If a dog is kept in the house, it should have a warm sleeping place, well out of the draught: half the troubles to which these friends of man are subject, are due to carelessness in this respect. Plenty of exercise is sine qua non to canine health, and if the animal is kept permanently about the house, it should be taken out for a run at least once a day. It should have plenty of food, but not too much, and it should not be encouraged to pick up filth and rubbish which it finds in the street. Let it have a reasonable amount of meat, well cooked, and the gravy or soup therefrom should be mixed with barley or pounded dog biscuits. Hard dog biscuits are good as aids to the digestion and for cleaning the teeth, as also are bones. The dog should be given one of the latter at least twice a week. They should also have plenty of clean water to drink. The weekly or fortnightly bath should be a regular ritual; and strong antiseptic soap will keep down vermin : the animal should be well rubbed down if its hair is of any length, particularly in winter. In the summer short haired dogs can scamper about in the open, to dry themselves. Their sleeping quarters should never be cramped— there should be ample room for the dog to extend himself.
Obedience is essential in dogs. They should be taught to obey a master from the start; habits of slackness and disobedience, are very difficult to overcome. They should never be treated brutally or ‘ shouted at’; gentle firmness will do more with a dog than any amount of bullying. The dog is naturally a man-lover, and once he learns to love, ;he will instinctively obey; in this he differs from the cat, which seems incapable of anything more than ‘ cupboard love.’
If your dog is ‘seedy,’ give him immediate attention, and if you are unable to diagnose the complaint, take him at once to a veterinary surgeon.
Exercise moderately during the period of pregnancy, and feed well, but avoid over feeding. She should be in good, hard condition.- Dose her for worms about the fifty-eighth day.
Very highly bred animals sometimes become slightly hysterical towards the appointed day, and during whelping it is well that someone to whom they are attached should be with them, although any interference with bitch or puppies in not only unnecessary, but, in the majority of cases, unwise. Bulldogs, and some of the toy breeds, however, may require the services of a veterinary surgeon.
If there is an obvious difficulty in the deliver}’ of the puppies, it is often very helpful to continue to lubricate the passage, sparingly, with vaseline, until the first one is born, after which the rest will follow without much difficulty. The bitch must be allowed to clean the puppies herself, and to consume the afterbirth. Should she not do so, it should be removed. A clean nest may be given in a day or two, unless she plainly objects to interference of any kind, when the opportunity of her temporary absence may be taken, a few days later, to make all sanitary.
Straw or newspaper (which the animal will tear into shreds and form into a nest for herself) are the best and handiest materials for the nest. A covered box is best, and if indoors, it should be placed in a quiet corner of the room. The nursing bitch in an outdoor kennel should have quarters to herself.