Dog Care

Grooming and Washing

Your nose will generally tell you when a dog should be washed—as a rule, about every three weeks or whenever the dog becomes smelly. Choose a warm day and a warm draught-free location. A small dog may be washed in the laundry tub or the bath.

Pour warm water over the animal to wet the hair, being careful not to get water in its ears, then apply an insecticidal shampoo, or a bland soap if the dog suffers from any allergic dermatitis. Wash any gross dirt from the coat and re-lather, leaving the shampoo on for about ten to fifteen minutes to allow the insecticide to work.

Rinse the dog, using warm water, and then apply an insecticidal rinse to the coat. Insecticidal rinses, used to protect the dog against fleas and mites, are also partially effective against ticks. Remember that insecticidal rinses are poisons; the manufacturers’ instructions must be followed carefully.

Towel the dog down and leave it in the sun to dry. Dogs naturally roll to dry themselves, so tie up your dog on a surface where it will not get dirty. Dogs that have a lot of hair around the ear canal should have their ears plucked with a small pair of tweezers. Cleaning the ear lobes is done with a piece of cotton wool soaked in diluted methylated spirits to dissolve any wax. Cotton buds can safely be used to clean the ear canal, as the ear canal in the dog has a right-angled bend before it reaches the ear drum, making penetration of the drum almost impossible.

Adult dogs change their coats once a year, usually in spring. The process takes about six weeks. To groom, use a fine-toothed metal comb or pluck the hair out with fingers and thumb when it is loose enough to do so without hurting the animal. Occasionally the dog will scratch as if troubled by skin cisease or insects, but this is just nature’s way of hastening removal of the old coat. Dogs also shed their coats during serious illness or after whelping. The first (or puppy) coat is soft and woolly and is different from the second and subsequent coats. It is usually much darker. Pups generally change their coats for the first time at nine or ten months, but if born in winter they will change their coats in spring.

For those owners wishing to enter their dogs in dog shows, good grooming is imperative. Grooming tools include: Brushes Always use a bristle brush, soft, medium or stiff on short-haired dogs, and a pin brush .on long-haired breeds to remove the loose undercoat. Combs A regular size, coarse steel comb should be used on long-haired breeds and a fine comb on smooth-coated dogs.

Nail clippers. Nails need cutting if they touch the ground when the dog is standing upright, as the pressure can cause a painful condition in the joints of the toes. Outdoor dogs, particularly those running on concrete or other hard surfaces, rarely need their nails cut. Indoor dogs, or those kept on soft around, should have their nails checked regularly and cut when necessary. Long nails, particularly dew claws which do not touch the ground, can grow too long, and curl and embed themselves painfully in the footpads. Ordinary scissors should not be used. Use proper nail clippers of the guillotine type. The flat surface of the guillotine blade should be parallel with the bottom of the pad. If the pink quick is visible, cut the nails to within 3 millimeters of the end of the pink.

Scissors. A sharp pair of scissors will be suitable for grooming most breeds, but in the case of poodles, or other breeds which need a curved effect on their coats, used curved scissors.

Fine stripping knife. This is a tool that should be used instead of a brush on the sensitive areas of the body such as the ears and head.

Tweezers. Use tweezers regularly to pluck hair from inside the ears to stop dirt and debris collecting and thus protect the dog from ear infections by allowing proper air circulation to dry out the ear canal.

Velvet pad or soft handkerchief. Essential for rubbing the coat of white short-haired breeds to give a gloss. A velvet pad rubbed over the coat of other short-haired breeds such as Boxer or Dachshund gives a good sheen. Tooth scraper Teeth should be kept fairly white by using a tooth scraper to remove excess tartar. If the teeth are bad, take the dog to your vet. No-tangle shampoo Knotted hair can largely be prevented by using a no-tangle shampoo. If knots occur, you may have to cut them out. Use blunt scissors. You may have to go right to skin level and leave the dog with various bare patches, but this is better than subjecting the dog to a very painful experience if you comb the knots out.


Before dogs were domesticated they used to catch their prey and eat the hole of it. It supplied them with a balanced, nutritious diet of bones, muscles and internal organs such as the heart, kidneys, liver and lungs. It also provided various vitamins and minerals from the vegetative matter in the gut of the animal eaten. Dogs had to be fit and slim enough to chase and catch their prey. After eating a large meal they would lie down and sleep it off. If they became obese they would not be fit enough to chase and kill more prey.

Dogs are very adaptable in terms of diet and because of this they have thrived in a wide variety of environments and on a wide range of diets. As result, they are probably less subject to serious dietary disease than most other animals. In the past decade, dogs have benefited from our increasing knowledge of their nutritional requirements and the application of that knowledge to prepared, commercial dog foods. Dog feeding is now much less haphazard than it was in the past, when the dog was dependent on its owner’s variable and often rudimentary understanding of nutrition.


Excess food intake with resultant obesity is becoming an ever-increasing problem for dogs in urban areas. The dog is often hand-fed two or three mes a day, at the owner’s meal-times. Dogs only need to be fed once a day.

Urban restrictions on the animal’s territorial horizons mean the dog leads rather sedentary life, not using up a great deal of energy and therefore going to fat. Obese animals have an increased susceptibility to various diseases including osteoarthritis, sugar diabetes, skin disease and impairment f body-heat regulation, pulmonary, cardiovascular, hepatic and reproductive functions. Recent scientific evidence indicates that chronic under feeding of a complete diet is the only means known for increasing the length f life of laboratory animals beyond the limits characteristic with the species. On the other extreme, chronic overfeeding or other dietary excesses or imbalances curtail the animals’ life span.

Inadequate Feeding

Inadequate food intake is not uncommon, particularly among breeders trying to get their animals into show condition. The animals are thin but healthy, yet won’t put on weight. This can be a complex and difficult problem, although more often it can be rectified easily.

If the animal is otherwise healthy there are two possibilities: lack of opportunity and lack of motivation. Lack of opportunity may simply be that another dog is taking the larger share, or that the dog is unable to eat enough f the food with which it is fed to attain a satisfactory body weight. Where his occurs and the food is too bulky for the animal to accommodate its energy requirements at one meal, it may be necessary to feed the dog three or four times per day instead of once a day. This situation is particularly relevant to a bitch losing weight with a large litter of puppies.

Boredom may be another cause of reduced food intake. While dogs and cats can subsist more or less indefinitely on one type of food (providing it is nutritionally complete), most animals will show some boredom with the same diet after a period of about a week. If increased palatability and food intake is desired, it is advisable to vary the type of food that is fed to the animal. This should be done slowly, avoiding abrupt and major changes to the diet. Food that is fed cold is also of low palatability.


Bones are important for several reasons. The first is that they prevent boredom. Chewing on bones also exercises the dog’s jaws and keeps the teeth clean and free of dental caries and tartar build-up. They are a rich source of nutrients—particularly calcium and phosphorus—and contain proteins and minerals essential for the dog’s development and general maintenance.

However, bones can cause two problems. They can form obstructions or pierce the food pipe. And if fed in large quantities, they can cause constipation. Their high concentration of calcium carbonate can create rock-like masses when water is resorbed in the large intestine.

Bones should form only about 10 per cent of the dog’s diet. Fish, chicken • and chop bones should never be given to your pet, as they can splinter or fracture easily and lodge in the food pipe. The best bones are shin of beef or soft crumbly bones such as knuckles or boiled breast of mutton. Whichever bone is given, ensure that your dog is nibbling small crumbs from the end of the bone, not shattering it into large fragments.


Milk is an essential part of the pup’s diet but can still be fed to older , dogs without harm. It is a rich source of protein, fat and minerals, as well as having a pleasant taste.

Milk can either be given as the raw product, slightly warmed, or reconstituted from either tinned or dehydrated milk. If the dog or pup is not accustomed to straight cow’s milk, it is advisable to commence by using watered-down milk (50 per cent water, 50 per cent milk).

The concentration of milk should gradually be increased over a period of five to six days. Some puppies are allergic to cow’s milk and this will induce diarrhea. It is a fallacy that milk transmits worms.

General Exercise

Young puppies up to six months of age should be allowed to exercise themselves. This is particularly important in the larger breeds, which are those that reach 15 kilograms by the age of three months. Forced exercise during the early growing phase can do damage to the hip joints and promote hip dysplasia. It is just as important, however, not to confine dogs for long periods. The dog in its natural environment is a roaming animal and requires plenty of territory.

The amount of exercise is also dependent on the breed. Sporting an _ hunting dogs require much more exercise and territory than smaller breeds or lap dogs. These factors should be taken into consideration before purchasing the dog. A large number of domestic dogs get very little organize.

exercise and not only keep happy and healthy but even reach a ripe old age. Hard exercise, such as following a jogger or a bicycle, is not good for a dog and may be injurious to its health. A dog is a very loyal companion any will do its utmost to keep in contact with its master in these situations. But in doing so it may become liable to injury. If you can, take the dog for a walk each day; the dog will exercise itself running three or four times the distance that you walk, and by doing this will exercise within its own limits

Tans and Dew Claws

These can be removed to breed requirements by the vet when the pup is four to five days old, before it becomes old enough to suffer too greatly from the procedure. The dewclaw is equivalent to the thumb in humans and in the adult dog is approximately 2 1/2 centimeters above the ground on the inside of the front legs. Some dogs may have them on the hind legs as well.

Caring for the Sick Dog

Signs of disease present in two ways: a general disease condition where the dog is off-color and won’t eat; and the local problem, for example, a tooth decay, local abscess or fracture of a limb. With local problems it is usually very obvious what is wrong and how extensive it is.

In the general disease situation, the dog is usually lethargic, in many cases because of a fever although it might be because of a subnormal temperature. Lethargy is usually accompanied by decreased appetite, and subsequent loss of weight. Loss of weight can also occur while a dog is taking its normal diet, in cases of diarrhea, kidney disease, sugar diabetes or bleeding into the intestinal tract.

Variation in the thirst of the animal can indicate a problem. Increased thirst can accompany a fever, or may be present in a dog with a normal temperature which is suffering from sugar diabetes or a kidney complaint. A lack of thirst can produce dehydration, particularly in small animals. Sometimes an increased respiratory rate is a sign of disease. Frequently, the coat looks harsh and dry and the third eyelids may slip across, making the dog look as though it has a skin growing over the eyes.

A thermometer is indispensable when treating a sick dog; thick-bulb-end; thermometers are the best type. Normal temperature for a dog is 38.5°C, considerably higher than that of a human. The rectum is the best place to’ take the temperature because the dog can’t bite the thermometer. Shake the thermometer down to below 38°C, lift up the dog’s tail, slide the thermometer in about 4 or 5 centimeters and leave it against the wall of the’ rectum for about one minute. A slight temperature is 39°C, a high temperature is 40°C. With a high temperature, the dog will usually be off its food The rectum is the best place to and showing signs of lethargy. It should be taken to a vet.

Nursing a Sick Dog

When a dog is not well, the following points are important. The dog requires a dry, draught-free place to rest, one that has a fairly constant temperature The kennel or living area must be kept clean at all times and all things use: for the dog’s treatment must be kept clean. It must be left undisturbed except for feeding, treatment and cleaning. Children should be allowed visit their dog only at prescribed intervals; they must be quiet and able to handle the dog.

Treatment must be carried out thoroughly, regularly and at the correct time. Fresh, clean water must always be available. Select food you know the dog likes, preferably barbecued chicken meat and red meats. Dressings. given slowly bandages and so on should only be reused if boiled. Dressings that have been soiled by a wound or discharge must never be reused. Bed sores are caused by the dog lying on hard surfaces; the skin over bon.: prominences begins to die which allows surface bacteria to invade and caul sores. Bed sores can be prevented by lying the dog on a mattress of foam rubber. Bed sores should be treated with astringent agents such a mercurochrome, triple dye, or acriflavin.

It is most important that the dog, no matter how sick, gets fluids on a daily basis. The fluid requirement of the dog is approximately 20 milliliters per kilogram body-weight daily. If the dog is not taking this orally, veterinary advice should be sought so that it can be given the fluids intravenously Failure to take in this amount of fluid per day will result in kidney shutdown and permanent kidney damage.


A puppy is born without teeth, but by five to eight weeks it will have twentyeight puppy or ‘milk’ teeth, which seldom give trouble while being cut. At about four months—sometimes a little sooner—puppies other than toy dogs begin to change their teeth. The forty-two or forty-four permanent teeth are usually through by five months.

Toy dogs change their teeth a little later. It is generally the toy breeds that have trouble at this time; sometimes they appear unable to cast their milk teeth, which should be extracted when the permanent teeth come through. Overcrowding can be a problem, particularly in dogs with short muzzles. Discoloration of teeth can be caused by the administration of certain antibiotics to the puppy or the mother before the teeth erupt.

Teeth troubles have become more common since the introduction of soft commercial foods, which allow accumulation of food debris (plaque) between the teeth and between the tooth and gum margin. Plaque in turn allows tartar to build up, causing discoloration and decay of the tooth. Sometimes gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and bad breath follow. Dry biscuits, fed at least once a day as part of the ration, will help keep the dog’s teeth in good order. A large shank bone with some tissue and tendon sheaths attached will help, as the time spent tearing and gnawing the bone will exercise and clean the teeth.

Check your dog’s teeth annually by pulling back the lips to expose the teeth at the rear of the mouth. Any accumulation of tartar (a yellow substance) should be removed. If this is impossible, or if the dog is uncooperative, visit the vet.

The only teeth that regularly cause a problem are the carnassial teeth, situated on either side of the upper jaw, towards the rear. They are massive teeth with triple roots which are subject to decay in aging dogs. The first sign of trouble is usually a swelling in the cheek, beneath the eye. The dog will show signs of discomfort and may go off its food; sometimes the eye will be inflamed. If the offending tooth is not removed, a sinus may break out over the swelling, discharging a foul-smelling pus.

Housing dogs can be accommodated in a number of ways. In temperate climates, a kennel is not essential, provided the dog has access to the house, a garage, underneath the house, or some other suitable shelter which protects it from direct sunlight, wind and rain. In cooler climates, a kennel is essential. The kennel should just exceed the size of the dog so that body heat can warm Obesity is becoming an ever increasing health problem.

The surrounding air. The kennel should be located in the shade and should well-ventilated, warm in winter and cool in summer. It should be weather-proof, draught-free and elevated from the ground, with a wooden po o)0r.r. Bedding should be disposable, for example, sawdust, shavings or newspapers, as this helps eliminate a breeding site for fleas and mites. Rinse the kennel once a month with an insecticidal preparation, put in new, bedding and burn the old. All feeding utensils should be washed daily, and :lean water provided daily in a shady spot.

Long hair

In most cases long-haired dogs were bred in cooler climates, but during the past hundred years or so they have been transported to all parts of the world. including some very hot climates. In these areas fleas and ticks are much more prevalent and they can be a severe problem for long-haired dogs. In countries where ticks are a problem (especially the paralysis tick, which can kill a dog in a matter of days) the long hair makes it particularly difficult to search the dog. in some cases the dog may have to be clipped all over, which can be quite expensive and ruins the appearance.

Unhealthy skin conditions are also much more prevalent in long-haired dogs. Fleas, which cause an allergic reaction, are better protected under the long hair. Grass seeds, burrs, sticks and other irritating objects are more easily held within long hair to irritate the skin. Skin problems in long-haired dogs are usually at a serious stage before the owner spots them.

In general, long-haired dogs require much more grooming, care and maintenance than short-haired dogs. Matted hair around the anal area frequently prevents the dog from passing feces, and this calls for the hair to be clipped. Long-haired dogs usually have an abundance of hair in the ear canal and this, together with long, floppy ears, will predispose the animal to poor circulation in the ear canal. A moist environment ensues, allowing bugs to breed and causing ‘canker’ or infection of the ear.

Dog First Aid

Whenever dogs have bandages, plaster casts or any other restrictive material placed on the limbs, it is important to ensure that circulation is r ing the toes. This can be tested by feeling the toes to make sure the:. warm rather than cold. Sensation can be determined by pinching the to make the dog withdraw the foot.


Wherever possible, try to handle the dog by peaceful means. Where fails, the following methods may have to be employed. When treating savage or difficult dog, place medication inside something the dog such as sweets, meat or chicken cubes. If this fails, starve the dog for one or two days or as long as is necessary to get the tablets down. the tablets in very small quantities of food and keep the dog’s appetite

To restrain the dog from biting, place a commercial leather muzzle around its nose. If you do not have a leather muzzle, use the lead attached to far collar. Pull the lead tight from the collar, wrap it two or three times around the front of the dog’s snout and hold the loose end together with the collar in one hand with your other hand keeping the rest of the lead intact around the closed muzzle. The dog can then be held so that a second person can do whatever is necessary.

Alternatively, use a cord or tape bandage. Make a loop as if doing the part of a bow, put the loop around the dog’s muzzle and pull tight so the twist is on top. Take the cord or tape below the muzzle and tie, then F – tight again. Take the two ends up and tie tightly behind the dog’s ears. To catch a savage dog, make a dog catcher with a piece of hollow pipe 2 meters long, with a noose through the pipe.

A dog can be restrained from licking at wounds and bandages by placing an Elizabethan collar around its neck. Another device is a plastic bucket with a hole in the bucket just big enough to fit over the head. Make six to eight small holes around the cut to allow tapes or shoelaces to be threader through and around the collar to keep the bucket firmly attached. Pull the lead tight and wrap it around the muzzle.

Artificial Respiration

When a drowned dog stops breathing, hold it up by the hind legs with th: head hanging down, to allow the water to escape from the lungs. Speed essential. As soon as the water has ceased to run out of its mouth, lie th: dog on its side with the tongue out as far as possible and commence artificial respiration.

complete Pet Care Dogs — Sick dogs — First aid This means placing the palms of both hands over tire chest surface, and rhythmically and slowly pressing and releasing so that the air is driven in and out of the lungs. This cycle should be repeated about thirty times a minute for small dogs and about twenty times a minute for large dogs. If this is going to be effective, the heart beat will resume within a few seconds. It does not always work, but is well worth a try.


Major bleeding from an artery is seen as a squirting, pulsating blood stream which should be cut off by tourniquet application between the wound and the heart. Tourniquets should be gently released for a few seconds every three to four minutes if they are kept in place for any length of time. Small areas of bleeding can usually be stopped by pressure-bandaging the area.

Motor vehicle accident

Be very careful handling any dog, even your own. after a car accident. If the dog is badly injured, move it on to a blanket by approaching it from the rear, taking the scruff of the neck between the ears in one hand and the loose skin over the back in the other, and pull it on to the blanket. Take the dog to a vet.


In this condition the dog is usually in a state of collapse, and the mucous membranes (in the mouth) are very pale. Place the dog in a head down position (the head at an angle of 30 degrees). Keep the animal warm and administer warm fluids if it will drink. Take the dog to a vet immediately.


Domestic animals that are unused to traveling should be tranquilized or sedated for journeys, as they can get very upset. To prevent travel sickness, do not feed the animal within four hours of traveling and allow the dog adequate ventilation away from exhaust fumes. Keep your dog on the floor of the car so it cannot see moving objects outside. Travel sickness in dogs is usually demonstrated by salivation and vomiting. Specific anti-sickness tablets are available for dogs.


Dogs to be boarded should be fully vaccinated and wormed fourteen days beforehand. Once a satisfactory establishment has been found, continue to patronize it because it and the staff will become familiar to the dog. The dog should be re-wormed four weeks after returning home.

Visits to the Vet

Visits to the vet Dogs can’t talk, so the vet depends heavily on the owner’s observations. If it is a non-urgent problem, watch the dog for twenty-four hours and make a list of any abnormal signs. Check its eating habits and toilet activities (take samples of urine and feces). Is the dog vomiting or doing anything else unusual? Do not attend to minor discharging wounds or skin lesions for at least twenty-four hours before the visit, so that the type and color of the discharge is obvious.

If possible, make an appointment, as this will reduce the length, of time your pet is confined in a waiting room with other animals and will thus reduce the risk of fights. Take the dog for a walk outside first and let it sniff the local smells to stimulate it to go to the toilet—this lessens the likelihood that the smells of other dogs in the waiting room will cause an ‘accident’.

Make sure that the dog’s collar is a firm fit and cannot slip over its head if the dog pulls back, and use a strong secure lead. Don’t let a child hold it—you are taking the dog into a strange place with strange smells, some of which may be offensive to it; there will be other animals present, and the vet’s surgery is no doubt alongside a busy road.