It’s no secret that canines and humans make great companions. The benefits for the human are; a dog will give you unconditional love, loyalty and lifelong friendship. In return, your canine friend asks for food, water, shelter, safety, regular veterinary check-ups and plenty of exercise. In fact, did you know that if you don’t take proper care of your dog, he is likely to suffer not only from physical ailments but also behavioral problems?
So, that said, wouldn’t you like to know a few dog care basics, a sort of ‘tricks of the trade,’ guide from us here at the DSPCA?
To help you, we’ve compiled a list of some of the frequently asked questions we receive here at our rescue and rehoming centre; and, so far, we’ve managed to answer them all. Take a look at our information below; we’re sure you’ll find it useful for both you and your furry friend.
NUTRITION AND HOME
What do I feed my dog?
A healthy, balanced diet is essential. Take a look at different foods available and check the ingredients. Are they quality ingredients or are they fillers? Don’t go spending lots of money; instead, first ask for some samples and see how your dog reacts to them. Buy the one he likes best. If, however, you are in doubt, discuss your dog’s dietary requirements with you vet. Make sure your dog has access to fresh, clean, water at all times. Tip: A complete, dry dog food helps keep his teeth clean.
What about my dog’s kennel?
Well there’s no doubt about it, your dog needs to have proper shelter when he’s out in the garden. However, as a pack animal, he likes to be included into the family unit. Ok, we know in some circumstances a family may require their pet to stay outdoors for certain parts of the day; but he should have access to the family home. NB! We at the DSPCA advise all dogs have access to the family home and should not be left outside.
If you must leave him outdoors for any length of time, make sure he has access to a temperature controlled kennel. Never, ever, leave him unattended outside without shelter, food or water. When in the house, set down rules for your dog; he will respect that. Dogs like routine. Make sure he knows the ‘off limit’ areas in your home and make sure he is welcomed into the ‘permissible’ areas. For example; my dogs are not allowed onto the beds but are welcome on chairs and sofas. They know this and will happily jump onto the sofa but steer clear of the beds.
It’s important you nurture your dog. They thrive on love and discipline. Choose a training programme and follow it through. Make sure he knows you are the boss but still maintain a human-canine bond by setting aside time for you and for him. Owning a dog is not a chore; it’s an experience and we at the DSPCA believe it should enrich your life and that of your best friend, your dog.
How often should I bathe my dog?
As summer is a time of shedding, it’s good to bathe your dog a bit more often than at other times of the year. Once a week is sufficient. In winter, bathing once a month is usually enough.
What products should I use to bathe my dog?
Some pet owners make a big production of grooming their dog; basically it’s not that big an ordeal. Use a good quality dog shampoo, available from your vet, supermarket or at our gift and coffee shop Central Bark at the DSPCA shelter on Mount Venus Road, Rathfarnham. If you’ve no dog shampoo, don’t panic…a good quality human one will do. I mean, if you use it to treat your own precious, expensive do, it will be kind enough for your dog’s coat. A tip! Pop a squirt of shampoo into a bowl of water to dilute it first; this means you’re not putting neat shampoo directly onto your dog’s skin. This helps when rinsing, because rinsing his coat clean and clear is vital. It is very important, especially in dogs with longer, shaggier coats, to brush them prior to bathing as well as afterwards.
This brings me nicely onto our next question…
How often do I brush my dog?
Simple! Every day. It’s a bonding thing, and it stimulates the natural oils in your dog’s skin. Use a mound mitt if you have a short coated dog and a wire brush for other breeds. Again, check with your vet or drop into us at the DSPCA to view our selection of products.