One of the sad truths in our modern society is that the majority of our pet dogs are living below optimum health. Many of their problems aren’t necessarily obvious (and many owners seem to be unaware of it). The consequences of these health problems are reduced life expectancy, discomfort and unhappiness for the dog, and higher vet bills and distress for the owner.
The other sad truth is that many of these health problems are avoidable. The saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is so true when it comes to pet health.
The major preventable health problems in dogs are:
- overweight or obesity
- joint pain and stiffness
- skin problems: rashes, itching, flaking
- ear infections
- paw irritations (shown by biting and licking)
- bad odour (in coat, breath and rear end)
- dull coat
The way to prevent (or at least minimise) health problems in dogs is to play close attention to its nutrition and lifestyle. As an owner, you have total responsibility for this – after all, a dog can’t make health decisions for itself. Here are the main things to do to ensure your dog has the best health possible.
- Feed a quality food. Poor nutrition is the #1 cause in health problems for dogs. Avoid foods that contain by-products and are low in actual meat content (this includes virtually all supermarket foods). Also steer clear of anything with artificial flavourings, colourings or preservatives. If you were to eat nothing but junk food you would expect to have health problems. The same is true of your dog.
- Don’t over feed. Don’t leave a bowl lying around with food in it for your dog to eat during the day and if you’re not sure how much to feed, feed less than you think. It is very easy for a dog to be overfed, which is why the majority of dogs, sadly, are overweight. For more information on how much to feed your dog (and the signs to look for for overfeeding) go here.
- Make sure fresh water is always available. Dogs often drink a surprising amount of water and it is vital to their health that it is on hand when they need it. Keep the water bowl filled, especially if you are going out for the day.
- Don’t over-exercise your dog. Dogs absolutely love to play. The problem is, they don’t know how to tell you when they need to stop. It is not a good idea to tire your dog out through walking or playing as this will put a strain on their body. Obviously moderate exercise is important, but keep it at that – moderate.
Just doing these few simple things will go a very long way to keeping your dog in optimum physical condition for a long and happy life.
Pro Pac Superpremium and Earthborn Holistic Grain Free are two of the healthiest and most affordable quality dog foods on the market. Feeding these foods will help ensure your dog stays in great physical condition. For more information visit Petfood Direct at www.petfooddirect.co.nz