The Welfare of our dogs

Nutritional Needs

Nutritional needs can be influenced by... Age, Activity levels, Weather, Breed characteristics, Reproduction and disease.

A dog needs between 16% - 30% protein matter but the source of the dry protein matter plays a big role. Protein is a very important energy source.

Fats play a big role in energy, the smell and palatability of the food, fat soluble vitamins like A,D,E and K, linoleic acid which helps with metabolic functions and a shiny coat.

Dogs don't really need Carbohydrates, they can survive without it. Starch must be cooked well done otherwise the amylase can't digest it.

Sugar is poorly digested by adult dogs but well by young dogs. Dogs do not really digest bread either. This is a cheap source of energy.

Fibre is not a energy source but helps prevent diarrhea and constipation by stabilising the intestinal content.

Dogs require all types of minerals except the raw from of cobalt.


Water should be provided to a dog during the whole day and not just at certain times. Dogs like to drink fresh water and will drink less water then they should if it's full of their own saliva. Bowls should be cleaned every time clean water is pored in which should be at least once to twice a day depending on the size of the bowl. A dog can dehydrate much quicker and die from it then being with out food.


Exercise should be provided on a daily basis especially for large breed dogs preferably outside of the yard at least 3 times a week. Working breeds need more exercise and stimulation then other dogs. So this is why it is important to know your breed of dog well.


All dogs should have a daily and weekly routine to establish a feeling of love and safety. This way the dog knows what is expected of him. Training should be constant, with repetition, with a immediate reward or punishment and lots of patience.

Dogs that sleep outside need a 20% dry food intake to be able to withstand the harsh winter weather but could eat less during summer. Puppies should eat 3 times a day and a large breed adult dog do best eating once a day and not free feeding.

Dogs need social interaction with other humans and dogs of all sizes. They also need a rich environment not according to our standards but to the dogs. Change toy's every second day or so, so that your dog does not get bored with his toys. Giving him chew treats during the day helps too and having a place to run and dig holes is things that keeps him occupied. Remember though that chew treats adds to his calories.


Just as much as an under weight dog can be seen as poor animal welfare so can an obese dog. You should be able to feel your dogs rips without pressing to hard. But you don't want them sticking out either. A fat dog has much bigger chances of heart problems and joint problems then a healthy active dog. Being over weight decreases your dogs life span.


It's important to poop scoop every day. Dogs don't like walking around in their own poop and wants a clean area to sleep and eat at. Clean bowls every day and wash bedding often with a soft soap. Also groom your dog about once a month depending on the breed and brush your dog at least once a week.


Even though you might not know this good neighbour lines are by law a must. You have to respect your neighbours regarding your pets. Dogs can't bark and howl none stop all day and night. Yes they may bark off course but there is a line where you can cross. This is part of animal welfare. You need to either look at your dogs exercise programme by increasing it, having someone home during the day or taking your dog for a walk during the day. And do something to manage the situation. A dog is not suppose to bark for more the 5 min in a half an hour.

These are the basic stuff to know when it comes to your dog's welfare. These are the things shelters and animal behaviourst look at when assessing dogs in a household. Some are easier then others but we need to apply them all.

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Louise Basson on the Expresso Show talking about Huskies and Husky Rescue 2012.