How to keep your dog both happy and healthy
No matter how independent and strong your dog is, he still needs you. At the end of the day, it’s up to you to ensure he’s as healthy as he can be, which subsequently helps him stay as happy as possible. Here’s how you can do just that:
Just like humans, dogs depend on a nutritious, well-balanced diet to help their bodies functional properly. Feeding your dog the right kind of food will help him maintain a healthy weight, avoid certain diseases, and enjoy a longer lifespan.
The good news is that most dogs are able to meet their nutritional needs with a high-quality blend of dog food. The problem is that most of the stuff you find on the shelves of your local supermarket are packed with fillers and questionable ingredients.
If you’re willing to look around, you can find much healthier options. Earthborn Holistic Dog Food is one of the best. It’s a grain-free option made from a blend of vegetables and fruits that have been carefully selected with essential vitamins and minerals in mind.
Dogs need daily exercise to stay healthy and avoid packing on excess weight. Your dog should get exercise at least twice per day, though younger dogs will need even more time to run around. Walks, hikes, and games of fetch are all good options.
In addition to physical exercise, make sure you’re keeping your pup mentally stimulated. Exercise that incorporates obstacles, tricks, or games can help engage your dog’s mind and body.
“Grooming is not just for show dogs or ‘fancy’ dogs. All dogs need some degree of basic physical upkeep,” writes Jenna Stregowski, RVT. “In general, your dog’s grooming needs will be based on her breed. However, your dog may have special needs due to health conditions such as allergies.”
Most dogs will benefit from monthly bathing and nail trimming. If you have a short-haired breed, brushing out the coat every couple of weeks will prevent issues and help with cleanliness. Long-haired dogs need to be brushed on a daily basis.
Regular Vet Checkups
Your veterinarian is more than a “fixer.” In other words, you should visit them regularly – not just when something is wrong. Regular vet checkups – including annual wellness exams – can help identify health risks and detect dangerous or potentially deadly issues sooner.
In addition to regular checkups, it’s highly recommended that you schedule a yearly dental appointment to remove any tartar or plaque buildup on your dog’s teeth. This not only prevents cavities and other health issues, but it’ll improve your pup’s breath.
Spaying or neutering your dog has numerous benefits. It prevents unwanted puppies, but it can also prevent certain diseases and cancers (ultimately increasing your pet’s life expectancy).
As VetSource explains, “Spaying your female eliminates her risk of developing both ovarian and uterine cancers, and greatly reduces her chances of developing breast cancer. And neutering your male eliminates the possibility of testicular cancer, the second most common type of cancer in male dogs.”
You’ll also find that spayed and neutered dogs tend to be less aggressive and irritable, which makes for a happier household (and even happier neighbors).
Socialization and Affection
Dogs, like people, need to be socialized in order to stay mentally and physically healthy. And a failure to socialize early enough in a dog’s life could create a host of issues.
Early socialization in dogs and exposure to the right people can significantly lower their chances of being antisocial and/or exhibiting fearfully aggressive behaviors as adults.
When socializing young puppies (16 to 18 weeks), make sure they’re only around people who are gentle with them. Exposure to aggressive or malicious people could set them on a path towards fear, anxiety, or aggression.
It’s also important to show affection throughout a dog’s life. Hugs, petting, and time spent together go a long way in helping dogs feel comfortable in their home.
Help Your Pup Live Its Best Life
Dogs are strong and independent. But they also depend on us – their owners – to help them live their best lives. Do your part to ensure your dog is as healthy as possible by ensuring it gets the proper nutrition, exercise, grooming, vet care, and socialization. You’ll be rewarded with a happy member of your family!