Caring for your dog

There is no one way to care for all dogs because every dog and every situation is different. Whilst many dogs are kept inside their owners' homes, some dogs are kept outside in kennels. It is up to you how you look after your dog, but you must take reasonable steps to ensure that you meet all your dog's needs.


Provide your dog with a comfortable, dry, draught-free, clean and quiet place to rest undisturbed with access to an appropriate place where they can go to the toilet. Give your dog constant access to a safe hiding place where they can escape if they feel afraid. Make sure your dog has access to suitable objects to chew and play with. Make sure the size and temperature of any place you leave your dog (including your vehicle) is appropriate. If dogs live together, you should provide enough extra resources (e.g. toys, beds and hiding places) to stop them from becoming competitive and fighting.


Train your dog from an early age to behave well using rewards. Never shout at or punish your dog. Your dog is very unlikely to understand and can become more nervous or scared. If your dog's behaviour becomes an ongoing problem, seek expert advice. Exercise your dog regularly to keep them fit, active and stimulated. Give your dog the opportunity to run every day and make sure they have enough to do so that they do not become distressed or bored. Provide your dog with safe toys and regular opportunities to play with people or other friendly dogs.

Health and Welfare

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). Only use medicines that have been prescribed for your individual dog.

Get your dog neutered.

Ensure your dog's coat is kept in good condition by grooming them 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.


Make sure your dog has a healthy diet.

Without water to drink, a dog may become seriously ill within hours. So provide your dog with constant access to clean drinking water.

A dog needs a well-balanced diet to stay fit and healthy. Make sure your dog eats a balanced diet suitable for their age, lifestyle and health status.

Dogs need particular food to keep them healthy - most human meals will not provide dogs with the nutrition they need. Some human foods, such as chocolate and onions, can be poisonous to dogs.

Feed your dog at least once each day, unless advised otherwise by your vet.

Read and follow the feeding instructions on any dog foods that you buy. Adjust how much you feed your dog to make sure they don't become under or overweight.

If your dog's eating or drinking habits change, consult your vet, as your dog could be ill.