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LOOKING AFTER YOUR DOG.

When you get a new dog (or any other pet), they become part of the family, you are taking on the responsibility of looking after it for the rest of it’s life, if you’re not willing to do that, then a dog is not for you. A puppy is fun, but it’s also hard work, the way a puppy is raised will usually determine the type of adult dog it will become, when raised properly most puppies will become a loyal, loving companion or family dog.

TALK TO A VET.

When you’re thinking of getting a dog especially if your first one, it’s always better to talk to a vet, to make sure you understand the requirements of what you are taking on. A puppy brings it’s own unique challenges, as well as the everyday feeding and exercise, it will need to learn discipline and house training. When getting an older dog it’s different, these things should already be in place, but you’re not just getting a dog you’re getting it’s history as well, if it as been mistreated in the past, it could need extra care and attention. Dogs come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, from a small Chihuahua which could weigh as little as 1kg to a St Bernard which weigh over 100kg, each one will have different needs and requirements, it’s important to know in advance what you are taking on.

DIET.

Your dog should have access to fresh water at all times, drinking water should be changed two or three times a day. What your dog eats depends on the breed of dog, again it’s best to get advice from your vet. There are certain foods that humans eat which are poisonous to dogs, chocolate, grapes, raisins, and onions being some of the common ones. Dogs such as Springer Spaniels and Labradors which are working dogs, have naturally high levels of energy, especially during their early years, so giving them food which provides added energy is not a good idea, it will have them bouncing off the walls, it’s basically like giving a young child a bar of chocolate, then putting them to bed and expecting them to go to sleep, it is not going to happen. Other more laid back, placid breeds will rely on their food for extra energy, it’s a balancing act and if you are unsure don’t be afraid to ask your vet.

EXERCISE.

Most dogs require a minimum of thirty minutes exercise every day, high energy dog breeds will need more. A walk around a local park or field can be boosted by a few minutes chasing toys around the house. As long as the dog is moving around, if it keeps stopping every few feet and sniffing around you may need to stay out longer, sitting in the garden is not exercise. It is good to have a good thirty to forty minute walk planned out which you can do regularly, but occasionally a change is also a good thing, even if it is just doing the walk the opposite way round.

If your dog is not getting enough exercise he may start to put on weight. Your dog can’t physically tell you that it needs more exercise, other signs to look out for are excessive barking, digging up the garden and destructive behaviour around the home.

INSURANCE.

Veterinary fees can soon mount up with today’s extortionate prices, a major problem could run up a bill into the thousands, that is why it is a good idea to get your pet insured. If you can afford it a lifetime policy is the best way forward, you can put your mind at rest knowing if anything goes wrong with your pet you are covered. It is always best to read through your policy, especially the small print just to make sure you’ve got the cover you need, you can always ask your vets advice on which is the best policy to go for.

You have to be very careful especially if you get a policy that renews every twelve months, obviously not everyone can afford the lifetime policy but with the annual renewal policy you will probably end up paying more in the long run, the cheapest policy is usually not the best policy. The chances are that every twelve months the price will increase as the dog gets older, if you’ve made a claim this will also have an impact on the price. Any claims made will go on the dogs veterinary records, so if at the end of the policy you decide to change to another insurer, any claims you have made will be classed as an ongoing problem and will not be covered on the new policy. Some times even if you stay with the same insurer they will do the same, for example, if your dog had stomach problems and you made a claim then when you renew the policy the dog won’t be covered for stomach problems.

Always read the small print, a lot of pet insurance companies are in it to make money and they couldn’t really care less about your pet, that is why getting a recommendation from your vet is a good idea, a lot of vet surgeries provide their own insurance or have a specific company they will use.

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michael simpson

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