Most dog owners regard their dog as one of the family. We want to do everything possible to keep our dogs healthy and happy. Learning about dog health is important for all dog owners – a healthy dog is a better canine companion and provides more enjoyment. Here are a few tips about dog health that can help keep your dog in top shape.
Good health starts with dog nutrition. Giving your dog high quality food that has the proper nutrients is the best way to maintain the health of your dog. Poor quality food, on the other hand, can actually contribute to the deterioration of your pet's health. Cheap dog food is loaded with grains which have been overcooked so that your dog can digest them. This kind of food is not very nutritious so it has to be supplemented with vitamins and minerals.
Dogs are carnivores, so they need lots of meat. You can also give them vegetables and a certain amount of grain based dog food, but the bulk of their diet should be meat – high-quality meat. Pet food manufacturers are allowed to use meat from sick or disabled animals – all the meat that is "unfit for human consumption." This type of meat is used in the cheapest dog food, so it's worth it to buy the best food you can afford.
Getting Enough Exercise
The next step in maintaining dog health is exercise. Just like humans, dogs need plenty of exercise to stay in top shape. One of the great benefits of dog ownership is you can take your exercise together – going for a walk twice a day with Rover is a great way to keep in shape and get some fresh air.
One of the best things you can do for dog health is to keep him from becoming overweight. Many owners give their dogs too much food and not enough exercise. Overweight dogs are susceptible to all sorts of health problems and live shorter lives than slim dogs.
Preventing obesity in your dog is simple – do not give him too much food and give him plenty of exercise. Your veterinarian bills will go down and your pooch will be happier.
Prevention of Common Diseases
Even with the best care, your dog may still get sick. Here are four of the most common canine diseases and what you can do to treat them.
Distemper is a deadly viral disease. Dogs can catch it from other dogs through contact with saliva, urine and feces. Symptoms include runny nose, coughing, sneezing, diarrhea and lack of appetite. If you notice any of theses symptoms, especially in puppies, take your dog to the vet immediately. The longer you wait for treatment the less likely it is that your dog will survive. There is a vaccine for distemper that will protect your dog and is given once year.
Rabies is a serious disease that affects the central nervous system. It is typically transmitted through bites from infected animals with symptoms appearing anywhere from 30 to 60 days after exposure. Rabid dogs can be hostile and are dangerous to handle. Dogs can be protected from rabies with an annual vaccination.
Leptospirosis is caused by bacteria and affects the kidneys and liver. The symptoms are vomiting, loss of appetite, runny nose, stiffness and a change in bowel and urinary habits. Dogs with leptospirosis can infect humans. There is a vaccine against this disease, and if your dog shows these symptoms take him to the vet immediately.
Canine hepatitis is another common disease that affects dog health. It is a viral disease that is spread through contact with saliva or urine of an infected dog. Hepatitis has similar symptoms to distemper with the addition of a high temperature and bloody stools. Take your dog to the vet if he shows as of these symptoms.
Canine hepatitis as well as all the diseases mentioned here can be preceded by annual vaccinations. It is important for dog health to visit your vet on a regular basis and keep up with vaccines.
Many dogs get infected with internal parasites at some point in their life. Internal parasites are commonly known as worms and come in many types. Roundworms can live in your dog's liver, heart, and lungs. They ever find their way to the intestine where they eat the dog's food. Your dog will be show persistent hunger, have diarrhea and be bloated with gas.
Hookworm is another common parasite. These are very small but are usually found in great numbers. They can consume your dog's blood and cause anemia. Symptoms of hookworm infection are diarrhea, gas, and weight loss.
Worm infection is treatable and can be cleared up relatively easily. As with all matters of dog health, if your dog looks sick or uncomfortable, take him to the vet as soon as possible.
By addressing these areas of dog health you can pretty much ensure you will have a healthy dog for many years to come.