Dogs need clean water to survive. Provide them with open access at all times to prevent dehydration, stress, and heat stroke.
Watch for signs of illness, such as a poor appetite, lethargy, and urinating more or less often than usual. Also, have your dogs spayed or neutered to prevent backyard breeding and unwanted pets ending up in shelters.
Dog health care includes the proper feeding of dogs and avoiding unhealthy foods. The diet should include a balance of calories and nutrients, especially protein. Dogs may need to be fed two or three times a day depending on their age.
Dogs should be given high-quality, grain-free commercial or homemade dog food that is formulated with key ingredients to sustain health. They should also be dewormed on a schedule recommended by the veterinarian.
Some medications are easily administered to dogs by placing them in pill form inside a small treat or hiding them in food. Others are administered through the mouth or skin using a syringe. Preventive oral health care is a must to avoid tartar and plaque accumulation, which can lead to periodontitis.
Regular exercise keeps dogs physically healthy and stimulates their minds. It also reduces anxiety, which can lead to self-destructive behaviours such as chewing furniture and crying. Exercise can be as simple as a daily walk or play in the backyard, or more intense like swimming and obedience training.
Different dogs require varying levels of exercise depending on their breed, age and health. High energy breeds, for example, may need 30 minutes to two hours of physical activity every day – even as adults! Older pets need less vigorous exercise, but movement and mild activity is still important. This keeps their joints lubricated and limber, which in turn reduces behavioural issues such as excessive licking and barking.
Grooming is not a pleasant job for pets, but it is a vital part of keeping dogs healthy. Bathing, brushing, detangling, trimming nails, and cleaning earwax buildup are just a few of the grooming services that keep your dog looking great and feeling healthy.
As a bonus, grooming also helps socialize dogs, making them more comfortable in new situations and with strangers. Brushing their teeth can help prevent cavities, and nail trims can avoid joint pain from walking on untrimmed nails. Ear cleaning is an important service, though many pet owners prefer to leave this in the hands of professional groomers who can gently remove earwax without irritating your pet. The most important thing to remember is to make grooming sessions as short and positive as possible, so your dog will associate them with attention, treats, and praise rather than stress and anxiety.
Being a pet parent isn’t all tummy rubs and long walks in the park. Sometimes it’s scooping poop and taking care of other business, like keeping your pup healthy and protected from disease.
Vaccinations stimulate the immune system to protect against certain illnesses before your dog is actually exposed to them. This helps to prevent serious infections and outbreaks, which can be life-threatening for some pets.
Core dog vaccinations include rabies, distemper, parvovirus, and canine influenza. Non-core vaccines may be recommended for your pet based on regional factors and their unique lifestyle and history (for example, kennel cough or Lyme disease). Vaccine reactions are rare, but can occur. They are generally mild and short-lived. They can include swelling or redness at the injection site, lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, and/or hives.
A holistic approach to dog health includes physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness. Holistic veterinarians often favor non-invasive methods such as acupuncture, ethnomedicine, and chiropractic care, but will also prescribe medications when needed.
A physical examination is essential to diagnose health problems early, which makes treatment less costly and more successful. The veterinarian will examine your dog’s general appearance, listen to the heart with a stethoscope, and feel specific areas of the body.
If your dog has a life-threatening illness, many animal hospitals have charitable funds available to help pay for necessary treatments. In order to qualify for such assistance, you may need to demonstrate financial need (such as a denial of CareCredit) or provide a good prognosis for your pet. The fund at CSU’s Flint Animal Cancer Center, for example, takes both factors into consideration.