The pack is a family unit, and every pack leader naturally wants to ensure the vitality and longevity of his or her family members. We want the years we spend together with our packs to be happy and lively ones. But in a world in which we breathe in pollutants and toxins daily, eat over-processed foods with little nutritional value, and find ourselves subject to germs and bacteria that can cause illness and other serious medical conditions, what can be done to brace up and fortify the health of our beloved canine companions? As a pack leader, it’s up to you to take responsibility. Here are some tips to keep your dogs barking well into their senior years!
1) Diligence. As puppies, dogs are highly vulnerable to the dangers present in the outside world. Parvovirus in particular poses a significant health risk and is responsible for premature deaths of puppies around the world. Consult your dog’s veterinary professional and make it your business to understand what dangers exist for your puppy in her new environment.
2) Plenty of exercise. One of your first activities with your dog will be a nice, long walk. From then on, you will be in charge of providing your dog with all the exercise her energy level demands. Some high energy dogs may require two long walks every day, supplemented with an afternoon of breed-specific games or tasks. Others may be perfectly content with the walk and a quick game of fetch. Know your dog’s needs and provide the right level of exercise to keep her healthy and fit!
3) Healthy diet. Just like human beings, dogs need a healthy diet to provide them with the essential vitamins and nutrients they need to fuel their daily activities. Begin by determining your dog’s ideal weight, and structure a diet around her specific needs. Keep snacks to a minimum, and when you do provide them, provide them sparingly and only as a reward for positive behavior.
4) Vitamin supplements. People aren’t the only animals who benefit from dietary supplements when they aren’t getting enough of the nutrition they require. Since 2000, demand for vitamin supplements for pets has increased by 15% every year. They can provide a significant boost to the existing nutritional value of your dog’s food, and may also have other specific, targeted benefits, such as a healthier coat, and a dampening of allergy symptoms.
5) Regular veterinary checkups. Prevention is the best way to keep health risks at bay. Once you have found a veterinary professional you can trust, you should bring your dog in for annual check-ups. For senior dogs or dogs with pre-existing medical conditions, regular check-ups should occur every six months. Puppies will require shots and immunizations, and should receive care based on a schedule agreed upon by both you and your trusted vet.
6) Cleanliness and care. Good health care begins at home. Germs, dust, and other allergy aggregates can severely weaken your dog’s immune system and open the door for health problems. It is important to keep any area that your dog frequents clean and to disinfect often. Additionally, be sure to maintain a regular bath and dental care schedule in between veterinary visits!
Consult your vet for advice specific to your dog’s breed, age, and health.