Every dog needs pets, strokes and scratches behind the ear to know that we care about them, but keeping them healthy is perhaps the best way to prove your love for your dog over physical affection. Let’s take a look at some key ways to ensure your pet is as healthy as possible.
Choose healthy, natural dog treats
Many of us use treats to reward good behaviour in our pets, since dogs tend to be incredibly motivated by food when it comes to training. However, many of the treats you find in supermarkets contain unnecessary filler ingredients which at best offer little nutritional value, and at worst could cause health problems for dogs with allergies or delicate digestive systems. They can be excessively high in salt, refined sugars and unhealthy fats, and contain artificial colours, preservatives and additives that are simply unnecessary for your pup.
Thankfully, there are plenty of natural dog treat manufacturers springing up to help us choose healthier treats for our dogs. You can buy natural dog treats from the Wild Thought shop, which has a huge array of products on offer. You’ll find long-lasting yak cheese chews, sustainable insect protein biscuits, anti-inflammatory treats made with glucosamine-rich mussels, and more.
Practice portion control
According to a recent study from the Royal Veterinary College, every 1 in 14 dogs is recorded as overweight every year. Since some dogs may not visit their vet once each year, it’s likely that the real proportion of pooches that are overweight in the UK is even higher. Certain breeds are more susceptible to being overweight and obese. Pugs, Golden Retrievers, English Springer Spaniels and Beagles are a few breeds most prone to weight gain.
Overweight dogs are more susceptible to a variety of health problems, including breathing problems, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and some types of cancer. They’re also more likely to have shorter life spans and a reduced quality of life due to higher frequency of illness. Although it’s tempting to demonstrate your affection for your dog by giving them large portions and plenty of treats, it is far more caring to practice careful portion control to help them maintain a healthy weight.
Pay attention to eyes, ears, nose, skin and coat
Dogs are stoic animals who tend not to let us know when something is wrong. Signs of underlying health problems often show up less in a dog’s behaviour and more in the appearance of their eyes, ears, skin and coat. Your dog’s eyes should be clear, bright and without discharge. If you see redness, oozing or irritation, this could be a sign of a health problem. Ears should look pink on the inside with no visible wax or discharge and no smell. If you spot any of these problems, visit your vet.
When a dog is healthy his nose should be cool and moist. A persistently dry nose, crusting, or sudden change in colour are all signs of health issues. Similarly, if your dog’s fur becomes dull-looking or patchy when it should be shiny and soft, there could be something wrong. Make sure to also run your hands through their fur to feel for any scabs, lumps, or ticks, and look out for redness and itching as these could be signs of infection or disease.