Tips to help make sure your dog is in the best health
Feeding should be when you are ready and not when your dog demands it - stick to this and help reinforce your position as pack leader. Never feed from the table and never feed titbits unless you are in a training session.
Fleas are common, hardy insects which are hard to spot on your pet. They often leave little clumps of black grit droppings, which are a tell tale sign. Besides being generally unpleasant and irritating for your dog, a single flea bite can result in a severe skin reaction in some dogs. They lay their eggs in carpets and bedding and become more active in warmer conditions i.e. during the summer or when the central heating is in use. Your vet will advise you on an effective insecticide treatment to keep your pet "flea free". Treatment of your home is also advisable as fleas can live in carpets and soft furnishings.
Grooming is often neglected especially in short coated breeds. Even though you may think he or she may not need it, accustom them to regular grooming, gently working all over with a brush suitable for the coat. Not only does it help remove loose hairs, it gives you the opportunity to check for lumps and bumps, which may indicate the presence of fleas. Ears and eyes should not be neglected. Dogs with long ears can be prone to infections especially in warm weather and it is better to get into a routine of washing them out with an ear lotion every few days. Your veterinary practice will tell you how to do it. Eyes generally present less of a problem. If they are dirty, bathe each one with a separate piece of moist cotton wool. If the eyes are inflamed or there is a persistent discharge, consult your vet. In pack animals, grooming is only instigated by the dominant leaders and with regular grooming, you are asserting yourself as the boss in their eyes. It also helps to make him or her more cooperative when handled by your vet. Make the grooming sessions relaxed and fun. The majority of dogs suffer from some form of periodontal disease at some stage in their lives. This can be prevented by good oral hygiene with the daily brushing of your dog's teeth with a special canine toothpaste. Ask your vet for details.
Neutering makes sense, unless you particularly wish to have a litter of puppies or show your dog. Dogs which have not been neutered tend to stray if the opportunity presents itself. They also mark their territory including "spraying" objects in the home. When neutered, they make better pets, show less aggression and tend to live longer. If they are not neutered, bitches will come into season regularly, attract attention from dogs and, despite your vigilance, can become pregnant. Your vet will advise you when your dog is mature enough to be neutered, but it can usually be done around the age of 5 - 6 months. It is a routine procedure and recovery is usually very quick.
Play helps you to develop a close relationship, but don't let the fun get out of hand. Play fetch games, rewarding him or her with titbits when they retrieve and come back with the toy. Help your dog to become confident and contented with his or her place in the family.
Sleeping arrangements should be made well away from the hustle and bustle of the family. However, don't let your dog become territorial and make them come off it from time to time. Never let your dog jump on beds or chairs as this will make them think they have a higher status in the pecking order, resulting in aggression when they are asked to move. A dog's place is on the floor and they are generally happier if they know this.
Socialisation at an early age helps get your dog used to other people and other dogs. Well-socialised puppies are generally easier to train and have less reason to be difficult later.
Training is a necessity for all dogs. Whilst you may not want to win an obedience championship, you should achieve the basics of walking to heel, sitting at kerbs, coming to your command, "sit" and "down". Not only will your dog be even more pleasant to live with, you yourself will undoubtedly enjoy attending obedience classes for the few weeks that are necessary to get the basics in place.
All puppies and dogs must be vaccinated against the 4 main diseases that are a threat to their well being:
- Distemper - affects the nervous system
- Hepatitis - affects the liver
- Leptospirosis - affects the liver and kidneys
- Parvovirus - affects the bowels
Allianz also requires dogs to have an upto date Kennel Cough vaccination. Kennel Cough affects a dogs respiratory system.
After the initial puppy vaccinations it is vital that the yearly booster is administered throughout the pets life.
Worms can cause ill-health and potentially, serious illnesses particularly in puppies. Your dog should be treated for worms every 6-8 months. Your vet will advise you on an effective worming drug suitable for your dog.
- Your dog as a civilised pet
Your dog as a civilised pet
Dogs are pack animals and for them, your family is that pack. It's up to you to make sure he or she does not become the pack leader and dominate you. It is often difficult to be strict with a sweet hairy bundle, but if they are allowed liberties as a pup, they will expect them to continue as an adult.