Dogs have a number of basic requirements if they are to remain healthy and happy.
- Feed your dog an appropriate balanced diet to maintain him/her in good condition. Either too little or too much food, or the wrong type of food can cause health problems for your dog. Don't feed cooked bones to your dog, these can splinter and cause injury. The Dog Body Condition Score Chart can give you an idea of whether your dog is under or overweight.
- Supply clean cool water at all times in a container that cannot be tipped over.
- Provide a comfortable dry sleeping area, including shade during the day. Read more about confining dogs to the property.
- Provide routine healthcare, including regular vaccinations, worming (including heartworm), flea and tick control, along with veterinary treatment for injuries or illness.
- Give your dog plenty of company and time with the family. Dogs are pack animals. They are unhappy if left alone for long periods of time. They need the company of people or other dogs.
- Provide your dog with adequate socialisation and exercise to prevent it from getting bored or developing behavioural problems.
- Ensure your dog is adequately cared for when you are on holidays.
- Ensure you transport your dog safely. Don't transport your dog in an enclosed boot (such as a sedan boot). Use a harness to keep your dog secure in the car. In the event of an accident, a harness will prevent him/her from being thrown about, or from, the car. This will prevent injury to your dog, and to other passengers. Don't leave your dog in a car if there is any possibility of him/her becoming heat stressed. Cars can heat up quickly on even mild days. If the dog is on the back of a ute, truck or trailer ensure he/she is tied on so he/she can't fall off. Carry water with you to provide your dog with a drink. You can read more about legal requirements for dogs on moving vehicles.
- Provide your dog with additional care during times of extreme heat.
- Ensure your dog does not have access to poisons, human foods that are toxic to dogs, or plants that are toxic to dogs.
- Don't allow prohibited procedures such as tail docking or ear cropping to be conducted on your dog.
- Include your dog in your emergency planning.
- Understand a little about dog behaviour and dog body language, particular in relation to dog attack prevention.