A lot of people have found themselves taking care of a dog or two in the past year. Many of them are first-time pet parents who want to do the right things by their pets, but they aren’t really sure what that entails. If that sounds familiar, follow these simple tips to ensure your new pet stays healthy and happy.
1. Switch to a Premium Food
If people are what they eat, then the same can be said of man’s best friend. Dogs have specific nutritional requirements that filler-laden cheap kibble isn’t really designed to meet. Instead of buying whatever is on sale to feed your K9 companion, switch them to a premium grade dog food like Dr Marty pets products and stay consistent with feeding choices. That means giving them the same brand and formulation until you come up with a nutritional plan that works for your dogs breed, stage of life and yes even perhaps weight (loss/gain) goals. What you’ll notice after a few weeks is healthier skin and coat, easier digestion — which means easier cleanup for you — and improved energy levels. Be sure to join a breed specific group (or start one of your own) on-line such as on yahoo, facebook or clubhouse to compare notes on what other dog parents are saying so you optimize going through foods.
2. Give Them a Chance to Exercise Daily
While your pup may enjoy sleeping on the couch all day, he really needs some active playtime to help maintain his health. Try to take your dog for at least two walks every day, for a total of about 30 minutes. It isn’t always fun, especially in bad weather, but it is part of the responsibility of having a dog. In reality, you’ll probably benefit from that daily walk as much as your dog, so grab a leash and get moving.
3. Always Provide Access to Fresh Water
Whether your dog stays inside or out, they need access to fresh, clean water throughout the day. Gravity waterers are an excellent option, and they come in sizes ranging from a quart to several gallons to accommodate dogs of every size. Be aware that you need to be careful about keeping the reservoir portion clean and free from debris like hair or stray kibble. There are also some great fountain designs that provide flowing water for the particularly picky pooches out there. Be sure to wash your pup’s bowl daily to prevent bacteria and other germs from breeding- metal bowls win out!
4. Restrict Treats to Occasional Indulgences
Treats are not a key component in your dog’s overall health and well being. If you do offer treats, look for products made with healthy ingredients that provide at least some nutritional value. Many dogs like fruits and vegetables, too, which can be excellent treat options. Just be sure to learn what foods are and are not safe for dogs to eat. Some common choices, like grapes, can be highly toxic to pets. Even nutritional supplements can be a cause of excess weight gain. Adding four of five vitamin soft chews to a daily routine means cutting back on that many other treats throughout the rest of the day.
5. Perform Routine Dental Care
The idea of brushing your dog’s teeth may seem a little bit odd, but it is a good practice to engage in. Go ahead and buy a special toothbrush when they are little and get your pup used to the technique. As they grow, it will just become a normal part of their routine. Always use pet-friendly toothpaste since our products are not designed to be swallowed. An alternative if you’re having difficulty getting your dog comfortable is to get an oral dental wash that can be added to your pets water bowl. Alternately, there are dental sprays such as tru-dog that you can spray on their teeth to remove tarter.
6. Offer Structure
While you want to spoil your dog, that probably means something entirely different to him than it does to you. Dogs are very social pack animals. A daily routine and structure help them feel safe, secure and happy. Instead of allowing them to do whatever they want, step up and take charge as pack leader. You and your dogs will be happier in the long run.
Dogs can be a wonderful addition to many families. Offering them a high-quality diet without a lot of extras, providing structure and opportunities for exercise and performing proper dental care will help them be happy and well-adjusted family members.