Our dogs bring a lot of love into our lives, and the best thing we can do to repay them is to keep them as healthy as possible. Since our pets can’t run up to us and tell us what’s wrong or what they need, it’s important to pay attention to your dog’s health.
Read on and we’ll give you some basic but essential tips that’ll improve your dog’s health and keep it that way.
1. Daily Walks Are Mandatory
Your dog needs exercise.
Walks are the usual fare, and they should be taken daily. Daily walks help to control their weight, keep their heart healthy, and generally keeps them mobile. A bit of movement is the foundation of a dog’s health, and skipping walks isn’t just a bad idea, it’s unfair to the animal.
Half an hour per day is ideal for the average dog. Most experts recommend splitting this into two smaller walks. High-energy dogs may require up to double this, and senior dogs will require less. In the latter case, you’ll want to walk for as long as they’re comfortable. A dog will naturally not be able to exercise as much when they enter their golden years and many may develop joint issues as the get older.
When you go for walks, try new places, and keep your dog engaged. While most dogs are always eager to hit the road, they’ll still get bored with walking the same route all the time. Get out there and find some new places to walk. You can even take them on a hike if they’re in shape! City dwellers may have to try starting from different locations, so don’t be afraid to drive to a new park.
Walks are a mandatory part of owning and maintaining a dog’s health, but certainly not an onerous one, particularly if you take the time to make things more fun for both of you!
2. Take an Interest in their Diet
There’s more to feeding your dog than a big bag of cheap kibble. You need to focus on both your dog’s needs and ensure that there are high-quality ingredients in their bowl when it’s time for a meal.
You’re looking for natural ingredients, but many dogs also don’t do well with grains or specific meats. Allergies almost always manifest in their skin and coat, so keep an eye on those. If your dog is itching constantly or losing hair, then you may be looking at food allergies. Grain allergies are the most common, but certainly not the only ones.
You’ll also want to avoid those foods which claim to be “better” but just put a hole in your pocket. Don’t trust the advertising on the front of the package, the real nutritional information is in the small print on the sides or back of the bag. The main ingredient should be some kind of real meat, not meal, and the protein content should be high. Corn, oats, and other filler grains are the hallmarks of low quality dog food. If you’re not sure what an ingredient is, make a note of it—before you buy it—and do some research.
Take an interest in your its food, and you’ll be surprised at the difference it makes to your dog’s health.
3. Regular Vet Visits
Every responsible owner has taken their animal in for their basic shots while they were young. But how often have you been back to see the vet since? And was it just for an emergency?
If it’s been a while, then you need to get in the habit of regular examinations for your dog. A veterinarian can catch problems before they become more serious, as well as giving you other recommendations about how to take care of your dog’s health.
A vet is no less important than our doctors. Make sure that you spend some time trying to find a good one, and then keep going back for your dog’s sake!
And just like you do with your own health, make sure you follow their directions.
4. Orthopedic Dog Beds
Your dog’s bed has a huge impact on their health.
While they’re expensive, orthopedic dog beds have been proven to help reduce pain, promote better sleep, and even help avoid some health problems down the line. Hip dysplasia and arthritis, for instance, can be helped by a memory foam dog bed. Plus, who doesn’t want their dog to have a good night’s sleep and be a bit sprier after waking up?
Orthopedic dog beds vary in quality and price, although, however much you spend, make sure it’s appropriately sized, and has about 2-3” of memory foam on top of regular foam. It makes big difference.
5. Supplement Their Diet
In addition to a good and healthy diet, you also need to make sure that your dog is able to get their vitamins and minerals. While the majority of commercial foods do this, your dog may be lacking in certain areas, or the breed may be prone to certain diseases. Your vet will be able to advise you further about this.
There’s a supplement for everything. Vitamin E and K for eyes, antioxidants for the heart, even calcium for growing good boys and girls.
That said, you still want to avoid overdoing it with any supplement. Check with your vet to see if there’s anything you should avoid giving your dog. Overly high calcium, for instance, is extremely problematic in canines.
Supplements are doubly important for growing animals. Your dog needs to have the right nutrients, otherwise they’ll never reach their full physical potential.
Improving and keeping our dog’s health in tip-top condition is a simple matter. Spending time getting them in good health early on will insure that your dog is much less prone to serious health problems down the line.