Make sure your dog is protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease
Things you should do
- Check your dog for signs of injury or illness every day, and make sure someone else does this if you are away.
- If you suspect that your dog is in pain, ill or injured, consult a vet promptly.
- Take your dog for a routine health check with your vet at least once each year.
- Ask your vet for advice about things you can do to protect your dog’s health, such as vaccination, neutering, and treatments to control parasites (e.g. fleas and worms).
- Get your dog neutered, unless he/she is intended for breeding and provisions have been made to care for both parents and offspring. Before allowing dogs to breed, seek the advice of your vet to ensure they are suitable for breeding in terms of their health and personalities.
- Before deciding to buy/acquire a dog, make sure you find out what health and behaviour problems he/she has, or may be prone to, for instance as a result of his/her breed, how he/she has been bred, and how he/she has been cared for. Always check with a vet if you are unsure about anything.
- Avoid harsh, potentially painful training methods. Only use positive reward-based training.
- Keep your dog under control, and do not let him/her stray.
- Take sensible precautions to keep your dog safe. Always be alert to risks that may affect your dog.
- Only use medicines that have been prescribed for your individual dog.
- Ensure your dog’s coat is kept in good condition by grooming him/her regularly. If you are unsure how to groom your dog's coat properly, seek advice from a pet care specialist.
- Make sure your dog can be identified, ideally via a collar and microchip (ask your vet for advice), so that he/she can be treated quickly if injured, or returned to you if lost.
- Consider taking out pet insurance to ensure your dog is covered if he/she needs veterinary treatment.
- Dogs feel pain and have similar pain thresholds to people.
- Individual dogs and different breeds show pain and suffering in different ways.
- Dogs are vulnerable to a range of infectious diseases and other illnesses.
- A change in the way a dog behaves can be an early sign that he/she is ill or in pain.
- Punishing a dog can cause him/her pain and suffering.
- Dogs are inquisitive. A dog may put him/herself in danger if he/she is left to explore unsupervised.
- Dogs who are insecure or stressed may become unwell as a result.
- Some breeds of dog have been selected for exaggerated physical features, which can cause them to suffer and reduce their quality of life.
- Certain breeds are particularly prone to inherited disorders and diseases.
- A dog who can be easily identified (e.g. via a collar or microchip) is more likely to be reunited with his/her owner and to receive prompt veterinary care if injured. By law, a dog in a public place must wear a collar with his/her owner’s name and address either on the collar or on an attached tag.