What Do Dogs Need?


Holidays4Dogs appreciates that having a pet is a wonderful experience, bringing a great deal of enjoyment and companionship to the daily lives of their owners.  However, owning a dog is also a big responsibility. With this, comes a commitment to the dog’s welfare for a period of, on average 13 years, but often much longer.

Under the Animal Welfare Act of 2006, anyone who owns, or looks after a dog on a temporary basis, must provide suitable care for him. Although the act does not specifically tell people how to care for their pet, it does provide guidance for owners regarding decisions about their care and welfare.

Section 9 of the Animal Welfare Act states, dog owners must, “ensure that the needs of an animal are met….to the extent required by good practice”.

This includes;

  • A suitable environment,
  • A suitable diet,
  • A need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns,
  • A need to be housed with, or apart from, other animals,
  • A need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.

Suitable environment. 

Dogs must be provided with a comfortable place to sleep. This should be clean, dry and away from wet, damp. or draughts. This applies to animals living indoors, or outside. They also require an appropriate place to relieve themselves, away from the sleeping area. The space must be big enough for him to move around appropriately.

A suitable diet. 

All dogs need an appropriate diet depending on their age and activity levels. Pregnant, or elderly dogs, will often required a specialised diet. Ordinarily, they should be fed at least once per day and fresh water should be available at all times.

The need to exhibit normal behaviour. 

Different dogs have varying behaviour patterns, but most are sociable creatures. Therefore, they can suffer from social isolation if confined. They need regular opportunity to play with other, (friendly), dogs and interact with people. They can become distressed if isolated alone for long periods, so it is important they have enough to do in the shape of suitable toys to play with and objects to chew.

Dogs need regular exercise appropriate to their age and breed, in order to maintain physical and mental health. Owners should take the trouble to understand their pet’s behaviour, so they can spot when something might be wrong and seek  veterinary attention.

The need to be housed with, or apart from, other animals. 

Dogs are generally sociable creatures. Therefore it would be unacceptable to be alone on a regular basis. The length of time you should leave a dog does vary from depending very much on its age, lifestyle, training and environment. As a rule of thumb, Holidays4Dogs carers never leave their guest dogs for more than 2 – 3 hours at a time, maximum.

If there is more than one dog in the household, they should be provided with the opportunity to get away from one another, if they so wish.

During the owner’s absence, dogs should be cared for by a responsible person. The carer must understand the needs of the animal in their care and any specific requirements it may have.

Holidays4Dogs are experts at matching clients to experienced carers who know, and understand, the importance of correct dog care.

The need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease. 

Dogs need protection from various diseases, illness and injury. In addition, they should be kept clean and free from parasites. Owners should always clean up mess to avoid the spread of disease. If you choose to breed from your dog must take all reasonable steps to ensure he/or she remains healthy and that you will be able to find suitable homes for all the pups.


There is no one single way to look after a dog because, naturally, every dog is different and live in different situations. However, all dog owners must take reasonable steps to ensure their dog’s needs are met, as set out by the Animal Welfare Act.