All good dog owners care about the health of their pets. Your dog is a part of your family, of course it’s important to you to keep her physically and emotionally healthy. We’ve put together a list of easy ways to make sure your dog stays a picture of health.
1. Feed them a balanced diet.
Just like people, dogs need a healthy diet to lead healthy lives. Not only will a healthy diet help your dog stay in good shape, but it will make her feel her best, maintain a shiny coat, and have more energy.
There are an almost limitless variety of dog foods on the market, making it difficult to be sure that you’re choosing the right variety for your pup. When in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask your vet for recommendations. Your vet should have a good idea of your dog’s nutritional needs, taking into consideration their breed, age, level of activity, and other factors.
2. Remember: dry food for great dental health.
It’s very common for dog owners to prefer feeding their dogs dry kibble rather than soft dog food for a variety of reasons. The harder texture of dry food helps your dog strengthen her jaw muscles, the crunchy kibbles help clean her teeth, and dry food makes your dog’s stool more manageable.
If you’re looking to get the benefits of a dry food diet, but your dog prefers soft food, it’s okay to mix some soft food in with the dry kibble to get the best of both worlds. Avoid semi-moist foods, as they are usually less nutritious.
Remember that you can’t rely on kibble alone to keep your dog’s mouth healthy. Healthy gums for dogs are firm, and pink, black, or spotted in color. To keep your dog healthy, clean your dog’s teeth frequently with toothbrushes and toothpaste designed for dogs. Healthy gums and teeth are not only important for minimizing doggy breath, but prevent infections that can cause complications as serious as heart problems for your pup.
3. Avoid sharing table scraps when you can.
Some families struggle with this more than others, but more often than not it’s a bad idea to feed your dog table scraps or other “people food.” Not only does most people food not fit in with your overall dietary plan for your dog, but dogs don’t react the same way to food that people do.
For example, most dog owners are aware that dogs can have severe allergic reactions to chocolate. But many dog owners don’t know that grapes, raisins, and even onions can be toxic to dogs, as well.
If you set aside bones from meals that you make to give to your dog, make sure you’re only giving them knuckle and marrow bones, but not smaller bones that can splinter and injure your dog. Also, if you do give your dog a bone, make sure to parboil the bone to destroy any parasites that could be harmful to your dog.
4. Keep dog-friendly snacks available.
Of course, it’s important for you to treat your dog to something special once in a while. For that, there are many options. As we mentioned earlier, it’s great to have bones that your dogs can chew on, but remember to take the bone away if you notice that your dog is actually eating it rather than just chewing on it.
If you’re in need of fun, healthy snacks for your pup, take a look at our great selection of healthy (and chocolate-free) dog cookies and snacks. Dog cookies are a great way to give your dog a special treat that is made from only dog-healthy ingredients.
5. Make sure your dog is exercising sufficiently.
Any good dog owner knows that their pup needs exercise to be healthy, but many pet owners underestimate their dog’s exercise needs. A sufficient exercise routine will not only keep your dog physically fit, but also helps prevent behavioral problems that stem from your dog having an energy surplus.
Generally speaking, dogs need between 1 and 2 hours per day of exercise, depending on breed, age, size, and other factors. This may sound like a lot to someone who keeps their dog indoors during the day while the owners are at work, but dogs are very active animals, and not giving them the opportunity to exercise sufficiently is not only unhealthy, but a fast track to behavioral issues.
Dogs are able to develop diabetes just like humans, and in fact 54 percent of American pets are overweight or obese. A healthy diet and sufficient exercise are both important in preventing this disease in your dog.
Your dog is a part of your family. Make sure she stays healthy with these easy tips, and she’ll thank you for it every day for years to come, with love and puppy affection. And as any dog owner knows, it doesn’t get much better than that.