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Five useful things that new dog and puppy owners need to know about dog care
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Five useful things that new dog and puppy owners need to know about dog care

Are you a first-time dog owner? If so, you’ll have found yourself on a steep learning curve. Read on to discover five things that first-time puppy buyers often don’t know - but should - about dog care.

Sooner or later, your dog is probably going to get a tick

If you’re not sure what a tick is or what they look like, it’s worth doing your research now, before you need to remove one from your dog! Ticks are active all year round but are most common between March and October, in areas where the grass is long.

Ticks carry disease so if you spot one on your dog it’s important to remove it as soon as possible.

Most dogs will pick up a tick at some point in their lives, so make sure you know how to remove it. If you’re not sure or need help, your vet or a dog groomer can usually take care of this for you - for a fee.

Dogs can get sunburn

It can come as a surprise to dog owners that dogs can get sunburn.  After all, dogs are furry so surely this should insulate them against the sun, right? Well, not necessarily.

Dogs can get sunburn just as people can. This can be painful and sore and even lead to the development of skin cancer later in life.

Any dog can potentially get sunburn, but some dogs are more vulnerable to it than others. Knowing if yours is at risk will help you to take steps to protect them.

Dogs that have short fur, are white or light coloured or have pink skin are at a higher risk of getting sunburn. A combination of these factors increases the risk. Sparse fur, or shaving a dog for summer, can increase the risks too.

And all dogs are at risk of sunburn on exposed skin - this includes the end of the nose and tips of the ears.

Whatever type of dog you have, take steps to protect them against sunburn with dog-safe sunblock, coverups, and shade.

Some really weird things can be poisonous to dogs

Most new puppy owners know that chocolate is poisonous to dogs but did you know that they can’t eat grapes or onions either?

Many of the things we eat every day can be poisonous to dogs. These include grapes and raisins, garlic, onion and leeks, avocado and an artificial sweetener called Xylitol, which is commonly found in ready meals, chewing gum and sweets.

Make sure you know what dogs can and can’t eat to avoid the need for an emergency trip to the vets.

Your dog could be riddled with fleas without you ever getting bitten yourself

It’s quite reasonable to think that you’d know if your dog had fleas as you would expect to see them around the house and get bitten yourself. However, there are several types of fleas and some of them only live on one species of animal.

Dog fleas are species-specific and are highly unlikely to come out and bite you if they have a cosy home on your dog. Also, you may not see the fleas just by petting your dog or even brushing them. Use a flea comb to find them.

Prevention is always the best solution, which means regularly treating your dog for fleas. Speak to your vet for advice about which product to use and how often to treat your dog.

Dogs face different risks and hazards at different times of year

Seasonal events like Easter, Christmas and Guy Fawkes Night present hazards to dogs. Thinking ahead and knowing what these risks are will help to protect your dog and prevent an emergency trip to the vet. For example, make sure to keep chocolate out of your dog’s reach at Easter and Christmas; the same applies to festive favourites like mince pies and Christmas pudding, which contain ingredients that can be toxic to dogs. Many dogs are scared of fireworks and if spooked could easily run off and into the path of a car. In the run-up to Guy Fawkes Night, it’s best to walk your dog during daylight, before the fireworks start.

There are other seasonal hazards to consider too. For example, cases of rat poisoning in dogs peak in the autumn and dog bite injuries are more likely to occur in the summer holidays when more dogs - and people - are out and about.

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