Besides showering your canine friend with love and affection, here are 6 things our San Gabriel veterinarians suggest doing to keep your dog in the best shape possible.
1. Make Sure Your Dog's Diet Meets Their Needs
Your dog's nutrition is a big part of their well-being. To help keep your dog healthy, speak with your vet about the type and amount of food they recommend based on your dog's unique age, size, and lifestyle. Aim for food that contains high-quality ingredients that help support a balanced diet.
If your dog has special dietary or health needs, there are plenty of prescription food options available that can help your dog reach their optimal health.
2. Help Your Dog Maintain a Healthy Weight
Obesity has been linked to a number of serious conditions in dogs including diabetes and cardiovascular disease, so keeping your dog at a healthy weight is essential for optimal health. As important as it is to select the right food for your dog, it is just as important to feed them the correct amount. Most food bags come with guidelines based on your dog's size, but it doesn't hurt to check in with your vet to find out your pup's ideal number of daily calories.
You should also monitor the number of treats your pup is getting. Treats should only make up about 10% of your dog's daily intake and while they are a great training tool, it's important not to feed your dog so many that you're going over their daily recommended calorie amount.
If possible, try switching up standard dog treats for low-cal healthy snacks such as pieces of apple, baby carrots, or frozen blueberries.
3. Make Sure Your Dog Gets Plenty of Exercise
Different breeds have different exercise requirements. While some dogs can stay healthy with one to two short walks a day, high-energy breeds may need an hour or more of vigorous exercise once or twice a day. Adequate physical activity not only helps to keep your dog's body in good condition, but it can also help to prevent mental boredom which can lead to destructive behaviors or anxiety. Walks, backyard games, and social time at dog parks are all great ways to ensure your pooch gets plenty of exercise.
When considering getting a dog be sure to factor in your lifestyle and try to choose a dog that matches your activity level.
4. Take Your Dog for Annual Routine Exams
Routine physical exams are important in ensuring your pet's long-term health and well-being. Even if your pup seems healthy, you should take them for an annual exam. Annual exams allow your vet to assess your pet's health and screen for any emerging conditions that are easier to treat when caught early.
As part of their annual wellness exam, you should also talk to your vet about yearly routine bloodwork and a fecal exam. Both of these tools allow your vet to get a better look at your pet's internal health to be sure there are no hidden conditions or parasites that could make your dog sick if not treated.
5. Keep Vaccinations Vaccinations Up-To-Date
Our San Gabriel vets stress the importance of vaccinations as part of helping your pet live a long and healthy life. Regularly scheduled vaccines help to protect your dog from many highly contagious, potentially life-threatening diseases. Most states require by law that all pets be vaccinated against rabies, but there are a number of other serious conditions that vaccines protect dogs against including parvo, distemper, and hepatitis.
6. Provide Parasite Prevention
Along with regular vaccination, you should also ensure your pet is up-to-date on their parasite prevention measures. There are a host of parasites, including fleas, ticks, and heartworm, that can cause your dog to become seriously ill or uncomfortable. Many parasites also have the ability to spread to other pets or people in your household.
Speak to your vet about the most effective ways to protect your dog against the parasites that are common in your area.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.