The Dal’s famous short, sleek coat requires routine brushing and combing.
The fun-loving, people-oriented Dalmatian thrives in a family environment. They are a high-energy breed and require daily exercise on leash or within a fenced area. The breed's short coat sheds almost year round, but regular brushing helps minimize the shedding.
Depending on the size of your dog as an adult you are going to want to feed them a formula that will cater to their unique digestive needs through the various phases of their life. Many dog food companies have breed-specific formulas for small, medium, large and giant breeds. The Dalmatian is a medium breed and has a lifespan of 13 to 15 years.
Proper diet and exercise are an important part of your Dal’s health regimen. Feeding a good quality dog food or a raw diet, proper hydration, access to outdoors for frequent voiding of urine and a regular exercise program will all contribute to the quality of life for your Dal! What you feed your dog is an individual choice, but working with your veterinarian and/or breeder will be the best way to determine frequency of meals as a puppy and the best adult diet to increase his longevity. Clean, fresh water should be available at all times.
A nice curry comb and slicker brush will help with removing dead hair. Grooming time is an excellent time to bond with your Dal. Their strong nails should be trimmed regularly with a nail clipper or grinder to avoid overgrowth, splitting and cracking. Their ears should be checked regularly to avoid a buildup of wax and debris which can result in an infection. Teeth should be brushed regularly.
The typical Dal requires moderate daily exercise. There are lots of exercise options available. Every dog loves to go for a walk with his or her human(s) and if you are a runner, Dals make great running companions for long distances. The Dalmatian has a low tolerance for boredom and can become destructive if ignored. There are many performance events that the Dal can participate in, including traditional Obedience, Rally, Agility, Coursing, Tracking and Road Trials. Finding an exercise routine that fits into your daily schedule provides you and your Dal with important one on one time. This can be as simple as a game of fetch in the backyard a few times per day or a daily walk or run. A youngster should be 18 months old before he or she joins you as a running companion. The Dal’s young joints must be fully developed to prevent injury. Consider the temperature before taking your dog out for exercise. Hot pavement can burn your Dal’s footpads. In the winter be mindful of chemically treated roads and walkways, which can also damage your Dal’s pads. Offer water frequently and use your judgment when exercising your dog in warmer temperatures. Your Dal may not show signs of overheating, continuing on in an attempt to please you. This can result in a very bad outcome for your dog – know when your dog has had enough.
The sire and dam of your Dalmatian should both have completed their health testing with normal results. Testing should include Hips, BAER (hearing), eyes and thyroid. Responsible breeders only use breeding stock that has completed these tests. There are several things you can do to help keep your Dal in good health. Make sure that you have a good veterinarian that you can work with. A good veterinarian will be your partner in managing your dog’s health. Start by making sure you are current with all vaccinations and health tests. When you bring your puppy home, your breeder will provide you with a record of the puppy’s shots and tests. Bring this information with you when you set up the puppy’s first trip to the vet.
It is very important to make sure that your puppy has completed his series of vaccinations, in particular the series for parvovirus. Regular veterinary care, yearly vaccinations and proper diet are essential to maintaining your dog's good health. A peculiarity intrinsic to the Dalmatian is the tendency to form urinary stones. This occurs in some male Dalmatians and occasionally in females. Constant availability of fresh water and frequent opportunity to urinate are very important. If your dog has trouble urinating or if you see blood in the urine, contact your veterinarian. Dalmatians do not require a special diet for this unless the problem is present.