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Pet Accessories Q & A with Dr Charlie

What type of collar does my pet need and how do I ensure it fits correctly?

All dogs should be trained to wear a collar which contains two tags: the mandatory council tag and a personal tag with your details. Collars should be snug enough that they don’t fall off but not too tight. You should be able to slip two fingers underneath the collar comfortably and this will make the collar snug. In general, smaller dogs require narrower collars and larger dogs require wider ones. The common exception to this rule is greyhounds and other dogs with very slight heads as standard collars will slip over their head. These types of dogs require a special collar called a Martingale collar.

Collar or harness which is the best way to walk a dog?

This does depend on what suits you and your dog. Most dogs can be trained to use a harness and this can be useful in puppies that are learning not to pull on the lead. The harness needs to be correctly fitted – the people in the pet store should be able to assist you if you take your dog with you when you go to buy the harness. There is nothing wrong with attaching the lead directly to the collar if your dog does not pull at the lead. However, pulling at a collar can cause discomfort and even injuries. Check chains and pronged collars are not recommended. If your dog has a problem with pulling at the lead, I would recommend you consult with a force free dog trainer. After a walk it is always important to check your dog's harness for grass seeds and prickles as well as checking your dog particularly in spring and summer.

Does my dog need a winter coat?

It depends on your dog’s breed, age and health status. Dogs with single coats often benefit from a coat in the cold weather. The term single coat refers to the number of layers of hair not the length of the hair. Equally the very young, old, sick, thin and many small dogs may require some extra warmth. It is important to ensure your dog’s coat or jumper is correctly fitted and does not restrict movement.

Are dog shoes helpful?

Dog shoes have been suggested as being helpful in both hot and cold temperatures as well as for dogs walking over rough terrain, however, their usefulness and appropriateness is debated. Heat is one of the biggest problems in Perth and there is a risk of contact burns from walking on hot bitumen/sand/concrete. A good rule of thumb is to place the back of your hand on the surface, if you cannot hold it there for five seconds, it is too hot to walk your dog. It is always best to walk in the early morning or evening when the ambient temperature is not too hot. If has been a hot day you could consider using dog shoes if they are tolerated by your dog. Dog shoes should have rubber soles which are non-slip, be lightweight and breathable, and easy to get on and off.

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