Dogs Aren't Just For Christmas: How To Care For Your Pet All Year

At 365 Vet, we’re passionate about pet health. We want to ensure you’ve got all the right information to keep your four-legged friend healthy and happy all year round.

It’s common to see an influx in pet sales around Christmas time. Especially the sale of puppies and kittens. We agree it’s super cute to gift a furry friend. However, it’s important to remember that puppies grow into dogs, and dogs need to be cared for throughout the year.

Only gift a pet to someone you know can financially support a pet, as well as commit the time needed to care for one. Too many dogs find themselves being rehomed or in kennels come January 31st - this can be stressful for the dog and upsetting for the owner, especially if they’re young.

Dogs bring undeniable love and joy into our lives and this should extend far beyond the holiday season. The phrase ‘a dog is for life, not just for Christmas’ is ever prominent at this time of year and while we wish people didn’t need the frequent reminder, unfortunately they do.

Dogs can become cherished family members, offering unconditional love and companionship year-round.

Accepting the commitment

Bringing a furry friend into your home involves a promise to provide care, affection and a nurturing environment for their entire life. Before welcoming a dog into your home, it's crucial to consider the responsibilities and adjustments necessary for year-round care.

Think about the breed of dog and how often they will require walking. If they’re known to require frequent vet visits, can you budget this into your monthly expenditure? The same goes for food and toys. 

Also consider if you’re buying the dog for a child, whether they understand the importance of not being too rough. Don’t leave dogs (even puppies) alone with babies and young children.

Understanding your canine companion

Dogs are all different, they have their own temperament, and come in different sizes with distinct needs dependent on breed. Understanding your breed so that you know how much exercise they need or their dietary preferences is vital.

If you have an energetic Border Collie or a laid-back Bulldog, for example, catering to their unique characteristics enhances their overall wellbeing.

Establishing a routine

Keeping a consistent routine for your dog will help them more quickly adapt to living with you.

For example, you should establish a routine for feeding, walking, playing, training and even grooming. This helps to establish a sense of stability and security.

Ensuring that your dog has sufficient mental stimulation throughout the day, especially when you’re out, is fundamental for a dog's physical and mental health, helping to promote a happy and balanced life.

Nutrition and health

A well-balanced diet is key to a dog's health. If you’re unsure of the best way to feed your furry friend you should consult your veterinarian to discuss appropriate diet, portion sizes and dietary restrictions. 

You should also ensure your dog is booked in for regular check-ups and vaccinations. If you have a new puppy, ensure they’ve had all the relevant vaccinations ahead of allowing them out in public.

Take responsibility for your pet's preventative care, such as flea and tick treatments and regular worming

Exercise and mental stimulation

The more physical activity and mental stimulation you can provide your dogs with the better (especially boisterous and large breeds).

Engaging in regular exercise not only maintains their physical fitness but also provides an outlet for excess energy, reducing behavioural issues. 

Take into consideration incorporating puzzle feeders, playing fetch, going on walks and allowing your dog time off their lead (only in designated areas). 

You can even take your pet to training sessions that will stimulate your dog's mind and reduce bad behaviour. It will also help to foster a strong bond between you and your dog.

Grooming and hygiene

Grooming your dog is extremely important. Regular grooming is essential for a dog's hygiene and overall health. Dog grooming is crucial for long-haired dog breeds. 

You can groom your dog at home or take them to a professional groomer. Ensure you brush their coat, bathe them, clean their ears and regularly brush their teeth. 

We recommend using the following products:

Oral hygiene kit

Oral rinse

Gentle hyper-allergenic shampoo

Ear drops

Additionally, maintaining a clean environment, including their living area and bedding, contributes to a dog’s health and comfort.

Love, attention and training

Creating a loving and nurturing environment is as vital as meeting their physical needs. Dogs thrive on affection and attention, strengthening the bond between you and your dog. Positive reinforcement-based training methods foster good behaviour, creating a well-mannered and happy companion.

Creating a loving environment will help your dog to feel safe and secure. This will help them feel calm and comfortable while growing the trust between you and your four-legged friend.

Remember, if you have other pets in your home it’s important to slowly introduce your new pet to them to avoid any hostile behaviour. Get them used to each other's smell with blankets, then let them meet using a crate or baby gate to keep them separated while they get used to each other. 

Seasons and weather considerations

You should adapt care depending on your climate and seasonal changes. In the summer, walk your dogs first thing in the morning or last thing at night - this ensures you avoid peak sunlight hours where hot pavements may burn your pet's paws and high temperatures can cause heat stroke.

Make sure your dog has access to fresh drinking water at all times - this is even more important during the summer months.

In the colder months, provide your dog with a winter coat and shelter from the elements. Ensure your dog has the means to warm up after a long walk to stop their joints from aching. 

We also provide joint care supplements which are a brilliant addition to your dog's diet, especially during the winter months when cold weather can cause stiff joints.

It’s of paramount importance that you understand how to care for your dog throughout the year. 

At 365 Vet we hope this comprehensive guide helps you have a better understanding of caring for dogs. For more information or guidance, check out our other expert-written blogs or contact a friendly member of our team on 01829 734980.

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