Animal Information Sheet: Dogs
Dogs are intelligent, faithful and fun companions.
A good diet is especially important for puppies, nursing bitches and older dogs. Ensure the food you buy contains all the requirements your dog needs. Look for the words ‘balanced’ or ‘complete’ to ensure all the dog’s nutritional needs are met. A poor coat may indicate lack of regular brushing, but can also result from poor diet or parasites.
Dogs need comfortable, dry places to protect them from the sun, wind and rain. Their beds should be soft and warm and cleaned every week.
A dog needs to mix with its own kind. It also needs to get used to a range of people, places and noises. A critical period for a puppy is between 4-18 weeks of age. Many clinics now run puppy preschool or socialisation classes. These classes allow puppies to socialise with people and other dogs. They also teach owners about basic obedience training and general health care of your new pet.
Walking, fetching balls and playing frisbee are great ways to exercise dogs. If dogs are being taken outside their homes they need to be on leads. Exercise your dog twice a day, even if it is raining.
Dogs must visit the vet once a year for a check-up. Vets give dogs vaccinations to stop them catching diseases. You should also take dogs to the vet if they are vomiting a lot, coughing, sleeping all the time or not eating.
Dogs must wear collars with name tags. You can also have a microchip put under your dog’s coat to make sure it has identification if its collar falls off.
This depends on the size of the dog, but is around 8-14 years. A small dog can live much longer.
Checklist of dog requirements
- Someone to provide them with their needs for the rest of their life.
- Companionship; to be with other dogs or people and not to be left alone for long periods.
- A balanced diet.
- A constant supply of fresh, clean water.
- Worming and regular flea treatment.
- Regular walks (at least once a day).
- A well-fenced garden to play and exercise in.
- Raw bones to chew on to keep teeth and gums healthy.
- Regular checks by a veterinarian.
- To be groomed regularly, particularly when shedding. Long-haired dogs need to be groomed every day. Some dogs need to be clipped regularly.
- To be cared for when you are away.
- Never to be left in a car unattended.
- A bed with their own blanket.
- To be desexed.
- A collar and identification tag.
- A microchip for permanent identification.
- To be registered with the local council.
- To be cleaned up after.
This information was sourced from the RSPCA National CD ROM, copyright 2006. It was originally developed by RSPCA Victoria. www.rspcavic.org