Canine Care

Help your child better understand how to be a good friend to a pet by discovering all kinds of interesting things about man's best friend.

  • Target Age: 5-7
  • Skills:
    • Language and Literacy Skills
    • Social and Emotional Skills
    • Critical Thinking and Problem-solving Skills

Dog facts below

Directions: First, learn more about dogs by sharing these interesting dog facts:

  • Dogs range in size from four-pound teacup poodles to the world's tallest dog, the Irish wolfhound, nearly 3 ft. tall!
  • Smaller dogs tend to live longer than larger ones.
  • There are more than 400 breeds of dogs.
  • Experts say that dogs were bread to be friendly companions between 12,000 and 25,000 years ago.
  • Dogs are considered "omnivores," needing a diet of meat and vegetable to stay healthy.
  • Dairy products, or foods containing dairy products, can make dogs sick.
  • One dog sniffing another can be compared to people shaking hands with each other!
  • Basenjis are the only dogs that don't bark. They yodel!
  • A dog's nose can detect odors about a billion times better than humans can!

If you have a family dog, start keeping a collection of family pet photos. If you do not have a dog or plan to get a family pet, begin collecting photos from magazines so that you can begin learning about dog breeds that interests you most.

Talk about It: Ask your child to share ideas about each one the above dog facts. Then help your child name as many dog breeds as possible. Then have fun remembering the breeds and names of dogs (or other pets) belonging to family members and friends.

Take it Further: Use these fun ideas to further your child's understanding or interest in dogs: For starters, teach your child how to say "dog" in several languages!

  • Japanese? "inu"
  • French? "chien"
  • German? "hund"

Encourage your child to draw a picture of the family dog, a friend's dog, or other pet. Help your child write a description identifying size, color, bark, and special features like a long tail, short snout, or floppy ears, etc.

With a Group: Make no bones about what's important when it comes to taking care of a dog. After sharing and discussing each idea below. Print off and copy the following dog-gone responsible ideas to cut out and paste on a cut out bone-shaped pattern:

Dog-gone Responsible Ideas for Pet Owners and Friends
  • No chocolate, sharp or small bones, milk or dairy products!
  • Don't ever wake a dog up suddenly. He might bite!
  • Keep cleaning fluids, paint, and other chemicals out of reach!
  • Common plants like azaleas, lilies, English ivy, and rhododendron can make dogs sick.
  • If an inside "accident" occurs, clean it up promptly or the dog is likely to return to that same spot for another try!
  • Outside dogs need plenty of shade and water in the hot months and a warm, dry shelter during the winter.
  • Dogs that get attention and exercise are less likely to be naughty chewers.
  • Check once a week for bumps, lumps, flakes and scabs. Flea dirt looks like tiny specs of black pepper.
  • A bath every month or so will do, but get all that soap washed out!
  • Visit the vet at least once a year for a good canine check-up.

Related Books

  • Clifford the Small Red Puppy by Norman Bridwell (Scholastic)
  • The Best Pet of All by David LaRochelle, Hanako Wakiyama (Illustrator) (The Penguin Group)
  • Wackiest White House Pets by Kathryn Gibbs Davis, David Johnson (Illustrator) (Scholastic)


Find more activities featuring your child’s favorite PBS KIDS character!