Taking care of a pet for her entire lifespan is a huge responsibility, but there are a few ways to ensure her well-being.
10 Tips for General Animal Care:
- Physical examination. A veterinarian should examine your dog at least once every 12 months. Do not miss yearly checkups, and keep your dog up-to-date on vaccines. Since you know your dog best, it is also a good idea for you to routinely examine her. This will allow you to catch any abnormalities quickly so you can present them to your veterinarian.
- Spay & neuter. The benefits of spaying and neutering are extensive. Your dog might live a longer, healthier life and won't contribute to the pet overpopulation problem. Spaying your female dog before her first heat cycle can protect her against a host of diseases and cancers, while neutering your male dog can prevent unwanted behavior problems as well as various diseases and infections.
- Proper nutrition. The saying "you are what you eat" applies to dogs, too. It's important to research the kind of food you are feeding. The convenience and low prices of many brand name dog foods may make them seem like the perfect diet for your pets, but they can contain low-quality ingredients that provide little nutritional benefit and are potentially harmful. Talk with your veterinarian or dog trainer about the best food for your dog.
- Exercise. Exercise is a huge factor in your dog's overall health and longevity. Daily exercise keeps your dog fit, happy, and healthy, and is a great bonding experience for you and your dog. Dogs that are regularly exercised are less likely to have behavioral problems. In addition, low-impact exercise can ease joint pain in your senior dog.
- Microchipping. A microchip is a tiny implant that can make a big difference if your dog ever gets lost because when scanned it ensures your beloved pet can be traced back to you. Microchipping is a great investment that can give every pet owner some peace of mind.
- Dental care. Keeping your pet's teeth and gums in tip top shape is a huge part of maintaining your dog's health and longevity. The plaque and tartar that can cause gum disease can also spread bacteria to your dog's vital organs. Brush your dog's teeth regularly and schedule her for a dental cleaning as recommended by your veterinarian.
- Use preventatives. Heartworm disease is a fatal disease if not treated, and is rampant in the United States. You can easily prevent an infestation in your dog by giving her a monthly preventative. Treatment for heartworm disease is expensive, painful for your dog, and can result in death. And don't forget about fleas and ticks! These nasty parasites can cause a whole host of diseases and infestations, so make sure you keep your dog up-to-date on flea and tick preventatives, too.
- Keep your pet primarily indoors. Your dog will be happier and healthier if he lives primarily indoors. Outdoor dogs are exposed to extreme heat and cold and can often become the victims of thieves looking for easy access to steal a dog. Dogs that live on a chain or tether are often full of pent-up energy and frustration, and are more likely to have behavior and aggression problems as a result.
- Pick the right dog. Mixed breed dogs are less likely to succumb to genetically predisposed illnesses and diseases. Consider adoption when picking out your next furry friend. If you do choose to buy a purebred dog, make sure the breeder can provide proof of health testing and can show you at least the mother of your puppy. Never purchase a puppy from a pet store.
- Mentally stimulate your dog. Providing your dog with love, attention, and fun will keep your dog happy and help them live a longer, fuller life. Dogs thrive on exercise, attention, and mental stimulation.
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