Do you want to do your best to ensure that your dog has a happy, healthy life? Here are 10 health-related dog tips to keep them in great shape.
As of 2017, an estimated 89.7 million dogs were living in the United States as household pets. This goes to show how so many families are actively invested in keeping canine friends.
Dog lovers will agree that these delightful furry animals are more than just pets. They warm their way to our hearts through affection to become part of the family. So, it’s only natural that you’d like to take the best care for your dog.
Fortunately, several dog care practices can improve and maintain a dog’s wellbeing and promote good health. Below is a list of ten tips guaranteed to keep your dog healthy and happy.
1. Dog Care Begins with Proper Nutrition
Good nutrition is the basis of good health for any pet. Several characteristics and behavior of a dog depend on what it eats. The dog’s skin and coat, the energy level, excitement, and gastrointestinal functions all depend on nutrition.
Proper nutrition means providing a balanced diet of rich quality food in the right proportions. Choose quality dog food and stick to a consistent diet and feeding schedule. Don’t overfeed your dog and don’t starve it either.
Dogs also need to drink plenty of water. You can tell your dog is dehydrated if the nose is dry, the skin has lost a bit of elasticity, and in a severe case, the dog continuously pants for no reason. Always have a clean bowl of fresh water for the dog to quench its thirst at any time.
Although most dogs enjoy human food, some foods can be dangerous to dogs. Their digestive system is not suited to handle chocolate, onions, nuts, gum, garlic, avocados, coffee, and alcohol. All these are toxic to dogs with varying levels of severity.
2. Regular Visits to the Vet
Just like in humans, regular health checkups on dogs are essential. Dogs need at least two visits to the vet every year.
Dogs live and age a lot faster than humans. In the physiology of a dog, a lot can change in a period of just six months. Puppies and aging dogs need even more frequent checkups because their bodies are changing more rapidly.
Dogs with special medical needs also require more frequent routine visits to follow up on treatment and recovery.
Choose a trustworthy and reliable veterinarian and work out an examination schedule for your dog. Frequent checkups uncover early signs of diseases, schedules vaccinations, and keep close tabs on the health and status of the dog.
Follow the expert recommendations of the vet after every visit, and that should be a reassuring effort in maintaining the dog’s good health.
3. Schedule Routine Exercises
Many dog owners undervalue the need to have their dogs exercise. Despite the breed or age, dogs are active, playful animals; and they suffer a lot from inactivity. The dog may begin to exhibit destructive and aggressive behavior from lack of physical activity.
Dogs are always teeming with tons of energy and an urge for adventure. If this energy is not released physically, dogs become aggressive and take out their frustration on furniture, carpets, drapes, and anything they can sink their paws and teeth into.
About an hour or two of exercise a day is enough to keep the dog happy. It could be any activity from a leisurely walk, a Frisbee game, or a sprint around the neighborhood.
With our busy modern life, it’s difficult to make time for such activities every day. But try and set aside some time for the dog. A short schedule may help in creating an exercise routine.
4. Dogs Need Dental Care
It is easy to ignore or forget that dogs need dental care. Maybe it’s because we overestimate the strength and resilience of a dog’s teeth.
Brushing gives you a chance to examine the dog’s mouth for disease, cuts, and damaged or loose teeth. It also cleans away tartar and plaque build-ups and keeps the gums and teeth healthy and clean. Regular brushing also gets rid of bad dog breath.
Brush your dog’s teeth at least once every day. Choose a time of day when the dog is calm and relaxed. There are specially designed long-bristled toothbrushes for dogs, but you can still use a standard toothbrush.
What’s important is not to use human toothpaste. The fluoride in regular toothpaste can be harmful to dogs if swallowed. Always use dog toothpaste.
In addition to brushing, every couple of months, you should have your dog’s mouth professionally cleaned by a vet. The process is thorough, and a trained eye is keen on noticing odd dental problems.
5. Regular Grooming
Grooming is an essential upkeep practice to maintain a dog’s wellness and good health. Regardless of their breed or age, all dogs need regular grooming.
Grooming includes coat brushing, nail clipping, fur trimming, baths, ear, and paw cleaning. Depending on the breed, certain grooming practices need to be more emphasized.
For instance, long-haired need a daily coat brush. But short-haired dogs can do with a brush every couple of days.
Grooming is a demanding routine. You can carry out dog grooming yourself, or you can hire professional dog groomers every few weeks for a thorough service.
Grooming gets rid of pesky flees and other pests hiding in the dog’s fur. It also keeps the dog neat, which make it easier to identify physical anomalies around the body.
6. Keep Your Dog Trim
A dog is considered overweight if it weighs 10-20% more than the ideal weight.
Dogs suffer weight-related health issues just like humans do. Obese dogs are at risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and osteoarthritis. Being overweight could shorten a dog’s life by 20%.
Dogs put on weight if they don’t get enough physical exercise, overeat, or feed on a rich, unhealthy diet.
Look up healthy diets for keeping your dog’s weight within healthy limits. Snacks may also be a problem. Feed your dog nutritious treats with only a few calories. Also, exercise your dog more vigorously and frequently to shed unwanted weight.
7. Watch Out for Early Signs of Illness
Dogs are very good at concealing signs of illness. It is their primal instinct to avoid appearing weak. However, it is easy to tell even with subtle signs when something is wrong.
This is why activity schedules and a fondness with your dog are important. It becomes much easier to pick up cues from your dog’s deviation from regular routines.
Watch out for undesirable mood or behavior changes. These may be indications that the dog is uncomfortable, injured, or ill. Signs may include changes in feeding habits, uneasiness, disinterest in playtime, and irregular body behavior.
Contact or visit your vet if you notice alarming signs pointing to poor health.
8. Spraying and Neutering has its Benefits
There are several benefits to spaying or neutering your dog.
In female dogs, spaying eliminates the risk of breast cancer and urinary tract infections that affect many dogs. It also means that the dog won’t go into heat during the breeding season, which causes undesirable behavior that may affect the dog’s health.
In male dogs, neutering prevents testicular cancer and hernias. These are two conditions that commonly manifest in aging male dogs.
As an added benefit, neutered and spayed dogs are better behaved and less aggressive. This makes it easy to train and control them.
9. Stay Open to New Healthy Practices
New dog care practices are always emerging as pet owners and researchers find more way to enrich the lives of pets. It is important to be on the lookout for new pet care trends that might benefit your dog’s health.
For instance, there is a growing buzz over the use of CBD oil and other CBD products to improve human health and wellness. Surprisingly, using CBD oil on dogs has been found to improve dogs’ health.
CBD oil for dogs is now a mainstream product used to revitalize the physical and mental health of dogs. Researchers have found that CBD oil is effective in fighting cancer, reducing anxiety, relieving pain, and chronic inflammation in dogs, among other health benefits.
10. Bond and Socialize with your Dog
Dogs are social animals. Socializing makes them happier and better behaved. They enjoy meeting other people and animals and visiting new places. Introduce your dog to other dogs, children, and adults to exercise their social skills.
Teach the dog a few tricks, or even have the dog trained to respond to verbal commands. This makes the dog a more exciting company.
Sharing new experiences with your dog grows your relationship. The dog also feels more comfortable and relaxed. It may also change the dog’s behavior for the better knowing that he/she is part of a loving family.
Be Your Dog’s Best Friend
Dogs usually emulate the behavior and lifestyle of their owners. If your lifestyle is unhealthy, that will be reflected in your dog as well. If you set high health standards for your dog, it will live longer, and you’ll enjoy more years together. The health of your dog begins with you.
The crucial things are minding what your dog eats, proper grooming and dog care, and seeking professional assistance now and then.
Also, make time to encourage your dog to do what he/she likes whenever possible.
Wellness and happiness and care is what makes a healthy dog. Continue reading our blog for more tips.