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Animals play an important role in the family. There is a responsibility for managing a happy and healthy family pet.

Pet care tips for a happy and healthy pet

Pet ownership has a positive effect on our mental health and during this challenging time it is more important than ever.

Tips and tricks

  • Maintain a healthy diet - be sure not to drop extra tasty treats to an always eager dog or cat.
  • Practice your baking skills to keep dogs satisfied with delicious doggy treats - healthy treat recipes are available online.
  • Keep your dog entertained by hiding healthy pet food treats in your garden - this game changer will entice even the most restful of dogs.
  • Use interactive toys that dispense treats - dry kibble is great or bake your own healthy pet snacks.
  • Keep your cat entertained by hiding some treats at different levels in your home.
  • Playing is a great way to exercise your dog and cat while at home and burn off pent up energy.
  • Remember the leash, tag and poo bag when taking your dog for a walk. For more information see exercising dogs.
  • Maintain your routine as much as possible - keep to the same feeding times and if you can't go for a walk, do a daily play session instead.
  • Be sure there are no bones laying around for children to pick up - this can make dogs very cranky if they think their most favourite snack has been taken away from them.

Pet behaviour tips

  • Introduce family training sessions to care and teach your pet some basic commands and fun tricks will not only build a closer bond but can help ease your pets’ anxiety level.
  • If working from home, use a baby gate to separate yourself from your furry pet where they can still see you, but not disturb you.
  • Excessive barking behaviour may occur due to increased foot traffic near your home. For information on how to address barking see barking and roaming dogs.
  • An active dog is a happy dog and helps to reduce nuisance behaviours at home. Visit one of our dog exercise areas in our region.  For more information see exercising dogs.

Don't forget to bring a dog waste bag and dispose of it in a bin. - Access online resources from local pet care experts for further behavioural advice.

Dog training

Training your dog at any stage of its life plays an important role, not just in training dogs but also in educating owners to manage their dogs responsibly. Dog training helps to keep your pets and the community safe.

Choosing a breed

Choosing a breed

When choosing a breed ask yourself the below questions:

  • Size – what living space do you have? Does your dog have access to outside areas that are secure? Is your fencing suitable for the size of the dog?
  • Time – do you have the time to train your puppy or adult dog? How much time can you spend with your dog each day to ensure its mental and physical needs are met?
  • Activity level – would high or low energy suit your needs? Do you have an active lifestyle or are you a homebody? Do you require much daily exercise or a leisurely stroll? Do you know where the closest dog exercise areas are on the Sunshine Coast? Please note sports fields are not dog exercise areas.
  • Age – puppyhood, adolescence, adulthood and seniors all have their pros and cons. Research which stage is best for you or your family.
  • Breed – each breed has its own unique temperament, appearance, activity level and set of needs. Research the seven dog breed groups (Working, Herding, Toy, Hound, Sporting, Non-sporting and Terrier). Do you have to consider allergies to animal fur? Is the breed of your choice suitable for our hot climate? Are mixed breeds an option?
  • History – do you know the history of the dog, where it came from, the reason for being in a shelter eg. Barks, escape artist, doesn’t like children etc. When adopting a dog do you have the knowledge and time to settle them in and assist with the transition from shelter to home.

Choosing a breeder

Choosing a breeder

In Queensland, if you breed a dog you must be registered as a breeder. Ensure the breeder has a Breeder Identification Number.

Ask to meet the parents – puppies can inherit genetic and behavioural traits from their parents.

Visit the environment – make sure you can visit the place where the puppies are living, this way you can ensure you are not buying from a puppy farm.

Veterinary documents – the breeder should have these documented and provide any information you request, microchip, parasite prevention treatment, vaccination and vet check up.

Do you require pedigree papers? These papers should be provided by the breeder with a three-generation family tree.

Choosing a dog trainer

Choosing a dog trainer

When deciding on a dog trainer we encourage you to do your research to find out if the trainer is right for you, your dog, and your family. Consider asking the questions below that are important to you:

  • What qualifications does the trainer have?
  • Is the trainer a member of a professional dog training association?
  • Would this training be recommended through RSPCA?
  • What type of training do they use? For example, rewards based, forced or a balanced approach. Do any of these align with your own beliefs.
  • Is ‘rewards based’ (positive reinforcement training) something that is important to you?
  • Does your trainer know how to read dog body language?
  • Does your trainer listen to your needs and do they offer support between classes?
  • Does the trainer have the experience and knowledge to advise if group training is not suitable? This may be important if your dog has been involved in a dog attack.
  • What happens if my dog is not learning/doesn’t listen? What are the next steps to resolve this?
  • How do you think a dog’s behaviour should be addressed if the dog is growling or snapping at people or other dogs?