General Care Information
- Puppies should begin training at approximately 10 weeks of age
- Dogs need plenty of daily exercise – three times a day is recommended
- Dogs should be checked frequently for ticks, fleas and other parasites
- Dogs should be bathed with dog shampoo and not human shampoo (baby shampoo ok for washing the head)
- Dog ears should be cleaned weekly
- Dog teeth should be brushed at least twice a week – dog biscuits between brushing will help keep teeth clean and breath fresh.
- Dry dog food is recommended, supplemented with a high quality vitamin
- Dogs should take a heartworm pill once a month
- Dogs should visit their veterinarian once a year for an exam and regular vaccines
Dog Feeding Information
Provide your dog with dog foods that are high in nutritional value, with 80% of the dogs diet daily diet coming from dry dog food. A quality dry dog food should contain varied ingredients with sufficient amounts of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins (amino acids). Table foods can cause gastrointestinal distress and load the dog’s food with unnecessary fats and sugars. Always consult with a veterinarian about the best dog food for your dog and about any supplements that may be necessary.
Dry Dog Food
A quality dry dog food should contain approximately 10% water and contain a mixture of soy, meat products, grains, vegetables, animal fats, and added vitamins and minerals. These types of dry dog foods are coated with a meat flavouring to encourage consumption. Smell and taste the animal fat on the food and will eat until they are satisfied. In addition to nutritional value, dry dog foods provide a rough texture to help clean the dog’s teeth and gums.
Unless specified as a dietary precaution by the dog’s veterinarian, the dog’s food bowl should be kept full at all times to encourage healthy eating.
Canned Dog Food
Canned dog food is generally not recommended as a regular dietary item. Although dogs will prefer the taste of canned foods, canned dog food is mostly water (nearly 80%) and does not help promote good health for the dog’s teeth and gums. Care should be taken that dogs do not over eat when fed canned food.
These types of dog foods are created to look and smell like meat, but are generally made of soy, cereal grains and meat by products – they are also heavy in preservatives. These foods contain 25 – 30% water and are high in proteins. While not recommended as the primary source of nutrition in a diet, semi-moist foods are a great supplement to a diet and are a great reward for dogs.
Taking a dog regularly to a professional groomer can be very expensive. While an occasional trip to a professional groomer may be necessary, simple care and grooming can be done at home.
If you plan on grooming your dog regularly at home, it’s important to start early when they are puppies. Puppies that get used to being handled during grooming, will grow up to be much more well adjusted dogs during the grooming process. Although puppies require a lot of patience, the learning will pay huge dividends throughout your dog’s life.
Dogs should be taught to sit or stand as still as possible during grooming.
Caring for your dog’s coat
Your dog’s coat should be brushed daily – frequent and regular brushing will help to remove loose fur and loosen pet dander. The fur should always be brushed in the direction of the fur.
Dogs should be shampooed with a shampoo that is meant for dogs. To give your dog a bath, place him in a tub of warm water and use a cup or hand held shower head to wet him. Rub the shampoo in evenly over the entire dog, paying particular attention to the legs, underbelly and paws. If you are concerned about getting shampoo in the dog’s eyes, you can always use baby shampoo on the dog’s head. Be sure to rinse thoroughly.
After taking your dog out of the tub, towel dry the fur and use a brush to smooth out the fur and prevent knotting.
Trimming your dog's nails
To trim your dog’s nails, purchase a set of nail clippers that are meant for dogs at your local pet store. Scissors generally do not work well, and can cause unneeded discomfort for your dog during clipping.
Begin by holding your dog's paw in one hand, and the clippers in the other. Place the clippers over the nail and clip only the tip of the nail. Be careful not to clip too close, as cutting off too much will damage and expose the vein. As the vein can be difficult to see, begin by clipping off a bit at a time. If the vein does accidentally get cut, apply pressure to the wound with a clean gauze pad until the bleeding stops.
Cleaning your dog's teeth
When brushing your dog’s teeth, do NOT use regular toothpaste as it isn’t safe for dogs to swallow. Use a medium to heavy bristle toothbrush or a rubber “finger brush” to gently rub on your dog’s gums and teeth.
To open your dog’s mouth, hold its mouth open by lifting the loose skin at the sides of his mouth. The teeth should be brushed in the direction that they grow. Choose a special doggie toothpaste that comes in a flavour dogs prefer.
A dog’s teeth can also be cleaned by providing it with a dog biscuit that is designed for keeping tartar off your dog's teeth.
Dogs teeth should be checked and cleaned during it’s annual visit to the veterinarian.
Cleaning your dog's ears
To clean your dog’s ears, lightly dampen the end of a cotton tip swab. Do not stick the swab directly into the ear, as you may inadvertently damage the dog’s ear drum. Use the damp swab to gently clean the exterior areas of its ears. Mineral oil should never be used to clean dogs ears – the oils tend to remain in the ear causing hearing problems.
Frequent ear scratching generally means ear mites. Dog’s ears should be checked annually during their regular visit to the veterinarian.
If you encounter difficulties in grooming your dog, take him to a professional groomer and watch to see how it is done. The dog groomer can also give you advice and more tips on how to deal specifically with your dog.
When choosing a location for a dog’s bed or living space, it’s important to remember that dogs are creatures of habit –where you start out your puppy is probably where your grown up dog will end up sleeping. If the dog will be an indoor dog, choose an out of the way location that is cool and well ventilated. Puppies that are allowed to sleep in the owner’s bed will grow into large unwelcomed sleeping partners later in life.
Outdoor dogs should be sheltered in a dog house that will prevent wind and rain from getting inside. The house should be big enough to allow the dog to enter completely, and turn in a full circle before lying down. During the winter months, a heavy cloth should be hung over the door to keep in heat and prevent wind and moisture from entering. Dogs prefer loose bedding, generally a couple of warm blankets work best. Make sure to clean the dog house regularly to keep the dog healthy and comfortable.
The amount of exercise required by dogs varies from dog to dog – smaller dogs get plenty of exercise just playing with a ball in the family room, while larger dogs need room to run and stretch their legs. But regardless of how much exercise a dog needs, it’s important that they a get regular, daily opportunity to run. Just like humans, dogs need plenty of water and intermittent rest during exercise, especially on hot days.
Sometimes the best exercise for dogs is to allow them to play with other dogs in the neighbourhood. As outdoor dogs get more exercise just doing their normal routine, indoor dogs can be encouraged to exercise by providing them with toys.
Dog Medicine Information
Pilling your dog
The easiest way to give your dog a vitamin or pill is to hide it in food. Cheese, meat, or other favourite food items can be used to bury the pill. To ensure that the dog swallows the pill, the pill or food item should be placed as far back in the dog’s throat as possible. Hold the upper jaw by both sides with one hand, and lift it up, holding the lower jaw with the other hand, and using your first finger and thumb to place the pill quickly in the tongue's base. Keep his mouth close, lifting the head a bit, and rubbing the throat to encourage him to swallow.
Administering liquid medication
Liquid edication is generally easier to give to dogs than pills. Place the liquid into a paper cup and pull the dogs lip out to form a pocket to receive the liquid. Pour the liquid into the dog’s mouth in small amounts at a rate that allows the dog to swallow evenly. To prevent the liquid from entering the dog’s air passage, the nose of the dog should be elevated only slightly.
Pet First Aid
Injured dogs will react to pain by experiencing fear and panic. It is common for dogs to be uncooperative during treatment, even going so far as to try and bit or scratch the caretaker. When dealing with a frightened dog, it’s important to secure the dog so it calms down and doesn’t aggravate the existing wound or cause additional harm to itself. It may be necessary to muzzle the dog to protect the caretaker. To muzzle the dog, use tape or a cloth to loop around the dog’s mouth and then tie off the material behind the dog’s ears.
Treating injuries is done through basic first aid. A simple pet first-aid kit should consist of scissors, tape, bandages and basic medications such as milk of magnesia, antibiotics, mineral oil and a common antidiarrheal formula – milk of bismuth.
It is not uncommon for dogs to get into baits (such as rat poison) or chemicals that are harmful to their system. A dog exposed to a poison may react in various ways, including, but not limited to, paralysis. Veterinary help should be sought immediately. To purge the dog’s system of poisons, you will need to induce vomiting by feeding the dog small amounts of hydrogen peroxide. Give the dog about a tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide about every 10 minutes for a maximum of 30 minutes.
From time to time dogs may encounter barbs, thorns or fish hooks that puncture and embed themselves in the dogs skin. If your dog gets a deep puncture wound, seek out a veterinarians help before attempting to remove the item. Veterinarians can provide the dog with pain relievers and anaesthesia to relax your dog and provide the veterinarian with the best possible situation to remove the hook or barb.
If the hook or barb is only slightly embedded in the skin, be sure to cut off the sharp barb before attempting to slide it out. To remove a thorn use a needle and tweezers as you would for a sliver in your own hand or foot.
With any puncture wound, it is important to use a good antibiotic and to cover the wound with a bandage until it’s healed.
Bone fractures in dogs will require the help of a veterinarian. Before moving the dog, be sure to secure the broken area by wrapping the injured area with a towel or blanket. Use rope or some type of cloth to tie the wrap to hold it in place. In addition to wrapping the wound, cover the dog with blankets to keep the dog warm as such injuries generally induce shock.
A dog experiencing heat stroke will become disoriented and eventually lose consciousness. To treat heat stroke, immediately begin cooling the dog by running a hose over the dog – continue dousing the dog for several minutes. If after several minutes the dog does not revive, take the dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible.
To prevent heat stroke, make sure dogs can find shade and have adequate air circulation. In hot climates dogs should not be left outside in the sun during the heat of the day.
When a dog is cut and begins bleeding the wound should be immediately covered with gauze or cloth and moderate pressure should be applied. Hold the dressing over the wound for at least five minutes – do not pull the gauze or cloth back to peek and see if the bleeding has stopped. If after five minutes the bleeding has not stopped, take the dog to a veterinarian as soon as possible.
MitesMites, like Fleas are external parasites that live in the ears of dogs as well as on the surface of their skin. Mites can be transferred from dog to dog and will cause the dog to scratch and claw at its skin due to the skin irritation.
To cure mites, use a mineral oil to daily clean the dog’s ears and use common flea powders over the ears and body of the dog.
FleasFleas are small, wingless, external parasites that live off of the blood of mammals and birds. Dogs in humid climates are generally more affected by these types of parasites. Reactions may vary from dog to dog, but most reactions result in a rash on specific areas of the dog.
To control fleas, keep the dog’s living area clean and use commercially available powders, sprays and dog collars.
LiceAnother common parasite, lice can cause intense itching and skin irritation in dogs. Lice eggs are typically found on the dog’s hair and adult lice close to the dog’s skin.
To control lice, use commercially available flea powders and sprays regularly. Eliminating lice can take several weeks.
Ticks are small to microscopic parasites that burrow their heads below the surface of the dog’s skin causing disease and irritation. Ticks are common in almost every part of the world, but are especially prevalent on beaches, in open fields and in wooded areas. These parasites are typically found between the toes and in the ears of household pets.
To remove a tick, cover the back of the tick with oil or alcohol and wait for the tick to back out of the skin. If using tweezers, make sure that the entire tick is removed and that the head of the tick is not broken off under the skin. Never use a hot match to remove ticks.
Dog Cancer is defined as any type of tumour or growth that invades healthy tissue. Just like humans, dog experience tumours that, unless properly removed, can experience death. Not long ago, cancer was considered to be an uncommon disease in dogs, but as the average life span of dogs has increased over time, so have the incidences of cancer. Cancer is a highly variable disease that has no specific source and can spread quickly causing death before it is detected. Possible sources include genetics, diet, environment, exposure to harmful chemicals, etc.
Older dogs should be checked regularly for abnormal growths. Dogs that experience fevers, weight loss, lethargy and loss of appetite should be taken to a veterinarian for an examination. Once cancer forms it can exhibit itself as an open sore (that bleeds or causes abnormal discharge), lumps under the skin, bulges in the throat (causing difficulty breathing and eating), abnormal bowel movements, etc.
Heartworm is caused by the Dirofilaria immitis parasite. This parasite lives in the heart and blood vessels causing the heart to weaken resulting in death. Although most common in dogs, other animals can also contract this parasite.
Heartworm is transmitted from animal to animal by mosquitoes that bite infected dogs and then inject a healthy dog with the parasite. Once infected, dogs will begin to be affected by the parasite in about 6 months. As the parasites mature and begin occupying the right chamber of the heart, the dog will begin to experience reduced blood flow to its major organs.
Prevention is the best approach. Dogs should be given a heartworm pill each month and have regular visits to the veterinarian.