On Australia Day, we celebrate our proud heritage. We are the lucky country, and without our Australian dogs – born and bred here in Australia - we would not be the lucky country.

I love a sunburnt country, A land of sweeping plains. Australia is the sunburnt melanoma capital of the world. Dogs are able to smell changes in our bodies and have helped to alert owners of skin cancers, potentially saving lives.

Our society is changing its attitude towards pets, and dogs demonstrate that change. We are choosing dog breeds that become a part of our family. The top ten breeds registered with Dogs NSW this year include increasing numbers of home-friendly family-centric dogs.

A dog is man’s best friend. A dog is also a horse’s best friend. The horse is a pack animal and generally prefers the company of other animals. A dog is a wonderful companion for a horse.

Dogs NSW is calling for all pet owners to learn and understand first aid for all companion animals.

“I have given CPR to dogs many times. Cardiac massage can save lives. When needed, it is not the time to be squeamish,” declares Dr Peter Higgins, Veterinary Adviser.

When a loved one passes away, a difficult time ensues for the whole household. People grieve, and dogs grieve. The loss of a loved household pet also initiates a grieving process. Surviving pets react to a family loss, and go through their own grieving process.

Spring has sprung; the grass is risen. All our dogs are now being bitten.

The flea season is upon us, and our pets are at risk. In the warm, humid months of spring and summer, fleas multiply. Ten fleas can multiply to 7000 in just a fortnight. At this rate of population growth, it is important to understand how to soothe the days, and nights, for our canine friends.

Every year, family dogs are poisoned unnecessarily by human drugs. Just as we keep our drugs out of reach of our children, we should also keep these drugs out of reach of our dogs.

Pets are special, yet only 3% of Australian pets are covered by health insurance. This is one of the lowest rates in the world. Dogs NSW supports pet insurance and believes it is an important part of responsible dog ownership.

Dogs NSW supports the expansion of programs for dogs in aged care facilities. Companion canines can contribute constructively to aged care communities. Research over more than twenty years has shown that pet assisted therapy has beneficial effects on the physical and psychological well-being of aged care residents.