You’ve heard it a million times, and for good reason, a dog is man’s best friend. Our furry friends are always there for us, providing companionship, and friendship, and undying loyalty unlike any other. This is a two way street, as intelligent and instinctual as dogs are its important for us to realize dogs depend on us for their wellbeing. It’s our responsibility to reciprocate that love, to show our companionship and affection and give them a wonderful, happy life.
An Active Dog is a Healthy Dog
As with humans, a key part of being happy is being in good health and it is our responsibilities as pet owners to maintain our pet’s good health.
Dogs get bored, and when dogs get bored you end up with pillows gutted, furniture chewed up and your signed copy of The White Album lying in pieces on the floor. A great way to fight against a bored dog is through physical activity. Just like with humans daily exercise is crucial for a healthy dog. Exercise strengthens their heart, entertains them, and keeps them stimulated. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), an active dog is less likely to be destructive, less likely to bark incessantly, and will be more social to humans and other animals.
The level of physical needs will depend on the breed of dog you have, it is important before getting a pet to make sure to research their needs and see if their required level of physical activity fit your lifestyle. Some ideas to exercise your dog include:
- Take the scenic route.
- The ASPCA suggests at least 30 minutes of exercise per day a good way to get it is to take them out on a walk, not only is it great for your pet but it can be a great de-stresser for you too.
- Take your dog to the dog park.
- Dog parks can be doggie heaven, not only do they get the exercise they need but also get to interact with other dogs and stimulate that need for socializing
- Swimming can be a much needed release for your dogs. It is a great aerobic exercise and can help them cool off during those hot summer months. Swimming however isn’t something all dogs enjoy, so slowly introduce them and have patience.
Obviously this list is not exhaustive, there are millions of things you can do to ensure your dog is getting the exercise they need. The important thing is that they are getting it, even when you’re not around and a pet door is a great solution to give them free reign of coming in and out. Install it in a window (https://www.petdoors.com/pet-doors/window-pet-doors.html) a door (https://www.petdoors.com/pet-doors/pet-doors-for-doors.html) or a wall(https://www.petdoors.com/pet-doors/dog-doors-for-walls.html). It keeps them from getting bored, allows them to come and go as they please, and reduces the risk of any accidents indoors.
Dogs, like humans, are social animals, they thrive on stimulation and interaction and one of the most impactful things you can do for your dog’s health is teaching them to be social. This starts at a young age, the more they interact with dogs, other animals, or humans, the more comfortable they will be in those situations.
Slowly introduce them to others, both humans and animals, get them acclimated to being around others and their lives will be so much more enriched.
A well acclimated dog opens up so many more doors for you and your pet, you will be able to go to pet friendly stores and restaurants without your dog panicking or becoming aggressive. You will give them the opportunity to make friends by taking them to the dog park and not have to worry about your dogs inability to socialize. You will be giving your dog a much higher quality of life if they know how to interact with others.
We all love to reward our good boys, we have the tendency to show them love with snacks and treats and while these are good ways to show a job well done, we can get a bit carried away with the treats and that can lead to health and weight issues.Monitoring their weight with a healthy diet is a great way of reducing risk of disease.
A dog that is 10%-20% above their ideal weight is considered overweight, while over 20% is considered obese. Obese dogs are more likely to develop health problems like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
Remember that dogs do not have the same metabolism as us, and many humans foods can cause cause problems for your dog.
Some foods you should avoid include:
A good habit to get into is to stop giving your dogs leftovers from your table, not only do you decrease the risk of them consuming food that’s bad for them but you also teach them to not beg for food while you are eating.
A balanced diet isn’t easy, there are a lot of factors that go into a well balanced diet. It varies on the breed, size, and age, but a good diet is a crucial part of maintaining a healthy dog.
Signs of Good & Bad Health
At the end of the day, no one knows your dog better than you and monitoring their behaviour, level of activity and appearance are good ways to measure the health of your pup.
- Skin: Healthy skin should not have scabs, it should be smooth, no flakes or red areas
- Coat: Consistently check your pets coat or signs of fleas or ticks. Black fuzz can be flea droppings.
- Mouth: Their mouth should not have any sores, their gums should be firm and pink or sometimes black depending on the breed.
- Eyes: Mucus and teary eyes are normal but they should not be excessive. Eyes should be clear and the whites should not look yellow.
If you notice that your dog is acting strange,is vomiting or has prolonged diarrhea, difficulty breathing or changes in their appetite or sleeping patterns it is a good idea to visit your vet. Remember to visit the vet at least once a year and keep your dog well groomed, brushing their hair and trimming their nails.
Our dogs will always be there for us, through thick and thin we can always count on their undying love. Show the love in return, show them an amazing life by keeping them healthy and happy for years to come.