We all want the best for our loyal canine companions, and giving them what they need to live a long and healthy life is something all owners aim for. But what’s the best way to go about ensuring that our dogs are enjoying the kind of lifestyle that will keep them full of beans for years to come? Have a look at the five tips below to find out.
1. Think About Diet
Your dog’s diet is one of the key factors in determining his overall health and likely longevity. It’s easy to get into a habit of over-feeding – or we may not even realize that we’re offering more food than we should be in the first place.
Speak with your vet about how many calories your pooch should be consuming in a day; different breeds and sizes of dogs will have different requirements. Working dogs, such as sheepdogs, will also need more energy to fuel their days.
Pay close attention to the feeding instructions on the specific food you are offering your pet, too: a recommended portion of one type of food may be significantly smaller than another kind, and it’s easy to get caught out.
There are now many pet food suppliers that offer fresh, high-quality food or dog meals made from premium organic ingredients. Some owners choose to feed their furry friends a grain-free diet, and, again, these are now widely available. To make things even easier, ordering fresh dog food online is a quick and convenient way to get in the supplies you need regularly.
2. The Importance of Exercise
Going hand in hand with diet is exercise; making sure your dog gets adequate exercise will keep her healthy and happy. Daily exercise will both guard against your furry friend developing obesity, joint problems, and other health issues, and promote better and more regulated behavior, too.
How much exercise do dogs need? Well, it largely depends on their age and breed, but as a general guideline, the smaller breeds, such as Yorkshire Terriers and Pekingese, need a minimum of thirty minutes a day, plus playtime, while mid-size breeds like Whippets, Cocker Spaniels, and Pugs require a minimum of approximately one hour a day.
Larger breeds, such as Dalmatians and Golden Retrievers (and Border Collies), should be getting at least two hours of exercise a day. Speak to your vet to find out more and to be sure that your dog is getting the right amount of physical activity.
3. Mental Stimulation
Providing regular mental stimulation for your canine companion is vital – without it, dogs can become anxious, depressed, and even ill. There are plenty of ways to build this into your joint routine; providing regular one-on-one time for interaction or game playing is a simple but effective way to keep your dog’s mind busy.
You could also consider signing up for training or advanced training courses or try a dog sport together, like agility coursing. This can be fun for you and your pet and is a great means to strengthen the bond between you both – and learn new skills as a team, too!
4. Keep an Eye on Dental Hygiene
It’s easy to overlook this aspect of your dog’s health, but it’s important for their overall wellbeing; just as with humans, the link has been established between long-term gum disease and organ damage in canines.
To protect against dental problems developing, you may wish to brush your dog’s teeth regularly – really, it can be done! Ask your vet who will be able to show you the best technique. Providing specially designed toys that promote oral health or chews are also good ways to keep any problems at bay.
Be sure to ask your vet, too, to check your pet’s teeth at every regular check-up so that any issues that develop can be nipped in the bud early.
5. Regular Trips to the Vet
Of course, if your dog shows any sign of illness or is acting unusually, it’s important to take them to visit the vet as soon as possible. But it’s also vital to make sure your pet attends regular check-ups appointments, too.
These visits should be at yearly intervals, or twice a week if your dog is advanced in years; at a check-up, the vet will assess your dog’s general wellness; if they spot any problems, they can be treated or addressed, too: early detection of health issues is one of the best ways you can help to ensure your pet enjoys as long a life as possible.
Many dogs get nervous in the vet’s waiting room. Help to alleviate their anxiety by spending as little time waiting as possible; try to avoid arriving early, and, if you can, book an appointment as early in the morning as possible for the best chance of being seen on time. A treat or too carried in your pocket won’t usually go amiss either.
Health and Happiness for Life
Following the five tips above is the best way to give your furry friend lifelong health, and to promote his overall wellbeing – and consult with your vet on any of the points above if you’d like more information on any aspect of keeping your dog healthy.