Here’s a handy guide to assist you in keeping your dog in great shape for life. You can even put together a little checklist to follow based on this article.
Underweight or overweight dogs are both “at risk”. A dog which is underweight for its breed and size. How can you tell if your dog is underweight? Feel for the ribs. Are they sticking out and protruding? Or, do they have a nice layer of meat on them? If your dog is overweight, when touching the ribs the blubbery flesh will jiggle back and forth. If neither of these are the case, then your dog is in good weight.
Obese dogs are challenged when it comes to being groomed, as standing for the grooming procedure is taxing to them.
Some of the things that can contribute to Under-weight and Over-weight are:
When purchasing dog food, try to avoid grains such as corn, wheat & soy. These are fillers which are not necessarily part of a healthy diet, and often times cause allergic reactions. Also anything that says “bi-product” on the label. The key is to READ THE LABEL. Be sure to look out for things such as “animal fat” without mentioning what the animal actually is. The company can legally get away with switching out what the animal actually is. Different animals can cause different reactions in dogs. Each bag of food could be from a different food source batch, even though the bag is the same as the last bag you bought the ingredients may not be.
Try to feed raw food whenever possible.
One of the biggest thrills a dog has in his life, is being walked by his Owner. Dogs have a sense of pride when they can get out in the public next to their Pack-Leader (YOU). Hiring a Dog-Walker or Sitter is a good substitute if the Owner is not available, but the Owner is always preferred. Dogs like to be with their families and participate in family activities. And remember… Play Time is even better.
A well-socialized dog is friendly and wants to communicate with others. Nobody wants a dog that is scared or timid. Socializing your pet is the best way to keep him friendly and confident.
Setting up play dates with neighbor dogs or family member dogs is always a great way to socialize you dog in a controlled environment. Your local Doggy Day Care center is also a good place to take your dog for social activities. Be sure to get your dog acquainted with all sorts of people in all sorts of different situations. With a puppy this can be done a for very short periods of time at first as to not overwhelm or frighten. These steps are fun and can really encourage a dog to be happy and well balanced.
“Sit”, “Down”, “Stay”, “Come”/”Here” and “Heel”/”Walk”. Basic exercises are imperative when it comes to a dog being well balanced and confident. These basic manners teach a dog how to conduct his/herself. Dogs who know what to do in varied situations are more stable and less nervous individuals. They are educated.
Groomed regularly per the breed requirements – see our blog for recommendations
Nails should be clipped so that they are not clicking or touching the floor. Click here for an article on Toenails and why it’s vital to keep them trimmed back.
Ears cleaned often enough to prevent buildup of residue. Bacteria and parasites in ears can lead to major health issues. Regular ear maintenance is vital for keeping a dogs healthy and happy.
You should feel confident that your dog is be able to welcome your dog into your home.
Water should be changed daily. We prefer filtered water for our dogs and cats. No toilet water please!
There should be no mucous buildup or staining. Keeping ears clean helps with keeping eyes clear and bright. Bright eyes is a very apparent sign of good health and vitality.
Good food, clean environment, regular grooming, keeping food dishes clean, water fresh are very important for parasite control. Vermin and birds are notorious for spreading parasites among domesticated animals as well. Dogs that live in rural areas are at risk for parasite infestation due to the increased exposure to wild animals. Diatomaceous earth added to food will help prevent internal infestation. It can also be used as a natural external parasite preventative too.
Matting causes skin irritation and discomfort for dogs and cats. Bathing dogs with matting causes the mats to shrink up and tighten against the skin of the dog. Therefore it’s very important to brush and comb every tangle out prior to bath or swim time. Severe matting will cause dogs and cats to have to be shaved very close in order to get the matting off. Skin may be irritated by this process as the skin is so tender and oxygen has not been getting to the skin to keep it healthy.
Keeping a dog’s teeth clean is paramount for good health. Tartar produces bad breath and leaches toxins into the digestive system. This can be represented by skin issues, eye staining as well as other more serious health issues like heart conditions. In today’s world it’s much easier to keep a dog’s teeth clean and tartar free. Small dogs in particular are predisposed to having profuse amounts of tartar caked on their teeth if not maintained. Genetic predisposition is a big factor in tartar building up on on teeth. Therefore two dogs that live in the same environment, eat the same foods and drink the same water can be very different when it comes to tartar build up. We have newly developed sprays and gels that, if used regularly, are very effective in keeping tartar at bay. Giving dogs RAW (never cooked) bones can help to keep teeth clean and shiny. Adding some RAW meat into your dog’s diet will also help break down tartar.
Dogs have scent glands like skunks. Small dogs and even some large dogs need assistance with keeping this gland “expressed”: removing the fluid within the glands. This is typically done by Groomers or in more extreme cases that requires internal application, a veterinarian. Dogs will build up a foul smelling odor when their glands are not expressed. Neglected glands can also lead to the glands becoming impacted, causing pain and discomfort to your pet.