Basic dog care – (how to take care of a puppy)

Bull Straff - Puppy and dog health expert
Bull Staffy

Dog Care and how to take care of a puppy – 7 basic areas

By Bull Staffy

I am a lucky dog, I have a good, happy life because my humans understand me. Ask most humans how to take care of a dog and the answer are usually correct, we need food, water, a bed and exercise and maybe a few other things.

The most important thing of all for us is to get back lots of what we give you– unconditional love!

Most people know what love is but unconditional love, the love we dogs offer you humans, is not so common and about the only time we see it is with humans and their pups but for us dogs, it’s the only love we know!

1. Love, Security and Comfort – the most basic needs in dog care

Even the worst human owners get our unconditional love.               Dogs need lots of love -
If you are wondering how to take care of a dog, it’s not that hard, but you must be committed and if you can’t see yourself giving us back just some of the love, we will give you:- keeping us in a safe secure place where we can have some of the basic comforts in life then you should stop reading here and forget about partnering up with one of us.

How to take care of us – dog care basics

A dog is not difficult to take care of us long as we have love and security and comfort you are half way there! 

It’s important you find the best dogs to own for your own family, we tell you a bit about how to choose a good dog companion and the best dogs to own in another place here and about the healthiest dog breeds.

We’ll even, for your lazy folk, have a section about those of us who are low maintenance in the low maintenance dogs’ section and if you are a first timer, you can maybe have a look at the section about the best dogs for a first-time owner. The basics for us all are pretty much the same so here’s the other things we need: –

2. Dog Food….

And it’s not all the same for all the same for all of us. To keep us alert and healthy we prefer good-quality, high protein, balanced dog food twice a day when we are older but the best dog food for smaller dogs might not suit big girls like me and you should know what is a good puppy food? You can find out more about what to look for in dog food in the dog food section.

I once removed all the fattening food from my house. It was delicious…… but there are many Labra dog eating - Dogspeakingfoods that we love, and they will kill us. Have a look at foods that kill dogs.

3. Dog Water Bowls

                                                                                                                                        dog dish - DogspeakingAll living creatures need water and dogs should always have fresh, clean water on hand and in a proper dog water dish that can’t be easily spilled. Remember to change it regularly! Be specially careful on hot days to make sure we have plenty. Water can spill and run away in a light container (water might run but it doesn’t walk! Ha ha).

4. A safe place for dogs to sleep & rest – a dog care essential

I love my bed because it’s a place of security and comfort, (except when my step brother decides to jump in beside me). Our sleeping habits are up to you. Some sooky dogs sleep with their owners (not for me, my human snores all night!) but while I enjoy cuddling up in bed occasionally with my humans, sleeping in a human’s bed is not recommend for many dogs, particularly those very active dogs like me who need stricter boundaries.

If you don’t like the idea of us sleeping in your bed, that’s OK because as long as you give us a cosy sleeping place we’ll be happy. We love our sleep and I am very good at it and in fact I can do it with my eyes closed!

Remember too that like you humans, we are pack animals and we like to know we are sleeping close to the other members of our human pack so keep our beds in rooms where we spend a lot of time and feel secure. We’ll have a look at the best dog beds and even Little Malt sleeping on chair - Dogspeaking   indestructible dog beds later. (Yes, some of us like my little step brother really need a chew proof dog bed or we could cost you a bit of money!)

The next thing we need is exercise. Please don’t think that tossing and turning all night should be considered exercise we enjoy dreaming too!

5. Health and Grooming

We have some very important needs to keep us healthy. Just like human pups we need protected against some awful dog disease and dog vaccination from a vet is an essential.

Any vet will tell you about a dog vaccination schedule and what and when we need our dog shots.

Again, I’ll talk about this in detail elsewhere, just be aware that this is a very important part for looking after us.

5a Grooming

Keeping us clean and tidy not only makes us feel good as we go strutting around. Grooming also helps to keep us fit and healthy.Labra gets a comb - Dogspeaking

Our basic dog grooming needs mean you will need to get some dog grooming tools. Dog grooming supplies are available from many stores and usually include a brush, some good dog shampoo and maybe some dog grooming clippers. Full pet grooming at home might not be the easiest thing for you humans to do but there are plenty of people around who will give us a professional clip now and again if we need it.

Like you, sometimes we need to have our nails trimmed and we are not so good at brushing our own teeth so we need some help for our doggie dental hygiene. Our ears are very delicate, Dog hair cut - Dogspeaking    but you need to keep an eye on these for us too. Again, we’ve written a lot more about health and grooming in other sections.

5b Exercise your dog

Most of us dogs need lots of exercise, particularly if we are from a working dog breed like me. Choose your dog wisely (or don’t have one of us at all) if you can’t find time to take us for a regular walk.  How often should you walk your dog can depend on our age or size or sometimes our breed. I could talk about this for a long time, but we’ll teach you about these things in another area. socialization. Understanding our exercise needs is important and something you should look in to before committing to adopting one of us. It’s also good to get out and about to meet other dogs and humans, that’s usually how we learn to socialize. We like to be around other dogs and people.    

You need to develop an exercise routine that suits who we are, not who you are. Make sure you get one of the best dogs for first time owners to suit you and your family. Everyone should know too, if your dog is fat, you’re not getting enough exercise!

We need exercise all through our lives, it’s a big commitment. Labra Having a big jump - Dogspeaking

6. Give us an exciting, challenging and interesting place to  live    

Your human experts call this an Enriched Environment. Lots of research has been done on humans, dogs and other animals to show how important it is to give us an enriched environment.

Way back in 1947 Donald O. Hebb found that rats raised as pets performed better on problem solving tests than rats raised in cages. The best performing rats were provided with things like ladders, balls and secret hiding places.

Keep us busy and happy

This type of place, full of things to do, lays the groundwork for a happy, healthy puppy and later a happy healthy dog. Always remember, we dogs are pack animals and we love being part of your human family’s pack. This includes taking us for walks. Spending lots of time with you humans makes us feel like a real member of the family.

Keep us in a restricted environment with nothing to do and nothing or play with and we will react! We will not be the nice dogs you hoped for and it is not our fault!

We dogs need your time – 3 or 4 times a day

You must find the time to play with us at least three or four times a day. At playtime, give us a variety of toys – keep us interested and challenged and don’t think we can just play with the same old toy all the time, even if it is our favorite. When you see us being particularly good, reward us with our favorite doggie treats, we love being loved and praised, do it every time you see a chance. Think about it, isn’t this how you treat your human pups?

7. Other basic supplies – what to buy for a new puppy?

We’ll go much further into this in another topic later. You need to buy some stuff for us to be happy dogs and this is just the basic list: –

Dog Dishes

  • dog dish - Dogspeaking – Remember keep them heavy and stable. Best to choose ceramic, glass or stainless steel for our food and water bowls. Plastic containers are no good as they tend to be too light but also plastic toxins can come off and end up in our food and water so they’re not so healthy either. They can have a bacterial build up in the rougher porous side

Dog Collar

  • Dog collar - Dogspeaking Dogs need a good quality, good fit collar. It’s always good to have an ID disc on our collar (use a home phone number but don’t put our name on). If you are in the USA, you need a rabies tag. More about this later in best dog collars.  

Dog leash

  • Dog leash - DogspeakingTo protect us outside the home a good strong Leash is essential. Outside, we should always be on a leash. When we’re younger it’s up to you to make sure you’re in control. Don’t let us run off in fright, chase after other dogs, people or even cars!

Dog Toys

  • dog toys - Dogspeaking Even we older dogs need some stimulation and as toy is a great way to provide us with mental and physical stimulation. Don’t be mean and just buy us one toy, get a few so we can choose which is best. Sometimes this toy one today and maybe a different one tomorrow keeps us happy and interested! We’ve got a couple of sections on the best dog toys and the fantastic Kong treat toys as well as information on indestructible dog toys.

Dog Gates

  • Dog gates or puppy gates:dog gates - Dogspeaking dog gates mean we stay in a special area. It’s much easier for us to do what you want if we are kept in our special place. We dogs feel much more secure in our own special place and if we have enough space to move around freely, we’ll be much happier when the rest of the pack goes off to work and leaves us on our own. We’ll talk a lot more about dog gates and puppy gates later.


8 things dogs need: –

  • Love
  • Food
  • Water
  • A safe place to sleep and rest
  • Someone to help us to take care of our health and grooming
  • Exercise
  • An exiting place to live – a stimulating environment
  • And some basic supplies like dog dishes, a collar and leash, toys and maybe dog gates.

Further Reading

RSPCA Australia             

Paws Chicago

Donald O. Hebb Wikipedia