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.
After purchasing your puppy or dog, there are several important aspects of their care, to consider:
We strongly recommend that you insure your new dog. Please see our information sheet on insurance for more about this topic.
Suitable bedding such as washable rugs, cushions or blankets need to be provided in a weatherproof kennel or indoors.
A secure area such as a dog-proof yard is essential. Your dog should never be left unsupervised when tethered.
All dogs need daily exercise and mental stimulation to help avoid behavioural and health problems. Dogs view their human owners as being part of their pack and can develop behavioural issues if they feel neglected or excluded. It is also vitally important that dogs are socialised with people and other dogs from an early age in order to learn appropriate interactive behaviours.
All pets require a minimum of one health check a year. On average, dogs age five to eight times faster than humans, allowing major health changes to develop in a relatively short amount of time. The risk of cancer, diabetes, obesity, arthritis, heart disease and other serious conditions all increase with age. However, a visit to us helps us diagnose, treat or even prevent health problems before they become life-threatening. Routine vaccinations, flea and tick control and worming are also recommended. A visit to us is also a good opportunity to ask about nutrition, behaviour, and other issues.
Nutrition is an important part of your dogs care. A healthy and balanced diet is essential. This will provide protein to build the body; fats for skin and coat health; carbohydrates for energy; and minerals and vitamins for good bone development and healthy tissues.
It is essential to keep your dogs teeth clean. A regular dental care routine will minimise tartar build-up on your pet’s teeth. Never give your dog cooked bones, as these can be brittle and easily splinter, causing harm to your dog.
Fresh water bowls must always be available for your dog. They should be kept clean and placed in the shade
Grooming and brushing is essential, particularly for long-haired breeds. This helps remove dust, dead skin, loose hairs, grass seeds, and tangles and it also assists to shorten the coat moult, which occurs every autumn and spring. Dirty or smelly dogs should be bathed. However, keep in mind that frequent shampooing can strip the natural oils from the coat and cause skin dryness and irritation.
Our staff are always keen to discuss routine health care for your current or future pets. For further information about pet care, please phone our helpful staff during business hours.
These are the basic nutrients every pet needs:
Water is the most essential nutrient in any diet. Your pet's body is made up of approximately 70% water and will quickly perish without it. Ensure your pet can access fresh, clean water at all times.
Carbohydrates supply energy and come from sugars, starch, and fibre from plant sources. Carbohydrates help energize the brain and muscles, making your pet bright and active.
Fats also supply energy and in the right amounts help build strong cells and promote nutrient absorption. Too much fat however, can lead to such obesity-related health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and osteoarthritis.
Proteins are required for a healthy coat, skin, and nails. Your pet's body uses the amino acids in proteins to make enzymes and hormones in the blood stream and to maintain a healthy immune system. Proteins can come from plant and meat sources, but cats and dogs need a high-quality animal protein.
Vitamins and minerals help regulate many body systems. For example, your pet needs the minerals calcium and phosphorous for strong bones. Antioxidant vitamins like vitamin E and C help boost your pet's immune system during times of stress.
How do you make sure your pet's diet is healthy?
We strongly recommend that you:
Feed premium pet foods. Premium foods offer high-quality ingredients, are made by companies specialising in nutritional research, and show a solid track record of quality and palatability. Feeding generic pet foods may lead to obesity, irregular bowel movements, or excess intestinal gas.
Make sure the food is fresh. When you purchase pet food, check for freshness and purchase only the amount necessary for your pet. Store pet food in a cool, dry place and keep it tightly closed. Discard uneaten food and always place fresh food in a clean bowl. In general, hard food (or "kibble") is preferred for maintaining dental health and minimizing tartar build-up. Soft, canned food tends to be more palatable and can be stored for longer.
Feed the right amount. Ask us or check the label for how much to feed according to your pet's ideal weight (not necessarily the same as their current weight). Avoid feeding pets as much as they want or feeding a large amount at one time. Doing so can lead to obesity, gastrointestinal upset, or even bloat, a life threatening condition.
Maintain a daily routine. A regular schedule will help your pet keep normal bowel movements and avoid indoor accidents. Younger pets need to be fed more frequently, as they are usually more energetic and burn more calories.
Avoid "people" food. Your pet's digestive system is simpler than yours and can be easily upset by changes. Feeding table scraps will result in an unbalanced diet, can cause stomach upsets or even life-threatening inflammation of the pancreas.
Life Cycle Feeding
Your pet's nutritional requirements will change as they age. Puppies need puppy food because it is higher in energy, calcium and protein, but feeding it to an adult dog can lead to obesity. Likewise, older pets need diets restricted in fat and supplemented with fibre for their optimum health. Many premium senior diets also contain additives to assist in the management of arthritis and can make your pet more comfortable.
Please give us a call to discuss your pet’s nutritional needs. We will tailor a diet specifically for your pet that will give them the optimum quality and length of life.
Remember, you are what you eat, and so is your pet!