Dalmatians are a sensitive and loyal breed, making them great watchdogs. However, while they are good with children, they may be too energetic for toddlers. They also require much human affection and a lot of exercise.
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Vaccinate your dalmatian, and follow up with yearly booster vaccinations to maintain the dog's immunity to diseases. Worm your adult dog every three months, and consult your veterinarian about flea-control products.
Feed your dalmatian high-grade dog food. The first ingredient should be meat if you want a quality product. Crude protein should be no less than 22 percent on average, and crude fat no less than 20 percent. The fiber content should be 4 percent or less. Adult dalmatians eat 3 to 6 cups of food a day, in one or two servings. Puppies should have 2 cups a day, in three or four servings.
Socialize your dalmatian with other dogs, cats and people, from an early age. They can be timid or hyper without proper socialization.
Train your dalmatian at an early age. They are bursting with energy and enthusiasm, and they need to be taught control. Positive feedback works best with this breed, as they are prone to sulk.
Run or walk your dalmatian two or three times a day. Also make sure she has access to a large backyard, so that she can remain as active as she likes. Avoid keeping her in the yard for too long, as the dalmatian needs to be around people.
Brush your dalmatian daily to handle all the excess shedding. However, dalmatians are usually quite clean and have virtually no doggy smell, so they require minimal bathing.
Trim nails every two to three weeks.
Check for fleas and ticks during the warmer months. Dalmatians seem to collect them.
Remember that dalmatians do not do well in cold temperatures because of their sensitive skin. Bring them inside when it starts to get cold.
Keep in mind that male dalmatians grow to 22 to 24 inches when mature; females reach heights between 20 and 22 inches. Mature dalmations can weigh up to over 55 pounds.
Know that dalmatians can suffer from deafness and should be tested at six weeks of age, prior to purchase. Deaf dalmatians may be aggressive. Dalmatians are also prone to urinary stones and skin allergies. Talk to the breeder to find out what type of screening has been done for these health problems.
Expect your dalmation to live for 10 to 12 years.
Tips and warnings
- Consider crate training your dalmatian while you are housebreaking her.
- Ask your veterinarian about a low-protein diet if you think your dalmatian has urinary tract problems.
- Dalmatians can have litters of up to 15 puppies.
- Puppies are born with white coats. Their black or brown spots come as they mature.
- Dalmatians enjoy a good game of Frisbee and love to swim.
- Small amounts of food work well as a reward while training your Dalmatian.
- Dalmatians have long memories and will remember any type of abuse they have received.
- Take caution with toddlers, as Dalmatians can knock down small children.
- Dalmatians can take up to three years to mentally develop.