So let's talk canine health and how to take care of a dog properly. According to ASPCA‘s numbers, it costs at least $500 per year to ensure a healthy lifestyle for a small canine. These include dog food, pet insurance, dog toys, registration of your pet, and random dog items. But the biggest additional expense on top of the $500 that dog owners have to deal with is veterinary bills.
So how about this year instead of reacting to your canine's deteriorating health you look into preventative measures? Here's a list of useful tips on how to take care of a dog and prevent unnecessary health issues for your canine (and save yourself a lot trouble).
1 Take care of parasites
One of major steps in learning how to take care of a dog is ensuring that your pet is protected from all kinds of dog flesh eating and blood sucking parasites.
Fleas and ticks are the number one suspects on the list. Dog owners should pay more attention to how their pets behave, especially when there are unusual patterns: constant scratching or disappearance of the dog.
Make sure to provide your dog with flea and tick prevention treatments all year round. A few ways you can protect a pet from ticks, fleas and other parasites is to get them a anti-flea collar, buy some flea or tick medicine or use sprays and topical anti-parasite solutions. None of these are as expensive as vet treatment can get if you miss the opportunity to deal with such problems quickly.
2 Schedule vet checkups
Even though you think veterinarians might have their own agenda, most of them care only about ensuring your dog's good health when they advise to schedule regular vet check-ups.
It's important for you as a dog owner to not forget and not be lazy when it comes to checking your dog at the local veterinary clinic at least twice a year.
While we ourselves will know if there's something wrong with us, dogs won't. We are not our Fidos, we can never know for sure if there's something that is hurting your dog, or if there's a funny feeling in his gut. It's easy to be oblivious to first stages of dog joint problem progression and only react when it's too late.
3 Spay or neuter your dog
So many discussions later, this is still a controversial topic, but most vets and dog experts agree – neutering or spaying your dog is important.
This procedure will prevent a whole bunch of problems that could arise if you choose not to spay or neuter your pet. One of the most beneficial results of this is a lower the risk of cancer in your dog, as well as decrease in their desire to leave the home, roam anywhere and get into trouble.
Additionally, aside from major health benefits, neutering or spaying is simply a responsible thing to do. Preventing your dogs from breeding will ensure that even more canines don't end up homeless or in shelters.
4 Avoid human medicine
Surprisingly enough, a lot of pet owners still do not realize that human medicine has been designed to work only on people.
One of the most irresponsible and unsafest things a pet owner can do is give a dog medicine or supplements that have been designed and manufactured for humans. If you really want to know how to take care of a dog, then the first thing is to avoid using the same tricks you would use with people.
Sadly, and most likely only by meaning well, people accidentally do the opposite. They will try certain painkillers and similar drugs on their dogs – such as penicillin, ibuprofen or aspirin – in attempt to numb their suffering pooch's pain. But the reality is that any one of these medicines can instantly or gradually kill your pet.
5 Provide dog furniture
This is an extra expense for a dog owner, but the one that will last for a long time and pay off multiple times.
Dogs love to have their own space and place. Providing your dog with her own den such as a dog crate or dog house, or at least a regular sleeping place in the form of a decent dog bed is one of the ways to ensure a healthy and comfortable living for your pooch.
Even though they are animals and can sleep on the floor pretty much anywhere, dog experts say that canines are much more comfortable sleeping on dog beds. Dog owners who are dealing with their pet's destructive behavior problems there are chew-resistant beds, and for canines with arthritis – orthopedic dog beds is the way to go.
6 Remember the teeth
The more veterinary science is moving forward, the more dog owners begin to realize how many important aspects of knowing how to take care of a dog they have been oblivious to.
Turns out, dental care for dogs is no less important than for humans. Technically, we should brush our dog's teeth every single day. Veterinarians recommend once in the evening, which is plenty.
Obviously, a lot of us pet owners have been avoiding this procedure for a long time, and even know as more awareness of dog dental care is being raised, we still often forget or choose not to do this. As a dog owner, if you cannot find time to brush your dog's teeth every evening, you should try brushing them at least three times a week. In addition, dog dental chews will also help with your pooch's dental health.
7 Vehicle seats and restrains
It's no secret that dogs love riding in cars. What's also not a secret is that dog owners rarely ensure the safety of their pets in the car.
Did you know that there are special dog belts that you can purchase for your car? Next time you'll be ready to spend a few bucks when looking on how to take care of your dog better, look into this safety precaution. Better yet, search for good car seats for dogs, which are even safer and more comfortable for your pooch.
It's important to ensure proper restrain for your dogs in the car for the safety of not only your canines but anybody else in the vehicle, too. You never know when you must break instantly, and your dog can easily fly inside of a car and break legs, or even die. This situation also presents danger to anybody else in the vehicle.
8 Ensure proper diet
Dog obesity is now an epidemic in America, and overweight dogs are becoming a common sight.
Calorie restriction applies to canines, and works in the same way it does with humans. Dogs cannot be allowed to eat as much as they wish, especially if you're not following strict healthy dog food guidelines.
As dog owners, we all have to deal with this common dog behavior problem – food begging. It's difficult to say no to your pooch, but you must; it's for your dog's benefit. Also, make sure to structure a healthy diet for your dog, and provide him with high quality dog food where you'll be able to count calories.
9 ID your dog
For those who really want to know how to take care of a dog well, one of the best investments are microchips.
In 2015, popularity of dog microchips is rising but the majority of pet owners are still haven't been informed of the benefits of microchipping your pooch. The reason it's important to ID your canine with a microchip tag is because that way you give them an identity.
In this day, with so many dog thieveries in the US, this is an important procedure that every responsible dog owner has to go through. A microchip will substantially lower the chances of you ever losing your pet, especially if you live in a city. And in case your dog is ever stolen, you will always be able to instantly track down exactly where he or she has been taken before anything bad happens.
The subject of vaccination has been blowing up since the beginning of this year, with more studies coming out on the importance of this procedure.
However, before you vaccinate your dog for every little thing, educate yourself and learn what canine vaccines carry certain risks, and which ones are absolutely essential for a healthy pet. Not every vaccine will be a “no brainer” choice, and you must evaluate potential pros and cons.
In general, vaccines are important and do prevent a multitude of disease in dogs just as they do in humans. Most veterinarians will advise to get regular vaccinations to prevent any types of known health problems and viruses that are constantly looking to attack your pooch when she is outside.
11 Provide rich environment
A happy dog will always be a much healthier dog, and vice versa.
Your Fido is a social animal, and he needs interaction from humans and other animals. Ensure a rich environment for your dog: take him out every day, go to different places and meet different people, as well as different pets.
Responsible and passionate pet owners who want to know how to take care of a dog properly can organize get-togethers with other active and responsible pet owners, and have a great time. There are simply way too many means to show your dog you love him and find ways to spend time to together that there are no excuses not to.
Featured photo courtesy of Brett Davies