What Are The Basic Needs of A Dog?

the basic needs of a dog

If you’re thinking about getting a dog, you may also be interested in knowing what their basic needs will be for you to take care of them correctly.

If you are asking yourself, what are the basic needs of a dog, here’s a very basic overview: The basic needs of a dog are food, shelter, water, and exercise. But there are additional needs of a dog that should never be ignored, for example, love and companionship.

Below we will go through some more of the basic needs of a dog because just like humans, dogs have needs that you will have to meet as they can’t do it themselves. These will be important factors in their welfare and a huge responsibility on your part. Make sure you’re up for the challenge.

A dog’s basic needs

We all have basic needs, humans and animals alike. These basic requirements need to be fulfilled for your dog to live a healthy life. They are the most fundamental needs of a dog that caters to their wellbeing, but sadly not every pooch has a good owner that will provide for them.

When it comes to having a pet of any kind, you are responsible for their wellbeing and making sure they have all they need when they’re under your care. If you have forgotten what some of these basic needs are, don’t worry we’ll go through them below as well as an extra need that is important to owning a dog.

Before we go through these basic needs, let’s create a list that we will then break down. This list will be of the top five needs of a dog.

  • Love
  • Food (at least twice a day)
  • Warmth and shelter
  • Physical interaction and play
  • Pet insurance

These are just some of the basic needs that you’ll need to keep in mind when owning a dog so let’s go through them.


Dogs need love just as much as humans do and because a dog loves their owners unconditionally it is not hard to love the dog back. It’s so important to give your dog the love he or she deserves because not giving your dog affection can change the way your pooch interacts with people as well as other dogs.

Love can change the way people act and it’s the same for dogs. It’s common for dogs to become aggressive if they aren’t shown plenty of affection. A dog can also shy away from human interaction when they don’t know what the act of love is.

basic needs of a dog
Love and cuddles are one of the most basic needs of any dog, especially a new puppy in your home.

You wouldn’t want to be out and about with your dog to then snap and growl at other people or pets. It would be unpleasant to have your dog attack another dog or human just because it has an aggressive manner due to it not having the love it needs.

Show shower your dog with plenty of love and affection. A simple scratch behind the ear or a gentle pat on the head is enough to let your dog know that it’s a good boy or girl.


It is incredibly sad to see stray dogs who are skin and bone due to not being fed. Not only is it heartbreaking that the dog is a stray in the first place but the fact that their basic needs haven’t been met is incredibly gut wrenching. Dogs or any animal for that matter should be treated the same way a human would which means food is a necessity.

Going hungry isn’t something anyone or any animal should go through so making sure that you are able to purchase food for your dog is extremely vital. Of course, there are a lot of different options when it comes to dog food which can also be a little overwhelming. So talk to your local vet to find the best food for your dog that’s packed with nutrients to promote a healthy coat, bones and teeth

You will then be able to decide which food choice is best for your dog and their dietary needs as each dog has different dietary requirements due to their breed and size. This is something you’ll need to know in order to give your dog quality food.

Handy Hint: I was recently asked whether I thought it was cruel to feed a dog just once a day. I believe it is, and here’s why.

Warmth and shelter

Being warm and comfortable is a basic need for everyone and it’s the same for your dog. This doesn’t mean that you have let your dog sleep on your bed but getting them their own bed would be a good idea. You’d want your dog to sleep comfortably and be warm, especially when it’s winter.

If you don’t want your dog to sleep inside of the house then you should purchase a dog house for your pooch. This is a way for them to be kept warm and safe in a dog house while they’re outside. You can place blankets and some toys in the dog house so at least they will be comfortable and have something to play with.

Physical interaction and play

If you go for a run, you’ll probably notice how amazing you feel afterwards and the same goes for your dog. Physical interaction and play for your dog is vital because it strengthens their muscles and boosts their mood.

Interacting with your dog will also teach your pet the correct way to interact with other humans and even other dogs. You can also take your dog for training from when he or she is a puppy in order to teach them how to behave.

How to stop a dog mouthing when excited
Exercise and play is another one of a dog’s basic needs.

Playing with your dog will allow them to get all his or her energy out which can help them behave better when they’re in or around the house. This will prevent them from chewing up shoes or running around the house. Regular play will also lower the risk of your dog getting depressed.

Pet Insurance

When owning a dog, most often than not the dog becomes part of the family so pet insurance is important when it comes to taking care of your fur baby. They need medication, vaccinations and sometimes surgery which can be expensive.

You’d want to be able to give your dog the care he or she needs but at an affordable cost. If something were to happen to your dog, having pet insurance can make taking care of them a lot easier and lighter on your wallet.

Depending where you’re from there should be plenty of pet insurance options for you to pick. Make sure the policy you choose covers your basic needs such as routine vaccinations, checkups and emergency care.

Extra tips to taking care of your dog

For those who live in cold climates you may want to invest in dog jackets to keep your pup warm.

Another basic need that you should never forget is placing a tagged collar around your dog’s neck. Make sure your details are on the dog’s tag so if your pooch goes missing and he or she is found by someone they can contact you to come and collect your fur baby.

You can also consider micro chipping your dog so that people will be able to return your pooch to you if he or she goes missing.

And lastly, you should groom your dog regularly so that their skin and coat stays healthy. This is especially true if your dog has a shaggy coat. Cut your dog’s nails if they get too long and brush your dog’s teeth to help keep their gums healthy.


Unless you can fulfil the basic needs of a dog, please don’t consider getting one. In fact, if you can only provide your dog with the basic needs, I would question whether you should even keep a dog them. As man’s best friend, they really do need a lot more than just the basics.

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Marc Aaron

I write about the things we've learned about owning dogs, the adventures we have, and any advice and tips we've picked up along the way.

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