All pet owners want to keep their dogs healthy so they can live a long, happy life, but it’s not always that easy. It takes time to fit in exercise, money to go to the vet for checkups, and trial and error to find the best food for an age-based diet. If you’re busy with work, family, and daily responsibilities, it can be difficult to carve out time to make sure your dog is healthy, yet it’s so important for his growth and development.
Fortunately, there are some simple ways you can make your dog’s health a priority. You’ll need to do a bit of research to find out where the best spots are in your area to let your dog run and play, and fitting in visits to the vet are important as well, not just for annual checkups but for preventative care. Starting with a good plan will allow you to arrange your schedule in a way that will suit both of you and will prevent stress and anxiety.
Here are a few tips on how to get started for a dog of any age.
Head to the dog park
Dog parks are wonderful spaces, not only because they allow pets to exercise and stay social, but because they are mostly safe spots that usually have leash-free areas for dogs to run and play in. Do some homework on dog parks in your area; an ideal park will have lots of trails and a fenced-in area for leash-free play, as well as an area solely for small dogs. The key to visiting these parks is to keep a watchful eye on both your pet and other animals to watch for signs of aggressiveness or illness. Keep hand sanitizer handy, as well as cleanup bags. For more tips on visiting the dog park, click here.
Get the right equipment
Make sure your pet has the appropriate leash and collar or harness for his size and age. Younger dogs are more energetic and tend to pull at a leash out of eagerness, so a harness is usually better for them to avoid energy. The right leash can help him stay safe and keep your hands from aching, especially if you have a large, muscular dog.
Prepare a healthy diet
Your dog’s breed, age, and weight can all have a bearing on what he should be eating. Talk to your vet about the best diet for your pet and work together to formulate meals that will give him energy and build strong muscles and bones. Like humans, dogs need balanced nutrition that will help them grow and keep their teeth healthy. Whether it’s prepared at home or bought at the store, always know what’s in your dog’s food.
Think twice about those treats
Calorie-rich treats can cause big problems if they’re given often, especially if you’re trying to help him lose weight. “Treats are the silent saboteur of slimming down. Those tiny treats are often hiding a significant amount of calories,” says Dr. Ernie Ward, founder of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.
Keeping your dog fit and healthy at any age can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Diet and exercise are extremely important, of course, but finding a routine that works and sticking with it will help both you and your dog when it comes to his health.