Whether you are a first-time dog owner or have plenty of experience caring for dogs, the following tips will help ensure the comfort and health of your new family member.


Prepare for your dog’s arrival and purchase the following supplies before your dog comes home.

  • Dog food
  • Bowls for food and water
  • Crate
  • Leash and collar
  • Grooming brush
  • Toys and chew toys

General Care

After you find a dog to adopt, the following tips should help you care for your dog and will ease the transition to your home.


A high-quality dog food will provide the balanced diet your dog needs to thrive. Younger puppies should eat puppy food, and should be fed several times a day.

Puppies younger than six months should be feed three to four times daily. Older puppies and adults will only need two meals daily. Fresh water should be available at all times.

dog care

Limit the amount of “people food” that you give your dog. However, it is fine to give small amounts of dog-safe vegetables and fruits as treats.

Always check with your veterinarian if you are not sure if something is safe to feed your dog.


Start your dog off with crate training until you are sure he is potty trained and can behave when left unsupervised. Even if you adopting an adult dog, you should plan to use a crate at first.


All dogs, regardless of age and size, need exercise to maintain good health. Walk your dog on leash, or allow free play in a fenced area. Fetch and frisbee are great games for exercising your dog.

Potty Training

Puppies will need to be taken out frequently at first, and potty training can take several weeks to master. Even an adult dog may need refresher training in its new home.

Establish a routine, take your dog out on leash or in a fenced area and be patient. Continue to use the crate as a training tool until potty training is complete.


Some dogs, particularly those with thick coats, need more extensive grooming to keep their coats neat and clean. Neglected coats can mat, causing your dog discomfort.

Even short haired dogs need brushed regularly to remove loose hair and keep the skin healthy. You should also trim your dog’s toenails regularly.


Your dog should visit the vet at least once a year for a checkup.


Your vet will recommend certain vaccines to help prevent illness in your dog. Most states require that your dog get the rabies vaccine.

Parasites and Pests

At a minimum, you will want to keep your dog on a heart-worm preventative. You may also want to use flea and tick prevention. You should keep an eye out for fleas and ticks when you groom your dog.

Spaying and Neutering

Your vet will likely recommend spaying or neutering your dog, and doing so does have health benefits. This action will also help control overpopulation in dogs.

ice and a dog

It’s a question that many people still ask regarding their four-legged friends. Is ice water really detrimental to canines’ health, putting them at immediate risk of severe illness or even death? The truth is that this is simply a heavily perpetuated myth.

The general misconception is that dogs exposed to ice water or ice cubes on a blistering hot day will likely die because of spasms and bloating that results following consumption. Chain e-mails have perpetuated the erroneous notion that dogs have died in the past because of ice consumption, even going so far as to say that it specifically causes acute gastric dilatation-volvulus (GDV) which results in dogs’ deaths.

The Truth About Ice and Dogs

In spite of the continued myth surrounding frozen water and canines, Snopes is one source that has made it clear that dogs and ice are a generally harmless combination. Now, ice isn’t entirely harmless to dogs; if your canine eats too much ice or drinks ice water too fast, it could lead to bloat. Bloat is commonly caused by many different actions outside of consuming ice, including simply eating a meal too fast.

While bloat itself isn’t particularly harmful, this could potentially lead to GDV in some cases, but it isn’t any more likely to happen when dogs eat ice than when they simply eat quickly. The myth has dramatically exaggerated the dangers of eating ice, and many people who know the truth even give their dogs ice as treats.

Ice water is actually an excellent way to hydrate and cool your dog on those days when the heat gets to be too much, as long as you don’t give your canines too much too fast.