If you are not home during the day, your dog should be kept secure in a dog-proof fenced yard and should never be left unsupervised when tethered. In the case of larger properties where this is not possible, then an appropriately fenced dog-run should be constructed, and the dog kennel, along with a plentiful supply of fresh water, should be placed within the run.
Regular socialisation and training, from as early as eight weeks of age, is an important factor in raising a well-behaved and socially acceptable dog. New puppy owners will benefit from enrolling their pups in a Puppy Pre-school class as soon as they bring their four-legged friend home. The RSPCA Pet Dog Manners class may also benefit your 4 legged friend!
Fleas are most common in warm humid areas, and while more prolific in summer, they are found year-round in many parts of Australia. Flea bites cause discomfort and distress through itching, and some dogs and cats can develop hypersensitivity or an allergy. Fleas also host tapeworms, infecting your pet if they eat them. Most dogs and cats need flea treatment – indoor cats may be an exception.
Diarrhoea is similar to vomiting in that it is a clinical sign rather than a disease itself. Diarrhoea can be a sign of a mild digestive upset or of something more serious e.g. food poisoning or ingestion of other toxic materials. Acute and chronic diarrhoea can be life threatening, particularly in puppies or older dogs. If the diarrhoea lasts longer than a couple of hours, contains blood and the dog appears to be in pain and has a fever then veterinary attention is required immediately. Treatment in this case will include identification and appropriate treatment for the underlying condition causing the diarrhoea as well as fluid and electrolyte therapy. Mild cases can be treated at home by removing food for a period of 12 hours and then re-introducing small amounts of bland food (e.g. chicken and rice). Probiotics can also be a useful addition to improve the overall health of the affected dog’s intestines.
It is important to note however that dogs who are never, or seldom allowed indoors, are more likely to become bored - and as a result become disruptive (e.g. bark for attention) and/or destructive (e.g. dig up your newly- planted rose bush). This is because dogs associate their human family as their pack and can develop behavioural issues if they feel neglected as a consequence of being excluded from interacting with their pack.
If your puppy is behaving inappropriately you should attempt to re-direct them to something else and reward them when they begin to engage in more appropriate behaviour. For example, if your puppy is chewing on the furniture, re-direct him to an appropriate alternative such as a chew toy. Alternately, you may find that ignoring the undesirable behaviour and rewarding the correct one can also be a very effective way to train your puppy.
Ideally, dogs should be taken to council-designated areas where they can be safely let off the leash to run free. It is important to use these specifically designated areas not only to ensure their own safety (preventing the risk of being hit by a car) but also the safety of farm livestock and wildlife which can be threatened by a dog let loose in their habitat.
The RSPCA recommends that you do not purchase a dog from markets or places where large numbers of dogs are kept for sale. Dogs sold from these establishments are very rarely examined by a veterinarian, and therefore may not be entirely healthy. Never purchase a puppy that looks unwell and if you are concerned about the welfare of the animal, contact the RSPCA Inspectorate.