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Keep Your Dog Healthy With Routine Health Care
As a dog owner, you are responsible for keeping your dog healthy with routine health care. This includes so much more than just diet and exercise. Much of a dog’s care can depend on its age and general health. It can also be driven by your work or social schedule. Either way, you should keep the following in mind to help
make sure your dog lives a happy, healthy and long life. So, in no particular order:
- Be careful– Dogs are actually great communicators, if you pay attention. This is true from ‘puppyhood’ to their older years. You will learn their attitude at different times of the day. Changes in this can be a change in health. Look for decreased energy, a weak coat, excessive weight gain or loss, unusual growth, restlessness/anxiety or even the loss of the usual spark in the eye. If you are already a dog owner, you will know what I mean. In any case, seek the advice of your dog’s health care professional.
- Set a daily routine– The love routine of dogs. It is through this routine that they understand their role in your family (read Pack). Create a morning, afternoon and evening series of events that your dog will respect and look forward to, such as:
- Morning walks and bright toys.
- Feeding – Depending on the age and health of your pet, daily feeding times and amounts vary. In any case, ensure that the feedings are earned with a simple wait command for a short moment before the feeding can begin. Some animal behaviorists argue that your pet should never be fed in front of you and your family, re-enacting the Pack process in the wild.
- Potty time. Again, this will depend on the age and health of your pet. In general, our experience is that a puppy needs a break of one hour before its monthly age. For example, a two-month-old puppy will need a break approximately every two hours; a three month old will require a break every three hours, and so on. Adult dogs will usually need about 2-3 breaks per day depending on time of year, food and water intake, etc.
- Evening Playtime – Your dog will want to play with you, especially when you are away for the day. Establish a playtime/routine that will convey to your dog that this is a time to expect happiness. Also to help with the understanding that there is also a need for downtime so that you can be at home with your other obligations or interests.
- Bedtime On Time – Just like humans, bedtime at a regular time in the evening is preferred. Have your pet either kenneled or directed to his “lay” space at approximately the same time each night. Make sure they have done their business and have not been overly excited for this time.
- Kenneling– This becomes the much more common way for your pet to train and be housed in doors. It has been our experience that a dog, when properly introduced to a kennel, will heartily accept it as a safe, comfortable place to occupy. Let your pet run the house, especially since a puppy or younger dog makes house training more difficult. The kennel represents a positive place for you to put your dog between feeding / potty trip early and also a place for an older dog to rest, sleep or just chill. The size of the kennel is very important and depends on the size of your pet. Seek the advice of your salesperson prior to purchase.
- Choose healthy, age-appropriate dog food– This is so important for your dog. The saying that we are what we eat also applies to your pet. Take some time to read the label of various dog foods at your place of purchase. You will be shocked at the ingredients found in the offerings. Price is also not an indicator of healthy food. Naturally, natural ingredients are the best. The better the food intake, the better your dog will look, feel and act. This is very important folks!
- Exercise your dog – Exercise yourself– Your pet will need exercise. Some breeds do need less exercise, but in general all dogs need some exercise. Besides the physical benefits of the routine, don’t underestimate the psychological benefits either. A dog without exercise will sometimes become frustrated, anxious or even aggressive. Also, every time you walk or play with your pet you increase the bond between you. This is emotionally beneficial for both of you. Finally, every step you take during this routine is a step closer to good health for you. Change the routine if you can. It will be more comfortable and interesting for your dog.
- Toys should be age appropriate– Age-inappropriate toys can actually be dangerous for your dog. Certain types of raw bones, after being chewed by a puppy, can become lodged in the throat and pose a considerable threat. Dogs at every age plateau have unique needs and abilities with respect to toys. They can help stimulate, train, structurally develop and entertain your pet. The use of toys is also important. For example, it has been suggested that playing tug of war with your pup and letting them drag the toy away from you may send the wrong message. It can learn that it can beat you or dominate that particular exercise. Check with your Veterinarian for advice in this area.
- Prevention saves money and extends life– Regular check-ups with your vet are absolutely essential for the quality of life for your dog. Apart from the physical assessment that will be taken, this is a good opportunity for the following:
- Update vaccinations and apply boosters as needed
- Treatments for ticks, heartworms and fleas can be applied
- Bloodworm tests and fecal evaluation can be done
If there is a problem, chances are it will be diagnosed, treated and resolved quickly, saving you unnecessary discomfort, trauma or a more serious outcome down the road.
- Grooming is more than just looking good– Regular grooming is important on a number of levels. You want your dog to look good and this will do the trick. If you decide to do this yourself, it is another opportunity to increase the bond you have with it. In addition, the groomer may be able to detect any unusual skin problems that may be brought to your attention and assessed by your veterinarian. Caring for your pet can be as expected as a long-awaited massage for you. Most dogs will love the attention. This is also a time to trim nails. This is important for your dog’s health. Do not trim them well or very rarely can hurt your pet or actually affect his ability to walk, walk or remain stable on certain types of floor. Regular trimming reduces this.
Just a few ideas that will help you keep your dog healthy with routine health care. It takes some work and attention, but the benefits for your dog are huge. This is your mate after all. Do everything you can to give it a long, healthy and happy life.
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