Healthy Habits & Exercises for Your Dog

Healthy habits and preventative care go a long way toward improving your pet’s quality of life today and most certainly as he ages. Follow these simple guidelines to get and keep your pet on the road to health.

  1. visit the vet

Veterinary care lays the foundation for your pet’s overall health. Whether you choose a veterinarian who practices traditional medicine or alternative therapies – or both – make an appointment for a check-up to determine your pet’s current health status. Then keep track of routine preventive medications, vaccination schedules and prescription drugs. Ideally, pet’s should go for check-ups twice a year. Puppies, older dogs, and dogs with chronic conditions should be examined more frequently.

  1. visit the vet

Veterinary care lays the foundation for your dog’s overall health. Whether you choose a veterinarian who practices traditional medicine or alternative therapies – or both – make an appointment for a check-up to determine your dog’s current health status. Then keep track of routine preventive medications, vaccination schedules and prescription drugs. Ideally, dogs should go for check-ups twice a year. Puppies, older dogs, and dogs with chronic conditions should be examined more frequently. Visit Petfinder for tips on choosing a veterinarian.

2. Feed quality food

Another pillar of health is a high-quality diet. A quality dog food will have a positive effect on your dog’s weight, skin and coat, gastrointestinal function, and energy level. Visit Whole Dog Journal for help choosing the right food for your dog. Once you have decided on a food, watch how your dog responds to it over the next 6-8 weeks. Negative changes in coat or weight may mean your dog can not tolerate one or more of the ingredients and you should try a new food. Be sure to introduce the new food gradually to avoid gastrointestinal distress. Always consult your veterinarian if you are unsure about your dog’s health.

  1. get moving!

A lack of consistent physical exercise and mental stimulation is at the root of most of our dogs’ behavioral problems. A sedentary lifestyle can also lead to obesity in our dogs, which in turn leads to many health problems. Most healthy adult dogs need between 30 minutes and 2 hours of exercise per day to stay balanced. Depending on age, breed and size, this can range from a leisurely walk to a nice jog and an extensive game of fetch. Talk to a dog behavior specialist at The Local Bark if you are not sure how much exercise your dog needs.

  1. do not forget the teeth

Do not think about your dog’s dental health only after he already has gum disease or infection. Prevention is key. Brush your dog’s teeth, feed dental treats, use mouthwashes… just do something. Some dog breeds are genetically predisposed to tooth decay. So talk to your vet about professional dental cleanings.

  1. groom your dog as needed

Your dog’s breed will determine how often and what type of grooming is ideal, but all dogs need some basic general grooming. For short-haired dogs, trimming their nails, cleaning their ears, and giving them an occasional bath is usually enough. Long-haired dogs will need daily brushing, and dogs whose hair grows constantly may need trimming every few weeks. Whether you choose to do the grooming yourself or hire someone to do it for you, you should set up a grooming schedule and stick to it.

  1. watch for warning signs

Watch for changes in your dog’s energy level, weight, and temperament. Not all signs are cause for alarm. However, be careful, as dogs instinctively try to hide serious illnesses. PetMd offers a symptom checker for dogs that can inform you of potential health problems your dog may be experiencing. Always contact your veterinarian if your dog shows signs of illness before it gets out of control.

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