Being a responsible dog owner is not just about feeding your dog properly and taking them to the vet if they are sick or injured. It’s about providing your dog with everything they need to live a happy and healthy life. Here are the golden rules to providing the best care for your dog.
Dog care basics
- Exercise regularly. Usually twice a day, in all weathers.
- Housetrain your dog using reward based training - read our full housetraining tips.
- Provide extra water when feeding dried food.
- Provide a comfy bed in a quiet, draught-free place out of direct sunlight.
- Groom regularly to keep coats clean and healthy (this is essential for long-haired pets).
- Always supervise interactions with children to ensure children do not tease or overexcite a dog.
- Clean up after your dog and dispose of it in a designated bin – if you don’t, you could end up with a hefty fine.
Get your dog microchipped
Microchipping is a legal requirement for all dogs in England, Scotland and Wales. To help encourage those dog owners who haven’t yet got their dogs chipped, we offer free dog microchipping at our three centres. To book an appointment at your nearest centre, please call 0800 001 4444.
We microchip all Battersea dogs before they go to new homes. It is very important to keep your dog’s chip details up to date with your correct information so that you can be contacted should they go missing.
Get your dog neutered
Neutering your dog not only prevents unwanted litters but can also prevent tumours and other health problems. It also has many behavioural benefits. At Battersea, we neuter all dogs before they go to new homes.
Register with a vet
Don’t wait until your dog becomes ill before registering with a vet. Animals need annual vaccinations, and that time is a good opportunity for a complete health check.
Behaviour and veterinary problems arise for several reasons. If you notice anything of concern, speak to your vet immediately. They can either treat the medical issue or recommend a qualified trainer or behaviourist.
Vaccinate your dog
Caring for your dog’s health also means trying to prevent avoidable health problems developing. Dogs should have yearly vaccinations and regular worming and flea treatments.
Always ensure your dog's vaccinations are up to date before allowing him outside.
All dogs and cats from Battersea go home with a voucher offering a free Vac4Life and veterinary consultation with Vets4Pets or Companion Care Vets. Vac4Life gives your pet their annual booster vaccinations for the duration of their life.
Consider getting pet insurance
Pet insurance is an extremely important consideration for all dog owners. It will help guard against unexpected veterinary fees and allow you to provide the best health care for your dog. There are a number of different policies and providers to choose from, but not all pet insurance is the same. Some policies limit the amount of time or money that you can claim and that's why we recommend that you don’t choose a policy based on price alone. You should also consider Third Party Liability cover in case your dog causes an accident.
All dogs and cats from Battersea go to their new homes with four weeks’ free insurance from Petplan.
Socialise from a young age
Providing your dog with plenty of positive experiences around other dogs and people from an early age will help prevent behavioural problems. Regular walks provide your dog with a change of scene and the chance to meet other dogs. Remember, your dog needs a social life too.
Keep your dog under control
In urban areas keep your dog on a lead at all times as they could easily be startled by a noise and run off and injure themselves. Before letting them off in a safe area for the first time, be confident they will come back when you want them to.
Train from a puppy
Remember that your puppy will grow into an adult animal – don’t encourage behaviours that you would be unhappy with when they are fully grown. At Battersea we see a lot of unruly young dogs aged between six and 18 months who have had no training as young dogs and have become too much for their owners to handle. A training class can help new owners take the right approach to training and can be great fun too!
Get a pet passport if you’re taking your dog away
Pets can be issued with a passport under the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS), which means they won't have to go through quarantine. There are several important steps to the application process, including getting vaccinations, microchipping and obtaining an official PETS certificate from your vet, so make sure you get everything organised well in advance.
Now you know the golden rules to caring for a dog, we can help you find a perfect four-legged friend.