General Information on owning a dog
HEARTWORM PREVENTION All dogs need heartworm prevention monthly. Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes and they need the heartworm prevention even if they are indoor dogs. This is VERY important and you can't even miss one dose. Six months of Heartgard heartworm prevention costs about $30 for a small dog and $40 for a large dog. There are other brands as well as generic versions.
FEEDING All dogs should be fed a high quality of food (not the grocery store brands). The better dog foods will cost more money, but they require less to feed. Your dog is also able to use more ingredients in a high quality food. For a great resource on feeding your dog a better quality of dog food and other information, please check out www.whole-dog-journal.com. The following are standards set by WDJ:
Quality foods should contain a MINIMUM of the following: •Food fragments - lower-cost by-products of another food manufacturing process, such as brewer's rice and wheat bran...Manufacturers usually include at least one fragment to help lower costs. Beware any food that includes several fragments. •Meat by-products (not handled as carefully as whole meat) - any food that contains meat by-products as the MAJOR protein source indicates a low-quality product.
High Quality foods SHOULD NOT contain:
•Fats or proteins named generically (ex. animal fat/poultry fat instead of beef fat/ lamb meal) •Artificial preservatives (BHA, BHT, ethoxyquin), •Artificial colors, Sweeteners (corn syrup, sucrose, ammoniated glycyrrhizin) to improve unappealing food, •Propylene glycol - toxic substance in large amounts; added to some "chewy" foods to keep them moist.
Quality foods should contain:
•Superior sources of protein, either whole fresh meats or single source meat meal (ex. chicken meal rather than poultry meal). •A whole-meat source as one of the first two ingredients. •Whole, unprocessed grains, vegetables, and other foods. Nutrients and enzymes are more likely to be found in unprocessed foods. Please e-mail me for the latest list of foods that meet the above criteria.
IDENTIFICATION Your new dog needs an identification tag with your information on it as soon as you get it. This needs to have both your home phone and another number so that someone can be contacted while you are away from home. Your dog is microchipped and the registration paperwork will be sent in after two weeks. The rescue’s contact information will always be associated with the microchip. Today, dogs are being stolen for various reasons (personal, commercial, experimentation, etc.). A tattooed or microchipped dog is identifiable property, and if one is taken across state lines, then it is a federal offense. Microchipping is not a replacement for ID tags.
FLEA CONTROL Managing fleas will make both your life and the dog’s life happier. We recommend giving your dog a bath with a flea shampoo and letting it set for a minimum of ten minutes. Products like Advantage work great to keep the fleas at bay as well. The cheapest place to buy Advantage is Ebay.
GROOMING Dogs shed and the shedding can not be eliminated. You can keep it at a minimum if you brush your dog often. There are also oil supplements that help to give your dog a nicer coat with less shedding. The nails should also be trimmed often with nail clippers or grinded using a Dremel. Be careful not to cut the quick. You can also have a groomer or vet trim the dog’s toenails for you for a small charge.
DENTAL CARE Plaque and tartar buildup on teeth can lead to bad breath, gum disease and an expensive vet bill. To avoid this, there are toys made to help keep teeth clean as well as doggie toothbrushes and toothpaste. Another way to keep teeth clean is to give your dog uncooked bones to chew on. This includes beef rib bones, knuckle bones, soup bones, etc. There are also hollow shank bones that can be bought at the petstore and filled with peanut butter or yogurt and then frozen. When you leave for the day, give one of these to your dog in a crate or area that can easily be cleaned.
HOUSEBREAKING Even though a dog is considered housetrained at one house, this may not be true for a new environment. You need to start with the basics for your new dog. When a dog is first introduced, make sure the yard is one of the first stops. When the dog goes to the bathroom make sure you give lots of praise and even a treat. When inside the house, the dog should be limited to a small area at first, and then this can be gradually broadened. Make sure you keep a close eye on the new dog at all times. A crate is an excellent item in housebreaking a dog as well as keeping it from getting into things while you are away from home. Many dogs can gradually be weaned from the crate. Sometimes it is best for a male to wear a belly band to prevent marking in a new environement.
CRATE TRAINING All RCDR dogs are crate trained and it is quite useful when you have a new dog. Even adults that need to be confined will learn to accept the crate as their own place. It is useful for preventing bad habits, protecting the dog from his environment, and for giving him comfort. Always make the crate a positive experience (i.e., give a treat whenever he is put in), and just don't overuse it. Eight hours in a crate is the absolute maximum at one time. Remember, extensive crate time means more exercise to help burn off stored up energy! A crate should be large enough for the dog to stand up in and turn around. Plastic crates cost $40.00-$100.00 depending on the quality and size needed for the dog.
OBEDIENCE CLASSES These are highly recommended and for some dogs it is required. A trained dog is easier for everyone and makes the pet owning experience all the better. Also, training helps to establish the owner as the alpha dog in the house and a bond between dog and owner. Be sure the class will be taught using motivational methods such as praise, treats, toys, etc. Many dogs do not do well with jerk and pull training. Talk to the instructor before the class to be sure he/she does not have any pre-conceived notions about the breed. Stores like Petsmart have classes year round.
League City, TX - Mary Williams 281-332-2908. She offers group or individual training classes and a better price than the petstores.
Webster, TX - Nikki and Damian Pamplin Alpha Club Canine Obedience 832-881-5291. Experienced with bully breeds.
SOCIALIZATION Socialization is a very important yet often overlooked area of dog ownership. It is important that dogs get out often to interact with other dogs and people. Provide a food reward whenever a dog hesitates in meeting a stranger, and be sure talk confidently and be happy. When meeting another dog, give each one a treat and tell them how nice it is for them to be close. Certainly be prepared to separate should it be necessary, but usually the food will break their concentration.
RIDING IN VEHICLES Dogs should never be loose in the back of a truck. This is too dangerous for the dog and other drivers and it is illegal. They should either be in the back seat or in a tied down crate. Also, remember that dogs and heat don't mix. A dog cannot eliminate excess body heat by sweating as we can; he can only pant. This method is actually very ineffectual, and so dogs are prone to heat exhaustion. Be careful when you have your dog in a car. The windows magnify the power of the sun and even when windows are down, the interior is quite hot.
FIRST AID Always have your veterinarian’s number handy. In the event of an emergency after hours, it is also necessary to know the closest emergency vet clinic’s number. Most vets will have an emergency number for after hours as well. It is also necessary to learn about what in your environment is poisonous and sometimes deadly for dogs. A few are antifreeze, chocolate, onions, mushrooms, poinsettia and apple seeds. If this clinic is not close to you, please make sure you get the information for the closest emergency clinic and post it on your refrigerator.
oAnimal Emergency Clinic 1100 Gulf Freeway #104League City 281-332-1678
EXERCISE Please remember that exercise must be part of the routine for a healthy dog. Some dogs only require a few short exercise sessions a day, but others require high intensity workouts. Having a second dog will provide more exercise in the form of romping and chase. Consider another dog of similar needs and size to keep your dog company. It also helps relieve loneliness.
TOYS Many toys are not made durable enough for the average dog. If you see that your dog is tearing up a toy, please take it away. There are many toys that have proven themselves, like the Kong. Just make sure that toys are not too small that it may become a choking hazard.
GET INVOLVED There are many things that you can do to involve yourself with your dog. There are competition events like agility, flyball, obedience, tracking, and especially for Dalmatians, road trials. Some breeds of dogs may be suited for search and rescue, herding, sledding, or earthdog events. Other things like therapy dogs can be rewarding for you, your dog and the people that you visit. Many dogs enjoy hiking and camping as well!
BOARDINGIf you need to leave town and there are no family members to watch your new dog, please look around for kennels that are clean and provide adequate care and exercise. Some of our foster homes also do boarding.
The following kennel has been very supportive of Recycled Canines Dalmatian Rescue by offering free boarding to dogs in need:
Sea Dog Inn League City, TX www.seadoginn.com 281 554-2068
RESEARCH It is recommended that you read a few books about your breed as well as a few about training and understanding your dog. The more you know, the better your relationship with your new companion will be.
oDogs For Dummies by Gina Spadafori IDG Books Worldwide 2000