Last Updated on December 23, 2020
A healthy dog equals a happy dog, and we can bet that as a pet parent, it’s in your best interest to do all you can to make sure your puppy is as healthy as can be. Your dog’s health requires some maintenance, and there are some simple steps you can take to ensure your best friend’s well-being. So, without any further ado, here is how to care for your dog!
1. Keep your puppy on a healthy diet
Healthy food is as important for dogs as it is for humans. After all, food is the main source of nutrition for both dogs and humans. The main ingredients of healthy dog food should be meat and vegetables, and if you wish to keep your puppy on a healthy dog diet, you should keep them away from grains and meat by-products. Always read the labels before buying food for your dog, as you should make an effort to avoid buying food with filler ingredients that can cause harm to your puppy’s health. Propylene Glycol, Corn Syrup, and Ethoxyquin are some of the ingredients you should stir away from.
2. If you feed human food to your dog, be careful
We know how hard it can be to say no to your puppy when he wants to snack on human food, but sometimes you need to do it for their own safety. The body of a dog can’t metabolize certain foods the same way a human body does. Feeding your dog human food can even be fatal in some cases. Keep your dog away from toxic foods like chocolate, yeast dough, alcohol, onions, chives, nuts, raisins, garlic, or grapes. And if you are the type of person who prefers to make their own dog food, be sure to seek counseling with a veterinarian beforehand – your dog’s health should always come first.
3. Keep your dog at a healthy weight
An overweight dog can see their life is shortened by as much as two years, and we are sure you don’t want that to happen to your furry friend. Obesity in dogs increases the risk of developing parallel health conditions such as diabetes, urinary bladder stones, heart disease, cancer, and even osteoarthritis. If a dog’s weight is 10 to 20% above their ideal body weight, they are considered overweight. This can happen due to a lack of physical activity or excessive feeding. Work out a plan with your dog’s veterinarian and be vigilant about your puppy’s weight.
4. Always pick healthy dog treats
Every dog on this planet loves snacking, but this is no excuse for letting your puppy go off the rails. A healthy diet should extend all the way to snack time. If you feed your dog store-bought treats, be sure to read the labels and pick those with a low calory count. Ideally, you can make your puppy treats at home, which is the healthiest alternative since you get to handpick the ingredients.
5. Keep your dog hydrated
Just like humans, dogs need a lot of water to maintain perfect health and to be able to digest food properly. Be sure to change your dog’s water every day to keep it clean and fresh. Also, wash your dog’s water bowl often, as it can be a paradise for algae and bacteria to grow.
6. Groom your puppy
You should groom your puppy regularly, not just to keep up with their good appearance. While brushing your dog’s coat is a great way to keep it healthy and shiny, it can also be a way to discover any suspicious bumps and lumps that deserve medical attention. Plus, grooming your dog promotes good circulation and allows you to check for skin conditions such as ticks, mites, or fleas.
7. Don’t clip your dog’s nails unless you know how
Clipping your dog’s nails can be a tricky part of grooming, and it’s perfectly fine if you can’t do it by yourself. Your dog’s nails have a part that contains delicate nerves and blood vessels, and it can be quite problematic if you trim this specific part. If you don’t feel confident enough, take your dog to a professional groomer, and they will do it in no time.
8. Brush your puppy’s teeth daily
A healthy pet can be hard work, but it’s all worth it in the end. Caring for a dog can be pretty similar to caring for a small human. And wouldn’t you brush your baby’s teeth? Brushing your dog’s teeth is essential to remove bacterial build up and plaque. While you are at it, check their mouth for damaged teeth or mouth sores. Also, be sure to purchase an appropriate dog toothpaste, as human toothpaste is not suitable for your canine friends, and using it can result in serious health conditions.
9. Pay attention to your dog’s ears
When taking care of your dog’s health, you shouldn’t leave any aspect behind it. Whenever you groom your dog, take some time to check out their ears and make sure they don’t’ have any discharge or weird smell. Flip their ear over and check it for debris, dirt, or any parasites like ticks, who usually like to hide inside or behind your puppy’s ears.
10. Shelter your dog
If you don’t want to end up with a sick dog, you need to provide them proper shelter. While most people keep their dog inside the house, some people prefer to leave them outside. This is ok as long as you provide them with a safe and warm environment that meets all their needs. Avoid chaining your dog as this can lead to serious neck injuries. If you have no way of properly sheltering a dog, don’t get one.
11. Get them into dog exercise
The amount of exercise a dog needs to be healthy depends mainly on its breed. Talk with your veterinarian to figure out an exercise plan that fits your puppy. You can take them on a run, which also gives you an excellent opportunity to engage in exercise yourself, or you can get creative and play all sorts of fun games with your best friend. The important thing is that you both keep moving!
12. Allow your dog to socialize
Before socializing your dog, you must make sure they are vaccinated. Then, you can start introducing them not only to people but to other pets as well. Make sure your furry friend doesn’t feel threatened by their surroundings as you slowly expose them to social situations. Socializing your dog is the best way to ensure that they don’t represent a danger to others or themselves.
13. Take your puppy to the vet
Taking your dog for a yearly checkup at the veterinarian is mandatory. Besides making sure that your puppy is vaccinated, these regular checkups will allow you to know if there is anything wrong with your dog that might threaten their health or even their life.
14. Vaccinate your dog
Dog vaccines are just as important as human vaccines, and you can be penalized if your dog bites someone while not being vaccinated. When your dog is around 12 weeks old, take them to the vet and get them vaccinated against rabies. It’s also advised that you vaccinate your puppy against Lyme disease as well.
15. Try to prevent fleas
Fleas can be a total nightmare for both you and your puppy, but fortunately, they can be prevented by making your dog wear a flea collar, for example. However, if you still end up finding fleas on your puppy, you can either wash them with flea shampoo or opt for oral medication that should be prescribed by a vet.