Pet owners need to do more than take their dogs in for yearly wellness checks if they want those furry friends to stay healthy and happy. There are also plenty of things they can do at home to protect against parasites, injuries, diseases, and other issues. Read on to find out about a few great ideas for keeping dogs healthy.
Buy Nutritious Food and Treats
Good nutrition can make a huge difference when it comes to overall health. That means not just buying pups food that contains a good balance of nutrients, but also choosing natural treats and chews. For heavy chewers that love tasty treats, try the antler chews available at Pet Parents instead of buying potentially dangerous chemical-laden chew toys.
Provide Clean Water
Dogs need to drink a lot of water, so they should always have a bowl available. The AKC estimates that dogs should drink ½ oz to 1 oz of fresh, clear water per pound of body weight per day, but puppies need to drink more, as do dogs that live in hot climates. If a dog isn’t drinking enough water, even when it’s easily accessible, schedule an appointment with the vet as soon as possible, as it could indicate a serious underlying health problem.
Dogs need physical activity every day, and some breeds require hours of exercise to maintain optimal health. Routine exercise can include walks, runs, games of fetch, or even tug-of-war in the back yard. Many breeds also love swimming, hiking, and other intensive activities, which can also be very beneficial for their health. Consider the dog’s breed and its unique personality when deciding how much and what kind of exercise to incorporate into its daily routine.
Stay on Top of Grooming
Routine grooming isn’t just the best way for pet parents to keep their animals looking their best. It’s also essential for dogs’ health and safety. Grooming helps to prevent parasite infestations, reduces skin problems, and helps pet owners identify potential issues like hot spots and skin conditions early. When grooming a dog, don’t forget to have its nails trimmed to prevent breaks and infections.
Ensure Good Oral Hygiene
Getting a dog started with good brushing habits while it is young can be extremely beneficial. Many pet owners assume that dental problems won’t come up until their animals get older. This is often the case, but it’s better to take a proactive approach by brushing the dog’s teeth frequently and having them professionally cleaned according to the vet’s recommendations.
Pay Attention to Paws
Pet owners who live in especially hot or cold environments should pay extra attention to their dogs’ paws. They may need to purchase booties or musher’s wax to prevent cracking and irritation of the pads. Dog owners in all climates should check their pets’ paws periodically to make sure they are healthy.
Keep Up With Vaccinations
Vaccinations and boosters are usually administered at the vet during annual wellness exams. All dogs should be vaccinated against dangerous diseases like parvo, distemper, adenovirus, and rabies, and pet owners may want to consider administering non-core vaccines, as well. These include vaccines against bordetella, Lyme disease, leptospirosis, canine influenza, and more.
The Bottom Line
Owning a dog comes with responsibilities. Pet owners need to make sure their animals are well-fed, well-groomed, have access to water, get plenty of exercise, and receive medical attention at the first sign of trouble.