It is important to provide dog wellness to ensure that your dog has a happy healthy life. What is “wellness”? Wellness is defined as a state of being in good health and is most often actively pursued as a goal.
For the dog owner, wellness is an active process of being aware of what a dog needs and making choices toward meeting those needs to optimize a dog’s health and happiness. Dog wellness is a state of physical, social, and mental wellbeing.
Wellness includes many different factors from feeding quality food, providing necessary veterinary care including vaccinations and parasite prevention medications, ensuring your dog has plenty of exercise, protecting him from injury and illness as much as possible, and spending quality time with your dog. This article will provide you with 17 tips to optimize your dog’s wellness and health.
17 Tips to Provide Dog Wellness
- Monitor Your Dog’s Body and Habits. An important part of dog wellness is for you to continuously monitor your dog for changes and abnormal symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, itching, coughing, weakness, lameness, trouble urinating, skin lesions or lumps and anything else that is not normal. Call your vet to have your dog evaluated as needed. Early recognition of problems can help identify problems earlier when they may be more easily treatable.
- Good Nutrition. Ensure you are feeding a quality dog food. Look for an AAFCO approved dog food formulated to meet your dog’s needs. Minimize feeding table scraps and other human foods, especially if you are unsure if they are safe. Here is a good article that answers many questions about feeding dogs. Go to: Common Asked Questions About Feeding Your Dog. Avoid human foods that are toxic such as grapes and raisins. Learn more with this article: Dangerous Human Foods to Dogs.
- Ovoid Obesity. Keep your dog at an ideal weight and avoid obesity. Obesity can cause or exacerbate health problems such as diabetes and arthritis. Learn more about Obesity in Dogs.
- Provide Fresh Clean Water. It is critical to offer plenty of fresh, clean water at all times to provide good dog wellness care. It is also important to monitor your dog’s water intake. If your dog is not drinking or drinking too much, please see your veterinarian. The water should be changed daily.
- Vaccinations & Dewormings. Part of dog wellness is ensuring that your dog is current on vaccines that can prevent disease, have annual fecal and heartworm tests, and are on parasite control medications (for fleas, ticks, and heartworms). Parasite infections should be treated promptly. Vaccine recommendations and parasite control medications will depend on your area of the country and your dog’s risk. For example, dogs that board or are kenneled frequently or go to dog parks are at higher risk for canine kennel cough and the canine flu virus making vaccinations for those diseases a higher priority. Learn more about Keeping Your Dog Healthy: Year-Round Parasite Prevention for Dogs.
- Veterinary Exams. Ensure your dog has at least annual physical examinations. This can help identify problems early when they may be more treatable. During your vet visit, discuss your dog’s risk factors for common diseases based on your location in the country and the dog’s lifestyle. As your dog gets older, a check-up every 6-months is recommended. Learn more about Dog Exams: You Should be Taking Your Pup Every Six Months.
- Grooming and Nail Trims. Grooming consists of combing, brushing, bathing as needed and providing routine nail trims as needed based on wear. While some dogs rarely need bathed, others need it on a regular basis. Weekly if not daily combing and brushing can keep your dog’s skin and coat healthy and provide some quality time bonding with your dog. If you wash your dog, be sure to dry your dog’s ears with a cotton ball after a bath to prevent ear infections. Learn more about Why Grooming Your Dog is So Important.
- Minimize Roaming. Dogs that roam are exposed to toxins and trauma such as dog fights or being hit by a car. Minimize roaming by leash walking your dog or keeping your dog in a fenced-in yard.
- Identify Your Dog. Ensure your dog has identification that includes a tag, collar, and microchip. This can save the life of lost or injured dogs.
- Dental Care. Daily dental tooth brushing helps prevent tartar accumulations and dental disease. Use a toothbrush and toothpaste made for dogs. Periodic professional cleaning by your veterinarian may also be necessary to optimize dental health.
- Exercise and Play. Provide daily exercise as possible based on your dog’s age, breed, and underlying health issues. Playtime is critical to a dog’s mental health. Provide toys and play that suits your dog’s personality. This can differ from dog to dog but can be squeaky toys, fetch toys, chew toys, or puzzles. Learn more about Dog Toys: How to Figure Out What Your Dog Likes Best.
- Potty Time. It is important to give your dog frequent “potty” breaks. This optimizes his comfort and health.
- Keep a Schedule. Stick to a regular schedule as much as possible. While it can be fun to be spontaneous and plan something new for your dog, dogs do like a schedule for feeding, walking, exercise, and potty breaks.
- Train. Provide training so your dog knows basic commands such as sit, come, and stay. This can save your dog’s life and provides structure to your dog’s being.
- Minimize Stress. Some dogs are more prone to stress than others. If your dog gets stressed, then do what you can to minimize those stressful events. If he hates car rides, leave him home. If he hates going to the kennel, see if you can find someone to house sit.
- Provide Comfortable Places to Sleep. Provide your dog with a comfortable safe place to sleep. This is in the house for most dogs but if you have an outside dog, ensure he has a comfortable place to sleep based on the climate and condition. Orthopedic dog beds are available for senior dogs.
- Spend Time. It is important to spend some time with your dog. It is not only good for him, but there are also health benefits for you. Why It’s Important to Spend Time With Your Dog.
We hope these tips help you understand more about dog wellness. If you have additional questions, please contact your veterinarian.
Additional Articles that May be of Interest About Dog Wellness:
- Dog Exams: You Should be Taking Your Pup Every Six Months
- Why Grooming Your Dog is So Important
- Why It’s Important to Spend Time With Your Dog
- Keeping Your Dog Healthy: Year-Round Parasite Prevention for Dogs
- Dog Toys: How to Figure Out What Your Dog Likes Best.
- Choking in Dogs
- The # 1 Dog Emergency Seen in Emergency Rooms
- Diarrhea is the 2nd Most Common Dog ER Visit – What You Should Know
- Not Eating: Third Most common Dog ER Visit & What You Should Know
- How Much Should You Expect For Dog Vet Costs?
- What is Pet Insurance?
- How Does Pet Insurance Work?
- Questions To Ask When Choosing A New Vet