Keeping your dog healthy is obviously one of the main responsibilities you have as a dog owner. A healthy dog means a happy dog, giving you much more pleasure of ownership. Your dog will have more energy, be more responsive to you and will have a calmer and more settled nature. However, keeping your dog healthy goes much further than that. You will avoid costly vet bills, which can escalate dramatically, especially as the dog gets older. Most of the minor and major health problems that dogs can develop can be minimised or eliminated by keeping your dog healthy.
One of the most important things in avoiding health problems in your dog is to be aware of the warning signs. These are symptoms that, if not addressed, can develop into major issues. The good news is that if detected early, they can be dealt with relatively easily.
Here are some of the signs that your dog is not is healthy as he should be:
- Smelly skin, coat and breath. Many people accept that offensive “doggy’ smell as normal, but it isn’t. The smell can also pervade places where the dog spends time, such as it’s bed. Your dog should smell ‘sweet’ or, preferably, not at all. If you’re in doubt if your dog has a “doggy” smell, ask a neighbour or friend – you may have become desensitised to it!
- Poor coat. A dog’s coat should be shiny and soft. And I mean REALLY shiny and soft. If it is dull, wiry or greasy, it suggests your dog is not as healthy as he could be.
- Aggressive or hyperactive behaviour. Although training of course plays an important part in a dog’s behaviour, if your pet acts unpredictably or aggressively it can be a sign of health issues.
- Skin conditions. Itching, scratching, rashes, flaky skin – these are all signs of poor health in a dog.
- Stiff joints. Many people expect that dogs will develop joint and muscle problems when they get older, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Observe your dog’s movement, especially first thing in the morning or after it has been inactive or asleep for a while. If it appears to be stiff or having problems with movement, then it points to less than optimum health.
If your dog has any of these symptoms, you should address them before health issues become more major. Fortunately, there is one very simple and effective way to reduce or eliminate these in dogs and keep them in optimum health:
Feed a good, healthy food.
Dr Michael Fox, author of 40 books on dog health and former vice president of Humane Society International states:
“It has taken me 20 years as a vet to realise that 90% of health problems in dogs result from the food they are eating.”
Choose a quality food and you will not only reduce or eliminate all the symptoms above, but you will be doing the best thing possible to ensure your dog’s long term health and happiness.
A quality food is one that has a high meat content and has no by-products, cheap fillers, preservatives, flavourings or colourings.
Pro Pac and Earthborn Holistic are two foods that have been independently rated as amongst the highest quality on the market. We ourselves have seen remarkable improvements in dogs’ health since they have switched to these foods (see www.petfooddirect.co.nz for a number of reports from dog owners).
If your dog displays any of the symptoms above try him or her on Pro Pac or Earthborn Holistic and judge your results for yourself.
Pro Pac and Earthborn Holistic are both available in New Zealand from Petfood Direct. For more information and to order visit www.petfooddirect.co.nz or call 0800 DOG FOOD (0800 364 366).