Your dog has 5 basic needs that owners are required to provide. They are Environment, Diet, Behaviour, Companionship and Health. You can read more about diet and behaviour elsewhere on the Webbox site.
Environment & exercise
Dogs need an environment where they feel safe and comfortable and this includes having their own bed in a quiet area, free from draughts. It’s also important to ensure that any poisonous or hazardous items are kept safely out of reach (dogs can be very inventive when they get curious!).
Exercise is absolutely vital to keep body and mind healthy. It’s a chance to burn energy, explore the world, get into good toilet habits and socialise with other dogs and humans. Activity levels will vary on age, breed and condition of the dog, but dogs should be allowed on a minimum one-hour walk every day, with regular opportunity for more lengthy outings off the lead in appropriate environments.
Dogs are widely considered one of the best companions for humans – it’s no accident that they’re known as man’s best friend. However, dogs are extremely sociable animals, so it’s important that they have regular opportunities to interact with other dogs, other animals and other humans (though some dogs may require some training before they interact appropriately!).
Dogs shouldn’t regularly be left alone for more than four hours a day as it can make them bored, lonely and stressed, which can lead to behavioural issues. If you do have to leave them for a long period, aim to give them an hour or two of special attention every day.
You should also ensure that your dog is well looked after by a reputable boarding kennel or pet sitter when you go on holiday.
Many pet health issues can be prevented by regular vaccinations and checks at home. Here are a few things to think about and look out for:
• Vets – Every dog needs to be registered with a vet, who are best placed to offer help and advice. Vets bills can mount up, so consider pet insurance for unforeseen illness or accidents.
• Vaccinations – These fight against harmful disease and infection, but provide protection only for a limited time. You need to ensure they are adequately covered throughout their life.
• Fleas & parasites – Ensure you regularly treat your dog for fleas and worms. Your vet can advise on correct treatment.
• Nose – Healthy dogs have a wet nose (they may be a little dry when sleeping). Crusts, cracks or discharge could be signs of illness.
• Mouth – Dental hygiene is important. Teeth should be bright white and gums pink – a red line could indicate a painful inflammation. Oral hygiene can be maintained with special dog toothbrushes and pastes, plus the use of special chews to promote good hygiene.
• Ears – Check them regularly. Ear cleaning may be necessary and you vet can show you how to do this safely and successfully.
• Eyes – They should be bright, well hydrated and free from discharge. Take care and vet advice if they require cleaning.
• Claws – Normal walking should keep them at a safe length, but take special care if you need to trim.
• Hair – Regular bathing and brushing may be required to keep your dog’s coat shiny and healthy. The frequency of bathing will depend on the breed, but always use specially formulated shampoo for dogs and ensure it is completely rinsed out to avoid irritation.
• Grooming – If you have a long haired dog, daily untangling and brushing may be required, taking up to an hour a day. Special grooming regimes will be required, depending on whether your dog has short, long or wiry hair.