Dog health is one of the main concerns of pet owners all over the world, and yet not all of them know what to do to ensure their pet’s health. After all, if you really knew what it takes to have your dog looking and feeling good, then there is nothing that can stop you from doing it for your beloved fur ball.
Keep Your Dog Healthy!
Probably the most important thing you can do to keep your dog healthy is to give him a balanced diet that is rich in essential vitamins and nutrients. Healthy dog food should not be just an option, it should be a priority when it comes to your dog’s over-all well-being. Otherwise, you will take the risk of seeing your puppy lethargic and sickly. I can tell you right now that many of the weak and mangy looking dogs I know have bad diets to blame for their current state of health and appearance.
That’s right, if a dog looks not as good (read: dry skin, dull hair, cloudy eyes, etc.), there is an extremely high possibility that it is because they are being given the wrong diet. Indeed, your dog’s clear skin and shiny fur can be vastly improved with the right foods. A good dose of fatty acids found in marine fish can boost your dog’s moisture levels. Cloudy eyes and red patches in the skin can also be rectified with a few adjustments in the diet. However, more than having a good looking dog, a healthy diet will go a long way in keeping canine sicknesses and diseases at bay.
Natural Diet for a Healthy Dog
As much as you are able, give your dog a natural diet, free from any preservatives and chemicals. This means that the closer the food is to its original form, the better for your pet. Premium grade meat, fresh fruits and vegetables laden with moisture will translate to a thick coat of hair, high level of energy, and his general canine system in good working order.
Does this mean that we give our dogs raw, uncooked meat? Isn’t that a little too gross? These are questions that many pet owners have asked and the truth is, even I used to wonder about this as well. We humans, after all, would never eat raw meat without suffering from health complications, so why should we subject our dogs to this type of diet? The truth of the matter is, our dogs are designed differently from us and the BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food or Bones and Raw Food) diet is actually very good for their health.
You see, before they were domesticated, our dogs thrived in the wild where they used to hunt for their own food. Fresh meat and herbs were their diet and they became strong and healthy. The preservatives we add to “safe” dog food bags are actually detrimental to their health and will cause more damage for them in the long run. The dog’s intestines are also shorter and more acidic than humans so bacteria are less likely to survive in this hostile environment than they would in a human’s intestinal tract. If feeding your dog raw fare still makes you uncomfortable, you can lightly cook the food before serving it to your pet.
Now, if you don’t have the time or energy to plan out a BARF diet for your pet, don’t beat yourself up over it. There are a few excellent dog food brands that you can choose from that will deliver high quality food for your pet. Look for dog food companies that do not add chemicals or preservatives in their dog food and treats. You should also check out the first five ingredients in the dog food. The primary ingredient should be meat since dogs are natural carnivores. Avoid substandard ingredients like grains or “meat by-products” that are cheaper alternatives and will not be beneficial to your dog’s well-being. Yes, these premium dog food brands are rarer and more costly than your average kibble, but they are infinitely more worthwhile in the end. Your dog will enjoy a longer and healthier life, freeing you from needless worry and unending vet bills and medications.
Exercise for Dog Health
Exercise is another crucial aspect of dog health. Regular light exercise will make his organs strong, lubricate his joints (helps ward off arthritis), strengthen his cardiovascular health, and keep his weight down. Obese dogs are more susceptible to a myriad of dog diseases so remember that you should not only exercise him, but monitor his calorie intake as well. You may giving him healthy food but if he consumes too much of it, it may weigh him down and aggravate his health in the end.
Aside from all the health benefits of exercise, engaging your dog in physical activity is a constructive way for him to vent off excess energy. This means less barking and rowdy behaviour that almost always results in a chaotic house. Most dogs are happiest and most fulfilled when they spend time with you or are given pursuits that require physical and mental activity. All dogs, even the most docile ones, NEED exercise to maintain his happy disposition and good health.
What are some of the exercises you can do with your dog? Walks around the park, light jogging and swimming are the most ideal. Walking in particular not only provides good exercise, it also satisfies the dog’s natural instinct for migration. Avoid extreme sports like Frisbee that puts undue pressure on his joints because this will affect him in his senior years. Consider agility training for dogs. Agility training is a fun and exciting way to exercise your dog while spending quality time with him. This engages him physically as well as mentally so you will have a fit and very smart dog as a result. You can check online for well-priced dog agility equipment that you can start training your dogs with.
Dog Grooming and Health
Lastly, remember to groom your dog regularly. Who wants a dirty dog? A dirty dog is a breeding ground of infection and potentially disease causing bacteria that should have no place in your home. You will do your household and your dog a favour by making sure your pet is clean every day of his life.
If your dog is a generally clean fellow, you should still brush his hair every day. This triggers the natural oils under his skin, and allows you to check for little stones, matted hair and fleas that may be a cause of discomfort for your dog. Detangle the knots in his hair to prevent painful “hot spots”, and treat flea infestation as soon as you see it.
Fleas may not be life threatening, but they compromise the quality of life of your dog. Fleas are also the common cause of dog allergy, making your dog’s life miserable with the constant gnawing scratching and even self-mutilation to alleviate the relentless itchiness. Look for natural flea repellents like lemon baths and essential oil sprays that are safe and effective for dogs to use.
Most pet owners agree that dogs should only be bathed when needed or around once a month. Frequent bathing will strip your dog’s skin of its natural oils making it dry, flaky and itchy. Never use human products to wash your dog since a human’s pH balance is higher and consequently, harsher on your dog’s skin. Buy dog shampoos that have ingredients like aloe vera, oatmeal, and essential oils for best results. Trim your dog’s fur, especially around his face and more sensitive areas so they don’t drag around bringing more dirt and grime with them. Remember to clean your dog’s ears and have his teeth checked regularly as well.
Dog Health – Yes, Pay Attention!
Dog health is something that every dog owner should pay attention to. If you keep your dog healthy with great food and a lifestyle that is as chemical free as possible, you will have a healthy dog that you can spend plenty of long and happy years with. You may need to put in a little more time, effort and money into your dog’s health, but you can be that it is well worth it. After all, your pet is your family and your family deserves only the best in terms of a healthy happy dog.