Healthy Dogs are Happy Dogs!
Don’t you think? If you don’t feel good you’re not happy, right?
So, what about your dog? I’m pretty sure the same goes for them too.
All dogs no matter what breed need certain things to stay healthy and by following these basics it’ll help you to avoid costly vet bills.
So, what do dogs need to stay healthy?
8 Steps to Keep Your Dog Healthy
- Proper Nutrition
- Routine Veterinary Care
- Dental Care
- Safe Dog-Friendly Environment
- Avoid Extreme Heat & Cold
- Love and Attention
Proper Nutrition for Dogs
Just like people, dogs need certain food that will keep them healthier. Diet affects many things such as weight, energy, digestion, and whether their skin and coat is healthy too. There are so many dog foods out there now, it’s sometimes hard to find which one is best for your dogs health.
You can feed your dog kibble or dry dog food if you wish, or you can learn how to make your own homemade foods. It’s really all up to you, but whatever you decide to do, stick with it for at least a month or two before trying a different one.
Otherwise, your dog may end up getting stomach problems such as diarrhea or vomiting. Switching foods suddenly may also cause dogs to have problems such as constipation too. So, switch them over to another food by adding the new one slowly to their diet.
Introducing the New Food
Do NOT let whatever food you’ve been feeding your dog run out completely before you go and change to a new brand. Buy the “new” food ahead of time and add it to the “old” brand of kibble each day gradually adding a little more of the “new” stuff each day. Especially with an older dog since it’s much harder for them, at least in my experience, to adjust to a new diet.
Yes, I’ve made that mistake a very long time ago with one of mine. And, believe me, I learned my lesson. It caused my poor dog a lot of misery, not to mention myself feeling like the worst person in the world. Plus, a nice vet bill to boot!
It was a very expensive lesson indeed…although things turned out alright after visiting the vet, it’s one that I’d rather have you avoid learning by experience with your dog.
When looking at a new diet remember, dogs, like people, need a balanced diet. Look for ones that list the exact meat such as beef, chicken, pork, etc. and not just saying meat, which could be anything. There should also be a bit of vegetables and fruits in the food too.
Avoid dog food containing grains, corn, and soy. These are all fillers and also known to cause allergies. Plus, they give no benefit whatsoever to your dog’s diet or health.
You can always ask your vet for advice on what would be best for your dog based on its weight, age, and any other factors that may affect your dog. Your vet can give you advice on what he or she thinks is a healthy dog food or advice on making your own.
Well, at least they should know…..
Dogs all need at least some daily exercise to keep them in good health. A daily walk will benefit the both of you, so why not? Plus, it will poop your pooch out, which will help in stopping problem behaviors such as chewing, digging, barking, and a lot of other problems.
It’s also a great way to keep your dog from becoming overweight and bored. Even 20 minutes a day will help. Another thing you can do to get your dog some exercise is play games with it such as fetch or frisbee.
Grooming & Dental Care
It’s important to keep your dog well groomed every day. Some breeds may require a bit more work though, while others are quite easy. Dogs with long fur can often be quite a challenge to brush out their coats, especially if you neglect doing it for a day or two, resulting in mats in their fur.
Daily brushing and regular bathing is important to a dog’s health along with keeping fur and nails trimmed as necessary. Some dog breeds are more prone to grow too much hair inside their ears, which can lead to problems such as ear infections, so it’s important to keep ears clean and to trim excess hair.
Clean teeth in dogs is also important in avoiding health issues down the road. Brushing your dog’s teeth will help to avoid cavities and that bad dog breath. Another thing to help keep your dog’s teeth clean is using chew toys, treats, or bones specifically designed for cleaning teeth.
Routine Veterinary Care
Dogs should also be brought in for regular check ups at least once a year. Your vet will be able to check your dog’s overall health such as weight, coat condition, heart, lungs, eyes, and heart. This examination will help your vet find anything that may be starting to be a problem and would continue to grow worse if it’s not caught in time.
Usually this is a good time to get any shots required up to date too. These are often the rabies, distemper, and parvovirus shots. The distemper and parvo shots are often combined which is also know as the DHPP shot. These three are quite often considered necessary, but it would be a good idea to check and see what ones are required or not with your local vet since it depends on what state you live in.
Safe & Dog Friendly Environment
Okay, what does dog friendly mean? Well, consider your dogs as your furless kids. They’ll be more than likely to get into whatever they can whenever they can!
You wouldn’t leave open bottles of medication sitting around a young child, would you? At least I don’t think you’d do that…would you?
Well, I sure hope not!
I’d recommend keeping anything that could be bad for your dog be put away and out of pup’s reach.
These can include things such as cleaning chemicals, plants, electrical cords, chocolate, and of course, medications. I’m sure there are other things that I didn’t mention here, but one thing I’ll say is that many dogs will chew on whatever they can.
Pick up anything that may potentially harm your dog! You’ll never know what may look too mouth watering to resist taking a bite out of for your canine pal. You can read more about how you can stop your dog from chewing on things on one of my previous posts.
Extreme Weather-Too Hot? Too Cold? Or, Just Right?
In my opinion, both extreme heat or cold are bad or even deadly to a pet’s health. Too much heat can cause your dog to become dehydrated very quickly. Another problem that hot weather brings is the chance of heatstroke for your four-legged friend, especially if you leave them in a confined area such as a car.
You wouldn’t sit in a car with a fur coat on when it’s 80-90 degrees out, would you? No? Of course not!
All dogs have a much harder time staying cool when compared to us. They only have sweat glands in their feet and rely on panting to get rid of excess heat. So, whatever you do, don’t leave your dog alone in the car, especially on hot days. It could be fatal.
It’s much safer to leave them at home. Read more about leaving your dog home and keeping it safe while home alone.
Dogs, even ones with long fur, left outside for long periods of time in cold weather can become victims of frost bite or hypothermia. Just because they have fur doesn’t mean they don’t get cold too. Our four-legged friends like to be comfortable too and not left out in the cold while everyone else is in the nice warm house.
I’d recommend to avoid keeping your pup in conditions that you’d feel uncomfortable, especially for any length of time. Ask yourself, “would I want to be here?” before leaving your pet either frying out in the car or freezing outside in below zero weather.
Dogs need Love & Attention too!
So, remember that your dog is a lot like you. To be healthy, it needs proper food, exercise, grooming, dental care, health care, shelter, a safe environment, and last but not least, the love and attention they so well deserve.
They’re our best friends remember? So, treat them like one!
Thanks for reading, my fellow dog lovers. Anything you’d like to add? Advice you’d like to share about dogs? Please feel free to leave any questions or comments you may have below. I’d be delighted to hear from you!
Best wishes to you and your furry friend 🙂 -Sherry