Working Dogs

icon icon

Our Expertise

At Vetlife, we understand that working dogs are an essential part of a successful farming operation

Your working dog is a partner for the farm and it needs to be treated as an athlete due to its required amount of physical exertion.  We can help you to keep your working dog in peak condition.  These trusted animals need to be looked after properly to ensure that they stay fit and healthy and provide the best possible service to their farm.  We initiated a project called “TeamMate” which was an observational study of South Island farm working dogs, so we have a thorough knowledge of these animals and their requirements (more information below).

Our Services

We can offer preventative medicine, best practice management and early arthritis management to prolong working careers.

Vetlife can offer TeamMate physical examinations recording body, muscle and coat condition scores and checking over all elements of your dog’s physiological health, in order to provide you with a comprehensive report.  We can also provide breeding and fertility assistance, preventative injury advice, surgical repair options, information on specialised diets and advice specific to your farm.  Check out this video of two of our vets discussing how to optimise your working dog’s health and fitness on our YouTube channel.

Working dogs ready to make tracks in a side-by-side vehicle


Vetlife can give advice on worming treatments in clinic or you can join our DogTrax programme.

Vetlife can give advice on worming treatments in clinic or you can join our DogTrax programme. Our DogTrax programme makes it easier for you to keep on top of worming your dogs.

DogTrax will post your monthly dosing medication for your dogs, you just need to let us know your details!

The cost of this service covers the medication and mailing costs, whilst saving you a monthly trip into your local clinic.

TeamMate Facts

  • The average number of dogs per owner was 4
  • The average retirement age for a working dog is 7 years


The TeamMate study involved ~700 South Island working dogs and was a collaboration between Vetlife and Massey University.

Over a four-year period, twelve Vetlife teams (each comprising of a veterinarian and a scriber) collected information from ~140 farmers and their dogs.  It was a collaborative project with Massey University Working Dog Centre who now have a PhD student analysing data and submitting papers on the study.  Two studies have been published so far, “TeamMate: A longitudinal study of New Zealand working farm dogs. I. Methods, population characteristics and health on enrolment.  II. Incidence and risk factors for the development of musculoskeletal abnormalities”, was published with Frontiers in Veterinary Science on BMC Veterinary Research and TeamMate: A Longitudinal Study of New Zealand Working Farm Dogs. II. Occurrence of Musculoskeletal Abnormalities.