In this article, we will provide you tips for good dog health. When everything is going well, it’s easy to forget how quickly that can change. We want our dogs to be as healthy as possible, for as long as possible. Part of that is simply knowing the difference between a healthy dog and an unhealthy dog, but good care can make a big difference in your dog’s overall health.
Here are ten tips to keep your dog feeling happy and healthy. Read on!
1. Feed good food
While all commercial dog food needs to meet certain nutritional standards in order to be sold as complete dog food, the quality of the ingredients can make a big difference in your dog’s health over time.
The corn that goes into pet food isn’t the same grade of corn that we eat. It can be filled with bugs and mold, and still be considered just fine for your pet. Avoid ingredients that don’t specifically tell you what it is, (i.e., “Meat” instead of “Chicken”) or contains grains for better health.
2. But not too much.
While the dog’s love to eat, and we love to make the dog’s happy, eating too much food can cause obesity. Fat dogs are prone to a number of other health problems. Not only are they more likely to suffer from diabetes and heart disease, but they are more likely to suffer from arthritis and other joint issues. Keeping your dog slim and trim can add years to its life.
3. Add supplements
All dog foods sold commercially are considered complete and balanced. Even so, certain supplements can improve your pet’s health. Fish oil supplements can offer your dogs vital omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are important to your pet’s health, especially in puppies and breeding dogs.
They provide essential DHA for brain development and also help give your dog’s healthy skin and coats. Probiotics are another excellent addition to your dog’s bowl. While they aren’t essential to your dog’s survival, they can help with everything from digestion issues to immunity.
4. Exercise regularly
Exercise is good for every part of your body, regardless of species. A brisk walk will not only help keep your dog slim and trim, but it will also give your dog much-needed enrichment, improve muscle strength, and help your dog’s circulatory system improve in function.
In older dogs, a morning stroll can help limber up joints and reduce discomfort from arthritis and other joint issues. Exercise is good for you too, so take advantage of this health boost and get your dog out there on a daily basis.
5. Regular vet care
We seldom think about vet visits when our dogs are healthy, but getting your dog checked up annually, even if you don’t want to get their vaccines boosted, is important to staying healthy. A vet can spot dog health problems before they become big ones.
It’s much easier to save a dog with cancer in the initial stages than it is when the cancer is advanced and spreading. A simple check now can save your dog’s life, especially as they get older.
6. Pay attention to small signs of illness
Dogs often try to mask symptoms of illness. This natural instinct protects them in the wild, but it can leave owners feeling surprised when they take their dog to a checkup and find out their dog has a broken tooth or even a broken bone and never showed it.
If your dog has any out of the ordinary changes, such as a change in appetite or a sudden behavioral shift, a vet check may be the best place to start. Fixing small problems early is one of the best ways to keep your dog healthy.
7. Give your dog a job
Most of the dogs we know today were selectively bred to be good at a job. Whether it is pulling sleds, hunting, or running behind carriages, they still possess those instincts even now. With their role being switched to family companion rather than working dogs, many have too much energy, and some may end up with mental instability with no outlet for their instincts.
Satisfying this need can be as simple as giving your dog a pack to carry on daily walks—even if they are so small all they can tote is a keychain.
8. Groom it regularly
Even short-coated dogs need regular grooming to remain healthy. Nails left too long can press on joints, causing early arthritis and even deformities. Long coats can quickly become matted, and tight mats can cut into the dogs skin.
While you don’t have to pay for a groomer in order to keep up with your dog’s nails, ears and coat, you do need to make sure the dog is kept groomed—even if it means doing it yourself. Good grooming will greatly improve your dog’s overall health, and contribute to their longevity.
9. Provide enrichment
Your dog’s mental health is as important to their overall health as taking care of their physical bodies. Luckily, it’s also easy to achieve. Giving your dog a change of scenery, such as taking them for a walk, training them for a sport, or simply hiding their treats under a towel, so they have to work to find them, can all contribute to enrichment.
10. Know your breed
Every breed is prone to some genetic traits that make them healthier, and some that make them less healthy. Mixed breeds can get the best, or the worst, of all those genetic traits that go into them. If you have a purebred dog or know what their mix is, it can help you understand what health issues may be most common in your dog breed.
If you know your dog’s breed is prone to heart conditions or bad hips, you can start supplementing your dog with things like taurine or turmeric to help improve their longevity.
Having a dog doesn’t just mean letting it live in your house, it means giving it the best care you are capable of. Luckily, these tips will not only help you enjoy your pet more, but they will also make your dog healthier, so he enjoys life a bit more as well.