Tips for a Healthy Dog
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Animals have come to mean so much in our lives. We live in a fragmented and disconnected culture. Politics are ugly, religion is struggling, technology is stressful, and the economy is unfortunate. What’s one thing that we have in our lives that we can depend on? A dog loving us unconditionally, every day, very faithfully.” – Jon Katz
I am currently nursing my beautiful, terminally ill 16 year old Cocker, Ralphie. He has recently been diagnosed with Cancer (Lymphoma). His little back-end, once robust and strong, is also wasting away with the nasty Arthritis.
So how do you keep your Dog Healthy & what actually is a healthy dog?
Canine care sounds pretty easy, right?
Simply feed, love, and play with that cuddly fur ball and the rest should take care of itself.
While this is (mostly) true, dogs have a penchant for getting themselves into trouble (we are convinced that Murphy of Murphy’s Law must have been talking about our four-legged friends when he said, “everything that can go wrong, will go wrong.”)
Fortunately, keeping your dog healthy is made easier by following a few simple rules:
Maintain a healthy weight for your dog.
Perhaps one of the biggest steps in preventing disease is keeping your dog from becoming overweight or obese.
Healthy weight – healthy dog right?
According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, over 50%of American household pets are obese, meaning they are more than 20% overweight.
Besides ruining your dog’s metabolism and energy levels, obesity shortens their lifespan and drastically increases the risk of developing diseases such as diabetes, thyroid conditions, liver and kidney disease, allergies, and certain types of cancer.
Exercise your dog regularly.
Regular exercise has many important benefits for your pet.
First, it keeps your pup strong, which is obviously very important just in case she gets called up for the annual Puppy Bowl during the Super Bowl next year.
Next, a tired dog is a happy healthy dog, and a happy healthy dog has fewer behavioral problems and destructive tendencies in the house than one that has extra energy.
Pet owners should avoid vigorous activity such as running until your dog’s bones have fully developed, but long walks, swims, hikes, and play sessions are certainly encouraged.
The health benefits of exercise are numerous as well.
Your dog will have better circulation, metabolism, digestion, and organ function when receiving at least 30 minutes of exercise daily.
Teach your pet the essential commands.
Training is important for every animal, and should begin as soon as possible.
Teaching your pet certain commands not only improves the bond between dog and human, but keeps your pet safe, too.
The most essential commands are “stay,” “leave it,” “drop it,” and “come,” which are important for when a dangerous situation arises, such as spilling all of the chocolate chips on the kitchen floor during a midnight snack cheat meal.
The better you train your dog, the greater the chance that you will only have to use one of those commands in this situation!
Puppy proof your house.
When you walk into a room, the last thing you want to see is your dog with a look on its face that says,
“LOL, Mom, look at this thing I found to chew on! I think it connects the television to the wall? IDK, it tastes good and I’m almost to the center!”
Research your house plants to make sure they are non-toxic to pets (common culprits are aloe, jade, lilies, and elephant ear), and keep anything potentially poisonous to your pet out of reach.
Use child protection locks to keep trash cans and cabinets closed, especially anywhere cleaning supplies or medicine may be stored.
Be sure your dog has no access to anything harmful that could be chewed or swallowed, such as electrical cords, socks, or sewing kits. Finally, store your dog’s food and treats in a dog proof area in order to prevent your pet from gorging itself on food and becoming ill… (favourite pastime)
Keeping your puppy healthy from an early age will ensure a lifetime of happiness together (and less money spent on vet bills!), which is a win-win for all involved.
Your dog’s health starts at home, with good habits beginning early.
Pup-Update – 1-2 Years
The two sides of Jerry the Cockerspan ‘Handsome Prince – Lay-about-all-day-dude’
Cocker Spaniels are chameleons. They can be almost anything they want themselves to be. Jerry has mastered this ability to croon and swoon the lady dogs, our elderly neighbour down the street, and most definitely has my Mother-in-Law wrapped around his rather large paws. On the one-hand, when required they are regal, almost stuffy as if they know they are of rather fine breeding…hmm hmm (I could even say demanding at times…but only because I’m his Momma). On the other hand, usually when they think no one is looking… they become the lad about town, genitals for days, and then… ‘What…gotta problem? It amazes me that I’m still shocked at some of his antics. Brings tears of joy to my eyes and reminds me…my life would be nothing without my dog!
Jerry – Born ‘Royoni Naughty-on-Arrival’ June 17, 2017
Follow Jerry’s adventures on Instagram @jerrythecockerspan
As you can see, the majority of your canine health plan should include preventative care, and we’ll discuss the medical side of this care in our next blog post.
Watch this space – Chapter Twenty-Six – Coming Soon
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Photo Credits: Bronte @bronte_the_rescue_pup, Kobe, Mimi, Rascals @my_3_poodle_rascals, Ollie & Sandy, Frank @paddington_frank, Coco @coco_the_companion, Mimi, Jerry @jerrythecockerspan, Marley