Dog Care

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Resources include the Dog Care merit badge worksheet in PDF format Adobe Acrobat PDF and Word format Microsoft Word DOC document, links, and cross-references to related badges and awards.
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Dog Care merit badge
Status: Elective
Created: 1938
Discontinued: no
BSA Advancement ID: 041
Requirements revision: 2017
Latest pamphlet revision: 2016


The love and interdependence between humans and dogs has endured for thousands of years. Evidence suggests that dogs and humans started relying on each other thousands of years ago. Today, dogs are our coworkers and companions. They assist search-and-rescue teams, law enforcement officers, hunters, farmers, and people with disabilities. They also play with us and keep us company.

Dog Care merit badge requirements

  1. Do the following:
    a. Briefly discuss the historical origin and domestication of the dog.
    b. Describe some common characteristics of the dogs that make up each of the seven major dog groups.
    c. Tell some specific characteristics of seven breeds of dogs (one from each major group), OR give a short history of one breed.
  2. Point out on a dog or a sketch at least 10 body parts. Give the correct name of each one.
  3. Do the following:
    a. Explain the importance of house-training, obedience training, and socialization training for your dog.
    b. Explain what "responsible pet ownership" means.
    c. Explain what issues (including temperament) must be considered when deciding on what breed of dog to get as a family pet.
  4. For two months, keep and care for your dog.* Maintain a log of your activities during this period that includes these items: feeding schedule, types of food used, amount fed, exercise periods, training schedule, a weekly body weight record, grooming and bathing schedules, veterinary care, if necessary, and costs. Also include a brief description of the type of housing/shelter arrangements you have for your dog.
  5. Explain the correct way to obedience train a dog and what equipment you would need. Show with your dog any three of these commands: "come," "sit," "down," "heel," "stay," "fetch" or "get it," and "drop it."
  6. Do the following:
    a. Discuss the proper vaccination schedule for a dog in your area from puppyhood through adulthood.
    b. Discuss the control methods for preventing fleas, ticks, heartworms, and intestinal parasites (worms) for a dog in your area from puppyhood through adulthood.
    c. Explain the importance of dental care and tooth brushing to your pet's health.
    d. Discuss the benefits of grooming your dog's coat and nails on a regular basis.
    e. Discuss with your counselor any seasonal conditions (like hot summers, cold winters, or extreme humidity) where you live that need to be considered for your dog.
    f. Discuss with your counselor the considerations and advantages of spaying or neutering your dog.
  7. Do the following:
    a. Explain precautions to take in handling a hurt dog.
    b. Show how to put on an emergency muzzle.
    c. Explain how to treat wounds. Explain first aid for a dog bite.
    d. Show how to put on a simple dressing and bandage the foot, body, or head of your dog.
    e. Explain what to do if a dog is hit by a car.
    f. List the things needed in every dog owner's first-aid kit.
    g. Tell the dangers of home treatment of a serious ailment.
    h. Briefly discuss the cause and method of spread, the signs and symptoms and the methods of prevention of rabies, parvovirus, distemper, and heartworms in dogs.
  8. Visit a veterinary hospital or an animal shelter and give a report about your visit to your counselor.
  9. Know the laws and ordinances involving dogs that are in force in your community.
  10. Learn about three career opportunities for working with dogs. Pick one and find out about the education, training, and experience required for this career, and discuss this with your counselor. Tell why this profession interests you.


*The activities used to fulfill the requirements for the Dog Care merit badge may not be used to help fulfill the requirements for other merit badges.

The official source for the information shown in this is:
Boy Scout Requirements, 2018 Edition (BSA Supply SKU #641568)

View the change list (history) of these requirements. The text of these requirements may be locked. In that case, they can only be edited
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Please note any errors found in the above requirements on this article's Talk Page.


Worksheet A FREE workbook for Dog Care is available here! (PDF or Word) with the maps, charts, links, diagrams, and checklists you need! Or click here to print just the Dog Care requirements. has PDF and Word versions of workbooks for Scouts BSA ranks and merit badges, Cub Scouting ranks and adventures, and STEM Nova awards.

  1. Dog Care is a rare merit badge with 2,948 earned in 2007!

Requirement resources

1. a. Domestication History of Dogs

a. Dog Domestication New research shows that dog domestication may have originated in Africa.
b. Dog Breeds Overview by Group and Characteristics
c. Dog Breed Information

2. Label Dog Anatomy Printout
3. a. The Importance of Training Your Dog

b. Responsible Pet Ownership
c. Breed Selector An online quiz to help you determine the best breed for you.

6. a. Dog Owner's Guide to Vaccination

b. Parasites and Your Pet
c. Dental Care FAQs
d. The Importance of Grooming

7. Basic Canine First Aid

f. What You Should Have in Your Pet's First-Aid Kit —

Related awards

Hobby-related awards

See also

Scouts BSA portal
Venturing portal
Sea Scout portal
General Merit Badge information

External links

Personal tools