Feeding and diet
As your dog gets older its dietary needs will change. There are dozens of different foods available, so make sure that you use a food that is correct for your dog. If necessary your vet will be able to give you advice about feeding. It is important that you don't over feed your dog, and do not give too many treats or sweet things. Always ensure fresh water is available. It is important to keep your dog's teeth clean and healthy, so provide chews and strong toys.
A smooth-coated dog will require at least weekly grooming; long- or rough-coated dogs will need more. Make sure that your dog sees this as fun and not as a punishment. It is important to have the correct grooming equipment. Make sure you pay attention to the areas that can be neglected, including the tummy, between the hind legs, and behind the ears. At the same time, look in your dog's mouth and ears and check the skin for any lumps or bumps. Consult your vet if you find anything unusual.
All dogs need regular vaccination against the four major diseases: distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis and leptospirosis. These are serious diseases and annual booster vaccinations are required. Other vaccinations are available and may be required in special circumstances, for example before going into kennels or travelling abroad.
Roundworms and tapeworms are the most common types of worms found in dogs. Roundworms can be transmitted to humans, so it is important to give your dog routine treatment every three to six months. Use a good quality treatment, available from your vet, and always use the correct dose. It is as well to treat your dog against tapeworm at the same time.
Even clean dogs can pick up fleas and they can be very difficult to get rid of once your dog has them. Regular treatment is advisable, and there are many preventative treatments available from your vet.