Pet Health Advice for General Wellness

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Tags: Puppy 101, Health

Pet Health Advice for General Wellness

Pet health advice is easy to find, but not always easy to understand. This article provides some basic advice for a healthy dog.

Feeding, grooming, exercise and preventive care are the main components of dog wellness.

Feeding For Good Health

Your dog needs to eat well to feel well. Choose a good quality dog food that contains a named meat as its main ingredient. Many dogs are allergic to corn, wheat or soy, so avoid products containing these ingredients.

There are alternatives to traditional canned and dry dog foods including frozen raw and freeze-dried foods. Home-prepared foods are gaining in popularity, too.

Grooming for Skin and Dental Health

Some dogs need more grooming than others. Longhaired breeds may need weekly brushing and regular clipping, but some breeds are more maintenance-free, needing only an occasional bath and nail trim.

All dogs benefit from weekly dental care. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in dogs, and a regular program of preventive maintenance—tooth brushing—can stave off this painful condition. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and dog-specific toothpaste. Brush your dog’s teeth at least twice a week, paying special attention to the gum line. If it looks like tartar—hard, dark buildup—has already accumulated on her teeth, you may need to schedule a professional cleaning.

Exercise: The Fun Part!

Exercise is the fun part of dog care. Whether you prefer a long, leisurely walk, an invigorating swim or an enthusiastic game of fetch, dogs are always ready.

You don’t have to be a fitness buff to have fun with your dog. Unless you have a very active dog, two 20-minute walks a day combined with a few play sessions is adequate. Of course, your dog’s age, size, fitness level and breed will affect these numbers. A 5-pound Chihuahua will not require the same rigorous schedule as a 75-pound Labrador Retriever.

Preventive Care

Your veterinarian will provide a schedule of recommended vaccines based on your dog’s age, health issues and exposure. Puppies may need protection from parvovirus, coronavirus, leptospirosis, rabies and lyme. Some of these diseases are extremely dangerous and sometimes fatal, so your veterinarian’s advice is crucial.

Internal and external parasites plague most dogs and puppies. Over-the-counter dewormers and flea preparations may be effective, but your veterinarian can prescribe products that combat the specific critter that bugging your dog.

A healthy lifestyle combined with regular veterinary checkups will keep your dog in top shape so you will never have to walk, swim, ride, hike, throw or toss alone.

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