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.
* Article replicated with kind permission from the National RSPCA website