Caring for your dog - vaccinations, worming, flea, feeding
Regular health check ups
Regular health check ups are the cornerstone of a preventative health program for your dog in the years ahead. We aim to see our patients at least twice a year. Regular check-ups allow us to catch potential problems early and inform you of the newest and best options in pet medicine pertinent to your individual situation. In the latter years of life these increase in frequency as age related problems become more likely. Every year that passes is 5 or 7 years for your four legged friend, let's make each one healthy!!
Vaccinations are very important and protect your dog against three infectious and potentially fatal diseases; Distemper, Infectious Canine Hepatitis and Parvovirus. They also cover the serious respiratory infection, Canine Cough. Dogs are vaccinated every 12 months to maintain immunity throughout life. Some components of the vaccine give immunity for 3 years, others for only one year. Each program is tailored to the individual dog.
We will tailor make a parasite control program for your individual pet, depending on his/her lifestyle and choosing amongst a number of excellent products now available. The following are some general guidelines.
Worms (Intestinal - Tummy)
Gastrointestinal worms can affect dogs, cats and humans. Unlike fleas they are not easily seen on a pet. Worms can infect your dog in many ways, including uncooked pet meats, rodents, through the skin or by ingesting eggs via grooming or eating the wrong things. By worming your dog on a regular basis you can prevent infection of worms for the whole family. Worming preparations are calculated on weight, so feel free to use our scales to check your dog's weight. Ask us for a recommended treatment that is suitable for your pet. Tapeworm treatment may be required more frequently for dogs going to regional areas or eating raw pet meat and offal.
Somehow, fleas seem to find their bothersome way onto our dogs and are a major source of skin problems. They come from any environment where dogs and cats have previously been. Flea eggs are deposited and hatch over a period of time and jump onto the next passing ‘meal ticket' (dog, cat or even us). Fortunately, there are some excellent flea control products available which are safe, effective and easy to use. Spot-on treatments are water resistant and provide monthly protection. If your dog is bothered by flies, mosquitoes or ticks, we can recommend products that can control these pests as well as flea control.
Teeth cleaning and gum massage are very important and probably best achieved by supplying appropriate things to chew on! "Dentabones" and specifically designed dental toys are very useful.
For dogs with problem teeth there is even a specific dental diet "Hills t/d" to encourage oral health. For more information see our Dental Homecare article.
To maintain your dog's health and wellbeing he/she must have a balanced diet. An all meat diet can cause nutritional deficiencies, therefore the most reliable and convenient way to provide a balanced and palatable diet is to feed a high quality, prepared dog food. We recommend feeding premium dog food. Feeding dogs twice daily is recommended as it aids with digestion, avoids weight gain and makes for a positive experience when you leave home for work!
Your dog should be registered with your local council. Some councils offer discounted registration for desexed and/or microchipped pets. A dog tag is also supplied for their collar but we recommend a more permanent form of identification - microchip which is implanted under the skin of your dog by injection and registered for life with a central registry. It is still a good idea to attach a tag with your phone number on it for quick return by your neighbours.
Dog skins are very different to ours, and generally do not require much bathing. However, if this becomes necessary use a mild dog shampoo. We recommend that your dog is bathed no more than once a week. Ask us about caring for your dog's skin/ coat.
Socialisation and Training
A well trained dog will become a well adjusted and well behaved family pet. Like children, dogs need to be taught manners and rules of the house.
Dogs are pack animals, and as such they love hierarchy. This means it is important for you to let your dog know where they belong in this hierarchy (all human family members should be higher). Dogs love to please us and enjoy being set challenges, therefore, by training and teaching your dog tricks you will keep him/her happy. Their mind will be active and they will be a pleasure for you to have around the house and to take visiting.
It is important to have a range of toys available for your dog to play with during the day and even more important that they receive regular exercise. A bored dog can easily develop a behavioural problem.
It is never too late to take your dog to training lessons. If your dog is misbehaving, the sooner you start training the better. Ask our friendly team for advice as there are many options available including training by professionals, dog psychologists and in some cases medications.
At home, your dog obviously needs a comfortable place to sleep, and importantly, somewhere protected from the weather during the day and night. Access to drinking water is required 24 hours a day. To keep your dog's bright little mind active, supply a good range of toys such as Kongs, Treat balls, Buster cubes, Rope chews, etc, which can be rotated over a period of a week, so they are "fresh". Out and about you should have your dog fitted with the correct lead, collar harness, Halti or Gentle Leader. A car harness is a good idea for travel too.
Travelling with your dog
If you are thinking of travelling with your dog, be sure to read our article "Taking your pet on holiday". There is also a good book available called ‘Holidaying with Dogs', this book provides a list of accommodation for where you can stay with your dog.
There are a number of good health insurance policies now available. Because we can't predict what sort of mischief your dog may get up to in the future, insurance is a great idea. Insure your dog as young as possible, that way they will be insured for more medical conditions and are more likely to have cover in their senior years. Ask one of our team members for more information.
Things to watch out for
If your dog appears listless, lethargic or off their food, or has change in drinking, eating and toileting, it is of concern. Sneezing, coughing, vomiting or diarrhoea that is severe or persists is also a concern. We are happy to answer a concerned call from a dog owner about any changes in your dog's behaviour or health, rather than you wait too long.
- "Dog Training Made Easy" Michael Tucker
- "A Dog in Your Family" Dr.Alicia Kennedy
- "Dog Training, A Gentle Modern Method" David Weston
- "Everydog" Drs Eric Allan & Rowan Blogg