Starter's Guide for Your Dog's Health in 2018
It is a very natural feeling that you want to take care of your dog so that he is going to be by your side for a lot of years. There are plenty of things you can do to care for your dog. Learn how to manage your dog’s diet of high-quality food, get precautionary veterinary care, and do your best to deliver a healthy and loving environment to maintain good dog health he deserves.
Certain guidelines are there that you need to follow to keep your dog happy and healthy.
Maintaining a Good Diet for Your Dog
Feed your dog best quality, well balanced, and adequate amount of treats and dog food.
This must be your pet’s prime nutrition source. Such ingredients make up most of the food. Meat and vegetable must be the first few elements of dog food. Lower down the list maybe by grains and meat-by-products.
Avoid usual filler elements in dog food that might actually be harmful to dog health. Some of these include Propylene, Glycol, Ethoxyquin, Corn Syrup and corn, BHT/BHA, and animal by-products.
Seldom, some dog may give you signals of food intolerance or food sensitivity. Look out for vomiting, diarrhea, or skin conditions. Work with a vet to conclude which food ingredient a dog can and cannot eat.
Be careful while feeding human food to your dog
Understand that some human food can kill or hurt a dog. A dog’s body cannot always digest food as a human can so ensure that your dog is not having access to foods like raisins, chocolates, grapes, avocados, nuts, sugar-free gum, chives, garlic, alcohol, onion, and yeast dough (mostly the ingredient xylitol). These are toxic to dog health.
When you are making dog food yourself, you should work with a veterinarian or an animal nutritionist with sound knowledge and education in pet food diet. This will make sure that your dog is eating a nutritionally balanced diet.
Maintain your dog’s body weight at a healthy level
Dogs are considered overweight when they weigh 10-20% more than their idyllic body weight. If your dog is 20% overweight, he will be in the obese category. An obese dog’s lifespan can be shortened by up to two years. An obese dog is at higher risk for diabetes, heart disease, cancer, urinary bladder stones, and osteoarthritis. Get in touch with a veterinarian about the ideal body weight of a dog and feed him as suggested by the vet.
Most of the dogs are obese or overweight as they get too much food and don’t get too much exercise. Always refer to the pet food package for particular guidelines about feeding your dog based on ideal weight.
Provide your dog with healthy treats.
Just like in human beings, treats or snacking can add quite a few calories into your dog’s daily calorie allowance. This may cause your dog to put on more weight. Try to give your dog homemade treats, rather than store-bought treats.
Give him treats with low calories such as canned green beans, baby carrot, or cooked sweet potatoes (small slices).
Give dogs a constant source of fresh water.
Dogs require a lot of fresh water for their bodies to work properly and for food digestion. The water must be fresh and clean, so change the water at once per day. Clean the water bucket or bowl with fresh and clean water and dish soap every once in a while. Rinse and dry the bowl before refilling with clean and fresh water.
Algae and bacteria may grow inside the bowl, mostly during warm weather. In low or freezing temperatures, you got to keep the bowl away from freezing.
Grooming Your Dog
Groom your dog frequently
Brush his coat to keep it healthy and shiny. This is going to encourage good circulation. Notice if there are any new bumps, cysts, or lumps on his skin and bring them to your vet’s attention. Redness, scabs, or itchy skin must as well be addressed by a veterinarian.
Grooming of a dog is also a great time to check with your dog’s skin conditions such as ticks, fleas, and mites hence add to dog health.
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Clip your dog’s nails if you know how to
While, it is going to take a little time for your dog to get used to, clipping his nails might become a repetitive part of his grooming. Try to be careful not to clip the ‘quick.’ that of the nail that contains sensitive nerves and blood vessels. It is impossible to see if your dog’s nails are black and he will need a vet nurse to do it.
If you aren’t well aware of how to trim the nails, have your vet technician demonstrate you how to clip dog nails.
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Brush your dog’s teeth regularly
Brushing allows you to remove any bacterial build or plague on your dog’s teeth. This is a good chance for you to check his mouth for loose or damaged teeth, sores, or any other odd issues. Use only dental toothpaste made specifically for dogs. The fluoride that’s present in human beings tooth is very harmful to dogs and may cause serious health issues.
Occasionally, dogs need dental cleaning at a vet’s clinic. They are sedated while the vet performs a thorough cleaning and examination.
Check your dog’s ears.
The ears must not smell or have a discharge of any kind. The internal part of the ear must be whitish in color, but a few dark colored dogs might have dark colored internal ears. Flip over the ears to inspect them properly. They must be clear of debris, dirt, or parasites such as ticks. Plant material may often work their way in a dog’s ear. Remove them carefully.
Dogs with floppy ear type must be checked daily or check them at least thrice a week.
Clean your dog’s ears
You should use a product which is specifically made to clean dog ears or use a solution where the alcohol and white vinegar are mixed in equal proportion and rub it. Soak a cotton ball with this fluid and mildly wipe out your dog’s ear. If you see blood on the cotton, stop cleaning and consult the vet.
Scratching the ear or pawing at the ear, shaking the head too much, odor or discharge (fluid, waxy or brown) is not normal. If you think the dog is suffering from ear problems or ear infection, take him to the veterinarian.
Caring For Your Dog
Offer your dog shelter.
A lot of people with dogs prefer to keep them in the house with their family. If you keep your dog outside, provide them with an insulated good sized dog house, shade for warm climates, warm bedding for low temperatures, water (that won’t stagnate or freeze), and food. Do not chain your dog, as they might hurt their leg or neck.
Don’t put them outside if they haven’t acclimated to weather extremes. It is considered carelessness to keep a dog outside your house without proper shelter. If, you are unable to shelter your dog in the right way, keep it inside your house or just don’t get a dog in the first place.
Get your dog abundant exercise
Depending on the dog breed, this can be anything from a ten to fifteen walk per day to one good hour romp in a park. A fun game of Frisbee or fetch may also be physically challenging to active dogs. Walking or playing is a good chance for you to bond with him.
Playing and exercise can also cut back on bad behavior such as tearing things around the house, aggression, inappropriate chewing. It is also going to keep your dog’s body weight at an optimal level, hence increasing his activity and keeping his body healthy.
Socialize your dog
Once your dog has gotten all his necessary first vaccinations, socialize him. This means to introduce him to people carefully, other dogs and animals, and situations outside your home environment. Getting used to walking around the neighborhood, riding in the car, and dog parks are some great ways to introduce your dog to new people and other dogs.
As long as he isn’t threatened or scared, he will be indulged into these situations. The unique situations exposed to him while he’s young, it is good for him.
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Providing Routine Health Care
Take your dog to the veterinarian
Schedule early examinations to get your dog essential vaccinations and tests. Your veterinarian will also get your dog better and will be capable of telling you if something is wrong with him. Regular check-ups can avert a lot of treatable diseases and help in dog health.
If you have a puppy, take it to the veterinarian when he is six weeks old. The puppy will be checked for heart, lung, eye, ear, and hernias problems. The puppy will be kept on a precautionary de-worming schedule and given necessary, important boosters and shots.
Get your dog vaccinated
The rabies vaccine must be given around three months and is needed in various areas. You may severely be penalized if you have not vaccinated your dog and he bites or nips another pit. Consider vaccinating the dog against Lyme disease. The disease is responsible for causing swelling, fever, joint pain, and probably fatal kidney disease.
Dogs that are spending their time outside too often, hunt, or live on farms are at an increased level of risk of getting this tick-borne illness.
Consider neutering or spaying your dog.
Spaying or neutering a dog can help in reducing behavioral problems and decrease the chance of specific infections and tumors a dog may get. If you neuter or spay your dog, you don’t have to worry about placing or caring unwanted puppies.
Micro-chipping is encouraged as well in case your dog ever goes missing.
Monitor and prevent fleas
Watch for any flea signs on your dog: lots of scratching and licking, scabs on the skin, or dark speck in the fur. Once you find fleas on your dog, you have various options. Consult your vet for oral medication, put a flea collar on your dog, or wash your dog with a flea shampoo.
Monthly skin treatments and flea collars are good options to protect your dog from fleas in the first place. Talk to your veterinarian about a regular prevention routine for a flea.
Has your dog heartworm tested?
Annual blood tests are required to check for this widespread disease. Heartworm is spread by mosquito bites, and it is hard to prevent your dog from a mosquito bite. Instead, a shot that would last for six months or a monthly tablet can be used in killing any organism that might be present in the bloodstream of your dog
If your dog catches this disease, there is a treatment available but it will be hard on him, quite expensive, and may take several months to combat.
All dog owners must take dog health seriously. Every one of you wants to keep your dog healthy. No doubt you love your dog, and you want him to be happy and healthy. Help your dog to keep him on the path of wellness with these discussed guidelines.
Also, watch for warning signs because dogs cannot speak in words, you must rely on the signs they are trying to give you when it comes to analyzing your dog’s health. Your dog might exhibit a number of signs that specify health issues. Same as humans, a dog can also develop a moderate sickness that can be resolved on its own, so not every sign can be an alarming reason. However, your dog will impulsively try to conceal serious illness signs. You need to learn what to look for and how to act suitably before your dog’s disease gets out of control. If a dog is showing you any signs of sickness, contact your vet. Even when you are not sure about particular signs or behaviour, it is advised to consult your vet at such times.