Owning a dog provides companionship, loyalty and affection for people of all ages and is an invaluable addition to families and individuals.
However, it is important to find the breed of dog most suitable to your particular lifestyle and be aware of the responsibility that comes with dog ownership before you adopt or purchase a dog. As your vet, we are willing to discuss the many aspects of dog care, including breed-specific medical problems and routine health care such as vaccinations, flea and tick control, desexing and worming that your future dog may need.
Housing and Enrichment
Dogs love to be part of the family, they can be trained and taught how to perform tricks. They enjoy having company whether that be another animal or people. Some are intelligent, loyal, obedient and happy pets. They also settle reasonably quickly into new situations and environments.
Depending on the breed of dog you bring home and/or your own personal preferences, there is certainly a wide range of bedding and housing options to choose from. Whether you plan on keeping your new friend inside, out or both.
Dog kennels, enclosures and even raised dog beds with hessian or shade cloth material are ideal for outside. Make sure they are weather proof and that you can disassemble them for easy cleaning. Dog kennels are made of wood, have windows and a door and are raised slightly from the ground. Windows keep the kennel cool and ventilated. Raised dog beds with removable and replaceable hessian or shade cloth material should be changed once soiled or has experienced some wear and tear. For inside bedding can range from padded beds to beds that match your own furniture. It really comes down to personal preference and where your new pet will be sleeping.
Pets that are either outside, inside or both all need access to plenty of fresh water and shade. Dogs that are inside should also have access to a doggy-door to allow them to exit to do their daily business. Daily checking to ensure that food and water bowls are cleaned and refilled with fresh water and food should be carried out.
Toys provide relief from boredom, exercise the jaw, assist in preventing behavioral problems, provide enjoyment and mental stimulation, along with providing exercise through running, jumping and chasing. Care must be taken when selecting toys as some toys may not be as beneficial to a different breed or age difference. Younger dogs are very prone to ingesting toys therefore small toys should be avoided. However a large toy would be too big and could cause damage. Toys with bells or squeaks provide excitement and mental stimulation as well. Food toys are also excellent at providing added stimulation and reward the dog which encourage the dog to continue with the exercise.
Although more vital for dog breeds with long hair, brushing removes loose hair and dirt along with encouraging the natural oils in their skin to promote a healthy and shiny coat. Brushes and combs come in a wide variety of different bristle lengths and strengths, shapes and sizes.
Bristle Brush – For brushing long, silky coats. Removes loose hair and promotes a shiny coat.
Slicker Brush – For separating mats in long coats that are curly or wire-like hair.
Rubber Brush – For removing dust, dirt and loose hair in short haired breeds and cats.
FURminator – For de-shedding the undercoat.
Matt Comb – For cutting through matts without destroying the coat.
Molting Comb – For removing the undercoat.
Wood Utility Comb - For reaching deep into a heavy coat and removing the undercoat.
Transport and Relocation
Moving can be a stressful experience for both you and your pet! Luckily most dogs settle into new situations and environments relatively quickly. When introducing a puppy into a new environment all members of the need to know and understand how to care for him/her. The main carer should be chosen as they should be responsible for the feeding, walking, training etc. House rules should be put down and made sure that they will be implemented to ensure everyone is on the same page. If this is discussed and worked out before the arrival of the puppy there will be less confusion and lack of direction for him/her.
Supplies should be pre-purchased and set-up prior to the puppy arriving. This should include having:
Appropriate Food – (see above under nutrition)
Food and Water Bowls – Can be made of plastic, stainless steel and even ceramic. They can be lightweight and inexpensive but it is important to note that plastic bowls can be chewed and scratched. Different bowls are designed for different reasons.
Collars and Leads – Whether it’s for training, just fashion or harness wear it’s up to you and what your plans for this pet are. Check chains are good for training and to help you be ‘in control’ where as a harness provides relief on the pet’s neck when pulling. Collars and leads come in many different materials, sizes and colors.
Cleaning Materials – Paper-towel, disinfectant etc. for those spills or mistakes that your puppy is bound to perhaps make.
Newspaper or Puppy Pee Pads – For toilet training your new friend.
Bate Gates –For keeping him/her out of those places you really don’t want him to be.
Crate – For traveling.
Your house should also be made puppy-proof! These little cuties are notorious chewers so be sure to cover cords and put certain items out of the areas the puppy is going to be.
A temporary place sectioned off for your puppy is the most ideal. It should be an area in which the family are most of the time so your puppy can watch and be with you. It should also be an area in which is easy to clean and safe from expensive items, cords, chemicals etc.
When bringing your puppy home, it is best to have more than one person in the car. This is so they are able to calm puppy and help to make the experience less traumatic. Puppy should travel in a crate or transport cage to make the journey safe for both you and them!
It is important to remain calm and be slow and steady, we all know how exciting it may be to have a new friend in the house but too much affection and attention can be scary and very overwhelming for the pup. Take the time for each member of the family to have separate times to be introduced, speak soft and gently and make no sudden movements or loud noises which might startle the puppy. This will help him/her to settle quicker and enjoy the experience.
Night time can be quite stressful for the family during the first few nights of the puppy being home. Pups will cry and whimper most of the time and there will be different ways to handle this. It is important to try not to encourage the pup for play or activities. It won’t be long before they associate the time with ‘sleep time’.
It is more ideal for the puppy to be brought home when the owner has a lot of time to be with them. This is so the pup has a less stressful transition into the home. So it is more preferred for him to be scheduled in when you have some days off work or it’s the weekend.