make sure there’s no zinc or PABA in the product you use.

If your dog is always drinking out of the toilet, try changing how you provide him with water. Most prefer it cold and fresh, hence the attraction to the bathroom, so buy a fountain or thermally insulated dish to keep his water at a more appealing temperature. Also, add ice-cubes when it’s hot out and he’s panting

You might be tempted to share your food with your dog. While some foods are fine for sharing with your dog, there are some that must be avoided. Caffeine, grapes and chocolate should never be fed to dogs. They can make you dog seriously ill or even cause death if enough is ingested.

If you leave your dog with a boarder, there are certain things you need to tell them. First, make sure the boarder has a number to reach you in case of an emergency. Also, tell them of any behavioral issues you dog has. If the dog needs special foods or medication, let the boarder know this as well.

Owning a new puppy is very similar to having a new baby. Puppies need a lot of attention and have to be taken care of constantly. They are not ready to be left alone for long periods of time and need to have a fair amount of attention devoted to them.

Consider getting your dog from a shelter. Many of the dogs that are brought there are well behaved, yet the owners could not handle the responsibility that came with raising them. For the best results, visit the shelter a few times so that you can find the dog that is right for you and your lifestyle.

Consider spaying or neutering your dog. This simple operations increases the lifespan of your dog and will help you avoid many behavioral issues, including running away or aggressiveness. If you do not want to have your dog neutered, be responsible and do not let your dog go outside without supervision.

No matter what kind or length of fur your dog has, it is important that they are brushed regularly. Without regular brushing, your dog’s fur may become matted. Matted fur can cause inflammation on your dog’s skin and is very difficult to remove. Also, brushing their fur regularly gets rid of dead hair and helps distribute oils.

Never allow a puppy to climb up or down steps in order to prevent joint problems in the future. This is extremely important, especially with breeds that are at high risk for hip dysplasia. Any sort of high impact shock such as jumping or stair climbing should be avoided due to the fact that their growth plates are still developing.

Just as you would with a baby who has just begun to walk, you should take certain measures to protect your dog from harm in your home. For instance, if you decide to get a dog, get rid of any poisonous plants you have in your home. So many dog injuries and deaths can be prevented by taking a few simple steps.

Once you are equipped with great advice about caring for your dog, you will be better prepared for the day to day life with him. You will be better capable of dealing with any issues that occur. Take notes and post them around your house so when you question what you are doing, you can get a quick reminder of what you should do.