Dog health, like human health, depends on some basic building blocks. As a pet parent, it’s up to you to take responsibility for your canine companion’s well-being. Here are a few things all dog parents should know about dog health that will help provide your pup with a long, happy life.
You Need to Feed Your Dog Well
Why do vets and nutritionists recommend feeding your dog high-quality food? Because good nutrition can lead to better health and a longer life for your dog. A healthy diet helps prevent conditions like cancer, diabetes, obesity, and more.
Some people make their own dog food with the help of their veterinarians. It may take more time, but your dog’s health is worth it. Even mixing in some real meats, fruits and vegetables with regular kibble can help your dog live a longer life.
Cheap foods are often packed with fillers — ingredients that have little nutritional value and only make your dog feel full. Read labels and avoid these if you can.
Exercise Your Dog Daily
Even “couch potato” breeds require regular activity to stay fit, and a daily walk is a minimum requirement for any dog. Active breeds, such as Weimaraners, need multiple chances to exercise each day.
Not giving your dog enough exercise almost guarantees a pet who’s anxious, destructive, and unhappy.
Senior dogs benefit from the physical and mental activity of walks, too. Exercise can fight the effects of arthritis and canine dementia among other conditions.
Keep Your Dog’s Life Interesting
Dogs need to be mentally stimulated to maintain sharp minds, just as people do. So toss them a ball or frisbee, teach them new tricks and regularly run them through old ones, introduce them to other dogs and people, and take them to new places.
If your dog is game, and you are too, you might want to try agility training. A fit mind requires exercise, just like a fit body.
Your dog will no doubt remind you of this the first time they show up carrying their leash.
Practice Health Maintenance
Treat your dog as you would any other member of your family. Find a good vet and make sure your dog is up-to-date on their shots.
Give them monthly heartworm and flea medications or talk to your vet about natural flea and tick preventatives.
Learn how to brush your dog’s teeth. Brush and bathe them as recommended by your vet. Trim your dog’s nails — they shouldn’t be clicking against the ground. Check their ears for debris, infections, or pests, especially after they spend time outside.
Your vet and groomer can help you learn some of these regular health and grooming procedures so you can do them on your own and maintain your dog’s wellness. You’ll prevent a lot of health problems — and expensive vet or groomer bills — down the road.
Prepare to Spend Money
When you first stare into your new furry friend’s eyes, it’s hard to imagine anything but sunny romps through the park. So the reality of caring for a pet may come as a shock to many dog parents, with costs ranging from $1,500 to $9,900 a year.
The expenses are one reason as many as half of all dogs adopted as puppies are surrendered in the first year of their life. So be sure to ask yourself before you get a dog whether you’re ready to spend what it takes.
What other tips do you have for keeping dogs healthy? What do you do to make sure your dog is living their best life? Let us know in the comments below!
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