Dogs as pets
They say a dog is “ man’s best friend”. This is because dogs are loyal, affectionate, and intelligent companions who are devoted to their owners.
As well as making great family pets and providing us with great joy owning a dog can be beneficial for your health. Dogs require exercise and therefore regular dog walking will also improve your own fitness levels, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, and decreases stress as well as being a sociable pastime. Specially trained dogs also help people with disabilities and illnesses and can make an amazing difference to a person’s quality of life.
Owning a dog is a big commitment. Not only do you need to allow time to walk your dog at least twice a day, you should also not leave them alone for hours at a time. Therefore you need to have a life-style which your dog can be part of.
Before getting a dog give a lot of thought regarding the type of dog that would suit you and your family. Consider size, breed, temperament, pedigree or crossbreed, puppy or adult, dog or bitch, from a known owner or breeder or a re-homing centre. It is not always an easy decision but very important to get this right as your new pet may be part of your life for, on average of between 10 to 15 years or more, depending on the breed and type of dog.
Daily handling and grooming may allow you to detect at an early stage if your dog is not his/her normal self.
The correct diet is extremely important and the type of food and the amount and number of feeds given will depend on the age of your dog. These factors will change at different stages of your pet’s life. Your dog will require the right balance of the five major food groups: proteins, fats & oils, minerals, vitamins and carbohydrates. Feeding wet or dry is usually a matter of personal preference. Many people will feed a combination of both. However dogs with certain medical conditions, the very young and the very old may be better on specially recommended diets as prescribed by your veterinary surgeon. Most dogs like to have a variety of food and will certainly not refuse the occasional treat. If giving treats regularly, such as for training purposes, always reduce the amount of main meals to allow for this extra amount of daily intake. Rawhide chews are good for your dog’s teeth. Provide the correct size chew for your dog to avoid choking.
It is better not to feed table scraps to your dog but it can often be difficult to say no to sad pleading or cute looking eyes.
So if you do give scraps you must be aware that some foods must never be given. Feeding uncooked meat can carry a higher risk of food poisoning and bacterial infections. Cooking will reduce these risks. DO NOT add salt into the diet. NEVER give any brittle splintery or cooked bones such as chicken or fish bones. Preferably avoid bones altogether as they can damage teeth and cause obstructions in the gut. NEVER ever give CHOCOLATE, ONIONS, GRAPES/RAISINS. These foods are highly toxic to dogs.
Ask yourself whether your dog has a waist. If not then probably your dog is overweight and you should be thinking about making changes to his/her daily diet and exercise regime. An overweight dog will be less healthy, put strain on joints and increase the risk of medical problems such as heart conditions.
We strongly recommend your dog has, 6 monthly health checks with us as prevention is better than cure and the early detection of problems is so much better for your pet and often your pocket. These regular visits also allow you to ask our vets and or nursing team any questions you may have about your pet.
Our Puppy Health Care Plans
We offer a free “get acquainted consultation” within a week of you getting your new puppy (under 1 year old). This is with both a veterinary surgeon and a qualified veterinary nurse, who will carry out an examination and will give advice about looking after your new pet. You will also receive a puppy pack with lots of useful information.
We will invite you to attend one of our puppy parties so your new pet can start socialising with other puppies in a controlled area. These sessions are organised by our nursing staff, who usually arrange a speaker or give a talk themselves on the care or training of your puppy.
• Included in the plan are the routine vaccinations against:
• Infectious Hepatitis
Your puppy will require two sets of vaccinations. The first vaccination injection is given at approximately 8 weeks and the second is required 2 weeks later (approximately 10 weeks old). Your puppy will be fully protected against these potentially killer diseases after a short period of time (usually one or two weeks after the second). Your puppy will then be able to go on its first walk and be able to mix with unvaccinated dogs.
Your puppy will then require an annual booster from 1 year of age. The costs of the annual boosters are not included in the plan.
During your visits we will discuss routine worming, flea treatment, micro chipping and diet. Any products purchased will not be included in the puppy health care plan.
Finally included in your puppy plan we offer a further puppy adolescent check at about 5 – 6 months. We will discuss and answer any questions you may have about spaying or neutering your dog.
Training and Essentials for your Dog
It is essential that all dogs be trained to understand and obey basic obedience commands. We strongly recommend you attend puppy and dog-training classes and that the commands learnt are practiced at home.
A dog that is out of control can be very dangerous and you may not enjoy having a naughty dog as much as a owning a well behaved, obedient pet.
By Law, all dogs must wear a tag on their collar showing its owner’s name and address. It’s also a good idea to include a phone number. We would recommend all dogs are microchipped as you will have a much better chance of getting your pet back should it go missing.
As well as a collar and tag your dog will require a lead. We also recommend the use of a walking harness. A food bowl and separate water bowl, grooming kit and a comfortable bed of its own are essential. A puppy a crate is worth its weight in gold until your dog is mature enough not to cause trouble or damage. The crate can become a safe haven for the pup to sleep and should contain a cosy comfortable bed. If naughty the pup can be sent there to sit quietly for a little while as well as getting used to sleeping in it at night. As your dog becomes more mature the crate can then be taken away just leaving its bed.
Lastly all dogs enjoy toys to play with, just make sure they are safe, of a suitable size and if your dog is a chewer then indestructible.