Dog Care

Dog stuffBEFORE YOU BRING YOUR DOG HOME: You will need food, stainless steel food and water bowls, a training crate, collar, leash, brush, comb, and suitable chew toys.

HISTORY: All dogs come from their wild cousin, the wolf. Dogs have been domesticated for thousands of years. There are over 130 different breeds of dogs in the US; from the Chihuahua to the Saint Bernard, they are all related to the wolf. Through the years, dogs have worked along side Man hunting, herding, protecting, guiding, tracking, and enjoying each other's company.

DIET: Puppies from eight to twelve weeks old need to be fed four meals a day. Puppies three to six months old need three meals a day. Puppies six months to one year old need two meals a day.

When your pet is one year old, one meal a day is enough although you may wish to continue to feed two smaller meals a day. Dry food provides a well-balanced diet. It may be mixed with water or broth. Your dog will also enjoy cottage cheese, cooked egg and cooked vegetables; but these additions should not make up more than 10% of your dog's daily food intake.

DoghouseHOUSING: Make sure you have a warm, quiet place for your dog to rest. A training crate is ideal. You may wish to buy a dog bed or make one out of a cardboard or wooden box. Line the bed with newspapers and an old blanket. If your dog is spending a great deal of time outdoors, he will need a warm, dry shelter. Remember to wash the bedding often.

HANDLING: Small dogs, sometimes referred to as "lap dogs", are easiest to handle. The larger breeds, like German Shepherd Dogs or Newfoundlands, are usually too large to lift. If you want to carry a puppy or small dog, place one hand under the dog's chest, with either your forearm or other hand supporting the hind legs and rump.

CARE: Feed your pet every day; have clean, fresh water available at all times. Wash the dishes often. See a veterinarian whenever your dog is sick or injured. Take your pet for a full check-up, shots, and a heartworm blood test once a year.

CLEAN-UP: Whenever you are outdoors, keep your dog on a leash. If your dog goes to the bathroom on your neighbor's lawn, the sidewalk, or any other public place, clean it up.

License TagLICENSE: Your dog needs a license. In New York City, the license can be purchased from the Department of Health, Bureau of Animal Affairs. The law states that all dogs must be licensed. When you buy your license, be sure to attach it to your dog's collar. A dog license is your pet' s ID tag, making its return easier if he or she gets lost.

GROOMING: Most dogs do not need to be bathed more than a few times a year. You can help keep your dog clean and reduce shedding by brushing it frequently. Check for fleas and ticks daily during mild weather.

TRAINING: A well-behaved dog is a joy to own. An untrained dog will cause his owner nothing but trouble. Teaching your dog the basics -- Sit, Stay, Come, Down, Heel, Off, and Leave It -- will improve your relationship with both your dog and your neighbors. Contact your local humane society or SPCA for training class recommendations.

BEHAVIOR: Many behavior traits that are seen in wolves are also present in dogs. Dogs, in particular puppies, are denning creatures. They feel more secure in small, tight areas with low roofs -- thus the success of the training crate.

Dogs are pack animals and do not enjoy being alone in the world. Puppies who leave their litters at 7 - 8 weeks old will easily become a member in his or her new human pack/family.

Each pack needs a leader (alpha). It is important that all family members be ahead of the dog in the pack order. Your dog should not be the leader of the family pack for this could lead to aggression or other dominance displays.

OTHER INFORMATION: The average life span of a dog varies from 8 to 16 years, depending on breed type, size, genetics and care.

It is important to spay or neuter your dog. This simple operation makes it impossible for your dog to have puppies. It prevents messy heat cycles in females and dogfighting in most males. There are also many health benefits to be gained by early neutering.

If you use a flea collar, check your pet's neck frequently for redness or soreness. Using a flea comb, and flea powder when needed, is usually safer.

PLEASE NOTE THESE CITY LAWS:

Unleashed dogLEASH LAW -- your dog must be on a leash, under your control, when on the street.

LICENSE LAW -- all dogs must be licensed by the city.

LITTER LAW -- curb your dog and pick up its waste.

Contact your local Animal Affairs Department for your specific local ordinances.

RECOMMENDED READING

THE RIGHT DOG FOR YOU by Dr. Daniel F. Tortora, PhD.

UNDERSTANDING YOUR DOG by Dr. Michael Fox, PhD., DVM.

MOTHER KNOWS BEST, THE NATURAL WAY TO TRAIN YOUR DOG by Carol Lea Benjamin

DOGOWNER'S HOME VETERINARY HANDBOOK by Carlson & Giffin.

Courtesy of the ASPCA

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Page last updated January 30, 1998. All material Copyright © 2004 Border Collie Rescue, Inc.
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