How to give dogs what they need

Grocery stores and pharmacies are stocked with row upon row of human vitamins. With so many options for us, it is completely logical that we wonder if dog vitamins are the right choice for our pets, too.

But do dogs actually need vitamins? Are there any risks? Which vitamins should you give your dog? Here are some answers.

What Are Vitamins?

Vitamins are organic compounds that are necessary to sustain life. Most are found naturally in food. Animals’ bodies need vitamins for growth and maintenance.

You are probably familiar with most of the vitamins human and animal bodies need:

  • Vitamin A
  • B vitamins (biotin, folate, niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, thiamine, vitamin B-6, and vitamin B-12)
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K
  • Choline

Dogs need these vitamins, too, although it is very important that we realize they may need them in different amounts than people do.

Vitamin A for Dogs

Vitamin A, in case you’ve ever wondered, is the vitamin in carrots that is responsible for that good vision your parents promised you. This fat-soluble vitamin is also responsible for growth, fetal development, immune function, and cell function. There are eye care supplements for dogs that include Vitamin A.

B Vitamins for Dogs

The B vitamins are a group of important vitamins that play a role in your dog’s health.

  • Thiamine helps regulate energy and carbohydrate metabolism, and activates ion channels in neural tissue.
  • Riboflavin, B12, and niacin help facilitate enzyme function.
  • Vitamin B6 is especially vital. This vitamin is responsible for glucose generation, red blood cell and nervous system function, hormone regulation, immune response, niacin synthesis, and gene activation.
  • Pantothenic acid helps with energy metabolism.
  • Folic acid plays a role in amino acid and nucleotide metabolism and in mitochondrial protein synthesis.

Vitamin C for Dogs

Vitamin C is an important antioxidant. It scavenges potentially harmful free radicals in the body and can help reduce inflammation and cognitive aging. Dogs can actually synthesize vitamin C on their own in their livers, but in some cases supplementation may offer health benefits.

Vitamin D for Dogs

Vitamin D, or the “sunshine vitamin,” allows your dog’s body to balance minerals like phosphorous and calcium for healthy bone growth. Without it, your dog would not be able to develop properly or maintain healthy muscles and bones.

Vitamin E for Dogs

Vitamin E is one of your dog’s defenses against oxidative damage. This fat-soluble vitamin is also essential for cell function and fat metabolism. Deficiencies can lead to eye and muscle degeneration and reproductive problems.

Vitamin K for Dogs

Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin instrumental in activating your dog’s blood’s ability to clot. Ingestion of certain rat and mouse poisons inhibit dogs’ ability to use the vitamin K in their bodies, which leads to hemorrhaging and death if not treated.

Choline for Dogs

Choline is a necessary component of the phospholipid cell membrane. It supports healthy brain and liver function, and is occasionally used as part of a treatment plan for pets with epilepsy.

Do Dogs Need Vitamin Supplements?

Your dog gets his vitamins from dog food. Commercial dog food diets labeled “complete and balanced” are specially formulated to contain all of the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients your dog needs.

Foods catered toward different life stages, like puppy food, adult dog food, and senior dog food, contain different levels of certain vitamins, depending on the requirements of that life stage. This is especially important for large breed puppy foods, as these breeds can develop diseases, such as hip dysplasia, if their food contains vitamins and minerals, like calcium, that make them grow too quickly.

Dogs fed an appropriate commercial diet should not require vitamin supplements unless recommended otherwise by a veterinarian. Dogs fed a homemade diet, on the other hand, may require supplements to ensure that they are getting enough vitamins with their meals. However, these vitamins should be given to match the diet, according to veterinary nutritionist Susan Wynn, DVM. Simply feeding these dogs a vitamin with dinner is not enough.

Are There Risks Associated With Dog Vitamins?

Vitamins are absolutely vital to life. It should not surprise us that something so essential could also be potentially dangerous in large quantities.

You already know that too much of the mineral calcium can cause skeletal problems in large breed puppies. You might not know that vitamins can cause problems, too.

Too much vitamin A can cause dehydration, joint pain, and can even harm your dog’s blood vessels. On top of that, there are very few studies that have tested the long-term safety of dog vitamin supplements, and some supplements contain other ingredients, like herbs, that can interact with certain medications.

You can avoid these risks by working out a nutritional plan with your veterinarian.

How to Choose a Dog Vitamin

The best way to choose a dog vitamin is to talk to your veterinarian about what, if any, dog vitamin supplements your dog needs. According to Professor Tony Buffington, DVM, PhD, “most people are doing it because they want to, not because it is necessary,” when it comes to giving dogs vitamins.

There are exceptions to this rule. If your dog needs vitamins, either to complement his homemade diet or because of a medical condition or deficiency, then you need to make sure that your dog gets the appropriate vitamin supplement.

Talk to your veterinarian about the appropriate vitamin dosage for your dog. Human vitamins often have different concentrations of vitamins than vitamins specifically made for dogs, and may even contain additives that are harmful to dogs. This means you should stick with a veterinary vitamin supplement or one specifically made for dogs, and you should always check the label to make sure the vitamin contains the appropriate amount of the vitamins your dog needs.

Your vet may even recommend supplementing your dog’s diet with specific fruits and vegetables, instead of vitamin supplements, according to Dr. Wynn.

Vitamins are some of the building blocks of dog health. Feeding a good quality dog food is the best way to ensure your dog is getting all of the vitamins he needs, but if you have any questions about vitamin supplements, make sure to talk to your veterinarian.

How to give dogs what they need

One of the best ways to keep dogs healthy is to feed them the right amount of a high-quality dog food. Feeding your dog too much or not enough can have certain health consequences.

Here’s why it matters and what you can do to determine how much to feed your dog.

Why the Right Dog Food Amount Matters

If you feed your dog too little, they can suffer from nutritional deficiencies.

However, If you feed your dog too much, it will eventually result in obesity and its related health issues, like:

Musculoskeletal problems like osteoarthritis, cruciate ligament ruptures, and intervertebral disk disease

Congestive heart failure

Some types of cancer

Shortened life span

Reduced quality of life

Giving your dog the right amount of quality dog food can help support your pet’s overall health and keep them feeling their best.

How to Find the Right Amount of Dog Food for Your Dog

You need to account for several factors when determining exactly how much your dog should be eating.

Consider the Important Factors

The correct meal size depends on factors like:

Number of meals

Amount of exercise

Look at the Feeding Guide on the Bag

To start the process, take a look at the feeding guide on your dog food’s label. They are usually presented as a table that looks something like this:

How to give dogs what they need

Unless stated otherwise, these amounts give you the total that is recommended for your dog over a 24-hour period.

Most adult dogs should eat two meals a day, and puppies often require three or more feedings, so you’ll need to divide the amount in the table by the number of meals you are offering.

Take Your Dog’s Lifestyle Into Account

Combine this information with your knowledge of your dog’s lifestyle to come up with the initial amount of food to offer your dog.

For example, if I had a relatively inactive 35-pound Corgi who had a tendency to gain weight, I might start with a little less food than the table recommends. On the other hand, if my dog was a 35-pound Border Collie who never sits still, I would feed a little more.

Consider Using a Calorie Calculator

Another option is to try using a calorie calculator for dogs, but keep in mind that while these often spit out a precise number, your dog’s actual needs may be as much as 25% more or less.

Determine Your Dog’s Body Condition Score

Whichever method you pick, you’ll have to use a scale or body condition scoring system to fine-tune the amount of food you offer.

Your veterinarian can help you decipher your dog’s body condition score (BCS) and determine an appropriate calorie amount.

In general, dogs who are at a healthy weight:

Have an “hourglass” figure when you look down on them from above. The abdomen should be narrower than the chest and hips.

Are “tucked up” when you look at them from the side. This means that their chest is closer to the ground than their belly when standing.

Have ribs that are not readily visible but are easily felt with only light pressure.

Keep a Record of Your Dog’s Weight Change

Check your dog’s weight every 2-4 weeks and keep a diary of your results. If your dog is inappropriately gaining or losing weight, adjust your portion sizes appropriately. Make sure to discuss these changes with your veterinarian so they can ensure that there are no underlying conditions.

Reassess the Portion Size if You Switch Foods

Every time you change dog food formulas, you will have to go through this entire process again, because the number of calories in the food will be different.

Always Talk With Your Veterinarian

Talk to your veterinarian if you have any questions about your dog’s health or diet. They can help you determine exactly how much food to offer based on the specifics of your dog’s case.

How to give dogs what they need

  • safety
  • health

We’ve all been there. Our dogs eat something that they are not supposed to — a human medication, your other dog’s medication, or a tasty treat such as chocolate or raisins — and our first thought is, “how do I make my dog throw up?” Vomiting is a quick way to remove a harmful substance like chocolate from your dog’s body. Knowing how to make a dog throw up safely, however, is important. Here is what you need to know before you induce your dog to vomit.

When to (or Not to) Make a Dog Throw Up

If a dog eats something harmful that he shouldn’t have, it’s possible he may vomit it up on his own. When that doesn’t happen, making your dog throw up something he’s eaten might seem like a good idea. But the reality is that inducing vomiting is something you should only attempt to do under the guidance of a veterinarian. There are very good reasons for this.

Some substances, such as batteries or other caustic materials or sharp objects, can cause dangerous and even lethal harm if regurgitated. Swallowed objects can cause blockages or perforations, and the act of inducing vomiting itself comes with risks, such as aspiration pneumonia, caused by inhaling toxic substances, usually gastric contents, into the lungs.

It can be dangerous to induce vomiting in brachycephalic breeds, such as Pugs or Pekingese, because of concerns of causing aspiration pneumonia, so be sure to check with a veterinarian first. Do not induce vomiting if your dog is lethargic or comatose or if he is having seizures. If your dog ingested something more than two-six hours ago, it may be too late to get him to vomit it up, depending on what was ingested.

The safest thing to do is to take your dog into the vet’s office immediately. However, if you can’t get there, you may have to induce vomiting at home. Talk with a veterinarian, or if your dog swallows something dangerous when your vet’s office is closed, call a pet poison control hotline to get advice from the experts before you proceed. When you call, be prepared to provide important information, such as what he ate, how much, and when; your dog’s weight and any health problems he may have.

How to give dogs what they need

Why Hydrogen Peroxide?

Hydrogen peroxide 3-percent solution is the recommended medication for making a dog throw up. Luckily, it is something many of us have in our medicine cabinet. It’s also a good idea to include a bottle in your dog’s travel first aid kit.

According to PetMD, hydrogen peroxide is a “topical antiseptic that is used orally as a home-administered emetic in dogs when clients cannot transport the patient to a veterinary hospital in a timely manner.” Hydrogen peroxide is an irritant to the dog’s intestinal tract and typically works within 10-15 minutes, recovering about 50 percent of the ingested contents of your dog’s stomach. The vomiting can last for up to 45 minutes, so make sure you dose your dog in a place where he will feel as comfortable as possible throwing up.

Hydrogen peroxide is generally considered safe when administered by a veterinarian. At home, however, you don’t have the luxury of veterinary expertise. Don’t make your dog throw up if he exhibits any of the following symptoms or conditions:

  • Already vomiting.
  • Severely lethargic.
  • Comatose.
  • Decreased swallowing ability.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Seizures or hyperactive activity.
  • Recent abdominal surgery or megaesophagus (a generalized enlargement of the esophagus).
  • Consumed corrosive agents, sharp objects, or drugs.

How to give dogs what they need

Steps to Take to Make a Dog Throw Up

First, always call your veterinarian. Even if you plan on making your dog throw up at home, your veterinarian is a valuable resource and will be able to provide you with the most accurate information about your dog’s condition.

  1. If your dog hasn’t eaten within the last two hours, giving him a small meal can make it more likely that he will vomit.
  2. Make sure you have a 3-percent hydrogen peroxide solution. Higher concentrations are toxic and can cause serious damage.
  3. Administer the proper amount: the suggested dosage is 1 teaspoon per 5 pounds of the dog’s body weight by mouth, with a maximum dose of 3 tablespoons for dogs who weigh more than 45 pounds. But ask your veterinarian about the best dosage for your dog and only induce vomiting if your dog ate the substance within 2 hours.
  4. Administer the dosage with a feeding syringe or turkey baster and squirt it from the side by pulling back his lips and squirting between his back teeth. You can also squirt from the front into the back of your dog’s tongue or mouth. Be careful not to let your dog inhale the substance, as this can lead to aspiration. If your dog doesn’t vomit within 15 minutes, you can give him a second dose.
  5. Stay with your dog while he vomits. Collect the vomit for your vet to analyze, and do not let your dog re-ingest the material.
  6. Keep an eye out for complications and adverse reactions, such as vomiting for more than 45 minutes, diarrhea, lethargy, bloat or gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV), or gastric ulcers.
  7. Follow up with your veterinarian as soon as possible.

Timing is critical, and the safest step is to take your dog to the veterinary office or emergency clinic to have vomiting induced. In some cases, other treatment may also be needed, such as IV fluids. And if you haven’t been successful making your dog vomit, your vet may give him a stronger medication to get rid of the substance he swallowed, as well as the hydrogen peroxide.

In this Article

In this Article

In this Article

  • What Does Your Dog Need?
  • Enriching Activities for Dogs Left Alone
  • Activities to Do With Dogs
  • Dog Activities
  • Older Dog Activities

Dogs have been part of our history for thousands of years. No one knows for sure when the relationship started, but we do know that dogs were initially used to work alongside their humans. Dogs were bred for a multitude of purposes that ranged from fighting in wars to eliminating rodents.

People chose dogs based on their intelligence, size, and breed for specific purposes. As humans evolved, their four-legged companions did too. They developed together to the modern age, where people now leave them alone for long periods of time. This means that dogs bred for activity have nothing to do.

Learn some activities that can keep your pup actively engaged and healthy, and can keep you busy as well.

What Does Your Dog Need?

Dogs of all breeds and sizes need to have their minds and bodies exercised. Many of them lay around waiting to be fed, for you to come home, or for something to happen. This is not only a recipe for disaster in your house but can lead to health problems for your dog.

Dogs are much more intelligent than many people think. Scientists and researchers put them at close to a two-year-old human’s level of intelligence. Most people are familiar with the term ‘terrible twos’, an age that many parents dread and enjoy at the same time.

Two-year-olds are discovering, learning, moving, and having fun. Your dog is very much the same. They need to find things, explore, learn, and have fun. This can be difficult for people today who are busy with work and life in general. Your absence creates a need for dogs to be entertained and mentally exercised while you are gone.

Enriching Activities for Dogs Left Alone

If you have to leave your dog at home while you work, there are several things you can leave out to keep them entertained or engaged. One of the most effective is a puzzle toy. Food puzzle toys make a dog work to solve a puzzle for a reward.

Many of these puzzles are designed to give treats as a reward, so take care not to fill puzzles with too many treats. If the puzzle toy has multiple holes for treats, make your dog work for their treat by placing a treat in one or two of the holes. They’ll have to investigate and find the spot with the treat and figure out how to open it.

Continued

Dog chew toys are great to leave out as well. If you give them something to chew on and play with while your gone, you’re less likely to come home to shredded couch pillows.

If you can afford it, hire a dog walker to check on your pooch and take them for a walk while you’re at work. If your neighbors are home during the day, see if one can stop in and say hi to your dog, take them for a walk, or let them out every once in a while.

Activities to Do With Dogs

If you like to be active with your dog, here are some activities that will stimulate their minds and give them the exercise they need.

Go for a walk or hike. Walks are by far one of the best activities for a dog and their human. Walks let them get out of their usual surroundings and explore. It also gives you both a chance to practice the behavioral commands you (might) have been working on.

You don’t need to take the same route for every walk. Let your dog sniff around and find things to investigate. This doesn’t mean you should let them wander at full leash length all the time, but you should allow them to look around to fulfill their natural curiosity.

Geocaching. Geocaching is an activity where someone hides something and uses their GPS to mark its location. Have someone place treats or toys at a site and take your dog out for a hunt. When you get close, have them try to locate the toy, and celebrate with them when they do.

Swimming. Many dogs love the water. Find somewhere to take your dog for a swim. Dogs can play fetch in the water, and most love to swim with their humans too. Get in the water with them and enjoy the swim.

Dog Activities

If your dog needs activity, but you’re not feeling up for it, there are also things you can do with them that require less action on your part.

Continued

Playdate. Much like humans, dogs are social animals who need time with others. If you have neighbors or friends that have dogs, see if they would meet up and let their dog(s) play with yours. There should be a period of letting the dogs get to know each other before letting them off the leash to play. Once they are familiar, let them run and have fun.

Fetch. The all-time favorite game for dogs and their humans. You don’t need much for this game. Your tools might depend on the type of dog. A Czechoslovakian shepherd can play fetch with a two-inch diameter tree branch, while a Chihuahua might need something a bit smaller. Of course, you can always have your dog fetch a ball.

Dog Park. If your area has a dog park, you can take your (hopefully) socialized dog to the park and let them run with other socialized pups. This can give them the interaction they need as well as all the activity they can take in a day.

Older Dog Activities

If your pup is getting on in years, it is still important for them to get exercise to keep their muscles strong and joints moving. If you’re worried about exercising your older canine, take them to your veterinarian and have them checked out. The veterinarian can give you some exercise tips for older pups.

Most older dogs can still go for walks. They might even be able to play fetch, just not as energetically as they used to. You can also teach your older dog to use a treadmill to help them build their endurance and keep them active.

Sources

American Kennel Club: “15 Outdoor Activities That Will Keep You and Your Dog Entertained This Summer.”, “Alone Time for Dogs: How Much Is Too Much?”, “How Much Exercise Does a Dog Need Every Day?”, “Brain Games for Dogs: When Can a Puzzle Be the Solution?”

American Psychological Association: “Smarter Than You Think: Renowned Canine Researcher Puts Dogs’ Intelligence on Par with 2-Year-old Human.”

A dog can be a wonderful addition to any home, but whether you’re an experienced pet parent or a first-time adopter, it’s important to keep your canine companion’s health and happiness a top priority. Below are some useful tips for all dog parents.

And remember: If you’re considering bringing home a new dog, please make adoption your first option. We encourage you to browse our directory of adoptable dogs in your area or visit our Find a Shelter page to start your search.

Feeding

  • Puppies eight to 12 weeks old need four meals a day.
  • Feed puppies three to six months old three meals a day.
  • Feed puppies six months to one year two meals a day.
  • When your dog reaches his first birthday, one meal a day is usually enough.
  • For some dogs, including larger canines or those prone to bloat, it’s better to feed two smaller meals.

Premium-quality dry food provides a well-balanced diet for adult dogs and may be mixed with water, broth or canned food. Your dog may enjoy cottage cheese, cooked egg or fruits and vegetables, but these additions should not total more than ten percent of his daily food intake.

Puppies should be fed a high-quality, brand-name puppy food (large breed puppy foods for large breeds). Please limit “people food,” however, because it can result in vitamin and mineral imbalances, bone and teeth problems and may cause very picky eating habits and obesity. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times, and be sure to wash food and water dishes frequently.

Exercise

Dogs need exercise to burn calories, stimulate their minds, and stay healthy. Individual exercise needs vary based on breed or breed mix, sex, age and level of health. Exercise also tends to help dogs avoid boredom, which can lead to destructive behaviors. Supervised fun and games will satisfy many of your pet’s instinctual urges to dig, herd, chew, retrieve and chase.

Grooming

Help keep your dog clean and reduce shedding with frequent brushing. Check for fleas and ticks daily during warm weather. Most dogs don’t need to be bathed more than a few times a year. Before bathing, comb or cut out all mats from the coat. Carefully rinse all soap out of the coat, or the dirt will stick to soap residue. Please visit our Dog Grooming Tips page for more information.

Handling

To carry a puppy or small dog, place one hand under the dog’s chest, with either your forearm or other hand supporting the hind legs and rump. Never attempt to lift or grab your puppy or small dog by the forelegs, tail or back of the neck. If you do have to lift a large dog, lift from the underside, supporting his chest with one arm and his rear end with the other.

Housing

Your pet needs a warm, quiet place to rest, away from all drafts and off the floor. A training crate or dog bed is ideal, with a clean blanket or pillow placed inside. Wash the dog’s bedding often. If your dog will be spending a lot of time outdoors, be sure she has access to shade and plenty of cool water in hot weather, and a warm, dry, covered shelter when it’s cold.

Licensing and Identification

Follow your community’s licensing regulations. Be sure to attach the license to your dog’s collar. This, along with an ID tag and implanted microchip or tattoo, can help secure your dog’s return should she become lost.

Fleas and Ticks

Daily inspections of your dog for fleas and ticks during the warm seasons are important. Use a flea comb to find and remove fleas. There are several new methods of flea and tick control. Speak to your veterinarian about these and other options. Visit our Fleas and Ticks page for more information.

Medicines and Poisons

Never give your dog medication that has not been prescribed by a veterinarian. If you suspect that your animal has ingested a poisonous substance, call your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center for 24-hour animal poison information at (888) 426- 4435.

Spaying and Neutering

Female dogs should be spayed and male dogs neutered by six months of age. Please visit our Spay/Neuter Your Pet page to learn more.

Vaccinations

Your dog may benefit from receiving a number of vaccinations. Please visit our Pet Vaccinations page to learn more.

Dog Supply Checklist

  • Premium-quality dog food and treats
  • Food dish
  • Water bowl
  • Toys, toys and more toys, including safe chew toys
  • Brush & comb for grooming, including flea comb
  • Collar with license and ID tag
  • Leash
  • Carrier (for smaller dogs)
  • Training crate
  • Dog bed or box with warm blanket or towel
  • Dog toothbrush

The Scoop on Poop

Keep your dog on a leash when you are outside, unless you are in a secured, fenced-in area. If your dog defecates on a neighbor’s lawn, the sidewalk or any other public place, please clean it up.

How to give dogs what they need

JAG IMAGES / Getty Images

As a dog owner, you want to know that you are taking proper care of your dog. This means learning about basic dog care and meeting your dog’s essential needs to ensure its health and happiness. Proper nutrition, preventive veterinary care, health monitoring, grooming, a place to call its own, and plenty of exercise and affection will create an environment in which your dog can thrive. Luckily, all of these things are relatively easy to provide for your pooch.

Before You Begin

Properly caring for a dog begins with having the right perspective. Dog ownership should not be seen as a chore, but as an experience that enriches your life as well as that of your dog. Like humans, dogs need food, water, and shelter to survive. Yet, they also need physical care, mental stimulation, and nurturing to thrive. Providing these things is an essential part of keeping your dog healthy and safe and sets the foundation for a long, happy life with your dog.

What You Need

  • Quality dog food
  • Crate, bed, or doghouse
  • Toys
  • Grooming supplies
  • Time for exercise
  • A relationship with a veterinarian
  • Attention and affection to offer

Proper Nutrition

A healthy, balanced diet is a fundamental part of basic dog care. Do some research into food companies that pledge to use high-quality ingredients and formulate foods that are nutritionally complete and balanced. Then, choose a quality diet that your pet enjoys. Spending lots of money on a holistic, top-of-the-line diet may not be necessary but you shouldn’t skimp either.

Many companies provide samples you can try without buying a whole bag or case. Others offer a money-back guarantee if your dog doesn’t like the food. If you choose to provide a homemade diet, discuss your options with your veterinarian first. Studies have shown that the vast majority of recipes available in books or online are not nutritionally complete or balanced. Then, make small batches until you’re sure your dog actually likes it, and schedule regular rechecks with your vet to ensure you’re meeting all of your dog’s nutritional needs.

Once you find an appetizing diet, watch how your dog responds over the first several weeks. A drop in energy level, gastrointestinal problems, or a dull hair coat may warrant a diet change. If you do change your pet’s food, always do so gradually—mixing some of the old food with the new—to avoid gastrointestinal upset or food aversion. It’s also a good idea to ask your veterinarian for nutritional advice, especially if you notice any changes in your pet’s health.

Water is also essential to keeping your dog healthy. Make sure that your dog always has access to plenty of fresh, clean water to drink.

A Space of Its Own

Dogs are social animals and they are generally not content when excluded from the family unit. Though some circumstances may require dogs to live outside, most will thrive when they can be with “their” people indoors.

Your dog should have an area of the house dedicated as being its own space, such as a kennel, crate, or bed. This is where your dog can go for some down time when things get a little overwhelming. Set your ground rules, enforce off-limit areas of the house, and welcome your dog into permissible areas.

If your dog spends time outdoors, provide access to a doggie door or a temperature-controlled doghouse. Never leave your dog unattended outside without shelter, especially during extreme hot or cold weather, as this can result in severe health consequences.

Physical Maintenance

Keep your dog healthy with regular exercise and preventive veterinary care. Establish an exercise routine, even if it’s just a stroll around the block once a day. Depending on the breed, your dog may require more exercise to burn off extra energy and keep it fit.

Establish a good relationship with a veterinarian and schedule a wellness check-up for your dog at least once or twice a year. Quite often, potential problems can be identified and treated before your dog shows signs of illness. Within just a few visits, your vet will get to know you and your dog and be able to make recommendations for any health, nutrition, or behavior questions you have.

Every dog needs basic grooming, such as bathing, toothbrushing, and nail trimming. Some dogs even need regular haircuts. Find a reputable groomer or learn to groom your dog at home. Then, establish a grooming regimen that suits your dog’s lifestyle and stick with it.

Nurturing Your Dog

Dogs thrive on structure and consistency. Proper training is paramount to your dog’s quality of life. Choose a training program that works for your lifestyle and your dog’s needs, then follow through with it.

You may prefer to join a training class with a professional instructor or want to learn about dog training on your own. Either way, reinforce good behavior and never punish your dog when the inevitable mistakes are made. Punishment is counterproductive and harms a dog’s ability to trust. Be consistent and you will see positive results.

Maintaining the human-canine bond is vital for your dog to thrive and is a major component of basic dog care that many people disregard. Remember that domestic dogs are social animals that need interaction with humans. Set aside time for you and your dog to bond each day. Petting your dog, playing with toys, talking, or going for a walk or car ride are some ways you can strengthen and preserve this bond.

When your dog has to spend extended periods of time alone, give it something to do. Chews or food dispensing toys can help ward off boredom.

Preventing Problems

Any of the elements of basic dog care can be customized to your needs and what your dog accepts. Many dog owners, for instance, find that crate training is essential and that is where their dog spends much of its alone time. Then again, some people prefer more of an open living arrangement and train their dog to obey house rules without a crate. The key to remember is that if something is not working out, there’s an alternative that you can try that might work perfectly.

It’s also important to be patient with your dog and try not to make too many drastic changes all at once. Many dogs thrive on routine and upsetting that can lead to behavior problems.

Whenever you’re in doubt about your dog’s basic needs, ask your vet for advice. Beyond health concerns, vets want to make sure the animals they care for are living as happily as possible, so most are more than willing to help with any questions you have.

How to give dogs what they need

JAG IMAGES / Getty Images

As a dog owner, you want to know that you are taking proper care of your dog. This means learning about basic dog care and meeting your dog’s essential needs to ensure its health and happiness. Proper nutrition, preventive veterinary care, health monitoring, grooming, a place to call its own, and plenty of exercise and affection will create an environment in which your dog can thrive. Luckily, all of these things are relatively easy to provide for your pooch.

Before You Begin

Properly caring for a dog begins with having the right perspective. Dog ownership should not be seen as a chore, but as an experience that enriches your life as well as that of your dog. Like humans, dogs need food, water, and shelter to survive. Yet, they also need physical care, mental stimulation, and nurturing to thrive. Providing these things is an essential part of keeping your dog healthy and safe and sets the foundation for a long, happy life with your dog.

What You Need

  • Quality dog food
  • Crate, bed, or doghouse
  • Toys
  • Grooming supplies
  • Time for exercise
  • A relationship with a veterinarian
  • Attention and affection to offer

Proper Nutrition

A healthy, balanced diet is a fundamental part of basic dog care. Do some research into food companies that pledge to use high-quality ingredients and formulate foods that are nutritionally complete and balanced. Then, choose a quality diet that your pet enjoys. Spending lots of money on a holistic, top-of-the-line diet may not be necessary but you shouldn’t skimp either.

Many companies provide samples you can try without buying a whole bag or case. Others offer a money-back guarantee if your dog doesn’t like the food. If you choose to provide a homemade diet, discuss your options with your veterinarian first. Studies have shown that the vast majority of recipes available in books or online are not nutritionally complete or balanced. Then, make small batches until you’re sure your dog actually likes it, and schedule regular rechecks with your vet to ensure you’re meeting all of your dog’s nutritional needs.

Once you find an appetizing diet, watch how your dog responds over the first several weeks. A drop in energy level, gastrointestinal problems, or a dull hair coat may warrant a diet change. If you do change your pet’s food, always do so gradually—mixing some of the old food with the new—to avoid gastrointestinal upset or food aversion. It’s also a good idea to ask your veterinarian for nutritional advice, especially if you notice any changes in your pet’s health.

Water is also essential to keeping your dog healthy. Make sure that your dog always has access to plenty of fresh, clean water to drink.

A Space of Its Own

Dogs are social animals and they are generally not content when excluded from the family unit. Though some circumstances may require dogs to live outside, most will thrive when they can be with “their” people indoors.

Your dog should have an area of the house dedicated as being its own space, such as a kennel, crate, or bed. This is where your dog can go for some down time when things get a little overwhelming. Set your ground rules, enforce off-limit areas of the house, and welcome your dog into permissible areas.

If your dog spends time outdoors, provide access to a doggie door or a temperature-controlled doghouse. Never leave your dog unattended outside without shelter, especially during extreme hot or cold weather, as this can result in severe health consequences.

Physical Maintenance

Keep your dog healthy with regular exercise and preventive veterinary care. Establish an exercise routine, even if it’s just a stroll around the block once a day. Depending on the breed, your dog may require more exercise to burn off extra energy and keep it fit.

Establish a good relationship with a veterinarian and schedule a wellness check-up for your dog at least once or twice a year. Quite often, potential problems can be identified and treated before your dog shows signs of illness. Within just a few visits, your vet will get to know you and your dog and be able to make recommendations for any health, nutrition, or behavior questions you have.

Every dog needs basic grooming, such as bathing, toothbrushing, and nail trimming. Some dogs even need regular haircuts. Find a reputable groomer or learn to groom your dog at home. Then, establish a grooming regimen that suits your dog’s lifestyle and stick with it.

Nurturing Your Dog

Dogs thrive on structure and consistency. Proper training is paramount to your dog’s quality of life. Choose a training program that works for your lifestyle and your dog’s needs, then follow through with it.

You may prefer to join a training class with a professional instructor or want to learn about dog training on your own. Either way, reinforce good behavior and never punish your dog when the inevitable mistakes are made. Punishment is counterproductive and harms a dog’s ability to trust. Be consistent and you will see positive results.

Maintaining the human-canine bond is vital for your dog to thrive and is a major component of basic dog care that many people disregard. Remember that domestic dogs are social animals that need interaction with humans. Set aside time for you and your dog to bond each day. Petting your dog, playing with toys, talking, or going for a walk or car ride are some ways you can strengthen and preserve this bond.

When your dog has to spend extended periods of time alone, give it something to do. Chews or food dispensing toys can help ward off boredom.

Preventing Problems

Any of the elements of basic dog care can be customized to your needs and what your dog accepts. Many dog owners, for instance, find that crate training is essential and that is where their dog spends much of its alone time. Then again, some people prefer more of an open living arrangement and train their dog to obey house rules without a crate. The key to remember is that if something is not working out, there’s an alternative that you can try that might work perfectly.

It’s also important to be patient with your dog and try not to make too many drastic changes all at once. Many dogs thrive on routine and upsetting that can lead to behavior problems.

Whenever you’re in doubt about your dog’s basic needs, ask your vet for advice. Beyond health concerns, vets want to make sure the animals they care for are living as happily as possible, so most are more than willing to help with any questions you have.

T here are many circumstances that may cause your pooch to lose his appetite. Like us, dogs don’t always like to eat when they’re not feeling well. Your dog may not want to eat because of health issues, dental problems or as a side effect of a medication. No matter what the cause, it’s best that every pet owner understands how to get a dog with no appetite to eat.

Typically it’s a health issue that causes a dog to lose his appetite. This is a major problem, because not eating will deplete the dog’s energy making it harder for his body to recover from the illness. Not eating may also lead to nutritional deficiencies that will cause Fido to feel even worse.

How to give dogs what they needIf you’ve noticed a sudden change in your dog’s appetite that lasts for more than 24 hours, it’s best to seek the advice of your veterinarian.

This could be an indication of a serious underlying health issue that requires medical attention.

If you already know the reason for the appetite decrease, you just need to find ways to entice your pup to eat. Remember that in this situation it is best to only offer small potions. You can increase the feedings as your dog begins to feel better. Eating too much too quickly could lead to vomiting and diarrhea.

How to Get a Dog with No Appetite to Eat

How to give dogs what they need

Keep the Dog Hydrated

A dog can go days without food. Yes, his energy will be low, but it won’t cause any serious issues. If your dog stops drinking water, it can cause major problems very quickly. Dehydration can even be life threatening if not treated fast enough.

When you’re learning how to get a dog with no appetite to eat, you need to keep an eye out for the signs of dehydration. Look for:

  • Sunken eyes
  • Tacky, dry gums
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of skin elasticity – you can test this by pinching the skin on the top of your dog’s head; if it springs back quickly he is well hydrated, if it moves back in place slowly you need to bring him to the vet for IV fluids right away.

Hopefully, you’ll realize quickly if your dog is not drinking enough fluids. Make sure there is plenty of fresh, clean water available for him. If he won’t drink, try adding 1 tablespoon of low sodium beef or chicken broth to his water dish. Dogs are enticed by a strong scent, and adding a small amount of broth to Fido’s water dish may just be the motivation he needs to take a drink.

Try Some Wet Dog Food

Moist dog food is another great way to keep your pet hydrated, and it’s also a good way to tempt your dog when you’re learning how to get a dog with no appetite to eat. Canned food has a much stronger odor than dry kibble, which may entice Fido to take a few bites.

You can microwave the food for about 30 seconds to warm it, and this will bring out an even stronger aroma. Of course, this method will only work if your pup isn’t used to eating canned food on a regular basis. If you don’t have a can of dog food available, you can also moisten his hard kibble to make it seem like a brand new delicacy.

I always keep a couple of cans of wet dog food on hand, just in case one of our pups loses their appetite.

Add a small amount of water and 3 tablespoons of low sodium broth to his regular serving of dry food. The kibble will absorb the liquid, making it moist. The broth will add a stronger scent, which will hopefully be enough to coax your dog to eat a bit.

If you end up having to feed a moist diet for multiple days, Fido may get used to it and be reluctant to go back to his cold, hard kibble. As I explain in my video guide above, you will have to gradually transition him back to kibble by increasing the ratio of kibble to wet food slowly over the course of a few days.

Chicken and White Rice Is a Miracle Cure

How to give dogs what they needWhen I was first learning how to get a dog with no appetite to eat, my veterinarian suggested chicken and rice. I was surprised, because I usually like to eat chicken and rice when my stomach is upset. It always helps to settle my stomach.

Why had I not thought of this before?

If you watch my video guide above, you’ll hear the story of our Boxer, Chloe, who has to take 2 different medications to control a heart condition. One of these medications makes her stomach upset if it is empty. Unfortunately , Chloe is a stubborn girl who doesn’t always want to eat a meal before taking her pill.

How to give dogs what they needI was struggling to find a dish that would entice Chloe to eat when I needed her to and would also help to soothe her stomach when the medication makes her nauseous. I tried the chicken and rice trick after our vet recommended it, and it’s been working like a charm every since.

All you have to do is boil a boneless chicken breast and shred it into bite-sized pieces. Then cook some brown or white rice according to the instructions on the packaging. Mix it together, and you have a healthy treat for sensitive tummies. I have some of my own recipes with chicken and rice if you’d like to try them (this, this, this, this and this).

The chicken gives a strong scent, but if Fido still isn’t enticed to eat try adding 2 tablespoons of low-sodium broth to the dish. None of our dogs have every turned this meal away. Whenever I’m asked about how to get a dog with no appetite to eat, I always recommend chicken and rice.