The Irish Blue Cross, 
15A Goldenbridge Ind Est,
Tyrconnell Road,
Dublin 8.
Tel: 01 416 3030
Fax: 01 416 3035

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Top Ten Questions asked about Dogs

1. Should my dog be vaccinated?
All dogs should be vaccinated against serious diseases such as Distemper, Parvovirus, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis and Parainfluenza. Your puppy or dog can get these viruses from other dogs or simply by going for their regular exercise and walks. The best time to vaccinate your dog is when it is a puppy at twelve weeks old and then again after two weeks time. It is important that your puppy recieves both rounds of injections to prevent against disease.
2. Will my dog be safe against these viruses after the vaccination?
But your dog must receive a booster vaccination shot once a year to give it the immunity it needs and protect it against these diseases.
3. Can I give my dog a bone?
It is not necessary to give your dog a bone when there are plenty of alternative treats to consider, such as raw hide chewing toys etc. Your dog may have eaten bones before and have had no problems. Not all bones cause problems, but there are bones, which may split and break into small pieces after which they can become lodged within your dog's intestine or throat. This can then become a serious problem for your dog.
4. Is it beneficial to have my dog neutered?
Dogs left to breed unnecessarily add greatly to the number of unwanted animals on our streets. Many of these animals die, as there are not enough homes for them. Therefore controlling unwanted breeding is essential to the care of our animals. But there are other advantages to neutering your dog. Dogs that are neutered are less likely to develop several types of cancer; also it reduces the desire to roam in search of a mate. Neutering can also reduce aggressive behaviour in your dog, which makes for a happier pet.
5. Should my female dog have a litter before she is neutered?
It is not necessary for a female to have her first season or litter before spaying. Therefore we recommend you have your dog neutered at the age of six months. As it is not easy to find good homes for an entire litter and many of them may end up as strays.
6. Can I give my dog home cooked food?
You can feed your dog human food, but this type of diet not always provides the nutritional values your dog needs. It is best to use tinned dog food or dried mixer/complete food, which is specially designed for their needs. Dried complete food comes in large bags which are generally cheaper to purchase and last longer but not all dogs like it, so maybe adding some leftovers to this will make the meal more interesting.
7. Will my dog need exercise?
All dogs need exercise. You must consider the breed and size of your dog. Generally all dogs should be walked twice a day for about twenty minutes even if you have a big garden because dogs won't exercise themselves. If your dog is lively and energetic it would be great to bring it to an open space where it can burn up some of that excess energy in playing.
8. Can I train my dog?
All dogs are pack animals and in order for their society to work, one or two individuals must dominate the pack. If there is no order, then anarchy rules, resulting in aggression and disobedience. In a domestic setting with a pet dog, the owner must become the leader of the pack. Games, obedience and diet are important factors in training your dog. It is better to play gentle games such as fetch etc. and not rough games like Tug-O-War. Obedience training such as, 'sit', 'stay', 'come' etc. can be easier when using an extending lead. But some dogs may require a learned instructor and professional training. The diet should be strict, do not indulge your dog or allow begging to be rewarded. Always reward good behaviour with proper pet treats.
9. Can my dog get worms?
All dogs get worms and there are different types of worms too. These worms live in the dog's stomach and intestine. These worms can make your dog very sick if not treated, but puppies are especially prone to worms, therefore, puppies must be wormed once every two weeks until twelve weeks old. Then they need worming once a month until they are six months old. Adult dogs must be wormed at least every three months consistently.
10. Should my dog receive regular health checks from a vet?
Your dog should be examined by a vet at least once a year when receiving its booster vaccination. But you, as a responsible pet owner should be checking your dog's health and condition on a constant and regular basis, i.e. when grooming and cleaning and when playing. Check their nails for signs of overgrowth, especially their dew claws, which are located on the inside of the foot. If your dog does not receive regular exercise the nails will not wear down naturally. Check their teeth for signs of gum disease and dental problems. Brushing their teeth and feeding them dried food will keep their teeth clean. Check their coat for signs of skin problems or fleas. Fleas can be picked up from other animals or even from carpets, furniture and bedding which were not properly disinfected after flea infestation. Ask your vet what the best product is for treating fleas.



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