We all know that different dog breeds live longer than other breeds. Did you know that there are some important things that you can do to ensure that your dog lives a long and healthy life no matter what their breed is.
Your dog has to 100% rely on you to be make the decisions that allow your dog to be a healthy dog. They can’t make those decisions for themselves, so remember that.
The best way to keep your dog healthy can be done by following some easy steps right from day one of getting your dog. You don’t want to end up with issues early on with your new dog.
From the very beginning of getting your new dog, you want to have a good Veterinarian that will be looking after your dog’s medical needs.
Puppies require multiple Vet visits as they reach certain milestones with their age. The first visit will be a welfare or puppy check. The Vet does a once over of your puppy, just to check the basics like heart rate, ears, eyes and abdomen.
Most of the visits after the first visit will be for their required vaccinations, which are super important in protecting your dog from things like Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis Parvo and Parainfluenza (DHLPP) as well as Rabies.
They vaccinations are very important and until your puppy get these shots, it is crucial that you keep them away from dog parks as well as other dogs for their own safety.
Even if, you didn’t get a puppy and opted to rescue an older dog you will still need to make sure that you take your dog to your vet for an initial check up.
Depending on where you got your dog from, you may or may not get a medical history. Talking to your Vet about their age and any issues that you know of that you may be concerned about. Give them all the information that you do have and then they can do a health check for themselves to see if they can spot any health issues.
Once you have gone through those first steps with all the vaccinations, you will need to keep a yearly visit with your vet.
The other very important Vet visit is to ensure that your puppy or rescue dog has been spayed or neutered. With a puppy it is usually around 5 mos old or so. If you have a rescue dog it is still just as important to make sure they are spayed or neutered as soon as possible.
Being a respectful dog owner, means that you need to help control the overwhelming pet population that exists in the world today. Do your part and get your dog fixed. Yes it does cost a pit of money for this one time procedure, but it really is a must expense, so make sure to budget for that when considering getting a new dog.
Diet and exercise.
It is no secret that what you feed your dog every day will have a huge impact on healthy your dog will be. When it comes to picking good dog food, it is important to do your homework.
Feeding your dog food that comes from a grocery store really should not even be an option. It is full of fillers like corn, corn syrup and animal by-products.
Giving your dog cheap and food that lacks any real ingredients will only lead to diarrhea, a bad coat of hair and absolutely no nutrition for their body at all, which of course will cause health issues.
Choosing dog food that has real meat and ingredients that you can read off the label is the absolute right choice. You don’t have to buy the most expensive dog food on the market, but you do need to spend a bit of money to honestly get what you pay for.
Many people are now choosing to feed their dogs a raw food diet which offers an excellent choice if that is something that you think will work for you. There are some great companies that will even do all the work for you and ship right to your house. TruDog is one of those great companies.
Another choice with dog food, is you can make your own dog food, which again will work very well for your dog and has some great health benefits. This all depends on whether that is something you would be interested in doing.
There are many reasons why choosing a good diet for your dog will benefit them. What your dog eats affects everything from a healthy coat of hair, their skin, their teeth and overall body weight.
Just like humans, if you fill your body full of junkie food with no nutrition, it can lead to health problems like obesity or just overall bad health. The same thing applies to our dogs. Fill your dog with a good diet and your dog will thank you, by not needing multiple visits to vet which in turn saves you money.
We know that food is important to overall health, but proper exercise, is also very important. Maintain a healthy weight for your dog by regular exercise and mental stimulation. When your dog does not get the exercise they need, they can easily become overweight which will lead to numerous health issues and a shorter life span.
It is no secret that exercise is the key to success with your dog. Running, walking, biking, or throwing a ball or Frisbee around the yard are all easy excellent ways to get the proper exercise for your dog. A dog that has pent-up energy that isn’t released, can lead to things like behaviour issues and even separation anxiety.
Ideally your dog should get about 1-2 hours a day of exercise. I realize that some days this isn’t possible with our life’s busy schedule, so try to do your best for your dog.
Table food and teeth.
Keeping with the food theme and your dog, if you choose to feed your dog human food that decision alone could come back to haunt you. Dogs are not meant to eat our food if they were there would be no dog food on the market.
Feeding your dog human food can lead to dental issues within a few years. When it comes to dog’s teeth, plague can build up very quickly from table food and that leads to expensive vet bills.
Talking about table food and their teeth leads us right into the next really key thing that will keep your dog healthy…..cleaning their teeth. Yes it is expensive to get their teeth cleaned, but honestly it is one of the BIG things that can extend the life of your pet.
Dog’s that have never had their teeth cleaned can quickly develop major health issues like heart disease, bacteria that can cause an infection and even diabetes. If you can start cleaning your dogs teeth around 2 -3 years old and continue doing so every other year, you will be amazed at how healthy your dog’s teeth will be.
When it comes to my own 2 dogs, I will admit at times to giving them food like raw carrots, cucumbers and even the odd piece of cheese. Once in a while, it is certainly okay to do, but try to limit is to just small amounts as a reward or treat.
Sticking to a routine of dental cleaning and limited amounts of table food, will definitely pay off with our dog’s overall health.
Making sure that your dog is groomed on a regular basis can go a long way to ensuring an overall healthy dog. Depending on the breed of your dog, will determine how often they need to be professionally groomed, unless of course you are going to groom your own dog.
Either way, the decision to regularly groom your dog will ensure that their hair, nails, and ears are all clean. Doing this often, will also give you the opportunity to check for ticks, fleas and any other issue that your dog may have.
I get my dogs groomed every 3-4 mos or so, but I also make sure to do my own regular brushing of their beard for matts, trim their eye hair, check hair that is getting out of control around the feet and but.
The other major reason for keeping your dog groomed is that is will promote a positive attitude in your dog. A dog does not want to be matted, dirty, stinky or overall unclean. They also feel pride when they are clean and well manicured, like a spring in their step. Your dog’s joy and positive attitude will play a huge role in their quality of life.
Overall health plan.
All of these categories I have laid out are some of the most important things you can do for your dog to ensure that they live a long and healthy life.
Some key things that you can do as part of your overall dog health plan is to routinely check your dog over. Watch for any warning signs with your dog that indicate that they are in distress. They can’t tell you what is wrong, so watching closely for any changes in their behaviour.
Keeping an eye to see if they are eating and drinking normally. Even keeping an eye open for any physical changes to their body that can pop up. Any limping, excessive panting, scratching their ears or just anything that is out of the normal for your dog.
By checking your dog over thoroughly you can also be on the look out for things like fleas, ticks or any changes to their body. Catching an issue early is always better than having the issue linger on for a longer period of time.
Even if we are able to watch our dogs closely every minute of everyday things can still come up with our dogs health that are completely out of our control. Just like people, dogs can get sick. Having a Vet that you trust will go a long way in your piece of mind and giving your dog the best medical attention you can.
Always be the best dog parent that you can be, your dog’s health and life longevity are at stake. Best of luck!
DOG PARENTS ROCK!