Getting the best out of life with your dog

Some helpful pointers about responsible pet ownership

This article is provided by Petsecure as part of their commitment of promoting responsible pet ownership. Responsible pet ownership is about taking care of your pet at all times, and means giving your pet the necessary vet attention if the unexpected happens. With Petsecure pet insurance, you can get the treatment your pet may need if he falls ill or gets injured, without having to worry about the cost. Petsecure is offering a 10% lifetime discount off premiums to our Sniffr Members.

HEALTH AND FITNESS

Exercise – good for you and your dog!

  • Walking – As often as possible, even little walks. But at least one walk a day.
  • Hiking – Make a day of it. There are loads of bush tracks to explore!
  • Swimming – Not all dogs like to swim, but if yours does, give him the opportunity as often as you can.
  • Play – Throwing balls, hide and seek – great for both of you and good exercise too.
  • Tricks – Fun skills mixed with exercise.

Healthy Diet

The amount of food depends on the size and age of your dog, and the amount of exercise. Ask your vet for advice or refer to the recommended allowances.

  • Adult dogs can be fed once a day or twice a day – but most important – set a routine and feed at fixed times.
  • Puppies (less than 6 months old) need 3 meals a day, then dropping down to 2 meals a day.
  • Remove the bowl when he’s finished eating.
  • Don’t feed when he comes looking for food! Discourage begging!
  • Fresh water at all times at home – but also take water out when you go for a long walk.
  • Clean the water bowl each time it’s re-filled.
  • Go easy on the treats – they can be high in fat, carbs and calories.

WHO’S TOP DOG?

You!

Remember there’s ONLY one leader in the pack. Confusion about who’s in charge can cause stress for your dog.

Top-dog tips

  • You are always consistent – commands don’t change and always mean the same thing.
  • Words are meaningless, unless linked to action – instantly!
  • Praise good behaviour – immediately.
  • Ignore bad behaviour, remove dog from the situation.
  • When you come home, wait until your dog is calm before greeting (we know this is hard!).

BE A RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN

Control when you are out and about

  • Keep your dog on the lead when it is required.
  • The lead is a guide rather than a restraint – keep it loose – rely on vocal instructions.
  • Teach your dog to walk to heel.
  • Give your dog space to sniff and roam – keep your hands at your side and anticipate its actions – shorten the leash as needed.
  • Avoid tug of war – remove your dog from situations where this can arise, distract your dog.

Cleaning up

  • Carry biodegradable poop bags with you whenever you take your dog out – available in parks and in pet stores.
  • Once you have cleared up after your dog, let him off the lead – he’ll soon learn that play comes after toilet time.

Excessive barking

Ignore the dog when it barks, then do simple training like “sit” “lie down”. Only reward when he is quiet. If ongoing – seek professional help.

Aggression

  • If your dog is aggressive towards people you need to seek professional help.
  • Watch for body language indicators, and distract the dog with favorite toy and treat.
  • Neutering can help with aggression between male dogs.

EMERGENCY

Plan – be prepared

  • Write down:
    • Vet’s name and address so it’s handy.
    • Nearest 24 hour emergency vet.
    • Make it easily accessible (pin on the fridge).
  • Be calm – you don’t want to transfer your stress to the pet.
  • Get to the vet without delay.
  • Have all the details of the incident ready for the vet.

PET SITTER CHECK LIST

Here’s a pet-sitter checklist so your holiday can be your dog’s holiday too!

  1. Your travel plans with itinerary so your pet sitter can get in touch if necessary neighbour’s or friend of family info – next best thing to contacting you if there’s a question.
  2. What to do in an emergency, vet info (see emergency).
  3. Feeding / walking / sleeping routines and instructions.
  4. Medications and instructions for use.
  5. Where to find your dog accessories in the house (eg: leash, food, brush).
  6. Unfriendly dogs, dangers or people to watch out for.
  7. Rules – is the dog allowed on the couch?
  8. List of food and substances toxic to the dog – make sure they are kept out of dog-reach.
  9. Doggie hobbies, idiosycracies and behaviour – favourite games, toys, walking spots, parks.
  10. Tag with pet sitter’s phone no attached to collar, just incase he goes walkabout!
  11. Your local pet store – just in case they run out of something!