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7 Easy Ways to Keep Your Dog Healthy

Use these tips to keep your dog healthy.

Of course, individual dogs can suffer from injuries or illnesses that are impossible to avoid, but luckily, there are some easy ways for you to help prevent many of the conditions that can decrease your dog's quality and quantity of life.

Here are 7 of them.

Be Diligent About Your Dog's Weight

An overweight dog is at much higher risk of many health conditions, including arthritis and diabetes. From the time you get your dog, keep his weight forefront in your mind. Here are some ways to help your dog maintain a healthy weight:

  • Check often with your veterinarian about what life stage your dog is in, so you're choosing the right food.
  • Feed your dog measured meals, so you have control over how much your dog eats. Ask your vet for help determining how much of your dog's specific food he needs daily.
  • Have your dog evaluated by a vet often and adjust feeding and exercise if he begins to grow overweight.
  • Exercise and play with your dog daily.
  • Avoid people food as much as possible.
  • Remember that treats have calories and restrict how many you give your dog.

Don't Skip Veterinary Visits

If it seems like your dog is doing fine, it's easy to put off that routine vet visit, but don't. It's crucial that a veterinarian see your dog regularly to look for early signs of health conditions, adjust preventative schedules depending on age and lifestyle, and do routine testing that can catch problems early.

Find Exercise You Both Enjoy and Do It Routinely

Your dog needs daily exercise for both physical and mental wellbeing. Depending on your dog's age and breed, he may need lots of intense activity or only a little moderate or mild exercise. If you're not sure what your dog needs, ask your veterinarian.

Once you know how much exercise your dog needs and can handle, find something you both like to do and make it a routine. It could be walking, jogging, playing fetch, or swimming. Use it as good exercise and bonding time for both of you.

Maintain Good Parasite Prevention

Don't skimp on the parasite prevention for your dog. Intestinal and external parasites can both cause lots of health problems. Heartworm disease, transmitted by infected mosquitoes, is life-threatening and can permanently damage the heart.

Ask your veterinarian to develop a parasite prevention plan for your dog and re-evaluate it often to be sure everything's covered based on your geographic area and your dog's lifestyle.

Have Your Dog Vaccinated

Vaccinations are crucial for helping your dog maintain good health. Some vaccinations are required by law. Ask your veterinarian to develop a vaccination plan specific to your dog based on age, lifestyle, medical conditions and geographic area. Once you have a plan, stick to it.

Use a Good Diet for Your Dog's Life Stage

A good-quality, balanced diet is crucial to maintaining good health in dogs. Feed your dog the proper food for his life stage (puppies need a different nutrient balance than seniors, for example). Your veterinarian can help you determine the right brand and life stage diet for your dog and help you identify when it's time to change.

Have Your Dog Spayed or Neutered

Dogs that are spayed or neutered don't have to worry about uterine or testicular cancer, are at far lower risk for mammary or prostate cancer, often don't have certain behavior problems, and generally live longer. Have your dog spayed or neutered as an easy way to support his or her health.

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