Dogs have a special place in our hearts and every happy moment spent with them is precious because they live such short lives in comparison to us. However, with proper care, preventive measures, advance preparation, and timely treatment, dogs can live well beyond their average life expectancy, while remaining healthy till the very end.
It’s not easy to do all that though, especially without some proper guidance regarding how one should go about it. To make matters easier for new pet owners, we have prepared a brief list of steps that should help every dog owner in keeping their pets healthy and loving through the years, and then some!
Take them to the Vet Immediately After
Once you have your puppy in your arms, the very first thing to do would be to take it to a licensed veterinarian near you.
They will tell you all about the deworming and the shots your puppy will need initially and in regular intervals from that day onwards. Additionally, they will be performing a complete health check-up immediately to determine if the dog has any health issues that need to be taken care of right away.
Depending on the health of the puppy, the vet may decide to send you and your pet home after the initial shots and check-up, but sometimes, and during emergency situations, they may advise towards keeping the pup with the facility overnight.
Whatever the situation might be, rest assured that taking your newly adopted puppy to the vet is the very first thing you need to do, in order to ensure the health of the dog and its human family. Infections, worms, and parasites can and often do spread to human beings when they do not prioritise this step, so don’t make that mistake.
Get Your Dog Insurance Next
Once the puppy is home and playing with your children after the necessary treatments at the vet’s clinic, you will realise that veterinary care in the UK is not cheap by any means!
Therefore, puppy insurance is a must and the earlier you get your policy, the better it is for both your pet and your wallet in the long run.
This doesn’t just apply to young puppies; insurance for dogs is essential for any dog you adopt in general, irrespective of the age. Of course, the younger and fitter the dog is, the less your pet insurance will cost you, but even if it seems a little steep, compared to the costs of veterinary care, it’s worth it.
Before taking out just any pet insurance policy, check out everypaw.com, which is offering a free dog activity tracker as soon as someone signs their dog up for one of Everypaw’s dog insurance or puppy insurance policies.
Just in case you have a cat or two, be assured that insurance for cats is also available at Everypaw. Cats suffer from just as many expensive ailments as dogs!
Do Not Overfeed
It is tempting to overfeed the family dog and while they will regularly beg for food and make you give in to your temptations, resistance is essential to keeping your dog healthy throughout the years.
Most dogs do not understand when they should stop eating to not get fat, and given the modern society we all live in, chances are that your dog won’t be getting as much exercise on a daily basis as it requires to burn all those extra calories off either.
As a result, overfeeding the dog will make it overweight within a very short time, which can and eventually will cause some of the following problems.
- Arthritis: Deterioration of the joints due to the excess pressure on them
- ACL Tears: The anterior cruciate ligament in the knee is often torn in overweight dogs, requiring surgery
- Lipoma: Lipomas are fatty, benign tumours, but they are fatty lumps on your dog’s body nonetheless
- Transitional cell carcinoma: Breast and bladder cancer are the most common ones in obese dogs
- Diabetes: Just like in human beings, the chances of developing insulin resistance and diabetes is quite high in overweight dogs
- Laryngeal paralysis: This is a common emergency condition in obese dogs, where the trachea collapses and the dog can’t breathe
- Heart Disease: Fat is never good for the arteries and, therefore, cardiac issues will be inevitable without timely control of the obesity
- Skin Disease: The extra folds and creases develop bacterial infections from the sweat, irritation and scratching
- Unhealthy Coat: Dogs groom themselves a lot, but overweight dogs can’t do that without tiring out, which leads to unhealthy coats
- Anaesthesia Risk: Obese dogs may not be able to breathe properly while anaesthetised, leading to even death
- Inability to be Treated: If a dog can’t be anaesthetised, surgical options are no longer feasible
As you can see, resisting that urge to overfeed your dog is more important than you may have realised, so don’t keep those table scraps for your pooch anymore! Instead, treat them to a healthy, proportionate diet, as advised by the vet.
Regular Check-ups are a Must
That first visit we talked about earlier can’t be the last visit, but you probably know that already. What most pet owners do not understand is that unlike us, dogs, cats, and all other pets need to visit their vets every month, even when nothing is seemingly wrong with them.
Regular check-ups allow vets to detect a problem even before it actually becomes a problem, therefore, ensuring a long and healthy life for your beloved furry friends. For example, if and when neutering is necessary, the vet will be able to tell that to you in advance, before the signs of aggression get a chance to flare up.
This need becomes even more important when the dog begins to get older, as veterinarians can help them stay fit in even old age by supplementing their diets with adequate vitamins and other nutrients that they can no longer produce sufficiently on their own.
Keep Your Dog Inside at Night
The opinion is divided on this, but if the temperature or climate, in general, is not favourable, DO NOT keep your dog outside at night! They need a lot of outdoor time, but when you are locking the doors and windows at night, leaving them out in the cold is just cruel.
The old rule of never letting the cat and the dog inside was developed in a time when people did not really care as much about their pets as we do today. The thought process was more in the line of humans belong in houses and pets belong outside it because they are inferior, dirty creatures! As you can see, that is not exactly something which bodes well for the pets, so do not keep your dog outside at night, unless you want it to catch a cold or worse.
That’s about it really, but there might be a few more things which you will learn along the way too. After all, having a pet is as much of an experience as anything else in life. One thing is for certain though, it’s an experience you will come to love and miss later on.
To read more on topics like this, check out the health category.