Taking care of your furry companion is about more than simply giving it love and affection. Our loyal companions who love us unconditionally can sometimes be a source of stress for owners since they require a great deal of care. Your dog looks to you for all of its needs. As a result, you have a responsibility to ensure they are happy and healthy. Here’s a guide to ensure your dog is as healthy as it can be during its lifetime.
Find The Best Veterinary Care
A capable and experienced veterinary practice builds a robust foundation for your dog’s health throughout its life. You should start by researching your local surgeries to find someone you can trust and who is available for regular visits. As a general rule, your dog should have a routine check-up with the vet at least once a year, so finding someone reliable is essential.
If you are a new dog owner who has just got a new puppy, you will need to get your pet vaccinated. They will also need to receive protection against heartworm from a veterinarian. On top of this, your dog will also likely need to receive flea and tick treatment. You should discuss the best options for your dog’s lifestyle with the vet for all of these.
While an adult dog will only need a routine check-up every year or so, a puppy needs to go to the vets every few weeks for the first few months you have it. This is primarily to get their vaccinations done, but the veterinarian will also check that they are developing and growing correctly.
During annual check-ups for adult dogs, the healthcare provider will assess their physical condition and thoroughly check for internal parasites and heartworms. As your companion gets older, your vet might recommend switching to six-monthly visits coupled with annual lab testing of their organ function. Since dogs age relatively quickly, they can experience sharp declines in their health. As such, lab testing will help you and your vet to identify potential conditions early on.
Optimal Nutrition Enhances Health
Much like humans, a dog’s diet can dictate its overall health. As a result, proper nutrition is essential if you want your pet to be as healthy as it can be. There are several things you can look out for that might indicate some deficiency in your companion’s diet. For example, if you notice abnormalities in your dog’s coat, weight or energy levels, it could be a sign to switch up what you’re feeding it.
You should find high-quality dog food from a reputable manufacturer for your pet. Time for Paws offers a diverse range of nutritionally complete dog foods to suit your pet’s requirements. Otherwise, if you want to have complete control over your dog’s diet, you could talk to your vet about nutritionally balanced homemade dog foods.
If you decide to change your dog’s diet, ensure that you monitor their response to the change over the following four to eight weeks. You should look out for any changes to their coat condition, energy levels or fluctuations in weight.
If you spot any negative responses to the change in diet, you should probably shop around for different food. Additionally, you should gradually change what you feed your dog, as a sudden change could trigger diarrhoea and vomiting.
Your Pet Needs Regular Exercise
Again, like us, dogs need to exercise regularly to maintain their health and fitness. The problem here is that many dog owners massively underestimate how much physical activity their pet actually requires.
Not only is exercise vital for your dog’s physical wellbeing, but an underactive dog may also be prone to undesirable behaviours. For example, dogs that do not get enough exercise can become bored quickly, meaning they will often engage in destructive behaviour. Ultimately this can lead to more significant issues such as severe separation anxiety and antisocial behaviour.
If you have followed the previous step, your pet should have plenty of energy. Your dog needs to expend this energy through vigorous exercise if you don’t want it to take it out on your furniture.
Generally, dogs need between one and two hours of exercise per day. However, this is highly dependent on the breed, size and age of the animal. You should be able to work out the optimal amount of exercise your dog needs through experience.
Doggy Dentistry Is Necessary
Many dog owners neglect their pet’s teeth until they become problematic. Additionally, many owners complain about their companion’s breath without taking any steps to rectify the issue. There is a common misconception that bad breath is normal in dogs, but this is untrue. In fact, it is a sign of dental problems such as plaque and tartar build-up.
Having a dental care routine for your dog will improve their breath and preserve their health in the long term. You can brush your pet’s teeth, use special rinses and give them dental treats to promote good oral hygiene. Ultimately, something is always better than nothing since dental disease could be a potentially dangerous condition for your dog.
Get Your Pet Groomed
Regular grooming isn’t a practice that should be exclusively reserved for show dogs. All canines companions need some degree of physical maintenance. The amount and regularity of grooming often depend on what breed your dog is. However, other considerations can affect this, like health conditions and allergies.
Most dogs will only need regular baths and their nails trimmed. If you have a short-haired dog, you should aim to brush their coat every week or so. Long-haired breeds will need this daily. For dogs that do not moult, you should schedule a haircut every four to six weeks.
Keep An Eye On Your Pet
Overall, the best thing you can do to promote a healthy lifestyle for your dog is to remain vigilant of warning signs. Your pet cannot tell you when it is feeling unwell, so it is your responsibility to keep an eye on their wellbeing and react to any changes in their behaviour or condition.