Bringing home a new puppy or dog is one of the most exciting adventures of your life. But, once you adopt a dog, your main responsibility is keeping them happy and healthy. They require a proper diet, grooming, exercise, and vet visits to maintain their health.
In addition, you should know where the local emergency vet clinic is because dogs are crafty creatures that may try to eat just about anything, especially when they’re young. Since being a new pet parent can be overwhelming, especially if you’re still working on housetraining, here are a few tips to keep your puppy healthy:
Feed Them a Healthy Diet
Puppies and dogs have different nutritional needs. For example, if you have a puppy, they should eat food designed for puppies to help them grow big and strong. Meeting your dog’s nutritional needs is fairly easy since commercial diets have only improved over the years. When shopping for puppy or dog food, look for their life stage (puppy, adult, senior) and key descriptions like “balanced” to ensure they’re getting a premium diet. If you’re unsure which food is best for your pup, you can consult your vet, who will have recommendations for you.
Go to the Vet
Every dog should have an annual wellness exam to ensure it’s healthy. However, accidents and injuries happen, so depending on your pet’s health, they may have to visit the vet more often. Unfortunately, many dogs become stressed at the vet, making the experience unpleasant for everyone. You can use telemedicine for pets services to make the experience more positive. These services allow you to communicate with a licensed vet from the comfort of your home for non-emergency situations. Of course, they can’t perform heartworm, blood tests, or urinalysis, so you should still build a relationship with a local vet for the necessary lab testing.
Give Them Plenty of Exercise
Dogs need tons of exercise, especially while they’re young. Vets recommend giving your dog at least thirty minutes of exercise every day, which you can do with a walk in the morning. Of course, how much exercise your particular dog needs depends on its age and breed. As we’ve mentioned, puppies need more exercise. In addition, some breeds need exercise to prevent destructive behavior. Remember, working breeds typically had jobs, so if you get a terrier whose ancestors chased rodents away from farms, you can expect the same prey drive and energy levels.
Therefore, thirty minutes of exercise might not be enough for some dogs. However, if your dog still has tons of energy after a walk, consider extending the duration to find the right amount of exercise. You can also discuss it with your vet to ensure your dog isn’t being over or under-exercised, which could be bad for their health.
In addition to physical exercise, you shouldn’t forget about mental exercise. Dogs are smart, and they love to learn and use their brains. If you don’t give your dog something to do with their time, they can become bored and destructive, so you should have plenty of mentally stimulating things for them to do. Luckily, sniffing, chewing, and several other basic dog behaviors are mentally stimulating, so if your dog loves to chew, consider ensuring they always have a bone available.
In addition to bones, you can invest in treat-dispensing toys that force them to work for their food. Training is another form of mental stimulation for dogs because it forces them to learn, which is hard work. After a short training session, we bet your dog will be exhausted.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Besides feeding them a premium diet, your dog should always maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight is associated with various health complications, including obesity, joint pain, and diabetes. Therefore, feeding your dog the proper amount every day is crucial to preventing weight gain, especially during the winter when they might be less physically active.
Dog food packaging will tell you the ideal serving size based on your dog’s weight, but you should also consider activity level and treats. For example, if your dog eats a lot of treats one day, consider cutting their dinner portion in half to ensure they’re not overeating. Treats should make up around 10% or less of your dog’s daily diet, so you might have to do some basic math to determine how much to feed your dog.
Vaccinations are crucial for puppies and adult dogs to prevent illnesses ranging from kennel cough to rabies. If your dog hasn’t been vaccinated yet, now is the time to do it, especially if they spend time around other dogs. After your puppy is fully vaccinated, your vet will put them on a vaccination schedule, telling you when they need to return for boosters during adulthood.
Use Flea and Tick Prevention
You may think that because your dog spends most of its time indoors, they’re not susceptible to fleas or ticks. However, fleas and ticks can be found in any environment, feeding on their host’s blood and carrying potential diseases, such as Lyme disease. In addition, dogs are allergic to flea saliva, so flea bites can be incredibly itchy and uncomfortable.
You can protect your dog from fleas and ticks year-round by investing in preventative products in chewable form, preventing them from becoming seriously ill or uncomfortable.
Caring for Your Dog
These are only a few tips to keep your dog healthy; you should do many more things to ensure their health and happiness, including basic grooming, such as brushing their teeth, trimming their nails, and grooming their fur. In addition to taking care of your dog’s basic needs, you should know the warning signs to look out for that may indicate a serious health problem, such as behavior changes, GI issues, and excessive grooming.
After a few months with your dog, you’ll learn everything about them, including their behavior and daily activities. If they deviate from their routine, it may signal that they’re unwell and warrant a trip to the vet. In addition, keeping your dog healthy is only part of your responsibility as a pet parent; they need tons of love and affection, so you should always make time for them.
About the author:
Megan Isola holds a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality and a minor in Business Marketing from Cal State University Chico. She enjoys going to concerts, trying new restaurants, and hanging out with friends.
Bhagavati is a skilled SEO and Content specialist who has worked on many marketing projects. He is passionate about helping others understand the nuances of digital marketing, discover new opportunities in SEO, and build connections in this industry. When not working, you can find him with his adorable dog or with his friends.