dr hahnz

Looking after and caring for your dog

By

dr hahnz

Caring for your dog is not an easy task. They do things that they shouldn’t do. Tell it “no” when it does something it shouldn’t or whenever it tries to. And on the other hand, don’t forget to reward it whenever it does something good or when it obeys your command.

Caring for your dog #1: Preventing accidents around the house

Although it is almost impossible to avoid all forms of domestic accidents, it is possible for you to take some safety precautions to reduce risks as much as possible:

  • Never leave your dog unattended (not even for short periods of time) especially outdoors; there is the risk of it running off, or causing damage.
  • Keep all doors and windows that it might be able to reach firmly closed and don’t let it go near balconies or terraced areas on upper floors of tall buildings. When you close doors leading to other rooms, make sure that your dog hasn’t been left inside accidentally.
  • Make sure that detergents, bleach, paints, solvents, fertilizers, disinfectants, mothballs, poison and liquid antifreeze are all kept in places that your dog cannot reach.
  • Make sure that the toilet seat lid is always kept down, as your dog could drink from the toilet bowl or play with the water in the toilet bowl, drink the toilet cleaner or disinfectant, or get injured if the toilet seat lid falls on it.
  • Elastic bands could also be a source of serious injury, as your dog could swallow them and this may lead to digestive problems, or, worse still, it could choke if it gets the elastic band tangled around something.
  • There are a series of household plants such as azalea, daphnia, dieffenbachia, ivy, iris, narcissus, oleander, mistletoe, poinsettia, potato plant, rhododendron, a tobacco plant, tulips, fig trees and yew trees that are poisonous to dogs, so keep them well out of their reach.
  • Do not give your dog any form of medication without first checking with your vet, and medication should never be left within your dog’s reach.
  • Small objects such as buttons, bottle tops or pieces of toys should be kept well away from your dog and more so in the case of pointed or sharp objects such as nails, paperclips, safety pins, etc. These could cause injuries to the dog’s mouth or internal organs if it bites into them or swallows them.

Electrical appliances are especially hazardous, so it would be a good idea to unplug electrical cables that may be within your dog’s reach, given that if it were to bite through them, it could be burnt, electrocuted or may even start a fire. It is also a good idea to cover up plugs that are not being used and not to use electrical appliances in the dog’s kennel.

Caring for your dog #2: Food

The importance of proteins

Proteins are a basic element in your dog’s diet. They are nutrients and provide essential amino acids and as a result, you should give your dog the right amount of proteins that it needs. In the first place, it is important to know that a balanced diet should not be based solely or largely on the consumption of meat or, as a result, on the consumption of meat-based proteins. Dogs are omnivorous creatures and vegetables provide them with a series of proteins which, without a doubt, should form part of their diet. Not all proteins are the same. In fact, there are certain amino acids, essential for your dog’s development, which cannot be synthesized by the animal’s metabolism. Pay special attention to making sure that its food contains, and is rich in, essential amino acids and you can check on this by reading the labels on different dog food products. You should also make sure that these products guarantee a balanced diet.

What type of food to give your dog

Basically, the types of food you will find in the shops and supermarkets are moist varieties, semi-moist and dry food or dog biscuits.

Dry food or dog biscuits is most recommended by the experts as this variety is nutritionally the most complete. It has a high-calorie content. In terms of proteins, it is the type of food that contains most, at around twenty-five percent. Additionally, and in practical terms, it is the cheapest alternative and you can buy it in large amounts and store it for a long time.

Semi-moist food does not contain such a high percentage of proteins, this is around twenty-one percent, but they also have fewer kilocalories. As they have rather a high moisture content they also have a smooth texture, making them easier to chew. Dogs really like this type of food a lot, both for its taste as well as for its texture. But it is more expensive, and the portions have to be more generous than portions of dry food.

Moist food contains three parts of water and has a lower protein content, which is between eight and fifteen percent, depending on the brand. This type of food is preferred by most dogs as it is more tender and tastier. In terms of calories, this type of dog food contains fewer calories than dry or semi-moist food, for which reason dogs have to eat more of it to get all the calories they need. This type of food has to be stored in the refrigerator once opened and is more expensive.

Armed with this information on dog foods, you can choose the food you want to feed your dog on. But you should also be aware that you cannot make simple comparisons between the contents of one type or another. For example, although moist food has proportionately fewer proteins, don’t be fooled into thinking that it is better to give your dog dry food because it has more proteins. But rather, what you should do in that case is increase the amount of moist food you give him so that he gets the same amount of proteins from both options. Each of these types of dog food can adequately provide your dog with a complete diet. So, whatever food you choose to give him, what you have to focus on is making sure he gets all the proteins, calories and trace elements it needs, giving it more or less food depending on the type that you choose.

The breed of the dog and its daily routine will also influence your decision. If it is a dog that gets quite a lot of exercise, or better still, if it is a working dog, you can give it more proteins and fats than you would be able to give to a dog that has a more sedentary life, or a dog that doesn’t burn off as many calories, as this could lead to it becoming obese. Although your dog may prefer to eat meaty and moist food, it will also be happy to eat the dry food varieties. Besides, the dry food will also help prevent a build-up of tartar on its teeth.

In reality, another factor in the type of food you give your dog will be how much you can afford to spend on dog food. You will also want to choose a dog food that is easy to find in your local shops. If you don’t know what type of food to go for, talk to your local vet and ask him for advice.

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