What is a Body Condition Score?
A Body Condition Score is the most accurate method of determining if your dog is at an ideal weight specifically FOR YOUR DOG.
Unlike using a scale to determine weight as compared to other dogs, or trying to compare your specific dog to the "range" typical for your dog's breed, Body Condition Scoring looks specifically at your dog's own physical body and determines if he/she is carrying too much or too little weight for their optimum health.
This is easy to learn and can make a huge difference in the longterm health of your dog. As a "working breed" Dalmatians should ideally maintain a Body Condition Score of 4 and never over a 5 on a 9 point scoring system as shown on these charts.
Watch the above video to learn how to assess your dogs body condition, how to properly measure food amounts, how to adjust feeding to achieve better health, and why maintaining a healthy weight is vital to your dogs lifespan.
Click on any of these bolded terms below for links to information on what those items are, what they do, and how to use them safely.
The above video made by VETERICYN (one of my favorite wound sprays for animals) covers such a simple idea that can have such a huge impact for the health of your pet both AT HOME and especially while TRAVELING!
It never fails, it's always after your normal vet's office hours when something goes wrong. Whether it is at 10pm or on a Sunday or in the middle of bad weather...having a FIRST AID kid that is specifically for your dogs needs is such a good idea!
IN ADDITION to the items they list above I believe in having a supply of BENADRYL, an unopened bottle of plain PEDIALYTE and a can of plain PUMPKIN kept in your dogs First Aid Kit/Cabinet. These items can really come in useful when you can't get to a vet right away.
Remember you will probably need to have your puppy vaccinated against Rabies at 16 weeks of age (Laws vary by state on initial vaccine timing). AFTER THAT FIRST RABIES VACCINE...by law you will have to repeat the vaccine either yearly or every 3 years depending on the laws where you live.
(The above video will explain why after 1 year of age they will need another vaccine (by law) and why from then on you can typically go to an every 3 year Rabies Vaccination Schedule).
For a recent article from May 2022 on vaccinations and their duration and timing please read this www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/lifelong-immunity-vets/
Therefore, for all other CORE Vaccines (Parvo and Distemper) we believe in the science of Titer Testing as opposed to simply vaccinating any dog based solely on a date on a calendar to verify their actual current antibody level and only vaccinating those dogs that have a antibody level under the required levels according to the CAVIDS Titer Testing LAB at the University of Wisconsin Veterinary School.
Here is a PDF of the Titer Testing Form your vet can use to send off Titer Tests to the University of Wisconsin CAVIDS Lab (this is a premier Veterinary School Lab and yet a much more affordable option than the typical testing lab's that most vet's use in their practices).
There are several routine grooming steps that you should do with your Dalmatian. Trimming nails is probably one of the most important!
An overly long nail in a dog can easily catch on things or get stuck in small spaces and when your dog yanks to free themself they may tear the nail or even yank it all the way off. The above video is a perfect video on the topic and shows how easy and low stress it can be if done on a regular basis. Don't forget the dew claw which is located a few inches above their foot on the inside of their front legs. Remember that I leave dew claws intact (instead of removing them as some breeders do) as they are an important stabilizing aid in an active dog to avoid various ligament injuries and are useful to dogs in every day life. More on dew claws HERE.
Brushing your dog with a grooming mitt, at least once a week is preferable and will cut down on some of the hair accumulation in your house!
Clean out their ears with ear cleaner and a cotton swab as shown HERE. This not only is more comfortable for them to have clean ears, it helps you watch for things like ear mites and ear infections which left untreated can lead to hearing loss.
A Dalmatian should only be bathed a few times A YEAR. If you bathe a Dal more often than that you can dry out their skin which can lead their skin vulnerable to irritation, allergies and a host of skin complications. We prefer shampoo's that don't strip all the oils from their coats as Dalmatians are naturally less oily than most dogs.