Dog care is often overlooked, but it’s very important to keep your furry friend healthy and happy. Proper dog care starts with regular vet check-ups, good nutrition, exercise, mental stimulation, and plenty of love. But, there is much more to it.
If you are a first-time dog owner, make sure to read the below tips. These key points will help you raise a healthy and happy dog:
1. Know the Signs of Dog Health Problems
It’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of common health problems. We often ignore things like puppy hiccups, lethargy, itching, unusual behaviour, and stomach disturbances. Keep an eye on your furry friend and if symptoms continue, take him to a vet.
This way, you can catch any problems early and get your dog the treatment he or she needs. Some common health problems in senior dogs include arthritis, cancer, kidney disease, and heart disease.
Other health issues include:
- Unusual lethargy or fatigue
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Difficulty urinating or defecating
- Excessive thirst or urination
- Changes in behaviour, such as becoming aggressive or withdrawn
- Persistent cough or wheezing
- Difficulty breathing
- Vomiting or diarrhoea that lasts more than a day
- Swelling of the abdomen
- Lameness or stiffness
- Sudden collapse
- Change in gum colour
2. Keep Your Dog Up-To-Date on Vaccinations
As your dog enters his or her senior years, it’s important to keep up with vaccinations. Dogs can contract many of the same diseases as humans, and some of these diseases can be fatal. Stay on top of your dog’s health by taking him to the vet for regular check-ups and booster shots.
There are a few key vaccines that puppies should receive to stay healthy. These include the distemper, adenovirus, and parvovirus vaccinations. In Australia, these are combined into a single vaccine, known as the C3 vaccine. Consult with your veterinarian to determine which vaccines are best for your puppy and at what age they should be administered.
3. Feed Your Dog a Nutritious Diet
Just like people, dogs need nutritious food to stay healthy as they age. There are a few things to consider when giving puppies nutritious food. First, make sure the food you’re giving them is high in protein and low in fat.
Puppies need a lot of protein to help them grow and develop properly. Also, the food you’re giving them is free of any artificial flavours or colours.
Lastly, avoid giving your puppies any table scraps or other human foods that might be harmful to them. After all, many of the foods we eat are toxic to dogs. Instead, focus on giving them healthy, puppy-specific foods that will help them grow and thrive.
Talk to your veterinarian about what type of food is best for your senior dog. You may need to switch to a food that is higher in protein and fat and lower in carbohydrates.
4. Keep Your Dog at a Healthy Weight
As dogs age, they tend to gain weight. This extra weight can put a strain on your dog’s bones and joints, making it difficult to get around. It can also lead to health problems, such as diabetes and heart disease. Help your dog maintain a healthy weight by feeding him or her the right amount of food and making sure it gets plenty of exercise.
5. Exercise Your Dog Regularly
Exercise is important for all dogs, but it’s especially important for senior dogs. Regular exercise can help keep your dog’s joints and muscles healthy, improve cardiovascular health, and help maintain a healthy weight.
Here are some common exercises for dogs:
- Go for a walk: A daily walk is a great way to keep your dog healthy and fit. If you don’t have time for a long walk, even a short stroll around the block will do.
- Play catch: This classic game is a great way to bond with your fur pal while getting some exercise. All you need is a ball or Frisbee and away you go!
- Visit the park: Most dogs love visiting the park, where they can run around and explore. It’s also a great opportunity to socialise with other dogs and people.
- Go swimming: Swimming is a great low-impact exercise for dogs of all ages and can be especially beneficial for those with joint problems.
- Take a hike: Hiking is a fantastic way to explore the great outdoors with your dog. Just be sure to stick to trails that are appropriate for your dog’s fitness level.
6. Keep Your Dog Mentally Stimulated
Just like people, dogs can suffer from boredom and loneliness as they age. To keep your dog’s mind sharp, give him plenty of toys to play with, including puzzle toys that encourage him to think. You can also teach your senior dog new tricks or take him to doggy day-care once in a while for some socialisation.
7. Be Mindful of Your Dog’s Sensitive Stomach
As dogs age, they can become more sensitive to certain foods and ingredients. If your senior dog starts having stomach problems, such as diarrhoea or vomiting, pay close attention to his diet. You may need to switch to a food that is easier on his stomach or avoid certain ingredients altogether.
8. Keep Your Dog’s Teeth Clean
Dental problems are common in senior dogs. To help keep your dog’s teeth healthy, brush them regularly with a doggy toothbrush and toothpaste. You should also have your dog’s teeth checked by a veterinarian at least once a year.
9. Be Mindful of Your Dog’s Changing Sleep Patterns
As dogs age, they often suffer from sleep disorders such as insomnia. If your senior dog is having trouble sleeping through the night, talk to your veterinarian about possible solutions. You may need to make some changes to his or her diet or exercise routine.
10. Give Your Dog Plenty of Love
The most important thing you can do for your senior dog is to give plenty of love and attention. Dogs thrive on companionship, so spend as much time as you can with your furry friend. Take your dog for walks, play fetch in the park, and snuggle on the sofa. These simple things will help your dog enjoy his golden years to the fullest.
Conclusion on Dog Care
In short, dogs are such special creatures and they deserve the best care possible. Do your research, ask your veterinarian, and most importantly, enjoy every moment with your furry friend.