The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that having a pet comes with a boatload of health benefits. From helping, you manage loneliness and depression to maintaining blood pressure at the right levels and increasing your fitness levels, the benefits are almost endless.
To get these benefits, you must also ensure that your dog is healthy all the time. Keep in mind that an unhealthy dog, especially due to sanitary conditions, may play host to dangerous parasites that they can transfer to you.
It is not always an easy task caring for dogs, though—and if you're a first-time dog owner, it may take you some time to get used to keeping one healthy. Long-term pet owners would, however, tell you that keeping a dog healthy isn't rocket science.
If you wish to see your dog healthy and happy throughout, here are a few pointers you will need to consider.
Maintain Dedicated Veterinary Care
Dedicated veterinary care should start right from the time this dog is a puppy. If you start this earlier, you will find it easy to determine its health baseline, so you're always updated when anything is wrong.
To achieve this, ensure the pooch's vaccinations are all up to date. It is also essential that you keep it on tick, flea, and heartworm prevention. If it's still a puppy, ensure that you regularly visit a vet during the first months.
A good vet should help you plan these visits - primarily for continued vaccinations and health checkups. If it is an adult dog, it is recommendable that you maintain regular annual vet visits mainly for vaccines, health tests for internal parasites, and other related physical checkups.
If this dog has an underlying ill-health condition or a chronic ill-health condition, your vet should give you actionable health tips and recommendations to follow, including treatments and continued health visits, among others. Ideally, you should ensure that you visit a vet on a bi-annual basis, at the least for an adult dog.
The visits should, however, be frequent if it has an ill-health condition that bothers it. Depending on the state or age of your dog, your vet may recommend yearly lab tests. During these tests, the vet will primarily focus on assessing the dog's blood cell count and organ function.
Finally, to get the best vet service, your best bet would be to partner with a certified and experienced vet. Before signing on the dotted line, you can check past client reviews about this vet and ask the vet to show proof of certifications or licensing. A reliable dog health expert will gladly respond to all your queries.
Maintain Optimum Nutrition
Health and nutrition go hand in hand. Nevertheless, maintaining your dog's nutrition at the optimum level may not be a downhill task.
If you're not aware of nutrition requirements, you might feed your dog with unhealthy foods or over-treat it with unhealthy commercial treats. The possible results are that your dog may develop unpleasant allergic reactions.
It may also gain weight excessively, become obese, and even more stressful. To avoid issues like this, you must always only feed or treat your dog with high quality all-natural dog foods and treats.
With a proper diet, your dog will be even more energetic and active with softer skin and a smooth coat. This guide by TailBangers will help you create a proper diet for the pet.
When you're choosing a diet, keep an eye on how the dog responds to it. If it starts to vomit or diarrhea, you'll need to change this diet. Do this gradually.
Keep it clean
Regularly, grooming your dog is a foolproof way of showing it some love. However, you should note that grooming or physical care routine may vary depending on the dog breed.
If you have a short-haired dog, brushing out its coat after every 7-14 days should be fine. However, if you have a long-haired breed, you'll need to brush its skin daily.
If it has a continuously growing hair, you should give it a haircut after every 4-6 weeks. However, on the baseline, ensure that you bath it and trim its nails at least once in a month.
Most pet owners do the dog grooming on their own. If you have a fixed schedule, though, hiring a professional to do this would be viable.
Maintain a Regular Exercise Routine
All dogs need regular exercise irrespective of their age, size, or breed. Research shows that daily activities would help keep a dog focused and calmer.
It would also help reduce troublesome behavioral problems like digging, barking, excessively licking themselves, chewing, and others. A regular exercise routine would also help ensure that the dog doesn't become obese, a situation that may also make it show unfriendly behaviors like snarling, growling, or even barking unnecessarily.
With regard to the extent of exercise, pet experts recommend one to two hours daily of physical activities. However, this may change depending on the size of the dog, breed, or any underlying physical or ill-health condition.
Keep an Eye on its Dental Health
If you're a first-time dog owner, it is reasonable to get surprised over this recommendation. You should make your dog's dental hygiene a priority if you wish to see it healthy and active.
First things first, your dog's teeth should be clean. They should also not have any tartar or plaque and should be 42 in number.
These teeth should not appear broken or jagged, but all arranged in place and intact. For the gums, the color should always be salmon pink.
There are, however, dog breeds that have black and pink or just plain black gums. This is normal and shouldn't be a cause of concern.
You may only need to be worried if develops white or puffy sections on the gums. To be sure, know the natural color of your dog's gums early.
Be sure to check the tongue regularly too. It is recommendable that the tongue be moist and free of cuts or lumps.
You can maintain your dog's dental hygiene by regularly brushing its teeth using specially formulated dog toothpaste and dog-specific toothbrush. Alternatively, you may also give the dog fruits like carrots to gnaw on or give it special treats that are formulated to help keep the teeth clean.
You will only find it easy to keep your dog healthy if there's some level of trust between you and it. If the dog is 'lazy' and doesn't like, for example, exercises, be sure to use all-natural healthy treats to encourage it to take part in the exercise routines.