One of the difficult realities of dog ownership is that you will likely outlive your dog. But a dog’s environment and diet can heavily affect her life expectancy, so if you want to keep your best friend alive for many years to come, there are several steps you can take.
5 Steps to Keep Your Dog Healthy
- Spay or Neuter Your Dog
Spaying or neutering your dog protects him against a number of cancers and infections, can improve behavior, and eliminates the chances of your dog having complications in childbirth. It also ensures that you will not contribute to the pet overpopulation problem and that your dog’s puppies will not end up living, and maybe even dying, in shelters. Altering your dog also makes it less likely that he or she will run away, which means you don’t have to worry about your best friend being lost or getting hit by a car.
- Get Regular Veterinary Care
Dogs who regularly see their vets are less likely to suffer from chronic health problems because vets may notice problems before owners do. Make sure your dog is up to date on shots, and talk to your vet about any behavior problems you encounter with your loyal pal. Make sure that you stay current with periodic treatments for your dog, such as dog Frontline flea and tick applications, and keep your dog brushed and groomed (unless you own a hairless dog!)
- Protect Joints and Muscles
Joint and muscle pain are among the biggest problems in older dogs, and can even lead to serious injury. Give your dog a canine glucosamine and chondroitin supplement daily to protect her from the effects of aging, and avoid overexerting her or encouraging rough and tumble play when she starts to slow down. If your dog regularly jumps onto your bed or into your car, consider getting folding pet steps to make the transition easier and to prevent serious injuries.
- Train Your Dog
Well-trained dogs are less likely to engage in destructive behaviors that could injure them, and are also less likely to harm people. Similarly, a well-socialized dog will make lots of doggie friends, which can provide you with many more opportunities to keep your dog active and healthy than you might otherwise have.
- Microchip Your Dog
A microchip is a tiny device that can be scanned if your dog is lost. Equally important, it also serves as your proof of ownership of your dog if he is ever stolen or ends up at the pound. A microchip requires a quick injection and is usually fairly inexpensive. Make sure you register your dog’s microchip so that it gives information about where to find you, and consider adding a tag to your dog’s collar indicating that he has a microchip.
All of these items listed are beneficial for your dog. It’s our responsibility as pet owners to ensure that our dogs are properly cared for and protected.
Photo by jjgwarren