6 Things Beyond the Basics That Will Keep Your Dog Happy and Healthy
Dogs give their people with so much love, affection, and companionship. And while every good dog owner provides the basics such as food and shelter, here are six things beyond the basics that will help keep your dog happy and healthy for longer.
Maintain Proper Weight for Your Breed–Know how much your dog should weigh and help avoid health problems that are created by being overweight. Serious conditions such as diabetes, joint problems, and lack of energy to exercise can result from obesity. Make sure you can see a waistline and feel their ribs.
If you have questions about what the ideal weight should be, consult your veterinarian. And remember, a treat does not always have to be food. Verbal praise, petting, throwing the ball, going for a walk, or sitting in your lap can serve as wonderful rewards and will help keep your dog fit and trim.
Rethink the Food-The pet food tragedy was a horrible wake up call for all of us regarding the food we feed our pets. Make sure that you are feeding a high-quality food that does not contain a lot of additives and chemicals. Often the suggested portions of the bag are incredibly high for the amount of exercise most pets get.
If your dog is a working dog on a farm, used for hunting, or for herding, and is in perpetual motion during the day, the suggested amounts might be fine. But if it is a pet that is relatively inactive except when you are home, rethink the portions that you give.
Consider reducing the portions of manufactured pellets and augment their diet with people food that includes vegetables, some starch, and meat. Organic foods are best for you and your pet as they avoid pesticides and tend to have more taste.
Avoid grapes, chocolate, caffeine, and alcohol as they can prove fatal. A hundred years ago, most dogs were fed what people ate. We feed ourselves and our children, and by doing a little research, we can take back control of what our dogs eat too.
Provide Obedience Training–Obedience classes are a great way to socialize your dog with other dogs, people, and children. It teaches them the basic commands such as come, sits, and down, walking on a leash, and even non-verbal commands. It also gives them the ability to execute these commands with plenty of distractions.
Being able to have your dog respond to voice commands and even hand signals make for a much more responsive pet and give your dog a sense of emotional well being and accomplishment while deepening the bond between you and your pet. Being able to respond to your commands could help you save your dog from disaster in an unexpected but life threatening situation.
Be Consistent–Your dog does want to please you, so set the rules and stick with them. One of the toughest things for a pet to deal with is having rules that constantly change. If it is not alright for your dog to jump on yourself it be that way all the time. If you want it to stay under the table when you’re eating, this should be the routine at every meal. When company comes to the door, if it should be on down-stay, that is what you should ask for it each time.
Heartworm and Flea Medication-These medications are relatively inexpensive and can help your dog avoid serious health conditions. Any veterinarian can prescribe them, and once they are started, they should both be given without fail once a month for life. Be sure to schedule and keep annual appointments with the vet for updates on shots and an overall evaluation of your pet’s overall health.
Groom Regularly–Cleaning ears, teeth, bathing, and brushing their coats will help them avoid ear mites and infections, loss of teeth, and keep their skin and coats in pristine condition.
By starting these routines early, they become events that your dog will at least tolerate, if not look forward to. Many will often bring the brush to their owners as a reminder that it’s time for them to be groomed. Grooming will send hair and dander airborne, and using a high-efficiency particle arresting (or HEPA) air purifier will remove these pollutants from your air.
Click here to read more about keeping your dog healthy by our friends at Little Doggies Rule
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