Dog Health and Nutrition
How to Achieve Good Health for Your Canine Friend
Owning a dog is a huge responsibility and your dog’s health, among other things, should be your primary concern as a dog parent. So, to help you ensure a sturdy and healthy life for your furry friend, The Woof-Factor has listed down a comprehensive set of methods and rules to achieving better health for your dog.
A Good Veterinarian
Whether you have just bought a new puppy home or own a dog, choosing a good vet for your dog is essential. Pet Store professionals are also knowledgeable and can render advice on most dog problems. A good vet not only diagnoses and treats ailments and diseases, but should also be able to advice you on our dog’s nutrition, vaccinations and immunizations. A vet that has all the necessary qualifications and shows a personal interest in your dog is ideal.
A Nutritious and Balanced Diet
Easy availability of commercial dog food coupled with owner’s time constraints results in your dog partaking high calorie and nutrient rich food, which can lead to several health problems. Skin allergies, kidney diseases, high blood pressure and bone and joint abnormalities are just a few of them.
1. Go for premium dog foods that are scientifically tested and have the right balance of vitamins, proteins, minerals, and calories.
2. Switch to home-cooked food. It’s the safest and the surest way to win your dog’s stomach and heart.
3. Keep your dog’s breed, size and age in mind while buying dog food.
4. Some breeds, like the Bulldog, have a tendency towards obesity, flatulence, etc. Avoid giving food to your dog rich in fatty contents. Avoid over-feeding.
5. Monitor your dogs food intake. Human food is not always healthy for your dog; hence avoid giving your dog table scraps, chocolates, grapes, raisins, onions, garlic, etc.
6. Treat your dog during his training sessions or otherwise, but make sure that treats constitute only 10% of his diet.
Immunization for puppies is important before it can become a part of your family. Immunization protects your dog from health problems like distemper, hepatitis, intestinal virus, leptospirosis of the kidneys and livers, kennel cough and rabies made mandatory by State Law.
The first of rabies shot should be given at three to five months followed by the second shot a year after and then a shot every three years.
Steer clear of clinics that appoint an assistant to administer the shots at lower fees.
Check for Internal Parasites
Check for internal parasites like heartworm, hookworm, roundworm, tapeworm, whipworm, fleas, ticks etc in your dog. These parasites can lead to dehydration, diarrhea, pneumonia, vomiting, chronic cough or bowel inflammation, and mucus in the stool, weight loss, and stunted growth. Deposit a stool sample of your dog with the vet for proper diagnosis.
Diarrhea is a common occurrence in dogs resulting from improper diet or over-feeding. It can also be caused by bacteria, parasites and even food allergies. Consult your vet if diarrhea lasts for more than a day.
Ticks can be removed by plucking it out of your dog’s body with the help of a twizzer. But avoid doing his unless youve had proper medical advice on the procedure.
Use a Flea comb or to vet prescribed pills to reduce, control and eliminate or control fleas.
Watch for Signs and Symptoms
Smelly ears, ear mites and runny nose indicate ear and nose infections, respectively. Yellow teeth indicate build-up of tartar that may lead to bleeding gums, drooling, bad breath, and a sharp decline in eating. Give your dog dry food or dry biscuits that promote dental health and also clean your dog’s teeth.
Vomiting several times a day should be treated seriously. Vomiting can be caused by parasites or swallowing small toys, plastic, wires or any such forbidden objects.
One of these should be treated as indicative of illness in your dog:
Difficulty in eating,
Loss of appetite,
Sudden weight loss or gain,
Fur loss or dull coat,
Changes in skin condition,
Red or watery eyes,
Runny nose, and dry nose,
Difficulty in breathing,
Blood in urine or stool,
Difficulty in urinating,
Sluggish or unusual behavior, and
A temperature higher than normal.
Ensure your Dog’s Personal Hygiene
Like humans, dogs do not require daily baths. But when they do, make sure you are using the right dog shampoo that is not harmful to your dog’s coat.
Use warm water to rinse your dog. Ensure that you rinse thoroughly till the last reminiscence of soap from his coat. Use a spray hose for better results.
Dry with a fluffy towel or drier.
Brush and comb do reduce matting, in case of longhaired dogs.
Nail Trimming, Cleaning Ears, Eyes Teeth
1. Your dog’s nails should be trimmed occasionally but cleaned off dirt or debris regularly.
2. Clean your dog’s ears at least once every month.
3. Clean the corner of your dog’s eyes with a warm and wet cloth to prevent accumulation of tears.
4. Our dog’s teeth require occasional brushing but mostly a rawhide or nylon chew toy suffices to keep your dog’s teeth clean.
For more details on dog hygiene and how to groom your dog, refer to Dog Grooming and Dog Shedding.
Dogs require daily exercise just as humans do. This helps keep your fit and avoid obesity
There are different ways to make your dog exercise, which are fun-filled, exciting as well as effective. Go for walks or for jogging together. Play with your dog during the day.
There are several games, exercises and sports that you can indulge your dog in. For a complete list of details, visit Dog Exercise.
Spaying or Neutering
Neutering male dogs reduces the incidence of testicular cancer. The operation is simple and you can expect to bring your dog home the same day.
Female dogs, if spayed before the age of two, rarely develop breast cancer or hormone-driven tumors. They are also less aggressive, less territorial and less combative. Operation may require your dog to stay a night at the hospital and several days of bed-rest.
The time for such operations is best before 5 to 6 months.
The best way ensure your dog’s healthy is by ensuring his safety.
Avoid heavy traffic when you take your dog for walks, jogging or cycling.
A fenced property prevents your dog from running out to the road and helps reduce chances of accidents. Build a fence according to your dog’s size.
Keep electrical cords, wires, stove, driers and other home appliances out of the reach of your dog. You can avoid burns or shocks to a great extent.
Supervise your dog in the pool area. Never leave alone. Take lessons in animal CPR in case of drowning or electrical shocks.
Never delay a First-Aid. If your pet has been injured, rush it to a vet immediately. Be as gentle as possible while transporting it.
Dogs need to wear a collar ID tag at all times, even during bathing.
Puppies as well as older dogs need supervision and training when there is a swimming pool in the yard.
Always walk your dog on a leash. This ensures the safety of your dog, you, and others around you.