Low Maintenance Dogs?

Want a dog that is relatively easy to care for? One that doesn’t require regular brushing, grooming, exercise, or other kinds of regular attention? Are there such dogs? I found some:

Stuffed Dogs

The Lowest of the Low Maintenance Dogs

LOL! Seriously, though. Even low maintenance dogs are work. Sure, some are more work than others. But they still require daily attention and care. Here is a list of the normal regular tasks that I do for Maya and Pierson:

Daily

  • Feed twice a day – Some dogs do well at being fed once a day while others, especially younger dogs, need fed at least three times a day. Consult your veterinarian for the proper feeding schedule and amounts. Some estimated feeding instructions on dog food bags are inaccurate.
  • Give plenty of water – I always make sure their water bowl is full of fresh water.
  • Potty time – I let Maya and Pierson outside several times throughout the day.
  • Pick up poop from the yard – Sometimes you can get away with doing this ever-other-day or even once a week, but for optimal health (and so Pierson won’t eat Maya’s poo), I do this every day.
  • Walk – Every dog needs exercise. How much varies per dog. Some dogs need more vigorous exercise, like running, while others just need a short jaunt. Maya and Pierson each walk about a mile or so almost every day (except in winter when I tend to get lazy).
  • Play – How often and how long varies per dog. Pierson has dog agility equipment in the back yard. He doesn’t use it on his own. I direct him to it and it is both playing and dog training. Both Maya and Pierson get bored with play after about 15 minutes or so.
  • Brush teeth – I never had to do this every day until I got Pierson the poop-eater. Some dogs who are good chewers can get away with a weekly brushing with a dog tooth brush and toothpaste.
  • Dog Training – Regular training is always a good idea, no matter how low maintenance the dog is. I do a short session of 3 minutes or more of dog tricks or obedience in order to keep the things I taught them fresh in their minds.
  • Wash food and water bowls.
  • Pet and cuddle.
Pull No More dog harness

I take the dogs for a walk almost every day.

Maya Yellow Ball 1

Maya will jump to try to catch this yellow ball, but it is too big so it bounces off her nose. She loves the game, nonetheless.

Pierson Makes it Through the Agility Tunnel

Pierson goes through the dog agility tunnel.

Brush Your Dog's Teeth

Brush your dog’s teeth so they look healthy like Maya’s.

Me and Maya on the Porch Swing

Maya’s not usually allowed on the furniture in the house, but I always let her cuddle with me on the outside porch swing.

Weekly

  • Brush hair – In spring, Maya and Pierson need this done daily with de-shedding dog brushes. Some dogs may require more brushing while others may not require any.
  • Cut nails
  • Check ears and eyes – Clean as needed. Maya sometimes gets goo in her eyes. Pierson tends to get gunk built up in his ears.
My Dog Pierson Shedding

Springtime means more use of the de-shedding dog brush.

Maya Getting Nails Cut

Maya lies on the porch quietly and calmly as I cut her toenails. We’ve been doing this almost every week since she was a puppy.

Monthly

  • Give a bath – Additional grooming may be needed for dogs that need haircuts, such as the some non-shedding varieties.
  • Wash dog beds
  • Give medications – I give my dogs monthly Heartgard and flea and tick preventions. Some people have found more natural remedies to prevent against heartworms, fleas, ticks, and other pests.
Pierson Towel

A wet Pierson after a bath. In summer, I give the dogs a bath outside. In winter, we go to Pawsh Wash.

Maya & Pierson on Dog Bed

It is probably time to wash the dog beds and blankets again.

Annually

  • Visit the veterinarian for an annual checkup – Additional visits during the year may be needed for unexpected health issues.
  • Travel – My husband and I travel at least twice a year. When we do, we either take the dogs with us or find someone to take care of them while we are gone. When they travel with us, it is by car and they wear their dog seat belts.
Maya Pierson SUV Dog Seat Belts

Maya & Pierson ride in the back of the SUV for our trip from Kansas to Texas. Both are wearing dog seat belts.

These are things all dogs need. So if you don’t have a dog, you want a dog, but want one that doesn’t require much responsibility, then look this list over carefully. If you feel you can’t provide one of them, then consider the kind of low maintenance dogs in the photo at the top of the page. Real dogs require real work. Fortunately, the rewards are infinite.

Did I forget anything? What regular tasks do you do for your pets?

***Added later… Rumpy Dog asked an excellent question. The purpose of my article was not to point out all the things you should be doing. I do not intend to criticize anyone who might do things differently. How I choose to care for Maya and Pierson are not intended to be held up as an ideal. I am not perfect. The purpose of this article is to show people who are considering getting a dog and people who are looking specifically for low maintenance dogs that there is still a lot of work that goes into caring for a dog. It is very sad when someone buys or adopts a dog, then gives them up later because the dog is more work than they expected. See my reply to Rumpy Dog below.

Thanks Rumpy for asking this question. :)

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8 Responses to “Low Maintenance Dogs?”

  1. rumpydog Says:

    So if folks don’t do that, does that make them bad caregivers?

    • ILoveDogs Says:

      No. My mom can’t afford to take her dogs to the vet annually. She lives in the country so doesn’t really have a way to give them a monthly bath. Her hips don’t allow her to take them for daily walks. But those two dogs are the most loved and happy dogs.

      My point was that having a dog requires work. So if you are wanting a low maintenance dog, consider why you want a low maintenance dog. If you are too busy, perhaps consider an alternative.

  2. Lindsay Says:

    I think this is an excellent post. It shows just how much of a commitment dog ownership is. I spend time and money doing all of the things you mentioned, except the bathing part. I’m really bad at that. Ace gets like two baths a year. And another thing we dog owners do is spend time cleaning up after them in the house. Vacuuming hair, using a lint roller on clothes and furniture, washing floors, wiping drool off the walls (this is on my weekly list!) and cleaning up puke :) The things we do … But it’s worth it!

    • Cat Says:

      I don’t know how in the world she figured it out, but my dog begs to get into the shower if she feels like she’s going to be sick from, ahem, either end.

  3. Cat Says:

    The only thing low maintenance about my dog is that I get her hair clipped short (single-coated breed) every 3 months. Since I only get MY OWN hair cut 4x a year, just can’t bring myself to have a higher maintenance program for her hair than my own. ;-)

  4. catchatcaren Says:

    Love your tips! We do everything but I am really really bad about the teeth brushing!

  5. 2browndawgs Says:

    I think your list is excellent and people thinking of getting a dog (or three) should really think about all that is involved before getting one.

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