Welcoming your new dog:
Dogs provide companionship, loyalty and affection for people of all ages and are an invaluable addition to your home.
However, it is important to find the breed of dog most suited to your particular lifestyle and to be aware of the responsibilities that come with dog ownership before you adopt or purchase a dog. Taking time to look into which breeds will suit you in terms of size, activity level, and temperament, will help avoid problems as your new pet settles in. Talking to your veterinary clinic about any breed-specific health concerns will also help avoid surprises along the way.
Once you have selected your new dog and welcomed them into your house, follow these guidelilnes for a happy, healthy dog:
- Organise a veterinary health check. This health check will ensure there are no health problems of concern, and provide you with an opportunity to discuss any concerns you may have with your veterinarian. Any vaccinations, worming treatments, or flea treatments needed can also be given at this time, and this will get your new pet onto the reminder system for their yearly health checks.
- If not already microchipped, organise for your new dog to be microchipped as soon as possible. Then, if your new pet does get out of your property and is unable to find their way home, they can still be reunited with you quickly.
- Register your new pet with your local council.
- Consider pet insurance for your new pet. Pet insurance does not cover for any pre-existing conditions, so it is best to insure your new pet as soon as they become part of your family.
- Set your new dog up with safe areas for play and sleep. If they will sleep outside, establish a sheltered, dry area, out of the wind, and provide soft, raised beds to avoid chills. Also check that all fences are dog-proof to avoid escapes, and remove any baits or poisons in all areas the dog will have access to.
- Provide good nutrition. Premium pet foods will ensure your new dog receives all the nutrients they need. Puppies will need the nutrients from a specially-formulated puppy diet, while adults may have specific requirements for their health and lifestyle. We can discuss the best foods for your pet to keep them healthy. Try not to change their diet suddenly - gradually introducing new food over 1-2 weeks will help avoid upset stomachs from the new food.
After purchasing your puppy or dog, there are several important aspects of their care to consider:
- All pets require a minimum of one health check a year. On average, dogs age five to eight times faster than humans, allowing major health changes to develop in a relatively short amount of time. The risk of cancer, diabetes, obesity, arthritis, heart disease and other serious conditions all increase with age. However, regular visits to your vet helps identify, diagnose, treat or even prevent health problems before they become life-threatening. Routine vaccinations, flea control, heartworm control and worming are also recommended. A visit to your veterinarian is also a good opportunity to ask about nutrition, behaviour, and other issues.
- Make sure your dog is properly registered with the council, and has appropriate identification should they ever get out of your yard. Microchipping is the best way to make sure your dog will always be able to be identified and brought back home to you.
- Suitable bedding such as washable rugs, cushions or blankets need to be provided in a weatherproof kennel or indoors.
- A secure area such as a dog-proof yard is essential. Your dog should never be left unsupervised when tethered.
- All dogs need daily exercise and mental stimulation to help avoid behavioural and health problems. Dogs view their human owners as being part of their pack and can develop behavioural issues if they feel neglected or excluded. It is also vitally important that your dog is socialised with other people and dogs from an early age in order to learn appropriate interactive behaviours - this is one way that puppy preschool helps in socialising and training your puppy from a young age.
- Nutrition is an important part of your dogs care. A healthy and balanced diet is essential. This will provide protein to build the body, fats for skin and coat health, carbohydrates for energy, and minerals and vitamins for good bone development and healthy tissues.
- It is essential to keep your dogs teeth clean. A regular dental care routine will minimise tartar build-up on your pet’s teeth. Never give your dog cooked bones, as these can be brittle and easily splinter, causing harm to your dog. To help you set up a routine for the care of your pet's teeth, we now offer regular 6-monthly dental checks to monitor your pet's dental health and to discuss preventative measures.
- Fresh water bowls must always be available for your dog. They should be kept clean and placed in the shade.
- Grooming and brushing is essential, particularly for long-haired breeds. This helps remove dust, dead skin, loose hairs, grass seeds, and tangles and it also assists to shorten the coat moult, which occurs every autumn and spring. If you start while they are young and make the brushing a fun activity, your dog will learn to enjoy a regular grooming session, and you will enjoy bonding with your dog. Dirty or smelly dogs should be bathed regularly, with gentle dog shampoo. Please discuss with your veterinary clinic about the best shampoo for your dog, especially if your pet has any skin concerns.
- We strongly recommend that you insure your new dog. Click here for more information about pet insurance.
If you have any questions about any aspects of your current or future pet's health care, please call the clinic.