Proper Dog/Puppy Care

Sharing your life with a dog can be one of the most rewarding experiences you have. Dogs are great pets and amazing companions. Before bringing your new dog home, you should decide on boundaries—where is the dog going to sleep, will he or she be allowed on the furniture, etc. It’s much easier to train good behavior than to break bad habits.

Proper pet care is essential for all dogs. Every dog needs nutritious food, fresh and clean water, and a warm shelter at all times. In fact it’s the law in Illinois!

Exercise and Play

Dogs love to play and need plenty of exercise to burn calories, stimulate their minds, and help satisfy their urges to chase, fetch, dig, and chew. If they don’t have enough physical and mental stimulation, dogs tend to get bored, which can lead to destructive behaviors.

The amount of exercise and play necessary for your dog depends on breed, age, gender, and the individual dog. Sporting, herding, hound, and terrier breed dogs (retrievers, beagle, border collie, etc.), generally need more exercise and activity to meet their exercise needs than the toy and non-sporting breeds (chihuahua, pug, poodle, etc.).

For your pet’s safety, keep your dog on a leash at all times when out of your fenced yard.


Frequent brushing can reduce shedding, prevent or remove mats, and help keep your dog clean. Some breeds, such as poodles, cocker spaniels, or other breeds with easily tangled coats, should visit a professional groomer regularly. Most dogs do not need to be bathed more than a few times per year. Use a mild shampoo and rinse very thoroughly. During warm weather months, check for fleas and ticks frequently. If seen, you should discuss control with your veterinarian.


All dogs need a warm, dry, draft-free shelter and a quiet place to rest. A training crate or a dog bed is ideal. If your dog spends most of the day outdoors, Illinois law requires adequate shelter and protection from the weather.

Licensing and Identification

The City of Chicago requires that all dogs be licensed, and Cook County requires rabies vaccination. To obtain a license, Chicago dog owners must provide the Chicago City Clerk’s office with the dog’s most recent rabies certificate, proof of sterilization, and proof of age for senior discounted fees if applicable. Be sure to attach the license to your dog’s collar.

All pets adopted from The Anti-Cruelty Society have a microchip, a small, electronic chip about the size of a grain of rice, implanted under their skin. Each microchip has a unique identification number. If your pet gets lost, shelters and veterinary offices can scan your pet’s body to locate the identification number of the chip and can contact the manufacturer to get your contact information. It is important that you update your information with the microchip company if you move.

We recommend that all dogs wear a collar with a current identification tag. Two methods of identification are best in case one fails.  It is also helpful to have a picture of you and your pet together, especially when trying to re-unite pets and their families after an emergency.


A well-behaved dog is a joy. Teaching your dog the basics—“sit,” “stay,” “come,” “down,” “off,” “leave it”—and walking him or her on a leash will help make your dog the best companion. The Anti-Cruelty Society’s School of Dog Training offers affordable dog training classes for all ages and levels of training. For more information about The Anti-Cruelty Society’s School of Dog Training, click here.

We are here to help you work through any problems you and your pet may be having. If you have questions or are having problems with your dog, please call our free Behavior Helpline at (312) 645-8253.



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