Whether you are a first-time dog owner or a seasoned puppy parent, your pet relies on you for care and safety. Part of loving your dog is keeping it healthy, and doing that means forming healthy habits for Fido and sticking to them. Here are 5 steps to ensure your dog is well and happy all year long.
1. Find a Good Veterinarian
It may seem obvious, but you want to find a vet who loves animals. Pay attention to your vet’s bedside manner as well as medical competency while treating your pup. Make and keep those once-a-year appointments for health checkups, vaccinations and parasite prevention, and visit as often as your pet needs in between. Be truthful with your vet about your dog’s health and feel free to ask any questions you have, no matter how small. A good vet will be patient, open and honest with you about your pet’s care, regardless of your previous animal experience.
2. Feed Quality Dog Food
As with human nutrition, it is really important to keep up with the science behind trends of the pet food industry. Studies that examine the nutritional value of commercial dog food are ongoing, and the desire to improve nutritional options for our furry friends is constant. A dog’s diet will directly impact many of the health-determination factors such as a shiny coat over flexible skin, bright and clear eyes, a cold moist nose and firm gums. Dog food is no longer one-size-fits-all, and some foods are better than others for healthy digestion and longevity of life. If you plan to buy commercial dog food, research quality brand information and view pet food exposed to learn about the necessary nutrients required for a healthy dog.
3. Exercise Regularly
Even if your dog seems completely content to lay around on the couch and watch the Real Housewives all day, chances are it would jump up and run for the door at the jingle of a leash and harness. Taking regular walks, runs or trips to the dog park can help to strengthen muscles, increase flexibility, and maintain a healthy weight. Plus, they love it! Depending on size and breed, dogs need anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours of exercise each day. Ask your vet about how much activity is appropriate for your pup and do your best to be consistent with a doggy-fitness routine.
4. Manage Behavior
Training is essential to a happy, healthy relationship with your dog. Combined with exercise, training provides stimulation to keep your dog’s body and mind busy. Dogs just want to please their masters, and they love receiving positive reinforcement during training. Find the right type of training program for you and your dog, and be consistent with your regimen to ensure good behavior from Fido.
As for the benefits to you, expect fewer cases of destruction to your belongings, enjoy peaceful engagement with the world when you take your dog out in public and relish in the tremendous bond you will build with your best friend.
Cuddling with your dog is one of the best ways to show them that you value them. Just like in humans, studies have shown that a good snuggle increases oxytocin levels in dogs, which reinforces feelings of love and trust. A loving connection between you and your pup can reduce any stress and anxiety your dog may have. You may have noticed that your dog can be sensitive to your emotions. It can tell when you’re in a bad mood but it doesn’t know why. So, show your dog that its place in your heart and home is secure by cuddling up and settling in for some good old-fashioned bonding.
There are many resources available for information about pet health. By following the above tips and talking to your veterinarian about your pet’s specific needs, you can learn everything required for raising and keeping a healthy, happy dog.