Keeping your Dog Healthy

There are a number of things that you can do throughout their lives to make sure that they stay happy and healthy, these are all practices that you should start when there are a puppy as they will just get used to it and will allow you to do it when they are older. Important routines you should start are checking their teeth and mouths; you should put your hands in their mouths and start this from a young age.

This means that they will let you do this as they grow up and not bite you, keeping an eye on a dogs gums is really important as they are a good trigger sign of letting you know everything inside is working properly.  Being able to touch their mouths will also mean that you will be able to brush their teeth without any fuss. This also goes with their ears, they should also be regularly checked.

One of the major things in keeping your dog healthy is the food that you feed them, it is just as important that you check what is in your dog’s food as it is checking your own food. Some dog foods can be full of artificial colourings and added sugar and this is just as bad for them as it is us. There is also the big debate of feeding your dog human food, this really is down to your own choice but if you are going to do this then you have to know what foods are poisonous to dogs these include;

  • Chocolate
  • Raisins
  • Onions
  • Grapes
  • Small bones – chicken & turkey – these can get stuck very easily inside the dog and cause major problems
  • Rawhide

Giving your dog human food can also lead to the problem of them begging for food of everyone in your house, this isn’t what you want so if you are going to give them human food you have to teach them when and how to ask for it. Also be aware that feeding your dog human food isn’t necessarily better for them, dog food has all the right nutritional aspects a dog needs.

What you feed your dog also has a major result on their weight, and human food can make them much larger than they should be, for example if you are feeding them supermarket mincemeat, you have to be aware that a lot of these are full of fat and will quickly make your dog overweight. As well as this looking at the treats you give your dog is also important, you want to avoid any with lots of additives, and you want to make sure you are not giving them too many a day.

When you’re feeding your dog, ensure that the dog bowl is of proper height. Puppies and older dogs have been known to choke on their food when bending down too far to eat. This is because dogs aren’t naturally born to have to extensively bend down to eat their food! An elevated dog bowl is a great idea, especially if you have a larger dog!

Of course along with food you also keep a dog healthy by making sure they get plenty of exercise. It is very important that you before you get a dog you take into consideration how much exercise they are going to need, the bigger the dog the more exercise they will need, so consider how much you are going to be able to fit into your day to day routine.

Some people think that small dogs don’t need exercise, this is not the case, all dogs need exercise, and even small dogs should have one daily walk each day.  Making sure that your dog stays at a healthy weight is so important as this is one element that has a massive effect on your dog’s health, if your dog is overweight you are opening the door to a number of health risks and issues.

If you can’t regularly exercise your dog, consider getting them a dog playpen or an outdoor dog kennel.

Grooming your dog is also a regular routine you should get them used to this both the routine of bathing and brushing. Some dogs will obviously require more grooming than others, for example a Lhasa Aspo or a Australian Shepherd, both these dogs have long fur which needs to be brushed daily to avoid it knotting, they also require regular trips to a groomer so their hair can be cut and trimmed.

Other breeds that are less maintenance are dogs with short fur like Pugs, these don’t require a lot of brushing and can go to the groomers ever couple of months for a good wash. Depending on the breed of dog will depend on how you wash them, for example small dogs are easy to fit in the kitchen sink so many owners tend to wash them their selves, this obviously can’t do done with bigger breeds.

Part of grooming is nail cutting, and this is for all dogs, and this is definitely a process that should be done as a pup as the older they grow the more used to the process they get and therefore the easier it is to do. Some people choose to cut their own dogs nails and some get the vet or their groomer do to it, this is a personal decision and what is most important is that it is done properly and the dog is safe, so if you aren’t confident to do it, take them to the vets/groomers to get it done. You can only cut the white part of the nail otherwise you will find they bleed so if you are going to cut them yourself make sure you know exactly what you are doing and that you have someone else on hand just in case you need them. Find a local dog groomer on Yelp!


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