We all know the adage, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Although it may seem cliché, following this advice is the best way to ensure the long term health of your faithful friend. If we wait until our dog shows signs of illness to focus on his health, sadly, it may be too late.
Following a few simple guidelines will set your dog up for a healthy and happy life by your side.
Well Balanced Diet
Providing a nutritious and well balanced diet for your canine companion is important to their quality of life. Thousands of dog food options are available and it can be tough to know which one is best for your pooch. Start by reading the dog food labels and pay attention to the content of the food.
- Select dog food with meat listed within the first two or three ingredients.
- Avoid dog food that contains high amounts of preservatives or fillers.
- Before you decide to purchase a particular dog food, check with Dog Food Advisor to make sure there are no recalls.
If you decide to make your own dog food at home, use recipes that are complete and balanced so that your dog doesn't begin to suffer from any nutrient deficiencies.
Visit the Vet Regularly
If your dog is healthy and you don't have any concerns, a visit to your veterinarian for an examination is recommended at least once a year. Your pet will be examined for any health concerns, will be given any necessary vaccines, and will be inspected for parasites (fleas, ticks, etc.). Even if you feel that your dog is in perfect health, yearly exams are essential for early detection of any problems that may arise.
Exercise Your Dog
Provide ample opportunity for your dog to engage in vigorous exercise at least once per day. It is important for your pup to get their heart rate up a bit and move their muscles. Here are a few of our favorite ways to exercise our dogs:
- Run with your dog. Besides the amazing health benefits that come from running with your dog, this is a fun way to connect with your dog and keep yourself healthy. Grab the perfect leash and your running shoes and head out for some fresh air.
- Create an obstacle course. If your high energy dog likes to jump and crawl, construct an obstacle course for them and train them to navigate through it quickly.
- Play fetch. This simple game is irresistible for most dogs. Fetch is perfect in short intervals when your schedule permits.
Try a few different activities to learn which form of exercise is your dog's favorite and then make it routine.
Provide Clean Drinking Water
If you wouldn't drink it, don't give it to your dog. Sadly, all sources of water are not appropriate for drinking. Common drinking water contaminants include:
Any of these chemicals are toxic and can cause short term issues, like vomiting or nausea, and also chronic effects. If you are unsure about the water quality, it is best to share your bottled water with your pup.
Play with Your Dog
Not only do dogs require physical activity, but they also need mental stimulation. Playing with your dog is the best way to show him that you love him and provide the engagement that he needs to thrive.
- Hide his toy and encourage him to sniff it out.
- Play tug of war.
- Introduce a doggie activity board.
All of these activities allow you to spend quality time with your dog while exercising and stimulating their brain.
All dog owners want their dogs to live long, healthy, happy lives. Follow these guidelines, and your tail-wagging companion will have his or her best chance at excellent health.