All good dog owners want to keep their dogs healthy. You love your dog, and you want her to be healthy and happy. Help keep your dog on the path to wellness with these dog health guidelines.

Expert Veterinary Care

High-quality veterinary care sets the foundation for your dog’s overall health. Find a veterinarian you can trust and visit regularly. Ideally, routine wellness examinations should be performed by your vet twice a year. Puppies and senior dogs should be seen even more frequently. If your dog has special needs, a chronic health condition or other illness, comply with your vet’s recommendations. Because your dog ages at a faster rate than you, many subtle changes can develop over a six to twelve month period. Routine visits allow your vet to closely monitor changes before your dog’s health gets out of control. Learn how to effectively communicate with your vet and you can expect the same in return. If you can develop a good connection with your vet, it can lead to long-term benefit for you and your dog.

Optimum Nutrition

Proper nutrition is a fundamental for keeping all dogs healthy. Diet directly affects your dog’s skin and coat, weight, energy level, and gastrointestinal function. If a problem occurs in one of these areas, it may be linked to improper diet. Choose a high-quality dog food made by a reputable company, or learn about homemade diets. Once you find the right food for your dog, use that food consistently. Watch your dog’s response to the diet over 4-8 weeks. How does her coat look? It should be shiny and free of flakes, but not greasy. Have you noticed a change in her energy level? A decrease in energy could indicate a problem. Has she lost or gained weight? Obesity in dogs is a very common problem which can often be reversed with proper diet and exercise. Excess weight loss may occur if your dog does not find the food palatable. If her response to the diet is poor, it may be time to look into other foods. A sudden change in dog foods can cause gastrointestinal upset, so switch over gradually unless otherwise directed by your vet.

Routine Exercise

Many dog owners underestimate their dogs’ exercise needs in relation to keeping their dog healthy. Destructive behavior may lead to a diagnosis of separation anxiety or other behavioral problems. While these conditions truly exist, in many cases the behavior is actually the result of an energy surplus. If you feed your dog a healthy diet, it should give her plenty of energy. However, if your dog can’t release that energy with exercise, it may be released on your furniture, carpet, doorways, or even your prized collection of rare books. Before you blame your dog for the damage, ask yourself if she’s getting enough exercise. In general, dogs need at least 1-2 hours of exercise per day, but this varies by breed, size and age. Over time, determine the ideal exercise regimen for your dog and establish a routine. You might even notice an improvement in your own health in the meantime.

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