Top Tips for a Healthy Dog
There are many ways in which you can keep your dog fit and healthy. The biggest problem is that they can't tell you when they are unwell, so you need to keep a close eye on their behaviour and do all the things possible to help ensure that your dog has a healthy lifestyle. Dogs are very good at hiding pain and suffering if it isn't too severe, so it can be hard to notice when they are not feeling one hundred per cent. However, here are four tips to help keep your dog in tip-top condition:
Know your dog
Dogs that are unwell often act out of character and not as themselves. They may be quieter or less energetic than usual, have a runny nose, diarrhoea or vomiting, a change in odour or difficulty breathing, to name a few symptoms. There are other symptoms a dog may possess if they are unwell, that's why it is important to know your dog. The quicker you spot a problem the sooner you can do something about it.
Give them a chance to interact
Because dogs are naturally very sociable animals, it is important that you give them a chance to interact with other people and other dogs on a regular basis. Not doing so can make them lonely and aggressive, as well as protective of you and your house. For example, you may take them for a walk in a park where there are many people and other dogs around. This keeps them used to seeing and interacting with other people and other dogs, and can help to bring out and maintain their naturally sociable characteristics.
The amount of exercise that you give your dog is completely dependent on its breed, as well as its age and its health. Dogs don't just want exercise; they need it to stay healthy. Adequate exercise is a great way for your dog to burn off their excess energy, and can lead to them being better behaved and less restless when at home. For example, many hunting breeds need a great deal of exercise, and a good way to mentally stimulate them is to vary your routes. For most dogs, particularly the larger breeds, a walk "round the block" just won't cut it. Some of the small breeds will not get sufficient exercise in the house and garden. As your dog gets older, you may do a shorter version of the same walk. It is important to seek breed-specific advice if you are unsure, and remember that some dogs are naturally more energetic than others.
Eating and drinking
Like humans, dogs need a healthy and balanced diet, with the correct amount of protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals. Be careful with the budget brands of dog food; check that they have a high amount of meat or fish in them, as well as other carbohydrates and vegetables. If you buy dried dog food, be sure to give your dog water with their meal, so that they do not dehydrate. It is good to mix up their diet, so you can feed them meat and bones from the butchers now and again. In terms of hydration, make sure that you are giving your dog a sufficient amount of water to drink throughout the day. Your dog can quickly get dehydrated on a hot day, particularly if they are a large breed. Again, if you are unsure about your dog's nutrition, you may need to seek expert advice.
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