All dogs should live in a suitable environment. A dog’s home affects how the dog feels, thinks and behaves. Providing your dog with shelter and a comfortable resting area is one way you can make sure that your dog stays healthy and happy.
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 Freedoms is: Freedom from Discomfort. In this section you will learn about this freedom and how you can make sure your dog or puppy has the right environment and shelter he/she needs to be free from discomfort.
Dogs need a safe area outside where they can play and exercise every day – how much will depend on the age, breed and health of your dog.
Adults must make sure any poisonous or toxic products in your home or yard are kept safely out of reach from your dog.
If your dog will be spending a lot of time outdoors, they must have a sheltered resting space in a quiet area away from traffic areas and neighbourhood distractions. This space must be protected from drafts and the weather – meaning they have access to cool shade in hot weather and a warm, dry covered sheltered area when it’s cold.
Whether your dog is inside or outside, you must make sure they have access to fresh, clean water all of the time.
Just like people, dogs need places where they are sheltered from wind, rain and hot sun. If a dog’s shelter is also its bed, it must be as comfortable as possible. Bedding should be soft, warm, dry and cleaned regularly.
Puppies should not sleep outside as they get cold easily. Puppies are unable to regulate their own body temperature. They are used to sleeping with their litter-mates and their mother which keeps them warm. Puppies will easily get lonely and upset if left to sleep alone outside.
Dogs should have their own clean, comfy bed where they can rest undisturbed. When a dog is on his or her bed, make sure children leave the dog alone.
Dogs can sleep inside or outside, so long as their resting place is in a clean, warm, dry and cosy shelter with access to fresh, clean water all of the time.
Dog grooming is one of your dog's basic needs and an important part of dog ownership. Just like people, dogs need grooming to look and feel their best.
You probably wouldn’t feel too great if you went months without having a wash, combing your hair or brushing your teeth! Well a dog is the same. Fortunately, however, dogs do not need to bathe as often as people. But you do need to learn how much grooming your dog actually needs and keep it on a schedule.
A dog’s grooming needs depends on their breed and hair type. Long-haired dogs usually require daily brushing to prevent matting and tangling of hair. Medium-haired dogs may be prone to matting and tangles and should be brushed at least weekly. Short-haired dogs can typically go a few weeks in-between brushing. Dogs with continuously growing hair, such as the Poodle or Shih Tzu, typically need their hair cut every 2-4 weeks depending on the breed of the dog and the style of the cut. This task is often best left to professional groomers, though many dog owners are able to learn some basic maintenance haircuts.
If you and your caregivers are interested in learning professional dog grooming skills, encourage an adult in your family to sign up for some dog grooming classes.
Your dog’s veterinarian will know the grooming needs of your dog, so make sure you ask them if you are ever unsure.
Just like your toe nails and your finger nails, some dog’s nails need regular trims – especially if they don’t walk on concrete that often. Concrete can work a bit like a nail file on a dog’s nails and wear them down as they walk along. Most dogs dislike even having their paws handled and know how much it hurts when nails are cut too short, so the best way to avoid this is for adults to learn how to trim nails correctly and do so very carefully. Ideally, a veterinary or dog groomer should teach an adult how to trim your dog's nails properly.
You can also gently play with a puppy’s toes and paws when he/she is young – this helps later in life as the dog will not feel stressed when an adult wants to trim its nails.
Bath time! Some dogs love it and others hate it! Learning how to help adults in your home bathe your dog properly will make the experience as positive as possible for you and your dog. Most dogs should be bathed monthly. Always use a soap-free shampoo that is intended for dogs though. Depending on the condition of your dog’s skin and coat, your veterinarian may recommend a specific shampoo. In this case, be sure to follow your veterinarian’s instructions about bathing.
Freedom from discomfort should be given all the time, this means even when you are travelling in the car! Just like you must always wear your seat belt, dogs too should be kept safe when traveling in the car.
Making sure your dog is safely secured when travelling in the car keeps both you and your dog safe.
Dogs should be safely secured with a dog seatbelt, in a secured carrier or behind a dog guard.
You never know what your dog may see or hear while you are travelling so it’s important they are safely secured in the car, so they can’t injure themselves or you. If they get a fright, are scared or they see something that gets them super excited, they might start jumping around! If an accident happened, the dog could be fatally injured and the force of the dog being thrown forward could seriously injure the driver or any passengers in the car.