Neutering & Health Care
A.R.C. neuters all dogs before they are re-homed, if they are old enough. If a puppy is too young to be neutered then A.R.C. will ensure that a neutering agreement is signed on adoption. Neutering your pet is by far the most responsible thing you can do.
The main benefits of neutering are as follows:
- Prevents pregnancy. There are thousands of unwanted puppies and dogs in the UK. Many of these dogs are destroyed every year, as there are simply not enough homes. Neutering your dog is the only way to stop this cycle
- Prevents females coming into season and attracting the unwanted attention of determined male dogs, which is as frustrating for the male dogs as it is for the females!
- Prevents the mess caused by a female’s season
- Prevents inbreeding – mating between immediate family members, which can lead to offspring with defects (no, dogs don’t respect these boundaries)
- Prevents the risk of uterine infections and cancers in females and testicular cancer in males
- Reduces the need for scent marking, aggressive behaviour and the undesirable conduct of mounting people’s legs in male dogs!
Neutering is a simple operation performed under general anaesthetic by a vet. In males it is called ‘castration’ and involves the removal of the testes. In females, the procedure is called ‘spaying’ and involves removal of the uterus and ovaries. It is a more invasive operation for a female and requires a longer recovery period.
The age that a puppy can be neutered varies between breeds, but it should be done as soon as possible, ranging from approx. 5-6 mths of age, guided by your vet.
Every dog is different and will have particular preferences and requirements when it comes to their food but all dogs require a well-balanced, good quality diet and need to be fed at least once a day.
Your dog’s diet will also change throughout the course of their life. As a youngster they will need a puppy food that contains the right level of nutrients required for growth and development. If you have taken on an over-weight dog, then he will need a low fat, calorie controlled diet food. Nowadays, every type of pet diet is catered for, including veterinary diets for certain medical conditions such as kidney disease.
We would strongly recommend that you opt for a quality dry complete food and if you would like your dog to have the added option of meat/wet food, then incorporate small amounts of this too.
We (as do vet practitioners) recommend Royal Canin and Hills Complete.
Most dogs are fed between once and twice a day. Always read the manufacturer’s feeding instructions, dependant on your dog’s weight. A balanced diet will only keep your dog fit and healthy when combined with the appropriate level of exercise required.
Some human foods such as dark chocolate and onions are poisonous to dogs.
Your dog must have constant access to fresh drinking water.
As with diet, the amount of exercise your dog requires will vary according to his age, breed and health. There are a few common rules though…
Exercise, walking and playing is not just about maintaining the physical health of your dog/puppy; it is also an essential part of their mental well-being. Dogs are social, playful animals; the greatest connection they have with their environment is via their sense of smell. Think ‘Facebook’ for dogs; they need to network with each other, find out who’s been doing what and where and make new friends! A dog likes to sniff everything because the scents left behind are like a noticeboard full of messages and clue. Dogs like to have a good run around, let off steam and they love to play. It is an essential part of weight control and general health and fitness. Walks are also a great bonding time for you and your dog.
When puppies are growing and their bones and muscles are developing, they only need short, gentle walks of 15 minutes or so, in order to build up their stamina gradually and allow their soft bones to strengthen. Be patient! Don’t be tempted to take your new puppy on a long hike, throwing their ball as you go, as this could cause damage to their joints and bones, affecting them later in adulthood.
Most adult dogs require at least one good, long, off-lead walk of about 1-2 hours and another short walk. Finally…don’t forget to ‘scoop the poop’ ALWAYS! Never leave the house without a handful of poo bags!
ROUTINE HEALTH CARE
All dogs need to have the primary course of vaccinations, which consists of two vaccinations, 2-3 weeks apart. Puppies can have this done from 9 weeks old (some vets vary on the starting age, so follow your own vet’s advice). A puppy should not come in contact with other dogs who may be unvaccinated or be walked in areas where unvaccinated dogs may have been, until the full course of vaccinations has been completed. To remain effective, a booster vaccination is required annually which will tie in with your dog’s yearly check up.
The vaccination protects against the following diseases:
CANINE PARVOVIRUS – causes heart failure and gastroenteritis.
CANINE DISTEMPER VIRUS – causes fever, diarrhoea and convulsions.
LEPTOSPIROSIS – causes renal failure, liver disease and anaemia.
INFECTIOUS CANINE HEPATITUS – causes severe abdominal pain, fever, vomiting and can be fatal within 24 hrs.
If your dog is to be spending time in kennels then they may also be given a vaccine for Kennel Cough, which is administered into the nostrils. If travelling abroad, then a rabies vaccination is required under the Pet Travel Scheme.
A vaccine course (2 vaccines) costs approximately £65
Worms & Fleas
Fleas are pesky little insects that hop around a dog’s skin, biting and sucking blood…nasty! The ‘hopping’ is irritating enough, causing itching but some dogs can have an allergic reaction to the flea’s saliva, which can cause excessive itching and chewing, leading to bleeding and infected skin. Fleas particularly like to pick the sensitive parts of a dog, such as behind the ears, on the tummy and the base of the tail. If you see your dog itching repeatedly here, take a closer look and you will no doubt see a leaping flea, a flea bite or flea dirt (tiny black specks amongst his fur). Don’t forget that fleas are partial to biting some humans too!
We suggest using Stronghold every 4 weeks for your dog. We do not recommend that you buy the cheap, shop brands from your supermarket. Please ask your vet for a prescription.
Worms are internal parasites that live in a dog’s intestines and sometimes tissue but they can also migrate to other parts of the body. The most common are tapeworms and roundworms but there are also other worms such as heartworms and hookworms. Fleas can carry tapeworm eggs, so it is important to treat both forms of parasite simultaneously. Some types of worms can pass to humans and between pets if left untreated and if basic rules of hygiene are not kept. Infected animals do not necessarily show outward signs of worm infestation but symptoms can be: your dog losing weight (the worms are eating his food), distended abdomen, dry fur, increased appetite and diarrhoea.
Worm treatments normally come in the form of small tablets or syrup, which are administered orally every 3-4 months. In young puppies, the worming treatment is given more frequently between 2-12 weeks of age.
All dogs need some level of grooming to keep their skin and coats in the best condition. Regular brushing also helps with the effects of moulting in your home environment.
Dogs have varying types of coat, which will dictate the frequency of the grooming and the equipment required. Some shorthaired dogs may just need a soft brush, while wire-haired or longhaired dogs may require a stripping comb. Some breeds such as Poodles are non-moulting and will require regular, professional clipping to prevent matting. A good pet shop or your vet will advise on the best grooming regime for your dog.
Please also read Becoming A Dog Owner and Settling in Your New Dog or Puppy in the tabs above.