Did you know that there is a special law protecting animals?
This law is called the Animal Welfare Act. The Animal Welfare Act says that your animal has five groups of welfare needs. These are five groups of things that animals need to be healthy and happy. These five welfare needs are called the Five Freedoms.
Under the Animal Welfare Act all animal guardians (owners) need to provide these five groups of things for their animals. One of these Five Freedoms is: Freedom from Pain, Injury or Disease. In this section you will learn about this freedom and how you can make sure your dog or puppy has the right medical care and treatment to be free from pain, suffering and disease.
Just like you have a family doctor that you see when you are unwell, your dog needs their own doctor too - a veterinarian is an animal doctor.
It’s a good idea for your family to find out which veterinarian they plan on using before you get your dog or puppy. Ask your friends who are dog owners which veterinarians they recommend. If possible, visit the clinic beforehand and look around. Ask yourself: is the waiting area clean?, are the staff helpful? Find out the opening hours and if they handle emergencies after hours as well.
Once you get a new dog or puppy, your family should register him or her with your chosen local veterinary clinic straight away. Make an appointment as soon as you can for a check-up. Your vet can then create a care programme for your dog or puppy. It is helpful to write a list of the questions you want to ask so everything can be covered.
One of the easiest ways to ensure your dog has freedom from pain, injury and disease is to make sure your dog gets vaccinated to ensure that they are protected against diseases.
Vaccinations protect animals against diseases that can cause pain and distress, and that are often deadly.
Getting your dog vaccinated against preventable diseases is a vital part of responsible pet care. By vaccinating your dog, your family can have peace of mind knowing your dog is well protected.
A vaccination works by introducing small amounts of the bugs which cause the diseases to your dog’s immune system. This causes your dog’s immune system to create antibodies. This means that if your dog meets any of the diseases for real, his immune system will know how to deal with them, therefore protecting him.
Your dog should receive a ‘primary’ vaccination course early in life, followed by ‘booster’ vaccinations throughout its life.
Your veterinarian will tell your family the vaccinations that are needed for your dog and will remind you when your dog’s yearly booster injection is needed – another reason why your dog must be registered with a veterinarian.
This is important to help protect your puppy from diseases before they start meeting other animals.
Puppies should be with their mother until 8 weeks of age and then go to their new home. You should then contact your vet to find out when they can be vaccinated.
All puppies will need their first vaccination – and then one or two more over the next month or so, depending on your vet’s advice.
People often think a trip to the vet as something only needed when your dog becomes unwell, however it is also important to remember that annual health checks are important for your dog’s wellbeing. These annual checks are a great way to detect any small problems before they become more serious.
During this 15 - 20 minute appointment, your veterinarian will carefully examine your dog’s entire body – from the tips of his ears, the pads on his paws, to the top of his tail! Your veterinarian will also discuss any concerns you have regarding your pet’s health, diet and behaviour.
There are already more dogs than there are good homes for them, so please don't let your dog have puppies!
Dogs should be spayed (females) or neutered (males) when they are around four (4) – six (6) months old.
If your dog ever shows any signs of injury or ill health, an adult must take them to their vet immediately. If it is late at night or on the weekend and your vet is closed – there are awesome after hour clinics available for emergencies.
If you find an animal that doesn’t belong to you, you need to call your local council immediately. If you find a animal that shows signs of sickness or injury, get an adult to contact your local RSPCA immediately.
Remember to always find an adult before you approach any dog that appears sick or injured – even your own dog. Dogs may respond differently because they are in pain.
Looking after our dogs’ teeth is just as important as looking after our own!
Puppies will start to lose their baby teeth around three months of age. You may find they want to bite things more so be sure to provide plenty of suitable toys for them to chew. They normally have a full set of adult teeth around six months of age.
An adult can brush your dog’s teeth using pet toothpaste to keep their teeth clean and healthy.
There are also specially designed chews and toys available to help clean your dog’s teeth.
At RSPCA we recommend your family take out pet insurance to save thousands of dollars should something happen to your dog.
While most dog owners will have worked out vet costs, such as vaccinations and worming, it is the out-of-the-ordinary expenses that can catch you out. For example, you could spend thousands of dollars on treatment for a road accident, so taking out pet insurance helps you budget for the unexpected.