More Health Care 101

Your dog is an important part of your life, so, of course, you want to help him thrive.  Just like for humans, proper care and maintenance can improve your dog’s well-being and help him live a long life.  Here is important advice to enhance Fido’s health for the present and the future.

Veterinary care.  They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.  One of the most important things you can do for your dog is to ensure he receives proper veterinary care.  At your dog’s annual exam he will receive vaccinations, a weight check and a thorough going-over. As Huffington Post explains, your vet can often catch issues before they become major health concerns, and you can usually schedule routine care such as dental descaling and blood work during your visit.  Your veterinarian can also advise you if your dog is overweight or needs better nutrition.

Exercise.  All dogs need some form of exercise, even those who tend to be low-energy.  Just like with people, it’s important to engage in an appropriate exercise regimen to maintain your dog’s health.  If you’re just starting out, keep your activities short and light, then gradually increase. Small, low-energy breeds may just need a game of indoor fetch to stay on top of their health, while larger working breeds require a substantial amount of activity to stay mentally and physically well.  Consider working up to a jogging, swimming or hiking program for an athletic dog breed. A well-chosen leash can enhance the outdoor fun, so research your options and select a dog leash that is comfortable for your pooch and easy for you to use.  You can head to a dog park if you want to enjoy an off-leash activity, which some experts note offers your pooch an opportunity for socializing as well as for exercising.

Dog park safety.  While dog parks can be big fun, without proper precautions they can become danger zones for you and your dog.  You should never visit dog parks without all of Fido’s vaccinations up-to-date, and even with proper prevention on board, stay alert to signs that other dogs are possibly sick.

Another key to dog park safety is keeping your pooch on parasite prevention; you don’t want to bring home fleas, and you can’t see the evidence of heartworms until it’s too late.  While at the park, remain vigilant to signs of aggression in your dog or other dogs. Even if your dog never posed an issue before, sometimes being thrown together can lead to unusual behaviors in dogs who don’t know each other.  Cesar’s Way notes dogs that are timid tend to draw aggressive dogs, and an overly excited dog can be a “fight-magnet.”  If your dog tends to be particularly aggressive, timid or excitable, it may be advisable to avoid the dog park altogether.

Eating right.  Just like with people, if your pooch is overweight you may need to cut back on his caloric intake.  You should feed a healthy, balanced diet recommended by your veterinarian, and do not overfeed your dog.  If Fido is struggling with getting to or maintaining a healthy weight you should minimize or eliminate treats.  Also, be aware that dogs cannot eat all the same foods people can. Some foods are poisonous to dogs and should be avoided, such as avocados, chocolate, nuts, caffeine, grapes, raisins, alcohol, garlic, and onions.  If your dog consumes a poisonous substance, contact your veterinarian immediately or call the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435.

Healthy and happy.  Your dog needs you to help him stay fit.  Take steps to ensure Fido gets sufficient veterinary care, exercise and nutrition.  Your pooch can thrive with these simple tips!

Content provided by:  Lucy Tate

Photo provided by: Leon Rojas

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