Dalmatians are a short coated breed, and thus are not suited for outdoor living. As an active breed, they do enjoy short periods of cold or hot weather, but should not be left out in extreme weather for long periods. Remember that dogs and heat don't mix. A dog cannot eliminate excess body heat by sweating as we can; he can only pant. This method is actually very inefficient, so dogs are prone to heat prostration. Be careful when you have your dog in a car. The windows magnify the power of the sun and even when windows are down the interior can become quite hot.
The Dalmatian was developed as a coaching dog, which meant accompanying the carriage horses, often up to 100 miles per trip. This breed has stamina! So, he needs exercise, and lots of it. This means winter, summer, fall and spring. Besides, exercise is good for you and him, and will lengthen both your lives! Having a second dog will provide more exercise in the form of romping and chase. Consider another dog of similar needs and size to keep your dog company. It also helps relieve loneliness.
Registration and Identification
Tattooing your Dalmatian is a good idea. Purebred dogs are being stolen for various reasons (personal, commercial, experimentation, etc.). A tattooed dog is identifiable property, and if one is taken across state lines, then it is a federal offense. The National Pet Registry, or like registries, can tattoo the dog on the inside of a hind leg or inside of the lip. More recently, the preferred method of identification is the microchip. In fact, Dalmatians cannot be OFA certified without a tattoo or a chip. Check with your veterinarian, local shelter, or local kennel club.
Your Dalmatian is short haired, and, as you probably already noticed, sheds!! Because he is constantly losing his hair, he will get quite cold during the winter months. He is like you when you only have a light shirt on. If you are cold, he is cold! You can help solve this cold-weather problem by putting in a dog door. This way, the dog is able to stay warm (or cool) no matter what the weather, and you are freed from always having to let him in or out. The dog door is especially useful when you are gone. Your dog is happy, and he is able to get out if there is a house fire. Consider putting a dog door into an appropriate wall. If it is installed in a door, you cannot have a storm door as well. A dog door into a basement, utility room, etc., where the dog can be confined when alone is very useful.
The shedding is definitely a problem, but fortunately the hairs will vacuum up and wash out. Another aid in hair control is limiting the dog's access to just the active areas of the house where he will have your company. Save most of the house for yourself and you won't have to clean as much! Many dogs just live in the kitchen and family or living room areas while the bedrooms, office, dining room, etc. are off limits. Just be sure your dog has access to rooms where he will still have plenty of attention.
By adding a tablespoon of corn oil to each meal, you will help reduce shedding. It is helpful to use a thoroughly cleaned soap bottle (one with a squeeze top) so that you can just give a good squirt into the dog's bowl. It is less messy that way. The corn oil makes the coat softer too. If your dog is allergic to corn, suitable alternatives include flax seed, olive oil (which is the oil least likely to have pesticides sytemically), canola oil, or any EFA supplement (Essential Fatty Acids - Omega 3, 6 9).
Dalmatians should be social creatures and enjoy interacting with dogs and people. Puppies should be socialized as soon as possible with a wide variety of people. Once the puppy has its shots and can go into public safely, introduce him to riding in the car and going to new places. Most pet stores allow animals and make a great atmosphere for socialization. To ensure a happy experience, provide a food reward (string cheese makes a great treat and is low in purines!) whenever a dog hesitates in meeting a stranger, talk confidently, and be happy. When meeting another dog, give each one a treat and tell them how nice it is for them to be close. Certainly be prepared to separate should it be necessary, but usually the food will break their concentration.