The canine survived for a long time before being domesticated, but as is the case with wild animals today, it was survival of the fittest. When man stepped in to befriend the dog, he also assumed responsibility for his care and well-being. While most dogs are easy keepers, there are some things that all dog owners should heed in order to keep their dog healthy and happy.
There are dozens of commercial dog foods on the market today, so how do you know which one is right for your dog? Many packaged foods contain a significant amount of fillers and by-products that provide little nutrition, so read the labels before you buy. Just as people are steering away from processed foods and adding more fresh and/or organic to their diets, so should you look in that direction for your four-legged friend. Many newer products claim to be natural pet foods, but do your research instead of taking them at face value. Natural doesn’t always mean optimum nutrition.
Many foods you and I eat every day may be harmful for your dog, so be careful sharing your treats with Trixie. A few to steer clear of are grapes (including raisins), chocolate and onions. You can find a more comprehensive list of toxic foods at Doctors Foster and Smith’s peteducation.com.
An Ounce of Preventive Veterinary Care
The saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” holds true for your dog’s health as well. When first acquiring your pet, schedule a full physical examination, including whatever shots are necessary. Discuss with your vet the options available for flea and tick control and also heartworm prevention. Be proactive before parasites take hold and both you and your pet will be better for it. Once your pet is infested, it takes time, money and extreme diligence to rid your home of the unwanted pests and usually involves the use of harmful chemicals.
Certain breeds are more prone to have various health issues such as hip dysplasia, respiratory problems or cataracts, so make sure to discuss with your veterinarian what to watch for in Winston.
A Quick Fix
With so many unwanted pets filling up animal shelters, there is no practical reason to bring more dogs into this world. Spaying or neutering Sassy or Nitro is one of the most responsible things you can do as a pet owner, both for their health and your peace of mind. Fixing your dog helps curb roaming of both intact male and female dogs when she is in heat, and is a preventative against certain cancers. Veterinarians agree that dogs that have been spayed or neutered live a longer and healthier life.
All dogs need exercise, but some breeds require much more than others. Research the breed information for your pet and make sure that you’re providing enough exercise to keep him fit as well as entertained. Some canines can get by with a quick walk around the block for a potty run twice a day, but more active breeds should have access to a large yard with someone to play with as well as a daily power walk. Proper exercise and play time for your pooch can prevent boredom and destructive behavior as well as keep them in top form.
The Spa Treatment
You might not think of brushing your dog as being essential for his health, but neglecting routine grooming can lead to a host of problems. Some dogs might require a clip-job every month or so to prevent matting, which might pinch and pull their skin painfully and lead to sores and lesions. Other breeds can get by with a quick swipe of the brush a few times a week, but all can benefit from the time bonding with their human. Take the time to go over your dog’s entire body while brushing and be aware of any lumps or cuts that might otherwise go undetected. Don’t forget to check for worn pads and trim his nails regularly.
By adding Fred to your family, you assumed the responsibility for his care. These few simple tips can help keep him a happy and healthy member of your household.