Dog health requirements

Happy dog with tongue out

Dogs have a number of basic requirements their owners need to meet so they can live a healthy and happy life. For instance:

Feeding your dog

Feed your dog an appropriate balanced diet to keep them in good condition. Either too little or too much food, or the wrong type of food can cause health problems for your dog. The dog body condition score chart can give you an idea of whether your dog is under or overweight.

Fresh water

Supply clean cool water at all times in a container that cannot be tipped over.

Shelter for your dog

Provide a comfortable dry and clean sleeping area with protection from extreme weather, including shade during the day. Read more about confining dogs to the property.


Legislation requires dogs to be confined to your property. This is to protect the community's and your dog's welfare, given roaming dogs may wander into traffic, fight with or injure other animals. Read more about confining your dog.

Healthcare for your dog

Provide routine healthcare, including:

  • regular vaccinations
  • worming (including heartworm)
  • flea and tick control
  • vet treatment for injuries or illness.

Companionship and exercise

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.

Transporting your dog

Ensure you transport your dog safely.

  • Use a harness to keep your dog secure in the car.
  • Under Victorian legislation you cannot transport your dog in the boot of a car, or leave an animal in a car for more than 10 minutes on a day above 28 degrees celsius.
  • You can read more about legal requirements for dogs on moving vehicles.

Hot days

Provide your dog with additional care during times of extreme heat.

Poisons, toxic foods and plants

Make sure your dog cannot access:

Your dog's welfare

Don't allow prohibited procedures such as tail docking or ear cropping to be conducted on your dog.

Plan for emergencies

Include your dog in your emergency planning.

Dog behaviour

Understand dog behaviour and dog body language, particularly in relation to dog attack prevention.

Page last updated: 06 Jul 2020