Jan 22 , 2021
Every dog parent knows that when it comes to taking care of our dogs, we can’t settle for anything less. From feeding, maintenance, and general care, we always look forward to providing them with a better option - even much better than our own needs, honestly. That’s because we know that healthy habits can put more life to their years, and hopefully more years into their lives. The classic advantage that dogs bring into our lives is that they serve as reminders of keeping our own health and wellness as well.
Dogs that come to live socially among us have lifestyle activities that are different from humans. What is best for humans is not necessarily beneficial to them. And, in order to serve the purpose of responsible pet parenthood, we must find ways of keeping our dogs healthy and happy.
There are dozens of healthy habits your dog can benefit from while considering all the aspects of their general well-being.
1. Nutrition. A balanced diet is the starting point when raising a healthy pooch. When choosing their foods, always make sure that it meets health standards. Dog’s dietary requirements primarily includes protein, calcium, vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates. Since not all human foods are suitable for them, commercial dog foods can provide these requirements while also considering the nutritional needs of the different life stages of dogs.
2. Exercise. Dogs are social animals. They need to enjoy the outdoors to keep them happy. This is one way of channeling their energy and reducing their anxiety around other dogs and people, increasing joint and muscle mobility, and aids in weight control. The outdoor walk is a pleasant bonding moment for both of you. When it is essential for them to stay indoors, you must provide playtime to minimize sedentary activities.
3. Water. Aside from balanced nutrition, hydration is also a beneficial habit for dog health. Water helps in regulating body temperature, aiding in proper digestion, cleansing, and detoxifying, along with other internal body benefits. Filtered tap is the best type of water to give rather than bottled and distilled ones, and they need at least about an ounce for every pound of body weight, every day.
4. Shelter. There’s a common debate over whether a doghouse is sufficient and humane enough for dogs that are left outdoors, or if they need a place inside the house for companionship. However, it’s still up to the owner’s discretion and better judgment to decide, especially during weather changes. Whatever the case may be, dog owners have the responsibility of providing their dogs with comfortable and clean sleeping places they think are most suitable for their pets. At a minimum, a dog needs a bed, toys, a name (!), to be clean and dry and have the lights off at night.
5. Bathing. Bathing is not only meant for keeping dogs fresh and clean. It is one way of allowing hair growth by shedding away the loose ones and removing dirt to keep their coats shiny. The frequency of baths varies from breed to breed, depending on their coat types. Ideally, once a month is best for all types of dogs, more if you can smell him!
6. Grooming. Simple grooming like nail clipping, coat brushing, and tooth brushing that are done at home are great bonding moments. It is also the best time to check your dog’s health meter and possible issues like infestations. Coat clipping varies on the type of coat, and some breeds may need the help of a professional groomer for it.
7. Vaccination. Vaccinations increase a dog’s protective mechanisms and immunity against common animal diseases and illnesses. There are core vaccines that a dog should have like for canine parvovirus, distemper, canine hepatitis, and rabies (mandatory by law). There are also non-core vaccines to be scheduled and tracked by his veterinarian.
8. Parasite Control. Inside and outside dogs are prone to parasites. Fleas and ticks live in a dog’s skin, sucking his blood, causing itchiness and discomfort. Worms and parasites may also cause serious illnesses. Treatment and preventive medications minimize the chances of acquisition and should be available in most veterinary clinics.
9. Playtime. Socialization keeps dogs happy and well. It helps relieve their stress and releases their energy. By exposing them to the environment through playdates, it reduces behavioral issues like aggression. A dog park is a great place to begin, there they can meet other dogs to play with. However, it is not advisable for puppies under six months of age to visit a dog park since they have yet to develop immunities, and may not be physically able to keep up with older dogs.
10. Training. Training a dog provides an avenue of teaching obedience, respect, and trust among them and their parents. It also teaches them boundaries, maintaining focus, and understanding basic commands and simple rules. While playtime allows them to be carefree, training should be performed in a strict manner, with short sessions a few times a week to keep them from getting bored and give them the time to absorb their lessons.
11. Neutering. Neutering a dog to prevent it from breeding is not a habit, but a permanent procedure that needs careful deliberation. This includes the removal of uterus and ovaries for females or testicles for males. What benefit can neutering result aside from just preventing unwanted pregnancies? It helps reduce dogs’ risks of contracting reproductive diseases like cancer. It is also a way of taming behavioral issues like aggression since they would lose their urgency to breed.
12. Regular Check-up. To sum it all up, a routine visit to the vet ensures that dogs are living their healthiest lives. Health and behavioral issues are easier resolved when dogs are constantly under the scrutiny and constant monitoring of their veterinarians. When health issues arise, it is easier to be dealt with by trained professionals.
Healthier and happier dogs with reduced risks for health disparities and a possible increase in life expectancy is every dog owner’s goal. The growing influence of veterinary clinics and dog trainers, along with your willingness, plays a big role in ensuring that these goals are met and that dogs maintain healthy habits that they can benefit greatly from.