Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Healthy Resolutions for Your Dog!

Though we’re well into 2011 now, it’s not too late for you to make good on the resolutions you and your dog might have made coming into the new year.

Having a dog is a big responsibility. As a dog owner you are responsible for giving your dog the best possible life. Basically, it is up to you to do everything you can to keep your pet happy & healthy.

What can you do to ensure your dog has the best possible life? Here are a few tips:

1) Monitor your dog every day. Be aware of his daily routine. Is he eating? Drinking? Acting normal? Is he playful? If the answer is no to any of these questions, you need to figure out why. If he appears sick, have him checked by your veterinarian.

2) Make sure he is getting plenty of exercise. Take your dog for a walk and give him time to run around and get some exercise each and every day. If you don’t have the time, this is when a dog walker comes in handy. If your life is busy with work and other commitments, a daily dog walker will ensure your dog gets out and spends a good hour every day running, playing and socializing with other dogs. It alleviates boredom and helps keep your pet fit and trim.

3) Make sure your dog has plenty of opportunities to play. Play with your dog every day, but also ensure your dog gets to play and socialize with other dogs. This makes for a well behaved and well-adjusted dog you can take out anywhere. As above, a daily dog walker can help you with this.

4) Feed quality food. Don’t skimp on the quality of your dog’s food. Feed quality food, whether raw, kibble, organic, etc., and base the type of food on your dog’s age and activity levels.

5) Monitor your dog's weight. As little as 20% extra weight can put your dog at a much higher risk of developing life threatening diseases such as diabetes, arthritis and heart disease -- same as humans! My dogs struggle with their weight -- they always have, but with quality food and loads of exercise I try to keep their weight under control.

6) Vaccinations. Yearly vaccinations, or yearly Titer Testing, which is a blood test to determine if your dog’s antibodies from previous vaccinations remain high, help prevent common diseases such as parvovirus. I Titer Test my dogs yearly, as I do not believe in yearly vaccinations, but keep my dogs Rabies vaccinations up to date as we travel back and forth to the U.S. Also, Vancouver has a huge skunk and raccoon population that can be carriers of rabies.

7) Treat for parasites. Your vet can provide you with preventative medicine, prescribed monthly, to help prevent fleas, parasites and heartworm disease. As recommended by my vet, I use Interceptor from April to November and Sentinel from December to March to prevent any of the above parasites from annoying my dogs.

These are simple and very basic tips that we often don’t practice for our own health and well-being. We don’t exercise enough, we don’t eat healthy enough and we wonder why the pounds pack on and we feel lethargic. Same goes for your dog! A regular walking program can add years to your dog’s life and in the cold, wet rainy months when it feels like you just can’t squeeze a decent walk for your dog into your already busy day, a reliable and responsible dog walker, such as you can find here at Love on a Leash, will be worth their weight in gold!

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