Your dog will give you unconditional love and be your best friend for life – it’s your duty to make sure he is happy and healthy in return.
If you want your pup to thrive, you must ensure he has the proper healthcare, a balanced diet, and plenty of exercises and mental stimulation.
Read on for four tips to keep your dog in tip-top condition.
1. Regular Checkups and Vaccinations
Proper healthcare is vital to your dog’s health and well-being. When you bring your puppy home, take him for a complete physical exam, and make sure he gets his vaccinations.
After that, your dog should have a wellness exam every year so that your vet can potentially pick up any diseases early. Dental appointments should also be made yearly to keep your dog’s teeth and gums in good shape.
Because healthcare can be expensive – especially if your dog is involved in an accident or develops a serious disease – you should consider purchasing a pet insurance policy in case something happens. You can compare pet insurance plans and prices here.
2. A Nutritionally-Balanced Diet
You must feed your dog premium-quality dog food to ensure he gets enough nutrition and stays at the correct weight. Avoid giving your dog excessive treats to prevent obesity and weight-related health conditions, and extend his lifespan. Vets recommend treats comprising 10% or less of your dog’s daily calorie intake.
While pet foods that comply with AAFCO standards are generally adequate and nutritionally balanced, you should get a recommendation for the best food for your dog from your vet. Always make sure your dog has enough fresh drinking water.
3. Socialization and Exercise
Providing your dog with socialization opportunities early in life is the best way to ensure he behaves appropriately around different people, animals, and situations. Your puppy’s most formative period is between a few weeks old and around four months old – so be sure to socialize him as much as possible.
A dog who hasn’t been socialized can display antisocial and aggressive behavior toward other people and pets, so make sure they have plenty of social interactions early on. Socialization opportunities include trips to the local dog park, taking your dog to doggie daycare, and bringing them along on family outings.
To keep your dog physically active, take him on walks and hikes, and play games like ‘fetch’ with him. Providing him with toys to play with, enrolling him in agility courses, introducing him to new sights and smells, and teaching him new tricks will also provide valuable mental stimulation – which will curb destructive behavior and keep your dog entertained.
4. Regular Grooming
Making sure your dog’s coat, skin, and nails are in good condition will require regular grooming sessions. You should brush your dog’s coat a few times a week, trim his nails, and give him a bath with a pet-friendly shampoo every couple of months.
Grooming your dog regularly and from a young age will also help him get used to having his paws touched. It will also make it easier for you to keep an eye out for injuries and other health conditions.