What do dogs need to have a healthy and enjoyable life? Three things: nutritious food, plenty of play and exercise, and a caring owner/community. Providing these needs is not as easy as it may seem. A recent report in the New York Times indicated that 56% of dogs in America are at an unhealthy weight.
Do you want to have a healthy dog? The following practical tips and tricks will help keep your dog healthy and happy.
Photo by Alexander Naglestad on Unsplash
1. Have a Healthy Start – Get Puppies From Trusted Sources
To have a healthy dog, you must start right. Source your puppies only from accredited and trusted breeders. You will know the breeding stock and bloodline. Also, you will get a health history, and know the issues to look out for and how to prevent them.
At Shiphra Shepherds, we offer an unmatched 5-year 100% guaranteed health on all our puppies. Starting on the right paw gives you a headstart in helping your dog live a healthy and enjoyable life.
2. Feed Your Dog a Balanced Nutritious Diet
A nutritious diet will go a long way in ensuring your dog’s body functions and physiological systems work optimally. But many pet owners wonder how to choose the best food for their dogs. The following steps will help you:
- Talk with a vet about feeding your dog.
- Use the tips to craft and implement a diet plan.
- Understand what’s on the pet food package.
- Watch your furry buddy’s response.
- Tweak and adjust the diet to suit your dog’s needs.
Keep in mind that dogs are mainly carnivorous – therefore, more than 70% of their diet should be meat. Dogs also need vitamins, minerals, and fiber. These come from sources like vegetable scraps and fruits.
Whatever you feed your dog, it must be easy to digest and good for the body. This is where raw organic foods have an edge over-processed commercial feeds. Raw and organic dog food is highly nutritious and tremendously beneficial, especially for German Shepherds. Many owners who switched to raw and organic dog food, talk about how the diet transformed their furry buddies. Some of the notable changes include
- Smaller stools – Raw dog food does not have fillers and flavorings and is easy to digest. It is also a sign of improved gastrointestinal health.
- More vitality and energy.
- Fewer vet calls – The dog is less prone to ailments and heals quickly.
- Better looking and shinier coats.
- Improved oral health
Speak to a vet about transitioning to a raw and organic diet for your dog.
3. Get Plenty of Exercise
A well-fed dog needs plenty of exercise to stay healthy and happy. This is especially true for herding dogs like German Shepherds. They are very energetic and athletic; they require plenty of exercise for their physical and mental well-being.
Start with daily walks with your pup. As they grow older, increase the intensity to daily jogs and play sessions. If the dog lacks exercise, it is likely to become obese and frustrated and have behavior issues.
4. Vaccinate Your Dog
A vaccinated dog is less susceptible to ailments and will live a healthier life than a non-vaccinated one. Plus, some shots are required by the law. Here are some of the shots your dog needs in its first year:
- Bordetella – to protect against kennel cough
- Lyme disease
- Canine influenza
5. Visit the Vet Regularly
During the pup’s first four to six months, the vaccination schedule will force you to visit the vet regularly. As the pup grows older, do not relent on this practice. Dr. Ellen Marcinkiewicz of The Vets suggests, “Make it a habit to see the vet two to three times a year. Vets have an eye for health issues and will notice things you might not.” When health issues are detected and diagnosed early, the dog stands a better chance of successful treatment.
6. Groom Your Pet Regularly
Good grooming and cleanliness are prerequisites for good health. Brush your dog’s coat, clean the teeth and clip the claws. It will help keep parasites and opportunistic ailments at bay.
7. Finally, Socialize and Train Your Dog
The above tips and tricks will keep your dog’s body healthy. But for the well-being of the mind and body, your dog needs to go forth and interact with other people and other animals.
Plan regular visits to the doggy park where they can interact with other dogs and their owners. Of course, training your dog before you head out will help you be more in control. But remember, always keep your dog on a leash; even the best-trained dog can surprise you, lose control and behave unusually.