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Our dogs are our best friends and our family. They are always there for us, providing love and affection. Naturally, we want them to live long, healthy lives. The best way we can care for our dogs is by taking steps to promote their overall wellness. You can prevent many health problems by supporting your dog’s health throughout its life.
Here are 7 important things you can do to help your pup enjoy the many healthy years to come.
Give Your Dog High-Quality Food and Clean, Fresh Water
Dogs need clean water and good, healthy food. Refill your dog’s water bowl regularly and wash it frequently to prevent buildup. If your pup spends time outside, make sure they have access to clean water. Not only is this important for hydration, but in warmer weather, they will need water to keep from overheating.
Just like people, dogs need nutritious, healthy food in the right amounts. Giving too much food can cause obesity, which causes several health problems, like diabetes. If your food isn’t high-grade, it can lack essential nutrients that your dog needs. The best type of food will vary according to your dog’s stage in life, size, breed, and activity level. Providing adequate food and preventing obesity will go a long way towards preventing health difficulties in the future.
Routine Dental Care
Yes, dogs need dental care too. Our four-legged friends need regular dental checkups, and their teeth brushed, just like we do. Tooth problems can be painful and lead to tooth loss, but there is more; the periodontal disease has been linked to permanent jaw damage and heart disease risks. Things to look for include bad breath, discolored teeth, decreased appetite, or swelling around the mouth. Tooth pain can be excruciating, so it can also cause your dog to seem irritable. If you see any of these signs, call your vet immediately.
The best way to prevent these problems is through regular brushing and annual checkups with your vet. Fortunately, many products on the market – like beef-flavored toothpaste- help brushing your dog’s teeth a little easier.
Veterinary Care and Grooming
Why is it important to have regular veterinary care? Because a vet can help spot problems early and help you come up with a treatment plan as soon as possible. Plus, your pup will need heartworm, flea and tick prevention, and vaccines to keep them safe and healthy. A vet can also assist with other items on this list, like recommending the proper amount of exercise for your dog.
Your dog will also need regular grooming. Some pet owners are comfortable doing this themselves; others would rather have it done by a professional. Some breeds require quite specific care to keep their coats looking their best. Other dogs may need regular nail trims. In either case, keeping up on these tasks is vital to your dog’s long-term health.
Exercise Your Four-Legged Friend
There are many ways to give your furry companion the exercise they need. Walks, games of fetch, and swimming are just a few. Your dog needs exercise to keep their muscles tone and preserve their joints – which becomes of critical importance as they age.
But that isn’t the only reason you need to make sure your pup is getting the exercise they need. Dogs need mental stimulation, which is why walks with your buddy are so important. It is suitable for your dog’s brain to see, smell, and hear things outside your yard.
Plan for the Weather
Both extremes of weather can be hard on your dog, hot summer weather, and cold winters. In the summer, dogs can overheat. Keep an eye out for signs like drooling, excessive panting or breathing problems, increased heart rate, or stupor. If you have a breed with a flat face, like a pug, keep an incredibly close eye on them, since they are more prone to heatstroke. If the weather is scorching, keep your pet indoors except for potty breaks.
If you live in an area with cold winters, there are tips for keeping your dog safe. For example, after a walk, wipe your dog’s feet, legs, and belly down to remove ice, salt, and chemicals used for deicing from their fur. Keep a close eye on their feet’ pads for cracks or redness caused by the cold or these chemicals. Like in hot weather – if it is uncomfortable weather for you, it is also terrible for them. In icy conditions, keep your pets indoors with short bathroom breaks outside.
Spend Time Training Your Dog
Training your dog is not just about having a well-mannered pet; it can be the difference between life and death. Commands like “drop it” or “leave it” are essential if your pooch has something in its mouth that could be detrimental to its health. You will be glad that your dog knows commands like “come” and “stay” when there is danger around.
But training can also be a lot of fun. As mentioned, dogs need stimulation for their brains. They are social creatures, and they love to learn, and it is a great way to strengthen the bond between you. There are many resources online for obedience training or check with your veterinarian for recommendations.
Build a Strong Connection with Your Dog
The best way to maintain your dog’s long-term health and well-being is to build a great relationship with your pet. Dogs want to have close bonds with their people. Training will help you learn to communicate with your dog, but also spend time with them, play with them, and give them love and affection. Not only will this help your dog’s mental health, but it will help yours as well. According to the CDC, studies show that the outstanding bonds people have with their pets lowers stress and increases happiness.
Also, your connection with your pet will alert you when something is wrong. No one knows your dog the way you do. Having a great bond with them means that you will notice when something is amiss. The best way to prevent significant health problems is to catch them early. Your relationship with your pup will let you know if there is a problem.
Our dogs give us so much, so naturally, we want them to be around as long as possible. We want their later years to be long, healthy, and happy ones. You can look after your dog’s long-term health by giving them many of the same things people need – clean water, sound, healthy food, and preventive health care. Fill and wash water bowls regularly. Buy dog food with all the nutrients that your pup needs and feed them in the proper amounts. Do not overfeed them (and this includes treats) since obesity leads to health issues. Of course, if you have any questions about serving sizes, your veterinarian will be happy to help.
Groom your dog as appropriate for their breed, and if you are uncomfortable doing this yourself, chat with someone at a local dog park – dog owners are usually happy to share information and referrals! Of course, if you are out and about, take care in extreme weather conditions. Hot and cold temperatures can be hard on our canine companions. You can also care for their physical and mental health by providing exercise and taking some training classes together. Getting outside together, spending time learning new skills will help build your relationship, which benefits you both in the long term.
Vicki Smirnova is a professional pet writer and Senior Content Editor of ThePets.net. She’s passionate about sharing pet health knowledge to help pet parents to care for their pets. ThePets team includes pet experts who provide reliable information about keeping your animals healthy and happy. Also, become a fan of ThePets on Facebook.