If we own a dog ─ be it a puppy or a grown up one ─ we want to see it grow strong that will stand by our side for many years. Dogs like all animals excel when looked after correctly. It doesn’t matter if you have a Yorkshire terrier or a Great Dane; there are some easy steps to keep your pet as healthy as possible both physically and mentally. Here’s a list of nine ways you can help keep your dog as healthy and happy as possible.
Feed a balanced diet and avoid obesity
One of the most important factors is what you’re feeding your dog and maybe even more important is how much you’re watchful to check its obesity. Obesity can occur in dogs for a number of reasons; but the most common is a higher intake of high-calorie foods combined with the lack of exercise. If your dog becomes obese, it can cause a number of health problems and shorten your dog’s life by up to two years. You may think that you’re showing your dog love by giving it an extra ton of food or the scraps from your own plate. A dog, however, doesn’t see this as loving and will only be momentarily happy with the extra meal before looking for more.
Human food is often too high in salt for our canine friends and things like chocolate are actually poisonous for dogs. This is due to the fact that their body can’t process Theo bromine ─ a bitter alkaloid of the cacao plant ─ as fast as ours can. Keep to recommended guidelines for your dog’s size and stick to nutritious dog food to avoid heart, breathing and joint problems.
Give opportunity for plenty of exercises
Dogs are naturally playful and love to hunt in the wild. This means they cover vast amounts of land per day looking for food and their mind is built for such. Domesticated dogs don’t need to hunt but that doesn’t mean they don’t need to run around. Most dogs will appreciate a walk twice a day but a dog like a husky needs more than this. Letting your dog exercise enough will make sure they keep fit and keep their muscles strong. Allow them to keep doing the activities they enjoy into old age. The time you spend together on walks will also improve your dog’s sense of well-being; it’s good for you too if you need another reason.
Make sure your dog is vaccinated and take them to the vet regularly
All pets should be taken for a regular checkup to help spot early signs of possible diseases and keep them in the best possible health. We also need to make sure that our furry friends are vaccinated to keep them and other dogs around them safe. Rabies is still a huge problem in developing countries due to lack of vaccines. Without vaccinations dogs anywhere can carry and pass on the disease. So it’s exceedingly important to vaccinate and protect both your dog and others. All dogs are susceptible to preventable illnesses such as gastric torsion. Keep tabs on your dog’s health and be aware if anything changes. Make sure your dog is up to date with these shots to keep them as healthy as possible.
Keep your dog's mouth healthy
We are told to brush our teeth at least twice a day to prevent plaque and keep our teeth strong and healthy. So, why don’t we pay as much attention to our dog’s teeth? Although different from ours and not as prone to cavities, they still require lots of care and there are some easy ways to spot if something is up. If your dog has really bad breath, changes eating habits or starts pawing at its face, get to your vet soon as it may have a bad tooth. Try to check your dog’s mouth once a week and help prevent TV problems by introducing dog-friendly toothpaste and treats that clean its teeth. You may also want to stick to dry dog food as it’s better for teeth than the wet alternatives.
Remember dogs are social animals
Dogs enjoy the company of other dogs or humans. If you leave your dog alone for too long during the day or without the opportunity to play with other dogs or yourself, they can become depressed. Dogs are pack animals and so instinctively want to be part of a group. If you don’t have more than one dog, make sure you spend enough time with it so it doesn’t feel abandoned. And even if you do have more than one dogs, they will all appreciate the time you spend with them. After all, you’re the leader of the pack! Some people remedy this forlorn condition by getting two dogs which does help very often; but you still need to make sure you’re taking your dog out enough to meet and to interact with others of its kind and people.
Train your dog properly
Leaving on from the last point to make sure that your dog interacts with other dogs and the world around it safely. You must make sure you train him properly. We’ve all heard horror stories of dogs attacking other animals or people and the truth is it’s not the animal’s fault but usually a lack of training. Whether you rescue an older dog or get a puppy, you need to start training straight away and make sure you and your pets are on the same page. You can find classes in your local area or read more of our features on tips to train your dog.
Give your dog a suitable place to live
It’s important for your dog to have a space that is just away from people and other animals and where it can relax. Your dog needs a warm comfortable place to sleep or spend time when you’re at work or away from it. Whether your dog lives inside or outside most of the time there are some basic requirements that you need to abide by in a lot of countries. Make sure it has a comfortable dry place to sleep in away from the troubling elements. Imagine how you would feel if you had a dirty bedroom or one where the rain could fall on you. It wouldn’t make you feel cared for at all. It’s the same with your dog. It needs somewhere dry and warm to rest.
That place should also be clean and quiet; your dog should have a place to hide if anything scares it or if it feels unwell. Sometimes we all need some moments alone and if your dog isn’t feeling as sociable for any reason, some minute alone will give it a chance to recuperate. You also need to make sure that its bed is big enough so it can go through a natural routine of turning around a number of times before finally settling down to sleep.
Make sure there's access to fresh clean water at all times
Depending on your dog’s size and the weather conditions you may see its water bowl empty more than you thought you would. Just like you, your dog’s body is made up of around 80% water. To make sure your dog stays hydrated and energetic, keep its water topped up at all times. On average a healthy dog drinks about an ounce of water per pound of body weight each day; a small dog such as a pug or terrier will only need about 500 milliliters per day. However a large dog over 20kilograms, for example, a Labrador or a golden retriever requires around 1.25 to2.5 liters per day, that’s as the same as a human being.
Also, make sure you clean out your dog’s water bowl every day. Germs and bacteria can breed at super speed around the edges of the bowl and if your dog is thirsty, it’ll drink even form that dirty bowl. This can cause stomach upsets or end in dehydration if the dog chooses not to drink. So, use a little soap to clean the bowl every day just like you would clean one of your cups. It may be worth purchasing a collapsible water bowl for times you’re away from its bowl such as on a long walk or playing in the park. Running causes your dog to pant which dries out its mouth. With one of these travel water bowls, you can quickly pop it up, fill it with water and let your furry friend have a nice long drink. It’ll thank you for it and this is how you can also help it avoid dehydration and digestive problems that can occur due to shortage of water.
Never leave your dog alone in a car
A car can become a hot oven in a short amount of time and there are cases every year of dogs dying because they stay in overheat in cars on a hot day. Although you might want to take your dog with you everywhere, if you’re concerned you might have to leave your dog in a hot car while you go shopping or into someone’s house, do not take your dog with you out of your house. Even if it’s only 22 degrees outside it can quickly rise to an unbearable 47 degrees inside your car. Keep your dog at home on hot days and if you need to leave it in the car even for five minutes, make sure the windows are open enough to allow sufficient breeze in; the little soul will feel grateful to you.
Whether you’re a new dog owner or have been owning a dog for years, we hope these tips will help you look after this intimate companion of yours well and keep it in the best possible health. With the right amount of care, you can expect a long and happy life together.
Those were our nine top tips for keeping your dog healthy. Which tips have you found useful? What would you recommend to other dog owners? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to like and share these effective tips.