April is Active Dog Month
The month of April is Active Dog Month. This month-long…
Like most pet owners, you probably wish your dog could live forever. It seems terribly unfair that such selfless, loyal family members have such comparatively short lives.
The good news is there are simple things you can do to help your dog live a longer and healthier life. Following are six changes you can make now that will stack the odds in your dog’s favor and may add years to his life.
Keeping your dog’s mind active will keep him young. Try using food puzzles, which require your dog to figure out how they work before the food is released. This requires your dog to continue learning.
Teaching your dog new tricks is another great way to keep his mind active.
Many people think of training as a way to teach young dogs good behavior. Instead, think of training as a lifelong means of exercising your dog’s mind.
Your pet’s diet contributes to his overall health.
Check with your veterinarian to be sure that you are feeding your pet the correct food and amount for his size, age, weight, breed, and activity level.
If you think your dog is overweight, cut down on treats. Speak with your vet about a plan to get his weight back on track.
Overweight pets are at risk for many of the same illnesses that overweight people are likely to suffer from, including:
Regular exercise is crucial to Fido’s maintaining a healthy weight. Taking daily walks with your dog will not only keep him fit, but it is a great way to bond with your dog.
If your dog is up for it, try new places or vary your exercise. Go for a trail walk or a hike.
Seeing new sights and having different experiences is another great way to keep your dog’s mind stimulated.
The more toxins the body has to process, the more strain it puts on the body. Start taking note of what is in the products you use on your dog and in areas your dog frequents.
For example, do you know what is in the following products you use:
Check your carpet shampoo to see if it is safe for pets. Your pets are closer to the ground than you are and therefore, they absorb more of the toxins that may be used on the floors or carpets.
Look for natural, plant-based soaps, shampoos, and other products. Check to see that products are sulfite-free and free of harsh chemicals.
Make sure you are using pet-friendly ice melt.
Keeping toxins away from your four-legged friend will go a long way toward keeping him healthy.
Even if your fur friend appears to be in the best of health, don’t skip his regular vet visits. Some veterinarians recommend that senior pets have two checkups per year.
Your vet can make sure your dog is up-to-date on all vaccinations and preventative treatments.
Regular checkups are also a good opportunity to ask your vet any questions you have about changes in your pet’s behavior, appearance, appetite, or other concerns.
Just like with humans, proper tooth care prevents tooth decay. Plaque buildup and tooth decay can lead to infections that are not only painful but ultimately can lead to illnesses that affect internal organs.
Talk with your vet about the proper way to brush your dog’s teeth. Ideally, you should clean his teeth at least a couple of times a week.
Do not use human toothpaste. Most human toothpaste contains fluoride which is poisonous to dogs. Several kinds of toothpaste for humans also contain artificial sweeteners that can be toxic to dogs.
Ask your vet to recommend the best toothpaste and toothbrush for your dog. If your dog has significant plaque buildup, it may need to be removed in the vet’s office.
An ounce of prevention
We have all heard the old saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” In the case of your furry friend’s health, this couldn’t be truer. With some healthy lifestyle changes and good preventative care, you can do your best to have your best friend around for a healthy, long life.
Routine Care Coverage helps with everyday costs related to vet check-ups and other proactive health visits. PetFirst is proud to offer routine wellness care coverage for our policyholders.
Guest Blogger: Lauren Lee