It’s known that dogs are a man’s best friend and if you’ve ever owned or cared for a dog, then you will know exactly why this has become a popular saying. Dogs are creatures that are always happy to see you, whether you’re in a bad mood, stressed, or have just had a bad day.
When you walk through the door, they’re guaranteed to lift your mood with their insatiable appetite to please. It’s been said you should find a partner that looks at you in the way your dog looks at you – complete love and adoration.
When it comes to looking after your pooch we have a duty to ensure their absolute health and welfare. They give us so much in life so it’s only fair that we give them everything they could possibly desire. This comes in the form of love and affection, daily exercise, and a diet that will keep them healthy for every moment they live.
Most know and understand they need to walk their dog and give them love, but many overlook the importance of their diet. It’s only one aspect of looking after a four-legged friend and there are many more, here we take a look at some expert tips to keep your dog healthy.
Their Diet Matters
As we’ve just mentioned the diet, we can start with it. A dog is an animal just like humans, we take great care over what we put in our bodies (mostly) as it affects more than just hunger. Nutrients, vitamins, and minerals are all essential in our diets so why would it be any different in a dog? There are, of course, many types of dog foods available on the market, and whilst many are good, there are some that aren’t great and others that stand out as a true favorite to keep your pooch healthy.
Food affects everything, their coat, their joints, their mood, so it’s worth really looking into what’s going to be good for their overall health. Dry food can be effective for certain breeds of dog, but others require something a little more.
If you’re looking at feeding your furry friend the best food, then it’s time to start looking at fresh dog food as it offers more nutrients than anything else. Dogs come from the wild where they used to hunt in packs for their food, fresh is best if you want to give them something truly beneficial to them.
The protein source within fresh food is much better than that of dry food. In fact, some common dry dog food has not been approved for human consumption (not that we look to eat dog food on a daily basis) so why would you feed your dog something that isn’t necessarily safe? With fresh food, you will always be able to see what is in this mix.
The majority of commercial dog foods are highly processed and contain many hidden ingredients, most of which aren’t going to be good for your dog, they can even cause some health issues.
On top of this, fresh food is known to help with your dog’s skin and coat, healthier digestion, and best of all – they will live longer.
Maintain A Healthy Exercise Routine
A dog needs to be walked, it really is that simple. As humans, we have the luxury of being able to leave the house as and when we want for a variety of different things, a walk, a run, to go and socialize with friends, whereas a dog doesn’t have this luxury, it’s literally all down to you as the owner.
Many owners dramatically underestimate how much exercise their dog really needs in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle and remain happy. Most dogs that end up bored in the house will display destructive behaviors which can lead to unnecessary discipline (it’s not their fault they’re bored – that’s down to you). Not only can they display these behaviors but they can also develop separation anxiety and other behavioral problems. In many cases, these behaviors are not that of a behavioral condition, but instead a result of energy surplus.
If you’ve got the diet down, then it’s safe to say your pooch is going to have a lot of energy, without regular exercise it’s going to have to come out in different ways. Ask yourself before turning to discipline if it’s you that has caused the issue, rather than the dog acting up.
The amount of exercise will depend on the breed and size of the dog. For example, if you have a small dog like a Miniature Dachshund then the exercise needs are going to be far less than if you have a Great Dane.
Research your breed to find out how much exercise they’re going to need before buying it. You could find that you just don’t have the time to go on three walks a day. Something else to bear in mind is the age of your dog, older dogs tend to need less exercise than younger ones so as they grow older, be mindful of taking them on a four-hour walk if they can only manage two.
Don’t Forget About Their Teeth
Morning and evening, every day, we plod up the stairs to brush our teeth with our purpose-designed toothbrush and scientifically developed toothpaste. Do dogs have this option? No. That’s down to us as owners to ensure our dog’s dental care is of the highest order.
It might be easy to forget about this until you’re having a cuddle and catch a whiff of bad breath, but it’s something that should be thought about a little more. Bad breath in dogs isn’t normal despite the fact many think it is. It’s a sign that there could be something more problematic happening in your dog’s mouth.
Don’t worry if you’ve forgotten for a while as it’s never too late to implement a good dental routine. There are plenty of products on the market that make maintaining your dog’s dental routine very easily. It’s not all about restraining them to brush teeth manually. There are plenty of treats you can buy that makes your dog think they’ve had a win, but in reality, you’re just keeping their teeth healthy.
Regular Grooming Is More Important Than You Might Think
You might think of Crufts when you think of grooming, all the dogs up on stage with beautiful coats and obsessed owners. But you should be thinking of grooming your dog anyway. Much like exercise, your dog grooming routine will be based on their breed. Some require far more brushing than others.
All dogs will require a monthly nail trim and the most hated of all – a bath. Most short-haired dogs will require a grooming session every week or two, don’t be worried when the words ‘grooming session’ is mentioned, we only mean a good brush. Long-haired dogs, however, tend to require daily grooming and those with hair than continue to grow will most probably require a hair cut every four to six weeks. There are plenty of dog grooming services that can assist you with this as it can be a tricky task!
Keep An Eye On Their Weight
It might be cute to see an overweight dog sitting having a pant but it most certainly isn’t good for them. Many owners allow their dogs to become overweight without meaning to and it can come with some serious health issues.
If you have a regular exercise routine that’s catered specifically for your dog, then it’s highly unlikely that they are going to end up overweight. One of the main issues is falling in the eyes they give when you’re eating, whether that be at mealtimes or when you’re snacking. Stay strong and resist the eyes, it can lead to an unhealthy dog.
Look For Joint Issues
It’s quite common for a dog to suffer from joint issues, especially larger dogs. This can be more severe when the dog is overweight, so there’s another reason to resist the eyes! It can cause excess strain and pressure on the joints which, in turn, will leave your dog feeling uncomfortable and often in pain.
Regular exercise will help with joint pain, as well as mixing up the form of exercise. Allowing them to have a swim is proven to help with joint issues and is even prescribed as a form of rehabilitation for those really suffering from the problem. On top of regular exercise, there are plenty of supplements you can feed your dog to help maintain and prevent any joint issue.
Mental Health Affects Dogs Too
There’s a huge concentration on human mental health because it affects so many of us and can have some awful consequences. Unfortunately, it can happen to dogs as well as humans so it’s best to keep an eye on your dog’s mood and how they act.
Dogs are used to help humans with their mental health, so it’s only right that we look out for theirs. Separation anxiety is a huge issue with dogs that are left on their own for long periods of time, which can lead to a constant feeling of depression. To combat this you can do a number of things, including taking them on regular walks and engaging in play activities on a daily basis.
The saying a dog is for life and not just for Christmas is there for a reason. Many people take on the huge responsibility of owning a dog without thinking through the consequences. Before buying or adopting a dog you need to think about the amount of time you can dedicate to your pet and if you’re going to be able to keep it up over their lifespan – often up to 20 years.
These tips aren’t just tips, they’re essential things to do when caring for your four-legged friend. As long as you do these things, then you’re sure to have a healthy, happy, and fun to be around pooch.