Dog welfare and dog cruelty
Owning and caring for a dog is great fun and immensely rewarding. But it's also a big responsibility. If you own or are responsible for a dog, even on a temporary basis, you're required under the Animal Welfare Act to care for them properly.
Find a vet
You should register your dog with a vet as soon as possible. Dogs require regular vaccinations and treatments such as worming.
Go to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons to find a local vet.
Caring for your dog
The RSPCA offers a wide range of advice on caring for your dog such as:
- dogs environment
- general welfare
Neutering is the process by which pets are surgically prevented from reproducing. For males the operation is called castration. In females it is called spaying.
Neutering helps prevent uterine infections and breast tumours, which are malignant or cancerous in about 50% of female dogs. Neutering male dogs prevents testicular cancer.
Low cost neutering scheme
Dogs Trust - Low cost neutering is available for people on means-tested benefits:
- Income support
- Jobseeker's Allowance
- Child Tax Credit
- Working tax credit
- Housing Benefit
- Council Tax reduction
- Council tax Support
- Universal Credit
- Pension Credit
- Tenant of the NI Housing Executive
To see if a local vet is presently taking part in the scheme call the Dogs Trust 0333 202 1148.
Dog worming and toxocara
Worming your dog regularly is very important to prevent the risk of toxocara and infection.
Adult dogs should be wormed every three months to prevent infection. Puppies should be wormed from the age of two weeks, every two weeks, until the age of 12 weeks. Pregnant and lactating bitches also need frequent worming. Bitches should be wormed before mating, after the first 45 days of pregnancy, after giving birth and whilst weaning pups.
For more information on worming and toxocara see The Healthy Pet Club - Toxocara Canis.
Training your dog
Training your dog is part of responsible dog ownership. It provides important mental stimulation and is a great way to get to know each other. A well trained pet dog should be able to walk well on a lead and respond to simple commands such as "come" or "sit". Training allows you to bond with your dog and simple commands may help keep them safe when walking in busy areas or by roads.
Choosing a dog trainer
The RSPCA website gives good advice on how to choose a trainer that is suitable for you and your dog.
Report a dog cruelty or neglect problem
* If the dog is in immediate risk of serious injury or harm you should call 999.
- call - 0300 1234 999
Please note: we also do not have the power to investigate cases of organised dog fights (see the RSPCA - dog fights) or dogs abandoned in property or cars by their owners (see the Dogs Trust - Warm Weather).