Your dog is no doubt the love of your life. Sadly, canines and humans have very different life expectancies. All the more reason to get proactive and prioritize some preventative healthcare measures for your pet.
A complete preventative care regimen that includes diet and exercise, checkups, and cleanings, as well as emergency pep can help your dog live a healthier, and (perhaps longer!), life.
You know the old saying. “You are what you meat.” At least, that’s how it goes when you’re talking about filling Fido’s food bowl.
Some common proteins, like beef, chicken, and white fish, can lead to food allergies over time. By contrast, grain free doggie diets rich in more exotic meats including duck, rabbit, and salmon, can help pups keep off the extra pounds without creating digestive upset. Learning what to look for on dog food labels is a health-conscious practice that can help you discern which kibble is quality and which is better suited for the birds. And while we always encourage pet parents to closely inspect the ingredients list, even a cursory glance can unearth some sub-par surprises.
For example, if you see any mention of by-products, boycott it. Same goes for corn, soy, white potatoes, and the like. They offer nothing in the way of actual nutritional value. These filler foods can also worsen food allergies and lead to dangerous weight gain. Remember to check treats, too.
All these same standards should apply if you’re serious about mitigating preventable health issues. And though it may go without saying, scrap the table scraps. No one likes that kind of begging behavior. Their waistline will thank you, too.
Play and exercise
Movement and play are pivotal parts of any preventative healthcare plan. This goes double for doggos. They’re a species that evolved traveling long distances to track and hunt their food. Since they now have humans to depend on for that, all their excess energy has to go somewhere.
As any doggy dad or mom can attest, they’re playtime professionals who require mental and physical stimulation to be their best, and least destructive, selves. The level of exercise your dog will require largely depends on their size, breed, and age. As a good rule of thumb, engage in some form of daily exercise and play, be it a walk, game of fetch, or a review of their agility training commands.
It’s your best, if only, strategy against weight gain, boredom, and anti-social behavior. It may also prevent certain cancers and chronic conditions, like diabetes.
Even if you have a scardy pup that puts up a fight when you take her to the vet, overcoming these travel anxieties far outweighs missing an annual checkup. After all, we’re quite certain you’d prefer to know about a preventable health issue before it becomes a costly, or even deadly, problem.
Dogs of all ages require booster shots to help reinforce the vaccines they received as puppies. The doc will also be checking for lumps, bumps, and other irregularities that could be signs of a more serious condition. If they’re extra prudent, your vet may recommend additional screenings, certain kinds of blood work, or x-rays before your pup is given a clean bill of health.
Whatever course of action they deem necessary, remember that even if seems expensive at the time, it could end up saving your dog’s life.
Think about what would become of your teeth if they were largely neglected. No brushings or annual cleanings would likely lead to the kind of decay that eventually requires dentures. Your dog is no different.
Some animal owners take the time to brush their dog’s teeth every day. We’re all for it; however, if you feel a little skeptical about adding this extra step, you should, at the very least, take your pup in for an annual cleaning.
Overlooking this critical health aspect can lead to more than bad breath. Poor dental hygiene can be fatal for dogs. Gum disease alone is closely linked with serious health problems including painful tooth abscesses, heart complications, kidney failure, and irreversible damage to other vital organs.
No matter how devoted you are to your pet, accidents happen. We recommend dog owners take the time to review basic pet first aid procedures in preparation. At minimum, the American Veterinary Medical Foundation suggests acquainting yourself with emergency responses to common situations like poisoning and exposure to toxins, seizures, fractures, external and internal bleeding, burns, choking, heatstroke, and shock.
When it comes to the most prominent pillars of pup health many of the best life-extending practices are the same as humans. Putting good food in and getting excess energy out are good starts, but there are some stops to make on the road to longevity. Mark these preventative measures on the map for a happy, healthy, and long journey together.
Meet Mitch Felderhoff. Mitch joined his family business in May of 2007 after graduating from the University of North Texas. After several years working in sales, Mitch took on the responsibility of marketing, new product development, and was named Vice President of Muenster Milling in 2009. With the company now firmly in the 4th generation of Felderhoff’s, Mitch’s commitment to excellence is stronger than ever. When Mitch isn’t working on extruding dry pet foods, he is a husband and loving father of three boys.