Dogs are loyal companions. They do not judge, just offer unconditional love. They offer companionship at home, entertainment in the garden. They encourage us to go out for walks and allow us to interact more easily with people we meet.
Dogs come in so many shapes and sizes, with different needs, that sometimes it can be hard to believe that they are all the same species. From the tiny chihuahua, through the commonly known Labradors up to giant St Bernard’s they all have specific needs. The important thing is to find the breed that is right for you and your situation and you will both have many years of love and enjoyment. If you are unsure which breed is best for you, come and chat to us and we can help you work it out. One thing to remember is that they all (no matter how large or small) legally must have a microchip with up to date contact information.
These days the thought of what to feed your dog can be overwhelming. There are so many options on the shelves, each claiming to be better than all the others. The key things to look for are; Does your dog like the food? Does it agree with his tummy (does not have wind, diarrhea, straining to pass faeces). Does it contain all the nutrients he requires without having too much added fat or salt (we can advise you which diets are rich in fat and salt). For most dogs these are the only things you need to worry about. Some dogs have certain medical conditions eg dietary intolerances, skin problems, kidney/ liver problems, arthritis or weight issues. With these conditions, special diets can be of great help in controlling the problem, and may even eliminate the need for medication. If your dog has any of these conditions, please speak to us about what diets may be of benefit.
It is important to exercise your dog. This is not only to allow it to burn off all the energy he has, built also to provide mental stimulation. Again certain breeds (border collie or German shepherd) will require a lot more exercise that others (eg greyhound, or chihuahua) so it is crucial to pick a breed that will come with the amount of exercise you have time to do. If you do not give your dog enough exercise, they are likely to become bored and gain weight. Bored dogs often become destructive and overweight dogs will be prone to medical problems (breathing issues, arthritis, diabetes) so it is in your dogs best interest to maintain a healthy weight. If you are unsure about your dogs weight, pop him into the surgery at any time and we can check it for you and give you any advice required.
Dogs, like us, get 2 sets of teeth. Puppy teeth that first cut at 4-6 weeks and start dropping out at about 4 months, and adult teeth that start cutting at 4 months and are usually all through by 10 months. Some dogs have few dental problems, but most will develop plaque and tartar on their teeth, which as it progresses will lead to gum disease and eventually infection, abscesses and the need to teeth to be extracted. Simply brushing your dogs teeth for 20-30 seconds every day could prevent you dog from ever needing dental treatment under anaesthetic. All you need is a soft toothbrush of appropriate size (a kiddies one often works) and some appropriate doggy toothpaste. It is worth introducing them to tooth rushing when they are young before they have cut their adult teeth, so that by the time they have a full set of adult teeth, it has simply become part of their daily routine.
Like the many options for dog food, there are also now many options for parasite control in your dog. The important thing is to work out what the risks are and they needs of your dog.
Puppies will obtain roundworms directly from their mother unless their mother is given a specific wormer daily for the last 3 weeks of pregnancy. To ensure your puppy does not suffer from a buildup of roundworm (which in severe instances can be fatal) it is important to worm them regularly. This is done every 2 weeks for 3 doses and then monthly until they are 6 months old. At this point you will have eliminated all the puppy worms and can move onto an adult worming protocol based on the needs of your dog.
Ticks are common in certain areas and can transmit disease. If your dog is walked in these areas then we recommend protecting them against tick bites. Treatments can be tablets or topical.
Lungworm is a particular worm that invades the lungs and can cause a multitude of disorders (some fatal). It is common in the Surrey area and we do recommend using a product that gives protection (note not all wormers will protect against it).
Fleas are not that common in dogs unless they come across hedgehogs/ rodents etc or share a house with a cat (who is much more likely to meet said rodents!). However, they can be a cause of severe irritation if your dog does pick up some “visitors”. All of our tick or Lungworm treatments will also protect your dog against flea infestations.
The take home message is to feed your dog an appropriate amount of a good quality food that agrees with his tummy. Give him lots of walks in interesting places, protect him from any creepy crawlies etc that he may come across. When he tells you something is wrong give us a call so we can sort it out, and above all enjoy the bond with an amazing companion.