If your dog lives inside, they will need a comfy dog bed to sleep on. If you want your dog to sleep outside, they need a warm, comfortable, weatherproof kennel. Most importantly, the kennel should be protected from wind, rain and sun, elevated from the ground and near human activity (but not in a thoroughfare). Washable items such as rugs, cushions or blankets make great beds as you can change them regularly.
It is important to note that dogs who are hardly ever allowed inside can become bored and depressed. This is because dogs see their human family as their pack, and if a dog is separated from its pack all day and night it might act out by barking or digging excessively.
To live a happy and healthy life, dogs need a well-balanced diet with some variation here and there.
Dog food should include:
The easiest way to provide this for your dog is by feeding them a mixture of raw, cooked or canned meat and dry food. The meat provides them with protein and fats, and the dry food should provide vitamins, minerals and roughage. A premium dry food is best for this purpose.
Dogs can’t eat a lot of everyday human foods. Keep a print-out of dangerous foods (such as chocolate, onion, mushrooms, alcohol) for dogs on the fridge so you can check it before giving them your leftovers.
Dogs love bones, and fortunately bones are great for their health. Bones clean dogs’ teeth, massage their gums and keep them stimulated and happy for hours. Talk to your vet about which bones are best for your dog, and how often you should circulate bones. Remember to give your dog raw bones only, as cooked bones can splinter and cause harm to your dog.
Fresh and clean water should be available for your dog at all times. Provide two bowls, just in case one is knocked over. In the summer, dogs will want to drink more so keep their bowl full and in the shade.
Make sure there are identification tags attached to the collar including their council registration tag and a tag with your contact phone number in case the dog gets lost. If you are unable to supply a personal identification tag, please visit the National Pet Register to order your free ID tag today. Fasten the collar so you can fit two fingers comfortably between the neck and the collar. There are a variety of leashes available, just avoid chain leashes as they can be dangerous for dog and owner, a fabric or leather lead is best. Many of the dogs at The Lost Dogs’ Home have been walked on a gentle leader, please talk to one of our staff for more information.
Offer your dog different toys each day and rotate them regularly. This helps to keep your dog from getting bored and or destructive.
Even if your dog has short hair, you will still need to buy a grooming brush and some dog shampoo and have regular grooming sessions. The earlier in your dogs life you start this the better, so they get used to it and realise there is nothing to fear. Some breeds like maltese or poodles will need to visit a professional groomer on a regular basis. Here’s some benefits of regular grooming:
As well as the above, make sure you have a monthly flea and control regime such as Revolution or Frontline, and wait until 24 hours after bathing to apply the treatment.
Training is important for a dog’s well-being. Find a dog training class.
It is recommended for all dogs to be vaccinated against Canine Infectious Hepatitis, Parvovirus and Canine Distemper. These viruses are potentially fatal, so should be taken very seriously. Dogs and puppies adopted from The Lost Dogs’ Home all come vaccinated against these viruses. Ask your vet if any other vaccinations are recommended for your dog.
It is possible for puppy roundworms to infect humans, so make sure your worm your puppy regularly in its first year of life. Another way to stop infection is to be careful with personal hygiene after playing with your puppy. Other worms can infect your dog, like tapeworms, whipworms and hookworms, so make sure you are up to speed with your vet about when to worm your dog. Heartworm is a more serious concern as it can cause complications and lead to fatalities. Talk to your vet about protecting your dog from heartworm.
Fleas are a common dog parasite, and cause severe itching and skin inflammation. If one of your animals has fleas, you will need to treat all other animals in the house as well as the infected animal – don’t worry, humans can’t be infected with fleas. It’s better to prevent than to cure, so try a regular flea treatment. Ask your vet for the best flea treatment for your dog.
Dogs need daily exercise! What you may not know is that dogs get bored with the same old walk every day. Try varying your route, or mixing it up with a regular off-leash run in a secure area or a swim at a dog friendly beach. Only let your dog off lead in and enclosed area or if you are confident that you can recall them. Be a responsible pet owner and never walk your dog off lead on a street or road.
As well as play time and exercise, dogs love nothing more than to just spend time with its pack – you and your family. Four hours contact a day is the bare minimum, which can include walking to the shops for milk, picking the kids up from school, or just letting it hang around while you do the housework. If you include your dog in your daily life, it will be happier, healthier, and as a result, easier to look after.
Your dog should be alert, responsive to calls, have good stamina (less so with older dogs) and be enthusiastic for meal times.
Your dog should have a clean, glossy coat free of parasites and dirt. Eyes should be clear with no discharge or inflammation. Ears should have no discharge or irritation. Nose should be cold and damp when outdoors, dry and warm when indoors, with no permanent discharge.
Giving your dog a regular pet and groom can help you check its general health. Does your dog feel thinner or fatter than usual? Is he responding well to your affection? Does he have any lumps or bumps? Tell your vet if you notice any major changes.