As summer approaches, dog owners are looking forward to spending time in the sun with their furry friends. Seeing as the summer is when your dog is likely the most active, it will be important to remember what it takes to keep a dog healthy as they age. Let’s take a look at some easy ways that you can maintain your dog’s health this summer.
Finding a Healthy Balanced Diet
The foundation of canine health starts with a nutritious diet.. Just like with humans, your dog will require a variety of nutrients, vitamins and minerals to promote proper organ function.
Choosing the right dog food can be overwhelming when presented with all the options, especially if your dog has any special dietary needs. If you are looking for standard dry food, make sure to pick a brand that features the “complete and balanced” AAFCO certification on the bag. This certification guarantees that the ingredients within the dog food will provide your dog with the recommended amount of nutrients each day. Even if a bag has this label, be sure to conduct a further search into the exact ingredients included.
If you happen to change your dog’s food, be mindful of how they react to the new food. Sudden changes to a dog’s food can lead to health issues such as lack of appetite, soft stool, vomiting, and bloating.. If any of these symptoms arise, stop giving your dog the new food. Most often, these symptoms arise in dogs with food sensitivities or allergies, but consulting with a professional is always a good idea.
Preventing obesity with your dog also starts with diet. One of the most common causes of canine obesity is being overfed and table scraps. Refrain from doing this as it adds an excessive amount of extra calories to your dog's diet and could trigger a negative health reaction. It’s difficult to resist that adorable puppy stare at dinner time, but giving in will only teach them that begging behavior is acceptable!
Keep Those Furry Legs Moving!
There’s no better time to get your pup moving than in the summer! Make sure you have at least a minimum of 30 minutes each day to unleash their energy. If you can, aim for a session of up to two hours of play on days when you are off of work or other responsibilities. Whether it’s indoor or outdoor activities, this allotted playtime is crucial for your dog’s fitness, and overall health.
Summer days can quickly turn into rainy, muddy messes, which can result in a cut in your dog’s playtime. Thankfully, there’s a handful of indoor dog gym equipment to keep your furry friend occupied. If space allows, make a sizable clearing in a basement or spare room for a dog treadmill or exercise wheel. Be sure to get one that suits your dog's size to ensure their safety and comfort. Another great indoor toy for dog fitness is a robotic treat dispenser. These toys are now smartphone friendly, which means you control it from your couch and your dog chases it around the house to earn its treats!
On the days when the weather is cooperating, there are a variety of activities to get you and your companion moving. Besides playing with your dog on your own, bring them to a dog park this summer.. Dog parks usually require a leash at all times, but will allow your pup to socialize with other dogs through play. Your dog may even make a friendship with another group of dogs that can play with in the future..
Having playtime in the backyard is just as beneficial, and your dog will appreciate playing in the comfort of its own environment. Backyard playtime can be as simple as grabbing a tennis ball and teaching them to play fetch. If you find your throwing arm exhausted, consider using an automatic ball thrower to keep your reps down. These prove to be a valuable addition to your dog fitness equipment and will keep them occupied while you enjoy the beautiful weather.
If you lack the comfortable backyard space for playtime, hook your companion to a leash and take a walk or run through town. On especially hot days, bring a water bottle to keep you both hydrated. Try to get your dog to use the bathroom on your property before you do, neighbors don’t take kindly to any unwarranted deposits on their lawn.
Call the Vet with Any Health Concerns
Even though summer is a great time to unwind your dog, it also exposes them to potential dangers such as ticks, fleas, snakes, spiders and more. Research what insects and other possible wildlife inhabit your area that could pose a threat to dog health. One of the most common insects that target dogs are ticks. Each year the tick population can alter from region to region, but you can check this map to see if ticks live in your region. Always check your dog following any outdoor playtime; the sooner you find a tick, the better. If you do find a tick on your dog, make sure to follow best practices for removing a tick.
Besides health concerns arising from ticks and other pests, there are a variety of issues that can happen to your dog, seemingly out of the blue. As a reference, here are some symptoms worth memorizing that can identify health concerns, such as:
- Refusing food
- Changes in bathroom habits
- Eye appearance
- Vomiting and retching
- Wheezing and coughing
If your dog is experiencing any of these symptoms, get in touch with your vet. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, as these smaller symptoms can be confronted in early stages to ensure a full recovery, no matter what might be ailing them.
Getting your dog checked sooner than later is always a good idea. Health concerns can quickly progress in animals. Sadly, pet owners are often forced to forego the vet due to the extremely high costs associated with pet care. In cases where surgery is required, a vet bill quickly can exceed a thousand dollars, which many Americans don’t have on backup for their pet health emergencies. In these situations, something like a low-interest rate personal loan can be used to offset any outstanding vet costs. Leaning on outside funding will allow you to get your dog cared for now, while paying for it over time.. If an outside loan is not something you want to explore, consider talking with your vet to see if they offer any financing plans. Any dog owner knows we’d do anything to keep our loyal, furry friends as happy and healthy as we can.