A few points, especially with a puppy, should be considered such as size, the amount of exercise the mature dog will require and grooming/trimming and such.
It would be unwise for a person with a small unit and not much garden to consider a large dog unless adequate daily exercise was given.
Hunting dogs, or hounds, need plenty of exercises and as they are usually bred as pack animals can be quite a handful if not trained from an early age. Terriers are generally small but still need plenty of exercise to keep them entertained and out of mischief especially while young.
Toy dogs such as Pekinese, Pomeranians, Chihuahuas, Maltipoos and such are suitable for apartments and small houses and can usually cope with limited exercise. Puppies of all breeds can be over-exercised so frequent short walks and playtimes often suffice up until the age of six months.
All dogs, whatever their breed, should be groomed daily to improve the coat. Some breeds of dogs, such as poodles, do not molt so regular trimming at a pet grooming salon is necessary to keep their coats manageable.
If a particular breed of dog or cat is required then often breeders’ phone numbers can be obtained through specific breed societies. For example, Australian Cattle Dog, Kelpie and Border Collie Club. Alternatively, contact the rescue and adoption centers.
How to feed a dog properly
It is not necessary or desirable in an article of this kind to go into a lot of scientific detail: It is well to always remember that animals, like human beings, have what may be called digestive idiosyncrasies — for instance, one man enjoys a hearty meal of pork and suffers no inconvenience, whereas another man equally enjoys the same meal but may suffer all the agonies of indigestion after it, and it is exactly the same with dogs.
Most dogs readily digest and thrive on a diet of raw meat plus a proportion of starchy food (biscuits or cereal) and a few vegetables, but there are a few who do not thrive on raw meat and indeed cannot digest it at all.
There is little doubt that this is brought largely by the higher domestication of our dogs, and the sooner we get back to a more rugged idea of feeding the puppies, the better it will be for the dogs themselves and for the owner’s peace of mind. It can be truthfully said that practically all the digestive and general stomach disorders, of which we see so much today, are caused by wrong feeding.
Puppies and young dogs
Let us first deal with the dog at the age when most puppies are purchased — eight to twelve weeks. At this stage, they are very like young growing children, and have an appetite out of all proportion to their size, and require food at least three or four times a day. This is only a natural reaction to the demands made by a growing body and to replace the large quantity of muscular and other tissue that is used up in the vigorous play which is the delight of all puppies.
An endeavor should be made to give a balanced ration, that is protein (meat), carbohydrates (starchy food) and fats, but the amount should vary with the season. For instance, in the winter a large proportion of heating foods (carbohydrates and fats) are necessary because, in addition to replacing the used tissues, extra heat is required to keep up the bodily warmth. In summer, of course, the reverse is the case — heating foods should be cut down and as near as possible to a lean meat and vegetable diet should be given.
Puppies up to three months old should have a diet which contains plenty of milk because from milk they get a lot of the calcium and essential vitamins they need to grow teeth and bones, and in order that their system can use this calcium and the vitamins, they must have plenty of sunlight which supplies vitamin D, and failing sunlight, they must be given vitamin D in some other form — such as cod liver or some other fish oil.
This is most important because no matter how much calcium the diet may contain, if vitamin D is not present the calcium is wasted and rickets will result. The first meal of the day should consist of milk with a bowl of cereal or wholemeal bread.
The midday meal can be made up of scraps of meat and vegetables with gravy — not too sloppy. About 4 o’clock a bowl of milk, and for the last meal, chopped raw beef and perhaps a biscuit to chew — or better still, a raw bone with some meat left on it. This is good for the puppy teeth and also promotes the flow of saliva and so aids digestion.
The full-grown dog
When a dog has reached maturity it should only be fed once daily. From about four months old the number of meals is gradually reduced — indeed it will be found that the dog will not want food so often as he gets older, and if an attempt is made to feed him more than once or twice a day he will only pick at the food and then you are on the way to having a dog that is a nuisance to you, and a worry to anyone asked to care for him should you go on holidays and have to leave him. Because there is nothing more worrying than a dog who is picky at his food.
The average dog owner living in the city would be quite disgusted if told to feed their dog, sheep or cattle paunches. But dogs — particularly the larger breeds and sporting dogs, need a certain amount of fiber in order to digest their food properly, and for this purpose, nothing is equal to paunches.
A good idea when there are a lot of puppies is to tie pieces of paunch to sticks driven firmly into the round and allow the pups to tear at these, in that way they set an excellent exercise for the jaws and teeth, and at the same time get plenty of good fiber and quite a lot of nourishment as well.
Many people ridicule the idea of giving a dog fruit, but if you stop to consider the number of essential vitamins in fruit, the idea is not so ridiculous. Apples particularly, not only keep the teeth clean but also stimulate the appetite. Instead of giving the pup a ball to play with, give him an apple.
Finally, see that the dog has plenty of fresh water always available — particularly in the hot weather.
How to comfort a sick dog
When a dog shows serious symptoms of illness, the first thing to be done is to call a veterinarian. However, after he has made his diagnosis and given the prescription for medicine, the recovery of the dog depends very often on nursing.
If the dog is to be kept at home, it is most important that the person looking after it should have some knowledge of what should be done — and what should not.
Unfortunately, a few vets neglect to give careful instructions in nursing, and consequently, the dog suffers a lot of discomforts which mitigates against its recovery. The art of nursing is not natural to everyone, but it can be acquired by the application of a little thought and commonsense.
For Instance, a dog has an attack of vomiting. It should be obvious to anyone that something it has eaten has caused this attack, or it is the symptom of some stomach trouble. In spite of this, a lot of people insist on trying to get it to eat immediately, whereas If they thought for a moment they would realize what their reaction to food would be in the same circumstances.
The most important part of nursing is to maintain the mental and physical comfort of the patient, with the least disturbance in accomplishing it. Animals, like human beings, do not like being disturbed at frequent intervals. If the patient is resting comfortably do not disturb him, and bear in mind that if he were not comfortable he would be fidgety.
From our own experience we know that often when we are quite comfortable and enjoying a rest, some kindly soul comes along and says, “You look so uncomfortable. Do let me put a pillow behind you.” The lives of such people are only saved by the sweetness of our natures.
The nurse should appreciate these things, not only as regards the position of the patient, but also where food is concerned. Again as with the human patient, it is most trying and revolting to have someone offering food or drink when the whole system is crying out against it.
The tragic end of many patients has been hastened — If not actually caused — by this practice, and what is more important, what may have been a slim chance of recovery, lost through it.
Never offer a sick dog food too frequently, or nauseate him by persisting in offering one thing after another. He may refuse in those circumstances, but if offered a change of food after a reasonable interval he may take it.
Many dogs derive a good deal of comfort and benefit from a little gentle stroking and petting. Stroke the patient’s head and talk to him soothingly, try and show him that although you have to administer a vile tasting medicine, you are still his friend.
It is essential that anyone undertaking the nursing of a dog, be able to read a clinical thermometer — the vet may want a report of the temperature at various times of the day and night.
The normal temperature of a dog varies from 100.3 to 101.3, but it may be up to 102 after strenuous exercise. The pulse of a dog is normally 80 to 100 beats per minute, and it is best taken on the artery down inside of the thigh — an irregular pulse is normal in some dogs. The respiration or breathing of a dog is from 10 to 15 per minute when at rest with the mouth closed.
The room or kennel where the dog is being nursed must be kept scrupulously, clean and tidy, there should be plenty of fresh air and no drafts. Arrangements should also be made for sanitary purposes, and some disinfectants to keep the place free from bad odors.
All food and drinking utensils must be kept clean. Plenty of sunlight should be admitted unless it disturbs the patient, and during sound sleep, the blinds should be drawn to exclude the light, because he will feel fresher and appreciate the light when he wakes.
Water should be cool and always fresh – unless instructed otherwise. Food must always be fresh, and at a time, and more frequently than when in health — but always in accordance with instructions from the medical adviser.
In some cases, the veterinarian will advise moving the patient out into the sun for a few minutes each day, but remember that if the sun is hot, he should not be left too long in it, because although a little sunlight is beneficial too much of it only increases weakness and prostration.
Use common sense in everything you do for him, see that everything is kept clean and above all follow strictly any instructions given by the medical adviser.