5 Ways to Keep Your Dog Healthy

You love your dog; otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this. You want to do the best you can for him, giving him a long and happy life. This is easily achieved by following these 5 steps:

Proper Diet

With all the commercial diets available how do you know which one is best for your dog? This is likely the most difficult part of pet ownership but of extreme importance as what goes into your dog affects his entire body and mind.

The first step is to not fall for company marketing techniques. The television commercials, advertisements and packaging are aimed at making the pet food appealing to you. Moreover, even the food itself is created to be attractive to pet owners – colors, shapes, sizes and textures. You need to choose a food that is appropriate to your individual dog.

In general choose a food that is high in protein and fat for a young dog and high in fiber for an old dog. The more active the dog the more he should receive the diet high in protein and fat. The less active the dog should receive a higher fiber, lower carbohydrate diet. Low fat doesn’t always mean it’s the means to weight loss. It’s low carbohydrate that is the key to achieving weight loss in an overweight dog; along with more exercise.

As many dogs tend to have grain allergies or simply cannot process it well, try to steer clear of dog food that contains wheat, corn, soy, rice hulls and beet pulp. These ingredients are merely filler, bulking up the product without offering much nutritional value. The nutrition is found in the meat used along with amino acids (fatty acids), vegetables such as carrots, peas, green beans (great source of fiber), anti-oxidants such as blueberries and cranberries, and dairy products such as cottage cheese. Together, these ingredients create a nutritious, energy producing combination feeding into the dog’s overall health.

Keeping Vaccinations Current

Regardless of feeding your dog the best food, he cannot fight diseases without the help of vaccinations. All dogs need to receive the Rabies vaccines – it’s the law – as well as vaccines for Distemper, Parvovirus, Leptospirosis, and Influenza. All of these diseases are very contagious. If contracted they can not only spread to other individuals, but also prove fatal to your dog. Other vaccines that are helpful in combating the invisible disasters are Lymes vaccine and Bordetella. If you live in a climate that harbors ticks, it is highly likely that your dog will be bitten by one at some point. As ticks carry numerous diseases, the Lymes vaccine can help prevent at least one of the most prevalent of these contagions. Bordetella is prevention for several forms of Kennel Cough. This is often a requirement for dogs who will be in contact with other dogs, such as boarding or doggy daycare. Often dog parks require this as well.

Parasite Prevention

Parasites are everywhere, not just in warm climates. An infestation of any one of them can prove dangerous for your dog as well as others who live with the dog – humans and animals alike.

Parasites can infest a dog both internally and externally. Inside are a variety of worms any one of which can prove dangerous to fatal if not treated promptly. These include heartworms, round worms, whip worms, hook worms and tapeworms. As most pet owners don’t recognize the physical and behavioral symptoms of infestation, it is best to not only have your veterinarian do a twice yearly fecal test, but also to have your dog receive monthly heartworm preventative. One of the best currently on the market is Interceptor as it prevents not only heartworm but also hookworm, whipworm and roundworm.

Just because you have a pet doesn’t mean you should have to deal with fleas. Fleas cause any number of problems from allergic reactions to transmittal of tapeworms and diseases. Flea prevention is easy with a monthly topical such as Frontline Plus. This product works well because it kills any flea, or even ticks and mosquitoes that bite the dog. While some topicals disrupt the reproductive cycle of fleas, Frontline actually kills it which is far more disruptive to the flea’s lifestyle.

Good Grooming

Keeping your dog clean and brushed will aid in preventing disease and injury. A dog who does not receive regular grooming care can be harboring any number of pesky things in his coat – from debris to parasites. During the warmer months when ticks are prevalent, regular grooming will locate a tick before you find it climbing on you after interacting with your dog. Make it a habit to run your fingers through his coat starting with his head, ears and jaw. Work your way down his neck, chest, shoulders and back, then along his legs and tail. Rub down to his skin, feeling for any raised lumps or scabs. These are telltale signs of ticks.

If you have an indoor dog – as you should because they prefer your company to their own – regular bathing is a necessity. Dogs can’t change their clothing or take off their shoes when coming in from outside. It is up to you to keep them clean and smelling good.

Lots of Exercise

Dogs are athletic creatures. They’d prefer to run, jump and tackle over lying at your feet all the time. When you’re away during the day they usually sleep as their playmate isn’t available. Some dogs can’t handle being alone and will become destructive as they have loads of pent up energy that isn’t being released and are lonely on top of that. If you have a dog you MUST exercise him regularly. That means daily. Some dogs many times throughout the day. A well exercised dog is better behaved and healthier, keeping his entire body and mind in better overall condition.