The biggest part of being a responsible dog owner is making sure your dog is safe and healthy. This is a huge topic; after all, everything we do at Winslow Animal Hospital is dedicated to the health and wellness of pets! That said, here are some majorly important basics to get you on the right track as a responsible dog owner.
1. Take Your Dog to the Vet Regularly
This is so important, because veterinarians are trained to answer your questions and help you be the best pet-parent you can be! Pets age much faster than humans, and go through health changes much faster. Being able to track those changes is important to quality of life for the animal. Definitely call your vet if you are seeing symptoms of disease!
2. Provide a Good Diet & Water
Nutrition is the foundation for health. Find the right food for your pet. Foods that are a little more calorie-dense might be ok for puppies who need that energy to grow, but high calorie diets can cause older dogs to put on weight, which increases the risk of disease. Avoid toxic chemicals and foods, such as chocolate and grapes. Water is always important, especially when it’s hot out.
Calories can’t just go in – they have to be burned! Dogs and people are meant to be more physically active than we often are. It’s important to take care of your pets’ need for exercise. It improves physical health and behavior.
4. Prevent Disease
This is a big one. Vaccines are a great way to prevent certain diseases, such as rabies. Other health problems like obesity require healthy diet and exercise regimens. Some potentially deadly diseases are caused by parasites, like heartworms and roundworms. Products that protect against disease-carrying insects and parasites are available for purchase.
5. Dental Care
Dental health is also an important part of your pet’s overall health. Most adult pets have some form of periodontal disease. This infection in the gums can cause bad breath, pain, tooth loss, or even spread from the gums through the bloodstream to vital organs. Pain is not NECESSARILY going to be a symptom, so don’t wait for it. Brush your pet’s teeth a few times a week, and consider professional veterinary dental cleaning.
6. Seasonal Problems
Protect against heat stroke, defend against the chilly winter winds, and be aware of holiday dangers. As Pet-Parents, we have to be aware of the changing environments our pets find themselves in and make sure they are safe for our Furry Friends.