Keeping a dog is a big responsibility. Your dog depends on you for food, grooming and daily care. He depends on you to see that all his needs are met.
One of the best things you can do for your dog is to get regular veterinary care. Take your dog for a health exam once or twice a year; the frequency can be discussed between you and your vet. Routine care can detect health issues early so they can usually be treated. Most vets will work with you if you have concerns about certain foods, medicines or vaccinations. If the one you select is not willing to explain things to you as well as you would like, find another. You pay for your vet's medical expertise; they should be willing to teach and show you anything you need to know to maintain your pet's health. You can find traditional vets, chiropractic vets, and holistic vets now who will treat your pet according to these many different medical approaches.
Feed your dog a diet that meets all of his nutritional needs. Puppies have different needs than a senior dog. Watch your dog's behavior. Food allergies may manifest in skin conditions or a lackluster coat. He may not be as energetic as he was or your dog may pack on extra weight. If you are not sure what changes to make in your pet's diet, talk to your veterinarian. Some dogs do better on a specific commercial dog food while others need raw foods to do their best. Ideally, you want to find a food that serves your dog optimally and keeps them healthy.
Every dog needs daily exercise. This may be long walks through the neighborhood, a trip to the dog park every day to play and run, or fun with you playing Frisbee or fetch. Every dog will have a different energy level that needs to be addressed. If you don't spend time with your dog exercising, you may find your dog becomes bored and destructive. He has a lot of energy that needs to be channeled in some manner. Once you find the proper way to address your dog's needs, make it into a routine. Your dog will look forward to it, and eventually, so will you.
Some dogs have more dental needs than others. Keep an eye on your dog's teeth and breath. You can use doggy toothbrushes, talk to your vet about dental care, or switch to a raw diet. All of these methods will help keep your dog's teeth healthy.
Grooming is important for your pet. Long haired dogs should be brushed daily to remove loose hairs, debris and parasites from their coat. Short haired dogs enjoy a nice rubdown even if they aren't being brushed. All dogs will need routine nail trimming. Depending on the type of dog you have, you may prefer to pay for a grooming session so your pet can be trimmed in the traditional way their breed is groomed. Cocker spaniels, poodles and other fancy breeds can be groomed at home, but you may not get that fancy look on your own. Your dog won't care as long as you care for him.