By Jessie McDowell, Marketing Content Specialist
Keeping your dog healthy often makes us think of simply taking him to the vet and cleaning his ears. Health for your pet is so much more than vet visits; it is a super rewarding full time job. Everything you do has an impact on your relationship with your furry friend, and it is your job to make sure you have the best bond possible.
Here are a few essentials to keep on your dog care checklist:
- Feed the right food at the right amount
It’s hard to know exactly how much food your dog needs. You want to make sure he isn’t hungry, but you also don’t want him to have health problems from overeating. Check out this dog food calculator to make sure the heaping scoop you’re giving isn’t actually hurting your dog’s health.
As far as choosing the right food, this tip isn’t as simple. It all depends on your dog’s specific needs and health risks, but as a general rule, you want to give your dog the most natural food you can from a pet store or from your vet. Look for meat and vegetables, rather than grain fillers. Corn, rice, whole wheat, barley, soy and other grains are cheaper sources of protein used by many pet food producers to increase the percentage of protein in their food. Unfortunately, these are often difficult for your dog to digest and are not always good for your pet’s overall health.
If you aren’t home very often, your dog may not have the access to water that they need. Each day, dogs need to drink about one ounce per pound of body weight. That is a lot of water! If you aren’t giving your pet the water they need, you could be opening them up to the threat of urinary tract infections and health risks. You can’t always be with your pet all the time, but with products like The Drinkwell ® Everflow Indoor/Outdoor Fountain and Drinkwell® Big Dog Fountain you can make sure they are getting the water that they need all day.
- Proper mental and physical exercise
Depending on the breed of dog you have, he may be begging for more exercise and attention. Even small dogs need more exercise than you may think. On average, dogs need about 30-60 minutes of exercise per day, and this isn’t just running around outside. Dogs need both mental and physical activity to keep them sharp. Try taking them on a hike, or find toys like the Busy Buddy® Jack that keep your dog playing and help exercise his mental capacity. Your dog will definitely thank you.
As much as our pets love us, it is nice to know that we can trust them to love other dogs too. Make sure you socialize your pet with all different sizes and shapes of dogs and humans to make sure you can trust that your dog will behave in every situation. They need that social interaction to be able to build healthy relationships with other dogs and humans. Socializing at the young age of 3 to 12 weeks old is a great start when your puppy is most likely ready for new experiences, but cautious socialization can continue throughout a dog’s life. A GREAT way to help socialize your dog is with a day at the dog park. Our Bark for Your Park contest will be launching in May, and your city could win funds to help build its very own dog park.
- Grooming and Vet Visits
This goes without saying, but regular visits to the vet and keeping up with your pet’s grooming will do wonders for his health. Routine visits can even extend the life of your pet, and can also decrease their chances of expensive visits down the road. Keep up with when your pet should visit the groomer and their veterinarian!
The number one thing your dog probably wants from you is love. Keep your relationship with your best friend healthy and your dog will have just what he needs to be healthy all year round!