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Must-haves for dog owners

If you are ready to get a dog, there are some things that might be considered as must-haves. Having them will make your life as a dog owner a lot easier. If you already have a dog, then you may want to check and see if anything is missing from your list of dog necessities.

Like any pet, your dog needs food, water and shelter. Like children, they need to be taught what is okay and what isn't okay. Another necessary ingredient is caring. If any of these must-haves are missing, there may be problems.

First off are the basics of food and water. Be sure your pet has access to clean water both indoors and out. Even though dogs will drink from a puddle, it's still a good idea to clean his water bowl regularly.

Try to establish a routine of feeding your pooch. You may want to check with your vet to see if he recommends a morning or evening feeding time. His recommendation may be dependent upon your dog's activity level or his breed. Whatever the case, stay consistent.

Fill up his bowl with as much food as he's allowed and then set it out in the same spot each day. Some dogs wolf their food down as soon as the bowl is put in front of them. Others nibble a little at a time. If you have a nibbler, you're probably better off feeding him dry food, rather than canned food. Choose a quality dog food, so you can be sure it will contain all the important nutrients that your pet needs, at any age.

Just as important is shelter. There are certain considerations depending upon whether your dog lives indoors or out. If your dog is an inside pet, you have 2 things to think about; where he will sleep and where he will be when you are out of the house.

For new puppy owners, a crate works well. Be sure you put a comfortable crate bed inside the crate, and leave an area for a water bowl. If your puppy is not housebroken, you may want to set aside a small area at the far end of the crate for this.

When you aren't home, you have a couple of options to restrict your puppy from roaming freely. Either place him in a room with a door, like a laundry room, or put up a gate to keep him in a hallway. Be sure to leave water as well as a comfortable dog bed to lie on.

Buying a dog bed is one of the most important investments you can make. You will be able to train him right off to lie on his bed instead of the carpet or your couch.

It's much easier to clean a dog's bed, especially the washable dog bed type, than it is to clean the couch. And that favorite spot of his on the carpet will get to looking different from other parts of the carpet over time.

Another important part of dog ownership is training. Well-behaved dogs are more pleasant to live with as well as being easier to control. You aren't doing your dog or yourself any favors if you don't train him. It could even save his life.

Think about this. If your dog is trained to stop and sit, or come when called, you might be able to prevent him from running out in front of a car.

When training your dog, you'll need a collar and leash right from the start. After that it's up to you whether you want to get a dog training manual and do it yourself, or enroll him in dog training classes. Training pays dividends in many ways, not the least of which is the pleasure you get when going for a walk with your well-behaved dog.

Dogs are probably among the most sensitive animals. They pick up on your feelings and are eager to please you. Having a dog as a pet can be a very most rewarding part of everyday life. So be sure you do your part in providing the must-haves and make sure your list of dog necessities is complete for your favorite furry friend.

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