Your dog is now part of the family. Give him his own special place in the house and provide a bed somewhere free of draughts and near the centre of family life, without being in the way. At times when you need to leave your dog outside the house he must have access to suitable shelter. In most cases that means a properly constructed kennel of suitable size. It must be both waterproof and windproof with a wooden floor raised from the ground. Never allow your dog to sleep on concrete for any length of time, even in summer. Protection from the heat is also necessary.
Young children must always be carefully supervised when around animals. They must learn never to tease the dog but to treat it kindly and with respect.
Most adult dogs thrive on commercially prepared foods, but at the same time they do enjoy some variety. Follow feeding instructions on the tin or packet, and ascertain your dog's ideal weight, as like people, dogs differ in their dietary needs. A stew of cooked meat with added rice and vegetables is nourishing and economical. All dogs need access to a little grass, which they eat from time to time to maintain their natural digestive balance. Most dogs love a bone, but avoid cooked bones and never give dogs chicken, chop, fish or rabbit bones. The only safe bones are brisket and big raw beef shank bones, which do not splinter. A bowl of fresh water must always be available. Click here to be directed to the Hill's Pet Nutrition weight charts for cats and dogs.
Important: Never feed your dog raw sheep meat or raw offal of any kind. Everything that comes from the inside of an animal carcass, such as liver and heart, must be well cooked, preferably by boiling, before being fed to a dog. This is a legal requirement to prevent the dog from becoming infected with the hydatid tapeworm, which can seriously affect humans.
An un-spayed female dog can produce two litters of puppies a year. Large breeds have big litters - maybe 10 or more at any one time. They create a lot of work, cost a vast amount of money to feed and finding homes for them all is difficult, often impossible. Un-neutered male dogs make up the largest proportion of impounded dogs. Be a responsible dog owner and have your dog desexed as soon as it’s old enough - around 6 months of age. You will improve its health and minimize aggressive behaviour and the tendency to roam. You will have a far better companion and you will also help to alleviate the stray dog problem.
The daily outing is the high point of your dog's day. Suitable exercise for his size and breed is essential for his physical and mental wellbeing. It is your together time for play and socialisation and it's good for you, too.
This is a gentle means of giving a pup or dog the guidance it needs to prevent the development of unacceptable behaviour. It is a constructive, progressive process that is good fun for both dog and owner. Basic obedience training is the key to having a well-behaved dog. Once trained, the dog is more controllable, more dependable and happier in itself as it has a better idea what is expected of it. The effort is small but the benefits last a lifetime.
Dogs love riding in cars, but on a warm day the temperature in a parked car can reach danger level in a matter of minutes, even with partially opened windows. With only hot air to breath, your pet can quickly suffer brain damage or death. Don't kill your pet with kindness. On hot days, leave him at home.
If your dog is overcome by heat exhaustion you must lower his body temperature immediately. Get him into the shade and apply cool water all over his body. Let him drink small amounts of cool water and get him to a veterinarian quickly. It could save his life.
Vaccination: As a puppy your dog should have been fully vaccinated against Distemper, Parvo Virus, Hepatitis and Kennel Cough, but he still needs a booster shot each year so an annual visit to your Veterinarian is advisable. This annual visit is a good opportunity for a check of your dog's teeth, skin, ears, eyes and general health. It is also a chance to talk over any concerns you may have. Your veterinarian is your dog's best friend - keep his/her telephone number handy.
Some common problems are:
Every dog owner must register his/her dog when it reaches the age of three months and re-register each year with their local authority. Dogs must wear a collar bearing the current registration disc. A separate disc bearing your own telephone number will give your dog an added protection. Some councils charge a lower registration fee in respect of de-sexed dogs.
Barking Dogs: Keep your dog indoors at night. This way he will bark only when necessary and will not annoy the neighbours. He will be a better protector because he cannot be bribed, stolen, or injured.
Roaming Dogs: Dogs who roam the neighbourhood unattended annoy neighbours in many ways - they foul properties, chase cats, cause traffic accidents and so on. They join up with other dogs and form packs, which may attack other animals and stock. If your property is securely fenced, your dog de-sexed and regularly exercised under your supervision, roaming is unlikely to be a problem.
If your dog goes missing contact your local Animal Control office. It is important to visit Animal Control in person because the description you give of your dog may not match up with their description. Your dog will be held at the pound for 7 days only, after which he will be euthanised or adopted out to a new home. Also check the Strayed & Impounded columns of the papers and insert an advertisement yourself. Trade Me and www.petsonthenet.co.nz also has a Lost & Found section under Pets and Animals. It pays to offer a reward as many dogs are stolen specifically in order to obtain reward money from the owner.