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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 involves much more than regular nutrition 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. Regardless, 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 really great communicators if you pay attention. This applies from ‘puppy’ to their senior years. You will get to know their behavior at different times of the day. Changes in this may signal a change in health. Watch for decreased energy, lackluster coat, excessive weight gain or loss, unusual growths, restlessness/anxiety or even loss of the usual spark in the eye. If you are already a dog owner, you will know what I mean. In all cases, seek the advice of your dog’s health professional.
- Establish a daily routine– The dog’s routine. Through this routine they understand their role in your family (read the Pack). Create a morning, afternoon and evening schedule of events that your dog will respect and look forward to such as:
- Morning walks and light play.
- Feeding – Depending on the age and health of your pet, daily feeding times and amounts vary. In all cases, ensure that feeds are earned with a simple command to wait a short moment before allowing feeding to begin. Some animal behaviorists argue that your pet should never be fed before you and your family, re-imposing the Pack’s process on nature.
- Trivial times. Again this will depend on the age and health of your pet. In general, our experience is that a puppy will need a one-hour break for its monthly age. For example, a two-month-old puppy will need a break about every two hours. a quarter will need a break every three hours, and so on. Adult dogs usually need about 2-3 breaks per day depending on the time of year, food and water intake, etc.
- Evening playtime – Your dog will want to play with you, especially if you’ve been gone all day. Establish a playtime/routine that conveys to your dog that this is a time to look forward to. Also to help you understand that downtime is also needed so you can get on with other responsibilities or interests at home.
- Bedtime – Just like humans, bedtime at a regular time in the evening is preferred. Have your pet either fed or directed to the ‘lying down’ area around the same time each night. Make sure they’ve done their work and haven’t gotten too excited before then.
- Dog breeding– This is becoming the most preferred way for your pet to be door trained and housed. It is our experience that a dog, if properly introduced to a kennel, will heartily accept it as a safe, comfortable place to occupy. Allow your pet to run the house, especially as a puppy or younger dog will make house training more difficult. The kennel represents a positive place to put your dog early between feeding/potty and also a place for an older dog to rest, sleep or just relax. The size of the kennel is very important and depends on the size of your pet. Ask your sales representative for advice before purchasing.
- Choose healthy, age-appropriate dog food– This is so important for your dog. The saying that we are what we eat applies to your pet as well. Take a moment to read the label of the various bags of dog food at your place of purchase. You will be surprised at the ingredients found in the offerings. Price is also not an indicator of healthy eating. Obviously, natural ingredients are the best. The better the food intake, the better your dog will look, feel and act. This is very important guys!
- Exercise your dog – Exercise yourself– Your pet will need exercise. Some breeds admittedly require less exercise, but generally all dogs need some level of exercise. Beyond the physical benefits of routine, don’t underestimate the psychological benefits. A dog without exercise is going to get frustrated, anxious or even aggressive at times. 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 one step closer to good health for you. Change the routine if you can. It will be more pleasant and interesting for your dog.
- Toys must be age appropriate– Age-inappropriate toys can be really dangerous for your dog. Certain types of rawhide bones could, after being chewed by a puppy, lodge in his throat and pose a threat. Dogs at each age plateau have unique needs and abilities when it comes to toys. They can help stimulate, train, build and entertain your pet. Using games is also important. It has been suggested, for example, that playing tug-of-war with your puppy and letting him pull the toy for you can send him the wrong message. He can learn that he can beat or dominate that particular exercise. Contact your veterinarian for advice in this area.
- Prevention saves money and extends life– Regular check-ups with your vet are absolutely essential for your dog’s quality of life. In addition to the physical assessment that will be done, this is a good opportunity for the following:
- Update vaccinations and apply boosters if necessary
- Treatments for ticks, heartworm and fleas can be applied
- Bloodworm and stool tests may 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 appearance– Regular grooming is important on several levels. You want your dog to look good and this will do the trick. If you decide to do it yourself, it’s another opportunity to increase your bond with him. Additionally, the groomer may be able to spot any unusual skin conditions that may bring your vet to your attention and evaluation. Grooming your pet can be as anticipated as a long-awaited massage for you. Most dogs will love the attention. This is also a time to trim the nails. This is important for your dog’s health. Not cutting them properly or cutting them too infrequently can injure your pet or actually affect their ability to run, walk or stand on certain types of floors. Regular trimming relieves it.
Just a few ideas to help keep your dog healthy with routine health care. It takes a little work and attention, but the benefits for your dog are huge. This is your partner after all. Do everything you can to give him a long, healthy and happy life.
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