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Dog-Care Tips


Feeding, Bathing, Grooming, and Exercise
Long-haired dogs need bristle or wire brushes for their coats.
Long-haired dogs need bristle or wire brushes for their coats.
©2006 Publications International, Ltd.

Owning a dog can be a lot of work. Among the main tasks involved in caring for your dog are feeding, bathing, grooming, and exercise.

  • Comb a long-haired dog before a bath. Then you won't have to untangle wet hair.
  • Make certain the water temperature is roughly 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Warmer or cooler water will cause your pet distress and may make it difficult to handle.
  • Wash the head, ears, and neck first. If you don't, any fleas that are on the animal will take refuge there while you clean the body.
  • To avoid getting water in your dog's ears during a bath, plug its ears with cotton balls that have been moistened with apple cider vinegar.

You can minimize the soap residue that remains after a dog's shampoo by adding some vinegar to the bath's rinse water. Then rinse the dog's coat again thoroughly with plain water.

If your dog smells bad but there's no time to give it a bath, rub baking soda or cornstarch into its coat and brush it off.

If a skunk sprays your dog, wash the dog with tomato juice, then with shampoo and water.

Feeding Dogs

  • In general, dry dog food is more nutritious than moist dog food. Any time you get a new pet, however, check with your veterinarian for dietary recommendations.
  • Never offer your dog pork chop bones, chicken bones, or fish bones. These can splinter into sharp pieces and catch in your pet's throat.
  • If you must give your dog a bone, give only marrow or knuckle bones that have first been boiled to remove fat and grease that might cause diarrhea. Take the bone away as soon as it starts to splinter.
  • If moist pet food is not eaten within two hours, refrigerate it.
  • If you're going to change your pet's diet, do it gradually. A sudden change may be a shock to the animal's system.
  • Don't feed a dog milk. It will probably give it diarrhea.
  • On a hot day, be vigilant about your dog's water supply. Fill your pet's bowl with cold tap water and freshen it often.

Bathing Your Dog

  • Comb a long-haired dog before a bath. Then you won't have to untangle wet hair.
  • Make certain the water temperature is roughly 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Warmer or cooler water will cause your pet distress and may make it difficult to handle.
  • Wash the head, ears, and neck first. If you don't, any fleas that are on the animal will take refuge there while you clean the body.
  • To avoid getting water in your dog's ears during a bath, plug its ears with cotton balls that have been moistened with apple cider vinegar.
  • You can minimize the soap residue that remains after a dog's shampoo by adding some vinegar to the bath's rinse water. Then rinse the dog's coat again thoroughly with plain water.
  • If your dog smells bad but there's no time to give it a bath, rub baking soda or cornstarch into its coat and brush it off.
  • If a skunk sprays your dog, wash the dog with tomato juice, then with shampoo and water.

Grooming and Exercise

  • Groom short-haired dogs once or twice a week with a grooming comb. Long-haired coats need bristle or wire brushes and pet combs with rounded teeth.
  • Burrs will be easier to comb from your dog's coat if you first crush them with a pair of pliers.
  • Another good burr-remover is vegetable oil worked into the burrs. This also works for tar and other messes the dog may have gotten into. Shampoo to remove the loosened gunk and oil.
  • It's important to wash off your dog's feet in the winter because it will probably pick up salt and chemicals from the street. These substances can injure its feet. If the pads of your dog's feet become dry or cracked, rub a little petroleum jelly into them.
  • To wipe away the rheum that gathers at the corners of your dog's eyes, use a dab of cotton dipped in a boric acid solution.
  • Don't leave your dog in a car in hot weather, even if the windows are open.
  • In hot weather, it's best to exercise your dog early in the morning and late at night. Midday heat could be dangerous.

In the final section, we'll discuss some important health issues for dogs.