If you’re a dog lover, then you know that dogs are truly man’s best friend. But like humans, dogs can sometimes get sick or injured. In fact, there are many diseases and disorders that just seem to affect dogs more than other animals. Because of this, dog owners need to take extra special care of their pets as they age in order to prevent any issues from arising before they become serious problems—and even life-threatening ones. To help ensure that your precious pooch stays healthy and happy for years to come (and also so you don’t waste money on vet bills), here are some tips for keeping your pup happy:
Know what’s normal for your dog.
Knowing what’s normal for your dog can help you notice when something is wrong.
- If your dog is healthy, he will be playful and friendly, but not overly active or rambunctious.
- If your dog is in pain, he might limply drag himself around and avoid moving as much as possible. He’ll also appear withdrawn and avoid making eye contact with you.
- An anxious dog may whine or bark when left alone, pace around the house while whining or barking, refuse to eat (or overeat), try to escape from the house (by chewing through doors) or do other destructive behaviors like scratching at walls or furniture.
Watch your dog’s weight.
The most important thing you can do for your dog is keep him or her in good shape. If your dog is overweight, it’s not only unhealthy but also dangerous. Overweight dogs are at risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and joint problems—all of which can be deadly for a pet.
To check whether your dog is overweight or not, try to feel their ribs without pressing too hard: you should be able to feel them easily with just the tips of your fingers. An ideal weight for most dogs is between 25 and 30 pounds; if your pooch weighs more than that (or less), talk to a vet about how much exercise he or she needs each day (and what food will help).
Feed your dog the right kind of food.
Feed your dog the right kind of food.
There are so many different brands, flavors and types of canine cuisine out there that it can be hard to know what’s best for your four-legged friend. As a general rule of thumb: The higher quality the food is (that is, more real ingredients), the better it will be for your dog. Also, make sure that you’re feeding your dog enough but not too much; if he starts getting fat or chubby around his middle, cut back on how much you give him per meal. Lastly, don’t feed him any table scraps—your kitchen isn’t like nature where every animal gets to eat anything they want whenever they want!
Keep your dog well hydrated.
Keeping your dog well-hydrated is a great way to ensure that your pup stays healthy and happy. Like humans, dogs can become dehydrated if they don’t drink enough water. Dehydration is dangerous because it can lead to kidney disease and kidney failure in worst case scenarios. As such, it’s important for dogs to get enough fluids throughout the day—and not just on hot summer days when you may be tempted to give them fewer drinks than usual (or none at all!).
Contrary to popular belief, not all dogs love drinking water from a bowl—especially those who have received little attention as puppies or were raised by someone who didn’t spend much time teaching them how to use a dish (or worse). In these cases, consider using a slow feeder bowl instead so that your dog has some time each mealtime figuring out how exactly one goes about consuming food from said object without spilling all over yourself or anyone else nearby.
Make sure your dog gets exercise.
One of the most important things you can do for your dog is to make sure he gets sufficient exercise. Dogs need to be walked, played with and taken for car rides on a regular basis. If you have a yard, your dog should be able to run around in it freely without being confined to an apartment or condo.
Feed snacks sparingly, if at all.
It’s important to remember that snacks are not a substitute for a meal. It is also important to make sure your dog isn’t getting too many treats, or unhealthy snacks like leftover fast food or candy.
Banish fleas, ticks and other pests from your pooch.
Your dog is at risk for getting fleas, ticks and other pests. Fleas can cause your pooch to develop anemia and tapeworms. When they bite, they suck blood and leave painful sores on the skin that can become infected if not treated properly. Ticks can transmit diseases to dogs, including Lyme disease (which can also affect humans).
Although you may not realize it when you’re walking at a park or visiting friends’ homes with your pet, both fleas and ticks are common in many areas of the United States. In fact, 50 percent of dogs have been found to have flea infestations!
Take care of your dog’s teeth and gums.
When you think about the way your dog’s teeth look and feel, they probably don’t seem too different from yours. It’s true: their teeth and gums are just as important to maintaining a healthy body as human teeth and gums are.
To take care of your dog’s pearly whites, there are three things you should do:
- Brush them with a toothbrush or cloth (you can even use a finger) once or twice per week.
- Use pet toothpaste (like petMD Oral Care Gel) every few days during brushing sessions. This helps reduce plaque buildup, which reduces gum disease and other problems associated with bacteria in the mouth.
- Schedule checkups with your vet twice per year to make sure everything is going smoothly—your veterinarian will be able to tell if anything needs attention beyond regular brushing sessions!
Groom your dog often.
You should groom your dog at least once a day. If you want to do it more often than that, you can. Grooming is important for dogs because it helps keep their coats clean and healthy, which in turn makes them look good—and also keeps their skin from getting irritated and itching.
- How often: There’s no one-size-fits-all answer here; some dogs need daily grooming, while others only need an occasional brushing when they get tangled up in something (like a carpet). The best way to find out how much grooming needs to be done on your individual pet is by asking your vet or an experienced groomer what would be best for them.
- Tools: You’ll need some basic supplies if you decide to brush or bathe your dog yourself—these include: a slicker brush; shedding blade; hoof pick (if necessary); nail clippers; soft rubber mats underneath where the dog sits so he doesn’t slip around while being groomed; shampoo appropriate for whatever type of coat he has (e.g., long-haired vs short); conditioner as needed; flea medicine if there are fleas present—these last two items should be purchased from a veterinarian as opposed from pet stores or pharmacies because they contain chemicals that can harm cats under certain circumstances.* How To Groom Your Dog Properly
Keep your dog inside during extreme weather and summer months.
In the summer, it’s important to keep your dog inside during extreme temperatures. Dogs can easily be at risk of heatstroke and frostbite, as they’re not built to withstand these kinds of temperatures. They also aren’t equipped to handle dehydration as well as humans are, so keeping them inside can help prevent that problem as well.
Also remember that dogs do not have a high tolerance for pain like humans do—a burn or cut on their paws could cause them significant discomfort, even if you wouldn’t notice it yourself! And when it comes time for fun in the sun (or rain), keep in mind that sunburn is just as painful for your pup as it is for us!
One of the best things you can do to ensure your dog is prepared for any emergency is to download PawprintID, a personal portable health record for your pet. This app allows you to keep important information about your dog at your fingertips in case of an emergency, such as his or her veterinary records, medications, surgical histories and more.
In summary, dogs are excellent companions and can be loyal friends to you and your family. As with any living thing, it’s important to take care of them and ensure that they remain in good health. Downloading PawprintID so you have your dog’s medical history with you when you need it most will give you a strong foundation for keeping your dog happy and healthy.