HOW TO: Organize Your Dog’s Important Records

photoHave you ever had to travel with your dog but couldn’t find his medical documents? Do you often forget when his next vaccination is? Does anyone else know your pet as well as you do, if something were to happen to you? Keeping and managing records may not be a lot of fun, but it’s a must for dog owners.

A three-ring binder is the easiest way to organize all your pooch’s records. You will also need several plastic sheet protectors. Below are the pages to use to sort out your pet’s papers. Type them in a format that works for you, and have more than one copy of each page. Of course, you can make modifications or omit any pages that don’t apply to you. If you have multiple pets, you can place all their information in a single binder, but keep each one’s records separate.

Page 1: Divider

Write or type your dog’s call name in big, legible letters.

Page 2: Identification

List your dog’s registered name; call name; date of birth; sex; breed; alteration status (spayed or neutered); AKC, UKC, CKC, or other registration numbers; and breeder’s name, address, and phone number, or where you got your dog if not from a breeder.

Also include a comprehensive description of your dog and many clear photographs. Update the description and pictures as your pet grows up; a lot of breeds change considerably as they mature.

Place this page into a plastic sheet protector to preserve the photos.

Page 3: Registration Forms

Slip all documents related to your dog’s registration and ancestry into a sheet protector.

Page 4: Health Records

This page should contain all vet visits, whether routine or emergency. Highlight vaccination dates with a marker so they can be spotted easily. Also include your pet’s spay/neuter certificate, OFA and/or eye certifications, and any allergies (food, medication, fleas, or grass). List heat cycle dates for unspayed females.

Follow this page with a sheet protector which will hold all receipts from the vet.

Page 5: Training Records

Write down all classes that have been attended, including the location and instructor’s name and phone number.

It’s also a good idea to list the commands your pooch responds to. If someone else had to take care of your pet, it would be much easier for both of them if the person knew what words to use.

Page 6: Obedience Trial Records

Include trial dates, judges, judging comments, class entered, legs won, scores, and titles finished.

Page 7: Conformation Show Records

If your dog participates in breed shows, use this page to record show dates, judges, judging comments, points earned, and number of dogs competing.

Page 8: Miscellaneous Activities

List down details of any other activities your dog is involved in, such as Frisbee, Schutzhund, search and rescue, herding, carting, or lure coursing.

Page 9: Brood Bitch/Stud Dog Records

If you’re a breeder, keep track of all breedings even if there is no resulting litter. Include the dog’s sire and dam, dates and places of matings, dates litter whelped, dogs/bitches, litter registration numbers, OFA and/or eye certifications, and the new owners’ names and addresses. Photos of the puppies are never a bad idea.

Page 10: Address Book

This last page should contain the names and addresses of the people who know your dog. This information is very important should there be any question concerning your pet’s behavior. For example, if you need to rent an apartment or house, you can give this list to your potential landlord and explain that these people know your dog and will vouch for his good behavior.

The binder system is easy to use as long as you update it regularly. It’s also convenient to grab and take with you when your dog has to go to the vet or a boarding kennel. And in case of an emergency, all your dog’s records are readily available and you don’t have to rely on your memory.

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