Keeping your best friend happy and healthy

Dogs show you their affection in many ways so it’s important to love them back by keeping them in good shape. Apart from the obvious ways of doing this such as a healthy diet and lots of fresh air and exercise, there other things you may wish to know.

Early actions
Apart from registering your new dog or puppy with a local vet as soon as possible, you need to get it vaccinated as this protects against diseases that can cause pain, distress or could prove fatal. It also prevents diseases from being passed onto other animals.

Vaccines protect against many illnesses such as distemper (‘hard pad’), infectious hepatitis and kennel cough, so it’s worth the effort and expense.

Insuring against problems

Regarding the expense part, it may be a good investment to take out health insurance. You may have budgetd for routine costs such as vaccinations and worming but it’s the unknown expenses that you may not be prepared for. There are plenty of organisations around that offer insurance plans so shop around for the best policy for you. Third-party insurance is included in most policies, and this is essential to avoid large payments in case your dog causes an accident.

Ongoing care
You may want to set up a health care programme for your pet for occasional check ups with your vet but you also need to check regularly for worms or fleas. Fleas can be distressing for your dog and potentially harmful to you but they can easily be treated by ‘over the counter’ remedies. See your vet if you’re unsure or they persist though.
Regular grooming is important too. All dogs need grooming, but long-haired dogs need more coat care than short-haired dogs. A long-haired dog should be combed and brushed once a day while dogs with short hair will usually only need brushing twice a week. Get a brush and comb best suited to the hair type of your dog.

Long term planning
You may consider microchipping, as this increases the chances of your dog being reunited with you should it become lost or even stolen. So, particularly if you have a rare or expensive breed, it could be worth doing for peace of mind. The chip is made of non-reactive material so doesn’t cause any problems sitting beneath the skin throughout your dog’s life.
So, do your best to protect and take care of your dog and you’ll have a long, happy – and healthy – relationship.

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