Dogs can be a lot of work. We love our furry friends, but making sure they get the most out of life requires a lot more consideration than one would initially think. Keeping your dog well and properly fed, monitoring its health, and keeping him physically and mentally active are just some of the essential things we consider in VetMed’s essential plan for looking after your pooch.
Feeding Your Dog
It’s essential that your dog is fed vet-approved food that delivers the balance of nutrition appropriate to its particular stage of life (note the different foods available for large, small, puppy, adult dogs, etc.). It should have an ‘Australian Standard’ certification somewhere.
Dogs have a tendency to overeat and to bloat, so it is necessary to feed your dog twice a day and not too much at one time. It is also essential to keep fresh drinking water available at all times.
Giving dogs bones occasionally is good for their dental health, provided that the meat is of a high quality, the bone isn’t so small as to be able to be swallowed whole by the dog, and it is raw. Never give your dog a cooked bone, as they can break and splinter – causing intestinal damage or choking. Don’t overdo it on the bones either; make sure the regular food remains the basis of your dog’s diet.
Checkups and Vaccinations
It is a must that you get your dog vaccinated at an early stage in its life for the health of both your pooch and those around him. Here are some of the most common illnesses that require vaccination:
- Canine parvovirus – a highly infectious and potentially lethal viral gastroenteritis that causes vomiting and diarrhoea
- Canine distemper – a highly contagious disease with symptoms such as conjunctivitis, convulsive seizures and spinal cord damage. Canine distemper can also be passed to humans, and although it causes no symptoms or problems in humans, you can still act as a carrier to other pets.
- Canine infectious hepatitis – caused by canine adenovirus, this acute liver infection causes fever, depression, loss of appetite, coughing, jaundice, vomiting and death.
- Canine cough – a disease caused by bacteria and a virus, causing a hacking and distressing cough. Although it can be passed to humans, it is very unlikely unless the human has a compromised immune system.
It’s also important to administer worm and flea-prevention drugs to your dog periodically, and keep up regular visits to the vet – who can properly monitor your pooch’s health at every stage of his life.
How to Keep Your Dog Happy
Training dogs is a crucial part of keeping them happy and well behaved. Regular training provides mental stimulation, in addition to the physical stimulation he should receive each day from exercise.
Reward based training is recommended, as yelling at dogs when they do something wrong can inadvertently reinforce negative behaviours if it is misconstrued as simply giving them attention.
Incorporate a structured training program when they are young, and continue them in mental tasks as they age.