How to Take Care of Your Dog's Health
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A dog's responsibility of care is more than just feeding and taking them for walks. Ensuring their health needs are met is essential to maintaining quality of life. This doesn't mean only taking them to the veterinarian when we observe signs of illness. We will need to take them for periodic checkups, deworm them regularly, ensure vaccinations are up to date, take them to the groomer when necessary and more.
In this AnimalWised article, in collaboration with iNetPet, we review the keys to best take care of your dog's health.
Feeding and diet
Our dog's health essentially begins with their diet. From the start, we should spend time comparing different food options, carefully read ingredient lists and ensure we have the right option for our dog's given situation. Quality is of the utmost importance.
Dogs need a diet based on animal protein derived from meat or fish. This can be complemented with lower proportions of cereals, legumes, vegetables and fruit. The food must be adapted to the dog's stage in life as younger dogs will have different dietary needs compared to older canines. We also need to ensure they have enough food while avoiding problems like obesity.
The type of food we choose will depend on many factors. The best food is often homemade as it allows the animal to eat fresh natural ingredients with the right proportion of water. However, we need to ensure the dog's nutritional needs are met which may require supplements, but definitely requires veterinary advice. If you choose to provide commercial feed for your dog, ensure it is a quality one.
For more information, take a look at our article on the best diet for dogs.
The importance of deworming
Dogs can be affected by different parasites. These are divided into two categories: external parasites (e.g. fleas, ticks and mosquitoes) and internal parasites (e.g. heartworm, lungworm and tapeworms). For this reason, our veterinarian will need to determine their deworming schedule. This will be dependent on where the dog lives, their life stage and other health-related factors.
It must be taken into account that parasites are not only a nuisance for the dog, but they can transmit serious diseases. Common parasitical diseases in dogs include babesiosis, filariasis or leishmaniasis. Many parasites can affect other animals in the house and even be transmitted to humans. This highlights the importance of deworming the dog from puppyhood and throughout their life.
In this related article we discuss how often you should deworm a dog.
Another important pillar of a dog's health care is vaccination. Vaccines allow your dog's immune system to be supported against highly contagious and life-threatening diseases, such as parvovirus and canine distemper. Vaccines are especially important when our dog is a puppy as they more vulnerable at this time. However, vaccinations will need to be reviewed periodically throughout the dog's life to ensure they remain protected.
Not all vaccines will need to be administered every year of the dog's life. This is why your dog's vaccination schedule needs to be arranged with our veterinarian. They will determine which vaccines are required and at what time, according to the geographical location and other factors.
Basic dog hygiene
It is important to clean a dog's eyes, ears and teeth regularly, as is trimming their nails according to their individual needs. The same goes for brushing their coat and bathing. Maintaining proper coat hygiene and ensuring it is in optimal condition will help avoid various pathologies such as dermatitis.
Frequent brushing is recommended, especially during the shedding season. Bathing is also important, but it should not occur frequently. Excessive bathing and the use of inappropriate personal hygiene products can be counterproductive. It is essential, if we bathe the dog at home, that we dry them completely afterwards. If we don't, the excess humidity can lead to skin problems. To ensure their health, we can go to a professional dog groomer. They can guide us on the best products and accessories to use for our particular dog.
Regular veterinary checkups
Getting used to having our dog checked regularly is a good habit. It best gives us the chance for early detection of various pathologies. These can include tumors, eye infections or even the presence of parasites. We should take our dog to a vet at least once a year for a checkup to help ensure their good health.
Reviewing our dog's health status is especially important in dogs older than seven years of age. Aging is associated with the development of various health problems such as osteoarthritis, kidney failure and cancer. Detecting these problems as soon as possible will help to maintain the dog's quality of life.
Caring for and maintaining the health of a dog also requires paying attention to their psychological well-being. Providing exercise, stimulation, education, company and affection are the foundations of a happy dog. We should not not neglect these aspects, even if we have to request the help of a canine behavior professional.
Organizing the care of our dog
As we can see, there are multiple factors involved in caring for our dog's health. Deworming, grooming, veterinary check-ups and training are some of the most important. New technologies can help us to meet these needs and organize their entire care schedule.
An application such as iNetPet not only allows us to have all the information related to our dog's health contained in a single place, it allows us to access it from wherever we travel in the world. It also helps improve communication with our dog's health care professionals. For example, if we notice our dog has been to the groomer and suffered an allergic reaction, our veterinarian can contact the groomer directly and request the information they need for diagnosis. It also affords dog guardians communication with canine professionals in real-time, helping to contribute to the well-being of our dog.
This article is purely informative. AnimalWised does not have the authority to prescribe any veterinary treatment or create a diagnosis. We invite you to take your pet to the veterinarian if they are suffering from any condition or pain.
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