Healthy Dogs

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Healthy Dogs are Happy Dogs!

8 Steps to Keep Your Dog HealthyDon’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
  • Exercise
  • Grooming
  • 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…..

Daily Exercise

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?

Hot Weather

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.

Cold Weather

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

2 thoughts on “Healthy Dogs”

  1. Hi Sherry,

    We should call you the dog whisperer since you have so much great content here…dogs are such amazing animals who give us so much unconditional love that we just can’t help but love them back. So thank you so much for sharing your knowledge.

    I was hoping you might be able to one day have a page about different species of dogs and which personality types would suite well with which breed of dogs. There are just so many choices now, however it’s good to help narrow down which breeds would be more suitable. I’ve been seeing a lot of video clips of really miniature species of dogs, and was wondering if you knew much about these?

    Keep pumping out some more information, because I’m looking forward to seeing what you have to share in the future.

    • Hi Nam,
      Thank you for such a kind comment and the compliment…I don’t know if I could be considered a dog whisperer, but I try to share what I’ve learned to work with my dogs the best I can. I also do quite a bit of research about dogs to find out better ways to keep them happy, but well behaved…. and share that here as well.

      You’re right, they are amazing animals! All with different personalities, but one thing always remains true to all dogs…unconditional love! It’d be impossible not to love them back, but I guess there are some strange people in the world that don’t like them at all. Very sad life they must have to not know how awesome dogs are…

      That is a great idea, Nam! It would probably help many people out when choosing a dog or puppy. That way they’d be more likely to get a dog more suited to their personality. I do know some breeds are more active and energetic than others, some are more likely to get along with kids, etc.

      Yes, I’ve noticed some of the really miniature type of dogs in videos for quite awhile…but, I’m not too knowledgeable on them specifically yet. If they’re anything like the “toy” breeds though, they probably tend to be rather noisy, and probably not be the best choice to have around small children.

      The smallest breeds I’ve owned over the years were a dachshund, toy poodle, Teddy Bear, and a Shih Tzu. The latter two small dogs are still with us along with two larger dogs. Usually toy breeds are between 3-7 pounds, such as the toy poodles or Yorkies, which are already considered a toy breed. Another one is chihuahuas, ranging between 2-6 pounds according to AKC standards.

      Dogs that are smaller than these aren’t any different, from my understanding. Except since they are so tiny, they’re prone to suffer a lot more health problems and extremely fragile bones than the acceptable toy sizes. Although I admit it… they’re so very cute!

      I wouldn’t recommend getting one.

      Since being that tiny, it’d be much easier for accidents to happen that would cause the dog injury such as broken bones…

      in fact, even my toy poodle had very fragile bones and actually broke her front leg when jumping up on the couch one day. She weighed just under 5 pounds and was extremely healthy and full of energy.
      It just happened that she jumped up and got her leg caught in between the cushions…causing it to fracture. Man, that was a terrible experience!

      I felt so horrible…everyone did. But, we got her to the vet and after x-rays, they put her leg in a cast. She had to wear it for quite awhile. Amazingly, she got used to it and got around like there was nothing wrong. For such a tiny dog, she had a lot of spunk! Boy, I miss her….sadly, she passed away at the age of 15 years about 10 years ago.

      Anyways, you may find this helpful too in understanding more about these extremely tiny breeds on this post Difference Between Teacup & Toy Chihuahuas and another one About Teacup Yorkies

      Thanks again for stopping by and I’d love to hear from you again sometime, Nam! And, thank you so much for the suggestion…

      Best wishes ~Sherry


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