For dog owners, ensuring pet health is always a work in progress, requiring awareness of your dog’s ever-changing needs and the ability to make informed choices that will benefit your dog’s health and happiness.
Overall dog health requires a nutritious diet, adequate veterinary care, frequent exercise, and quality time with loved ones. However, some of the best ways to provide your dog with emotional and physical “wellness” may not be as obvious as you think.
Here are Tips for Improving Dog Health:
- Monitor your dog’s body and habits. Always monitor your dog for changes in behavior and abnormal symptoms such as vomiting, excessive itching, or skin lesions. Early recognition of problems can lead to faster treatment and a higher potential for restoration to health.
- Encourage good nutrition. Ensure that you are feeding your pet a high-quality dog food brand by confirming that it’s approved by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Also, minimize feeding table scraps and other human-oriented foods to your dog, especially if you are unsure of their safety.
- Combat excessive weight gain. Keep your dog at an ideal weight for their breed through exercise and diet, as obesity can cause or exacerbate health problems, such as diabetes and arthritis.
- Always provide fresh, clean water. It is critical to offer your dog plenty of fresh, clean water at all times. You should also monitor your dog’s water intake, to assure that they’re not over or under consuming liquids on a daily basis.
- Keep up on vaccinations and dewormings. Your dog should be kept current on their vaccines, as well as receive annual fecal and heartworm tests. Additionally, dogs that are active outdoors should be on parasite control medications.
- Schedule regular veterinary visits and examinations. Maintain annual veterinary visits with physical examinations, and discuss your dog’s risk factors for common diseases based on your location in the country and the dog’s lifestyle. As your healthy dog ages, scheduling bi-annual appointments may be recommended.
- Acclimatize your dog to grooming and nail trimming. Grooming consists of brushing, bathing as needed, and frequent trimming of the nails. Though some dogs may balk at the idea of being groomed by a stranger, the process is vital to maintaining physical health and avoiding skin or fur-related maladies.
- Minimize roaming. Dogs that roam can be exposed to toxins and trauma, both from their environment and other canines. Minimize roaming by walking your dog on a leash or letting them play in a fenced-in yard.
- Identify your dog. Ensure that your dog has identification, which includes a tag, collar, and microchip. These items can save the life of a lost or injured dog.
- Maintain dental health. Daily tooth brushing helps prevent tartar accumulation and other dental diseases. Periodic professional cleaning by your veterinarian can also help to optimize dental health.
- Exercise and play. Create an exercise regimen that’s appropriate based on your dog’s age, breed, and physical ability. Playtime is critical to a dog’s mental health, so providing toys and other play items that suits your dog’s personality can be a great way for them to have fun, even without their owner.
- Prioritize bathroom breaks. It is important to allow your dog frequent trips outside to relieve themselves. If you have a fenced-in yard, installing a doggy door can let them go out on their own accord.
- Keep a schedule. Try to stick to a schedule as much as possible. While it can be fun to be spontaneous and plan something new, your dog thrives on routine for comfort and stability.
- Consider training. Provide training at an early age, if possible, so that your dog knows basic commands such as sit, come, and stay. This can save your dog’s life in an emergency, and helps to provide your pet with structure.
- Minimize stress. Your dog may be prone to anxiety. If your dog gets stressed, do what you can to minimize triggering events. Some events, like thunderstorms, are unavoidable, so provide a space for your dog where they can hide and feel safe during these times.
- Provide comfortable places to sleep. Provide your dog with a comfortable and safe place to sleep. Allowing them to sleep with you is perfectly fine, but make sure that they also have a specific area to call their own.5